Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cloth Diapering: my way.


Since it has been hot here in Texas, Elliot has been running around in just a diaper a lot. This has prompted a lot of people to ask me about cloth diapering.

Some common questions:
- "WHY would you ever want to use cloth diapers?"
- What kind do you use? Where do you buy them?
- Where do you put the diapers when they're dirty? Do they stink?
- How do you wash them? How often?
- Don't you have to rinse them?
- Do you have to touch poop?!
- ... isn't it really gross?

Well, I'm about to address all the above questions, and more. In fact, {lucky you!} I'm about to give you a complete cloth diaper run down. A lesson, if you will, about how and why I use cloth diapers.

Why I cloth diaper:

- It saves money.
Disposable diapers are expensive. I don't know if you've looked at the price of a box of diapers lately, but it's pretty ridiculous. And how long does a box last? For Elliot, less than a week. It is estimated that we spend an average of $2000 per child on diapers. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend that money than throwing it into the trash {or a diaper genie}.

- It's better for the planet.
A single child, while he is in diapers, leaves behind approximately 2.7 tons of non-biodegradable waste... and that's not including the waste created by manufacturing the diapers themselves, either. Nobody really knows how long it takes a diaper to decompose... because nobody has ever witnessed it. That's right- it takes over a lifetime for just ONE diaper to decompose. The average child uses about 4,000 before potty training!

- It's healthier and more comfortable for my son.
Would you like stiff paper or plastic against your most sensitive areas? I definitely wouldn't! I always joke around with my husband that they better make cloth Depends by the time I'm 80. Elliot has NEVER had a diaper rash in cloth diapers- and I attribute this mainly to the fact that he does not have paper or chemicals against his bum. It seems like all of my friends who use sposies are constantly battling yeast infections... but we've never had that problem.

Even worse, disposable diapers are full of chemicals. They contain polyacrelate gel, which wicks all the moisture away from your baby's skin, all kinds of dioxins, which are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals, and several other chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate, tributyl-tin, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. If you want to scare yourself, look up the side effects of just one of those chemicals.

All of the big disposable diaper companies {Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, etc} refuse to release the contents of their diapers- that means they have something serious to hide...
- you can read more about this here: Livestrong article on chemicals in cloth diapers

- They are ADORABLE!
... do I even need to explain this one? They're cute. 'Nuff said.

My favorite diapers + where I buy them:

I have tried a lot of different kinds and brands of cloth diapers, including Fuzzibunz, BumGenius, Flips, Rumparooz, Thirsties Duos, Best Bottom, Itti Bitti Tuttos, Kawaiis, Sunbabies, and prefolds + covers. Out of all of these, my favorites are Kawaii and Sunbaby. They are much cheaper than the other options, come in a ton of cute prints and colors, they are durable, they fit well, they don't easily leak, they're both one-sized, meaning they adjust to fit one baby from shortly after birth to potty training, and they're ADORABLE.

Sunbaby diapers are thinner and trimmer than Kawaiis, but they don't last quite as long between diaper changes. Kawaii Baby diapers are virtually bulletproof, but give him a puffier butt.

Click HERE to visit the Kawaii website or HERE to visit the Sunbaby website.

At night, we use a Kawaii or BumGenius with two inserts. When he was younger, we also had to add a Joeybunz hemp insert... because this kid pees A LOT at night.

I do also really like Fuzzibunz and Flips, and still use and recommend both of those, but they don't come in very many different colors, and they are a lot more expensive. So I use the ones I have, but I don't think they are really much better than Kawaiis or Sunbabies to justify spending so much more on them. I buy all of my supplies {wet bags, etc} and other diapers at Kelly's Closet. They have a HUGE selection, a diaper dollar rewards program, and often have "free diaper" coupons which I love!

Where I store clean and dirty diapers:


I keep my clean diapers organized in cloth storage bins. Most of them are in the four bins you see there, but there are more in Elliot's closet, because we have a lot of diapers.

Once they are rinsed, I keep my dirty diapers in a hanging PlanetWise wetbag, which I hang on the bathroom door. I have two of these, so that I have one to use while the other is in the wash/drying, and I also have two smaller wetbags for in my diaper bag while I'm out and about. If the bag is zipped, they do NOT smell EVER. I'm not kidding.

Diaper Changes:

This is where I change Elliot's diapers. Doesn't look like a conventional changing table, does it? Nope. It's my bed. I absolutely hate changing tables. They're too small... and I can't change babies when they are lying sideways. Plus I don't like worrying about the baby falling or rolling off that tiny table. And nobody ever uses them once their babies get older so they end up just taking up space. To me, changing tables are just a waste of money.

I keep a basket of 4-5 diapers and a box of wipes on my dresser. I just set the dirty diaper on the nightstand until I get the new diaper on him. Once he is all dressed, I put him down and he usually follows me into the bathroom to watch me rinse and toss the diaper into the wet bag. When he was younger, I'd put him in his bouncer or swing while I took care of the diaper.

Elliot often has meltdowns during diaper changes... or he tries to escape, so I also have a random collection of trinkets in my room to entertain him with while I'm changing him. Sometimes I bribe him with a tasty treat like a few chocolate chips. That's the only drawback to snapping diapers... they take a little bit longer to put on than velcro ones. But we manage. Worse comes to worse, I do some serious baby wrangling... or just wait a few minutes and come back to try again.

My Wash Routine:


I wash my cloth diapers every three days. Unfortunately, our townhouse doesn't have washer and dryer hookups, so I wash them in one of our apartment complex's laundry rooms. I do two full hot cycles- the first with detergent, the second without. It's very very important to make sure all of the detergent gets rinsed out of your diapers, or else you will have leaking and stink issues.

I tried all kinds of special detergents, and spent a lot of money in the process. But it seemed like everyone on Diaper Swappers was raving about how well Tide worked on their diapers. Once I finally tried it, I never went back. It works better than anything else I tried, and it's not outrageously expensive. I use up to the "2" line in the first wash, and I prefer the "clean breeze" scent.

I hang my diapers outside to dry. You can machine dry diapers, but since I have to pay $1 each time, I choose to line dry them outside. Plus, machine drying is tough on cloth diapers and they last a lot longer if they're not machine washed... and I hope to use my diapers on all of my kids!

Rinsing, Touching Poop, & all that Fun Stuff

I'm a rinsing nazi. I rinse every single diaper- pee or poop. I know a lot of people who don't rinse pee diapers, but the thought of diapers just sitting in pee for 2-3 days really grosses me out. I've been rinsing my diapers in the bathroom sink ever since I first started... I just rinse out the sink and wipe it down with a lysol wipe afterwards. I did just buy a diaper sprayer, but need different parts to connect it to our toilet :(

For poop diapers, I swish them around in the toilet first and most of the poop comes off in there. If you know what you're doing, you do NOT have to touch any poop. In fact, since cloth diapers actually CONTAIN giant, messy poops, unlike disposables, I really don't touch poop... ever. I am also proud of the fact that I have never had a stain in any of my diapers! You'd never even know what they were used for! Cloth diapering, to me, really isn't any grosser than using disposables. Either way, you have to wipe your baby's butt and smell/see the poop in the process. Yes, it takes a little longer to rinse a diaper out than it does to just roll up a sposie, but the benefits make it worth it to me.

Well, that's about it! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Cloth diapering may not be for everyone, but I really like it! Here are a few more pictures of Elliot and his adorable fluffy butt, just for fun. :)

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Thirsties Duo cover with a Flip staydry insert underneath.

Sunbaby diaper.

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Kawaii "snazzy minky".

& another Sunbaby.


  1. I liked reading this! I'm planning on doing a cloth diaper update this week too, and my favorites are Kawaii's and Sunbaby's too! Which is handy because they are also the cheapest. :-) I didn't know you could use Tide. . .

  2. We cloth diaper too, and I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing your way :)

  3. What do you do with the diaper while you are finishing the diaper change? What do you do with Elliot while you rinse the diaper out?
    Where do you change Elliot? My little one is starting to try and roll while I change him and I wonder about trying to start changing him on the ground.

  4. I'm editing the post to add in your questions now! :)

  5. Evie still gets rashy even with the cloth but WAY WAY less. The other day we used some huggies we had given to us (kid out grew them) and it was like rash explosion. We started CDing to save money and really just fell in love with it.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog, nice to 'meet' you! You are an adorable family! :)

    We are so careful with everything else for Lillian that I regret not thinking of cloth diapering her. :( She's never had a diaper rash though, even though we use disposables. I hate to think of the toxins in them though! L(

  7. I'd like to point out that I used "sposies" or disposable diapers and NEVER ONCE did my child have any skin irritation or diaper rashes, ever...from birth to potty training. I'd like to also point out that you probably do put paper against your "delicate areas," unless you use cloth pads or tampons....Also disposable diapers are not FULL of chemicals, chemicals are used in their production, which is a big difference. Chemicals are used in food production, cosmetic, production, furniture and cloth production, and TIDE, all things that are in your house and touch/go into your body that aren't FULL of chemicals.

    I'm all for cloth, but I just hate how people get all high and mighty about it. It's great for the environment, yes. There's a lot of us that may not cloth diaper but do other great things for the environment too. Not to mention there are brands of disposables that are better as far as biodegration as well.

    Also I spent ~$600 total from birth to potty training on diapers. The cost of about 24 name brand cloth diapers, not including accessories, and utilities. So the cost savings to me is negligible unless you use the same 24 diapers for 3 or more kids.

  8. @anonymous- I really wish people wouldn't post anonymous comments! It makes it hard to respond back. After all, one of the best parts of having a blog is the discussion that sometimes comes out of certain posts, right?
    Anyways. I wasn't at all condemning those who use disposable diapers. Plenty of kids wear them and turn out a-ok. I understand that the extra work and etc is not for everyone. I never even pictured MYSELF doing it at first! I enjoy cloth diapering and am simply sharing my passion.
    I was writing up a sort of "how-to" post to answer the MANY questions I've gotten lately, and to help out those who are new to cloth. Sorry if I offended you. I still think that you, whoever you are, are a wonderful mother.
    PS- studies have shown that the diapers themselves are literally full of chemicals- it's not just in the manufacturing process.

  9. Thanks for all this info! I'm considering cloth diapering my baby (just found out I'm pregnant-- 5 wks and 2 days today!) if I'm able to stay at home (which fingers crossed- if things work out with my husband's job I may be able to!) :)

  10. Wow anonymous really?!?!

    Jess your amazing!
    Clearly they need to do some research.

    I've told DH we're cloth diapering and he's cool.
    Some of my family thinks its strange but what the hey!

    Don't let people like that bug you. ;)
    They're just jealous of your awesome kid. Hehe

  11. I really love the sound and look of cloth nappies but Matt absolutley doesnt :(
    (doesnt want the hard work I guess)
    We dont have a changing table either we brought a £5 changing mat and it does the job lol x

  12. Jess, you have totally convinced me to cloth diaper baby #2! I wanted to CD Yorlee and mentioned it several times on my blog.

    I just looked into the two brands that you love, and I think that's the route we're going to go as well. Thank you so much for the information, I may be bugging you for help sometime in the near future. :-)

  13. To Anonymous...did you know that the Sunbaby and Kawaii brands are much, much cheaper than the name brand cloth diapers? In fact, you can cloth diaper your ONE child for as little as $200 with the Sunbaby system. That includes 24 diapers, a few wetbags and fleece wips. Just wanted to point out that even you could save some money!

  14. I love this post! We just had our first baby on 4.18.12 (so close to your second!) and we are cloth diapering. I knew we needed to stay cheap with our diapers, so your post inspired me to mostly buy Kawaii & Sunbabys. So far we love them! Thanks!
    Also, where did you get your door drying rack? That would save us a lot of space but I can't seem to find them anywhere.

  15. I just bought some sunbaby diapers for my 19 month old, and my 2 month old. I haven't used them yet, but I was wondering... Do you have to change the whole diaper or can you change just the liner? I thought you could change just the liner, but it goes underneath another piece of fabric, so now I'm not sure. :(


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