Friday, March 4, 2011

A Day In Cloth Diapers...

A thread started on my BabyCenter birth club the other day called "A Day In Cloth". The idea is that you post pictures of each diaper change throughout the day to show others how easy it is to use cloth diapers! I LOVE this idea and thought it would be an interesting blog and maybe helpful to refer a friend to in the future who might be interested in cloth diapering. This post will show the laundry process, different types of diapers, how they work, and how they look on baby, and how the diaper change process goes. I am not a photographer, so these pictures may not be great.

**Warning: This post is about diaper changes, so poop will be involved!**
I'll start with a clean load of laundry. Here are my clean diapers, since I washed today. This is two days' worth of diaper laundry. Obviously, it's not that much to deal with.

The two white canisters are Shake it Up! pail freshener by Rockin Green. I sprinkle some in the pail liner and some in the wet bags to keep things smelling fresh.

And here they are all put away. This is most of my stash, with the exception of the two diapers in the pail, the one on Kellan's tushie, and the one my sister borrowed the other day. My stash isn't complete yet, but I've got enough to wash every other day and not run out. On the left are the diapers, stuffed and ready to go. Behind them are extra wet bags and changing pads. On the right are my extra prefolds, inserts, and doublers. I still use disposable wipes (my stash of those are in Kellan's closet, aside from the wipes in the wipes warmer); however, I'd love to switch to cloth wipes as soon as I get the budget to do it! One of the reasons I'd like to switch to cloth wipes - aside from the environmental and health reasons - is to avoid the inevitable disposable wipe ending up in the wash.

Here is my set-up. Trash can on the left for the wipes and diaper pail on the right. We also have a large hanging wet bag in the bathroom for the poopy diapers that need to be sprayed. Our bathroom isn't big enough for another pail and so this is our solution to avoid carrying a dripping sprayed diaper through the house.

Let the diaper changing commence!

First, we have a Rumparooz One Size diaper in Eco-Owls print. (Yes, this looks like an awfully "girly" diaper for a boy. I bought it in a moment of defiance because I liked it and was tired of all the cute stuff being too girly for my boy to wear.) One Size means that the diaper converts to fit babies from birth to potty-training. Most One Size diapers fit best on babies from approximately 10lbs - 35lbs.

Please ignore the cut near Kellan's eye. That is his souvenir from High Chair Dive 2011 (bad mommy moment) the other day. Luckily, that was the worst of it. Anyway, back to the diaper...

Since Rumparooz are pocket diapers, the insert has to be removed before tossing it into the pail. We only use the large insert during the day, but they also come with a snap-on soaker (not pictured) for extra absorbancy.

I decided to go with a Flip next since I LOVE them. Flip diapers are hybrid diapers, meaning they can be used with cloth or disposable inserts. Flips are available in three types of inserts: Stay Dry (microfiber and suede cloth), organic cotton, and chemical-free disposable. The covers are available in either hook & loop (velcro) or snaps. I'm using a Stay-Dry insert which is laid inside the cover, folded side (if needed) down under the front flap. If I were diapering a girl, the folded side would go in the back of the diaper. The Flip Stay-Dry inserts are marked with the size so that you know where to fold them to fit the cover appropriately. The microfiber side always goes against the cover and the suede cloth top goes against baby's bottom.

(Bottom and Top of Flip Stay Dry Insert)

This is what I LOVE about Flips - you literally just "flip" them into the pail. No need to touch the insert or anything. If it's just a wet diaper, you can reuse the cover later. I let the cover air out in between changes.

Next up, an unbleached Indian prefold tri-folded inside a white Thirsties Duo Wrap size 1. The size 1 goes up to about 18lbs. Kellan is just about too big for them, so I'm working on cycling these out as I buy a few more one-size diapers. The prefold is an infant prefold - fits up to about 15lbs. We trifold now since it won't fit around Kellan anymore.

This combo was GREAT for the newborn stage. We spent less than $100 (I believe it was around $95) on 6 covers and 24 prefolds when Kellan was a newborn. These lasted us 3 months before he outgrew them and since then we've still been able to use them this way (at 8 months old) as we build up our one-size stash. We'll be able to use these again if we have any more babies, so a $100 investment for 8 months of diapering one baby and at least that long diapering another baby = not too bad!

PLUS you can find great deals among the online diaper shops! One of my favorite retailers is Kelly's Closet - they will throw in a FREE one-size diaper with qualified orders and free shipping for orders over $49! Another favorite (and local) retailer is Cotton Babies, who offers free shipping on all economy orders in the lower 48 states!

Next change: No poop on cover, so tossing the prefold in the pail and letting the cover air out to reuse. With covers and prefolds or fitteds, you can just toss the dirty prefold or fitted diaper in the pail and reuse the cover as long as there's no poop on it.

Next up, a bumGenius! 3.0 AIO (all-in-one) size small. This was a 'well-loved' diaper I got from Cotton Babies for $5. The BG 3.0 AIOs are currently discontinued, but Cotton Babies still has a few left for only $9.95 new! I think this is by far the easiest cloth diaper option for someone just starting out. They work almost exactly like a disposable - you just wash instead of toss. No stuffing, no inserts.

Personally, I am not a big fan of velcro because I feel that it wears out faster, bigger babies can undo it easily, and it pills up in the wash; however, I DO like the Thirsties Duo Wraps (seen above) with velcro for newborns, though, because they fit better than the snap versions on little babies.

The velcro on this BG 3.0 is really starting to wear out on it (not sure how long it was used before I bought it) so I'm thinking I need to figure out how to replace it or have it converted to snaps if possible before using it on any future babies. Either way, I've gotten good use out of it!

Now for the poop. If you're easily grossed out, you might want to skip this section; but if you really want to know how it goes with cloth, read on!

AHHH! So that's it, in all it's glory. Smelled as wonderful as it looked. The poop on the top is because I used the front of the diaper to kind of wipe him off a bit since this was the definition of "peanut butter poo".

This is how I deal with it:

First, I open up the large Planet Wise hanging wet/dry bag (in Black Curly Q) in the bathroom, so I can just drop the diaper in once I'm done spraying it. This bag is called a wet/dry bag because it has the lined wet bag with an additional zippered dry pocket in the front to carry clean clothes/diapers, if needed. This bag is GREAT for travel and holds up to 25 diapers.

I use a bumGenius! Diaper Sprayer. It hooks easily onto the toilet and has an adjustable high pressure sprayer. Cotton Babies offers a pail kit for $85 which includes the diaper pail, a bumGenius! pail liner, the bumGenius! diaper sprayer, carbon filters for the pail, and diaper pail deo-disks.

I was home alone for this diaper so I don't have any "action shots" of the spraying. First I fold the diaper out exposing the poopy part so it can be easily sprayed into the toilet. (You could wear gloves for this. I don't because it's just poo and 8 months in, I just don't care anymore.)

Then once it's been sprayed it looks like this:

(Much better!)

Now it can be dropped into the wetbag, where it will wait until laundry day. (I wash the diapers every other day.)

Next diaper is a bumGenius! 4.0 (in Sweet), which is another OS (one-size) pocket diaper.

Jim came home from work before this next change, so I made him take pics of me spraying off the diaper since it was poopy also. Not as bad as the first, but there were solids, so it had to be sprayed.

First things first, since the BG 4.0 is a pocket, the insert has to be removed before dropping into the pail.

So back to the bathroom we go. Same story as before, open wet bag, spray diaper, drop in hanging wet bag.

Next up is another Indian prefold trifolded inside a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in Froggies.

Also, I want to add: Honestly, when we first started Kellan on solids, it almost ended my love affair with cloth diapers. Almost. I was used to the easy exclusively breastfed poo that didn't need spraying. (It's water soluble.) When I got his first peanut butter poo diaper, grossed-out doesn't even begin to describe it. But after the first couple times, we worked it out and now it's so easy I don't even think twice about spraying off the poo. Even on a nasty one like earlier. There's an extra step now with having to use the sprayer, but it's still just as easy as always and my love for cloth is as strong as ever!

Jim loves cloth too!

(Please ignore my dirty mirror...)
Daddy did this diaper change: Another Rumparooz OS in Firetrucks!

And for bedtime, back to the Flip (in Noodle)! This time the stay dry insert is paired with a Hemp Babies doubler for extra absorbancy. His overnight diaper, with the doubler, lasts 12 hours.

This ends our day in cloth! Easy peasy!

And here's the laundry routine:

(Ignore my disgusting, unfinished basement, please!)

It's pretty easy. I take the pail liner holding all the dirty diapers out of the pail and the hanging wet bag from the bathroom with the diapers that have been sprayed.

Both bags are dumped into the washing machine and then turned inside out and tossed in with the diapers.

Then our routine is a cold rinse (no detergent) to get the yuckies out, followed by a hot wash with 2tbsp of Rockin Green, Hard Rock, cold rinse, and an additional cold rinse to make sure all the detergent has been washed out.

We LOVE our Rockin Green detergent! Everything comes out clean and smelling great and this stuff is amazing. If you have tough stains on any laundry - not just diapers - you can "rock a soak" and it pulls out all the gunk. Amazing. They have 3 different formulas of detergent for hard, soft, and normal water types and several different scents that rinse clean.

We almost never have stinkies and rarely have stains. Any time we do have stains we just sun for a few minutes (even on an overcast day) and they disappear! You can find a how-to on stripping diapers (in case you are battling stinkies, leaks, and stains, here: Stripping Cloth Diapers in a Top Loader)

I hang dry all of my covers, wetbags, and AIOs with velcro. (I've heard that the dryer can be hard on velcro and I've also heard it can wear out the PUL in the covers.) Everything else gets tossed in the dryer together along with 4 wool dryer balls (which soften the diapers and help them dry faster.) That's it! It's so so easy!

For information on the benefits of cloth diapering, please visit The Real Diaper Association's "Why Choose Cloth Diapers?" fact page.


  1. Agree! Awesome job! I wish I could share this with everyone who things CDing is "such a pain"!

  2. So glad I read this. I used disposables on my first and I bought all cloth for my twins. Everybody is giving me a hard time and thinks I have lost my mind. Just trying to do what I think is best for them and the planet :) Still trying to get my husband to read your blog! Thanks so much!!!

  3. You did a great job explaining and documenting!

    I think when your child is a bit older, you will really like having a few Baby Kicks Hemparoos for night time diapers and nap diapers. They are great to put behind a prefold or in a prefold, too! Your son is getting big and old enough to do really well in an Econobum prefold, FYI... they are super cheap, super simple, and really great for major wetting or for back ups since they are inexpensive! We keep one in the car!

  4. PS - I shared your link on my facebook!!!

  5. Awesome documentation. I hope that this helps make CDing look more realistic to the skeptics :) I followed a link from Diapershops on FB to your blog. FYI- cloth wipes do not have to cost more than a couple of dollars. I bought 2 different 'real' cloth wipes and honestly, I reach first for my gerber and dollar store thin washcloths. The gerber washcloths were maybe $10 for 2 packs, I had a few from my babyshower that were always too thin for my taste during bath time, and then another few from a dollar store. I have enough little wash clothes for 2-3 days of diapers, runny noses, etc. for a tiny investment. They are fun colors and always wash completely clean. I just use water in a peri bottle at my changing table, or a little spray bottle in the diaper bag. If you want a wipes solution just add a drop of your regular baby wash and a drop or 2 of olive oil and it will keep for a couple of days. The cloth wipes are actually easier because they roll up in the diaper and no need for a separate trash. :)

  6. Great post & pictures!! We definitely love our cloth! So happy I found your blog. I'm your newest follower. Feel free to check out my two blogs.

  7. This is a great how-to article on cloth diapering! I think I'll share it with a couple of my friends who are expecting.

    By the way, cloth wipes aren't that difficult. My fave wipes are flannel on one side, terry cloth on the other. Hobby Lobby and JoAnns both have periodic 40-50% off coupons, so if you use one of those or get remnants from the clearance rack you can make them pretty cheaply. I think I spent about $7 to make 8 8x8 wipes and 8 4x8 wipes (including purchasing the thread). If I'd spent a bit more for another inch or two of fabric, I could have gotten another 4-6 wipes out of the fabric (I had a lot of unusable scrap because I didn't measure well). Borrowing a quilter friend's rotary cutter, straight edge and mat helps it go faster, but it's not strictly necessary.

  8. Thanks so much for all of the feedback, for passing it on, and for my new followers! Thank you also for all of the tips on cloth wipes! I plan to start using cloth wipes in the next week. I don't sew so I wasn't sure how to go about it without buying the pricier cloth wipes. Only recently did I find out that many people use baby wash cloths. I'm excited to make the switch!

    Mrs Haid - I actually do have some Baby Kicks Hemparoos and LOVE them! Thanks for the info on Econobum. My sister uses them and loves them. Maybe I'll borrow one from her to try out!

  9. Thanks for this post! I have a question for you when you have a chance: how long does it take to spray the PB poop off? A minute? 3 minutes?

  10. Ariel - It takes a minute or two to spray it off, but it took me a few times to get the hang of the sprayer. You have to make sure you're holding it deep enough into the toilet and at the right angle and the right amount of pressure to get everything off the diaper and not cover your bathroom in poop and water! Some sprayers are very high pressure! We just turn ours up a little bit. The peanut butter poop pretty much just rolls off, so it doesn't take more than a couple minutes.

  11. I freaking love this entry. I keep wanting to do the same but I've been trading diapers in and out of here so fast I don't have a consistent stash.

  12. Are there washing services I should look up? I don't have washer/dryer in my building. Thoughts?

    1. Mere - I would probably use a laundromat, but there are cloth diaper services that will deliver clean diapers and take away the dirty diapers once a week. That was actually the option I looked into first, but found the cost to be comparable to using disposables so there didn't seem to be an economical benefit to using the diaper service. Also, using a diaper service generally means you must use their prefolds (or flats) and covers, so you don't get the option of getting the "cuter" diaper choices (if you're into that sort of thing lol.) If you're looking into it for health and environmental benefits, it could be worth it. The way the local service works here is they would drop off a week's supply of diapers on Monday morning starting a week or two before your due date (if you're starting from the beginning) and pick up the dirties/drop off more clean diapers every Monday from that point on.

  13. I have a huge stash of Thirsties duo diapers and wraps and trifolds. I'm actually looking forward to using them. I was due yesterday, so it won't be long. My husband was gungho at 1st but now he's being wishy washy. We got a small pack of newborn diapers at our baby shower and he insisted on packing them in his diaper bag instead of cloth. I'm going to be a SAHM and want to save money using cloth and I also hope to instill a sense of environmental responsibility in our daughter at a young age. Thanks for the great pictures, especially the sprayer pics. I was unsure about the sprayer and thought about using the liners that are biodegradable, but it looks so easy.

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