"How Can You Have Too Many Children? That's Like Saying You Have Too Many Flowers" ~ Mother Teresa

A Peek Into Our Hectic, Crazy & Loving Family of Eleven


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cloth Diapering

*Picture borrowed from the internet
I started using cloth diapers regularly when Annabel was a baby. I had friends who used cloth, it looked interesting, so I gave it a shot.

Almost 5 years later, I am hooked. Addicted. No going back. So addicted, in fact, I don't look forward to potty learning. Seriously. I love seeing my babies laying, scooting, crawling and toddling around in their little cloth diapered bums. I love that no nasty chemicals are on their skin. And I love that we aren't contributing to filling a landfill with dirty disposable diapers.

Some quick (cloth) diaper(ing) facts:

*More than 3 million tons of diapers go into US landfills each year

* Disposable diapers take 1 cup of crude oil each to make and will sit in our landfills for 500+ years.

*Families using disposable diapers will spend $2500-3000 diapering one child, compared to $500-600 using cloth diapers. ) Multiply that by THREE for us, or even FIVE. Yikes!

*The average cloth diaper stash cost around $350. Total.

*You can expect to change your babys' diaper up to 4700 times from birth to potty learning.

Even more interesting facts about cloth vs. disposables

There are alot of different types of diapering 'systems'. AIO (All-in-one), AI2 (All-in-2's), fitteds,
pockets, and prefolds. There are also alot of ways to cover the diapers. PUL covers, fleece covers. wool covers and coverless.

Plus, on various sites on the internet, you can buy, sell and trade your used diapering supplies saving you even MORE money. Now, how is that not a good thing??

I was going to post information on each diaper style, but decided instead to just include links. These are good resources that I found by googling. They do a much better job at explaining things in depth than I could possibly do.




Flats and Prefolds

More cloth diapering websites

The Diaper Jungle TONS of great info here...

Cloth Planet

Cloth Diapering Myths

We use mostly fitteds, with some prefolds and flats. I really like fitteds. Alot. Our stash consists of Goodmamas' and Sticky Peas. For prefolds, I like these.

I also see alot of cloth diapering supplies on these awesome sites: MamaBargains, GreenBabyBargains, BabyHalfOff and BabySteals. Watch them daily, they sell out FAST! (they also have other good stuff, good sites to save to your favorites)

Of course, when you use fitteds and prefolds, you need covers. We use Thirsties Duo Wraps, knitted wool pants and interlock wool. Some great sites for knitted wool, interlock wool and recycled wool are Hyena Cart, Sloomb and Woollybottoms.

You can even knit your own or make your own with recycled sweaters!
This Mama has a blog page with tons of tips on how to save even more money!

I keep my diapers in a dry pail with no lid. (I just bought a small garbage pail at Target) I dump and rinse the poopies in the toilet, then put them in the pail. Pee diapers go right into the pail. I used to use a lid but I found that it holds in the smell even worse making them harder to clean. I use the oxygen to my advantage by not using a lid on the pail. It helps the smell to dissipate and makes the washing machine have to work a little less hard. And, believe it or not, you cannot smell the diapers in the pail. At all. And trust me, if it smelled, Aaron would tell me. He has a very sensitive nose.

Washing those diapers.....When I first started, getting a washing routine down was tricky. You don't want to use a laundry detergent. They have alot of chemicals and residues in them. You want something really simple, basic and that rinses clean When your diapers come out of the wash, smell them. You should smell water. Not soap, not perfumes, just 'nothing'. Some of the things that I have heard that people use for their diapers are Tide, Simple Green, Baking Soda, Charlies, and Dawn Dish Soap to name a few. I've personally tried them all. The *only thing (until recently) that worked in my front loader was Dawn Dish Soap. It's the only thing that left zero residue on the diapers. Everything else left a build up that caused irritation on my babys' bums. The only place I found Dawn Dish Soap was Wal-Mart. You have to use the ORIGINAL Dawn, NOT the ultra concentrated.

*recently I discovered Maylees Garden All Natural Soap, This.stuff.ROCKS. So much, in fact, we now use it on ALL our laundry. It makes everything SO SOFT. And you only need 1tsp. per load for a front loader!

My washing routine (keep in mind this is with a front loader). I do a load every single night. With triplets, I have to. You usually want to wash at least every 2-3 nights. My loads usually consist of about 15-18 diapers.

This is what I do:

Double rinse on cold/cold (22 mins on my machine)
HOT wash on a heavy soil cycle with a stain cycle added (85 mins on my machine)
Double rinse on cold/cold again
Max extract button to lessen drying time

I usually toss them in the dryer, it's faster and gets them softer, but sometimes I'll line dry. Especially with stains, the sun will bleach out any stains you might get.

Just remember, DO NOT use fabric softeners. They will leave a horrible build-up on your diapers. And then your diapers WILL STINK.

If you get stink issues, you can add a few splashes of Apple Cider Vinegar to the wash and/or rinse cycle a few times. You can also add a capful of bleach to the wash. I do this occasionally (maybe once a month) just to keep on top of any stinkies that might start up. A bit of baking soda here and there is good too, I just didn't find that it alone cleaned the diapers well enough.

Whew. Ok. I think that covers everything.

Cloth diapering is not only alot of fun, it's good for your baby AND our environment!


  1. Charlie's works great for us and we use it on everything - but it took me a long time to get our wash routine down and our diapers working great.
    I just recently sold all of our dipes and we have some bumUnders training pants that I just rinse out and throw in with the laundry I wash anyways, since our 2 year old usually only uses one pair a day :) I didn't mind the washing for cloth diapers, but it is nice not to have to do a wash load for just diapers anymore (especially with the piles of laundry involved with 6 kids :) )

  2. So happy to read this post. My front loader has been giving me the blues! I use Tide currently, but am interested in this dawn dish soap idea, can you give me more details (amount to use, etc) or a link to where you heard about it? I've found most people with front loaders say it's no problem but I've had such a struggle with my diapers getting rinsed thoroughly enough :( I've tried all the suggestions I've read, but I'm always up for more tips. Thanks a bunch!!

  3. What scent of that soap do you use? It doesn't have anything listed in the "unscented" section.

  4. I generally try to avoid shopping at Walmart, but I, too, have found it to be the only place to buy the original Dawn for my diapers! I have NEVER seen it elsewhere!

  5. @Melissa, Do you do the double cold rinse? If youve been using Tide, you might need to strip your diapers. I found that Tide leaves residue and that residue causes stinkies. Do a HOT HOT HOT wash (or 3-4) with Dawn. Dawn will strip out the Tide. Use about 2 TBS. for 10-12 diapers. Do this 3-4 times. On the last load I would add a capful of bleach too. And make sure to do the double rinse before and after washing. If your still having problems, you can add water to your front loader in between cycles. I used to do that but once I started using Dawn I didnt have to anymore. I dont have any links to where I discovered it, it was trial and error. Dawn is the only thing I knew of that rinsed completely clean with no scent and no residue so I gave it a shot. :)

    @Amber, I use whatever scent smells good. The vanilla mint is HEAVENLY. She uses essential oils to scent it so its all natural :)

  6. Thanks so much. CD'ing has been so frustrating for me personally, everyone has conflicting advice and not much of anything has worked for me :(. We're 6 months in and still trying to work it out. One more Q- you used dawn daily? Or just for stripping? If you used it for routine washing- you still use the 2tbs for 10-12 dipe load?

  7. Great post! I really wanted to CD but unfortunately where we live right now, our well and septic system couldn't handle the extra laundry. :( I did find out cost-wise though that with bargain-shopping, I'm able to buy name-brand sposies for my twins for only about $20/month (per baby), so a total outlay of $480-$720 per child (depending on when they end up getting PTed). That does help, but I still wish we could use cloth! We hope to move soon, so maybe for the next baby. :)

  8. @Melissa, I use Dawn for washing and stripping. I guess the way I wash, its like a strip in every wash. lol. I think thats why I dont get tinkies andd buildup. I use the same amount for stripping and washing. Let me know how it goes!