Cloth diaper tips from the pros
Moms are the ultimate experts when it comes to cloth diapering, so we asked them for their tips and tricks when it comes to washing and storing, as well as how to create the perfect stash.
If you’ve decided to cloth diaper, you may wonder what to do next. There are so many options and it can be overwhelming to jump right in. However, moms who have cloth diapered insist that it’s not a big deal once you get into it, but it can actually be fun. Diapering, fun? Yes. These stash, cleaning and storage tips will help you get started.
Building a stash might be one of the more overwhelming aspects of cloth diapering. When you can grab a package of disposable diapers for under $10, it can be hard to imagine plunking down a hundred or two at once to get a decent cloth diaper stash going. The good news, however, is that cloth diapering isn’t all or nothing.
Aubrey Turley, owner of a natural parenting store called Bumper Covers in St. Joseph, Missouri, suggests that moms save money during pregnancy. “Diapers will run you around $50 per month,” she said. “When you get pregnant, save that money and buy a good stash right before baby comes.”
Melissa, mom of two, also built her stash a bit at a time during pregnancy. “Every payday, I bought a diaper or two,” she explained. “By the time Finn was born, I had quite the handsome stash!” Also, don’t fret about buying an entire stash all at once if you decide to switch from cloth to disposables after your baby is born. Buy a little here and there and make the switch gradually.
How to clean a cloth diaper is probably the biggest question for a modern mom who is exploring this form of baby care. Babies poop and pee in diapers, and you have to clean them? Fortunately, washing cloth diapers is easier than you might imagine.
Turley offers a simple wash routine for cloth-diapering moms. “Start with a cold rinse, which removes most of the poop and urine,” she told us. “Cold is cheaper and helps resist stains. Follow with a hot wash with cloth-safe detergent (hot cleans better), and cold rinse to remove any residue.”
You don’t want to use your regular laundry detergent on your cloth diapers, either. The additives and fragrances present in most mainstream detergents can build up in your diapers and cause repelling or stink issues — neither of which you want. There are a couple of online guides to consult — this one from PinStripes and PolkaDots and another from Diaper Jungle. You might have to experiment a little to see what works best for you.
Cloth diapers are, by nature, fluffier than their disposable counterparts. You will likely need to devise a storage system for your diapers — both clean and dirty. For dirty diapers, most moms utilize what is known as a “dry pail.” Instead of a bucket of water infused with chemical cleaning agents, modern moms just put the wet or dirty diapers in a pail (or a wet bag) with no water.
Exclusively breastfed baby poop is water soluble so you don’t need to worry about doing anything with it at all. More solid poop should be removed prior to storage — moms often use a diaper sprayer hooked up to their toilet for stubborn samples, or simply plop the poop out into the toilet if possible.
For storage of the clean, dry diapers, moms usually have fun devising a system that works for them. Plastic shoebox-sized storage totes just happen to work very well, or moms will use the drawers or shelves on their changing table to stash diapers. Kayte, mom of four, has her stash situated around a changing area on the floor. As she said, “I change diapers on the floor because I only had to drop a kid once to learn that changing tables aren't the best idea for us.”
Natalie, mom of four, reported that cloth diapering her youngest was more fun than expected. “It’s cute, I felt better about not wrapping my baby’s bum in questionable materials and diaper laundry was the best laundry I ever did in my life,” she explained. “Regular laundry is a big ‘no,’ but diaper laundry? I could do that all day.”