Thea Briones of Bebeboo Cloth Diapers has heard every question imaginable. Here, in our “Let’s Talk: Cloth Diaper Series”, she answers your questions. If you’ve ever been even just a little curious about cloth diapers, this series is for you. In this edition we will cover Cloth Diaper Basics & Tips.
Cloth Diaper Basics & Tips
Experiment with Different Diapers
I suggest trying different styles and brands before committing to one. As much as I want to encourage everyone to buy Bebeboo Diapers, I won’t because every family’s circumstances are as unique as the baby. Brands and styles may fit differently with every baby. The type of absorbent material that comes with the diaper pack may also work differently for every baby.
Do some experimenting first. Buy cloth diapers during a sale — you might even find some giveaways as brands are trying to secure your loyalty. This is a good way to try a few styles in your search for the best diaper for your baby. Another way? Buy pre-loved diapers. Yes, it’s OK to buy second-hand diapers.
This should go without saying, but just make sure you wash them well before using them.
Fun Fact: Cloth Diapers typically hold at least 50% of their resale value. Some hard-to-find prints of certain brands even resell at 100% retail in pre-loved condition.
Build Your Stash Slowly
Once you’ve identified what style and or brand you like or works for you and the family slowly build your stash. Do not, I repeat, do NOT buy all at once.
One of the things that scares parents away from cloth diaper is the upfront cost. To use cloth diapers full-time costs about $300 versus a box of disposables, which costs $25. Looking at it on the surface, the disposables seem more affordable, but that $25 box will only last a few days — you’re throwing money away with the diapers.
If you’ve decided to use cloth diaper while still pregnant then build your stash by slowly buying the brands and styles you want to try. Make small purchases every month. If you’re switching to cloth it’s okay to start part-time until you have enough stash to use cloth diapers full time.
It’s also okay to have a stash of mixed styles and mixed brands. I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of that and it’s just fine.
I used AIOs (All-In-Ones) because sometimes it’s just nice to have them whenever we are out and about. I love pockets and AI2s (combination all-in-one and pocket cloth diaper) the most because of their flexibility. I also keep a few covers and extra inserts on hand as back-up for when I’m between washings.
Identify Your Wash Routine
The quantity of diapers you need depends on how often you want to wash. We recommend washing at least every 3-4 days. Of course you can go longer days between wash. Life with kids can get busy and cloth diaper laundry should not add to your stress.
How to wash
The easiest are those with EBF (exclusively breastfed) babies. EBF poop is water soluble and therefore can go straight into the wash. No need to rinse/spray off.
For formula-fed babies and babies that have started on solids, the poop must be removed first prior to loading into the washing machine. To remove it, you can spray into the toilet; spray or rinse in a bucket then dumping the water in the toilet; or if you’re brave enough you can do the dunk n swish method (rinse the diaper directly in the toilet).
Although some cloth diaper users rinse urine diapers prior to prior to washing, this isn’t necessary — they can go straight into the washer.
Make sure to remove inserts from tight pocket diapers. Start with a prewash with little detergent to remove all the yuckies. Then do a warm or hot main wash with the full amount of detergent recommended by the detergent brand. For the main wash choose the longest wash setting on your machine. This is to ensure diapers agitate long enough to get thoroughly clean. Rinse. Check if diapers feel clean, if they still feel soapy and slippery run another rinse. Diapers are safe to go into the dryer, but you can line dry if you prefer.
Use mainstream detergents free of additives and fabric softener. Fabric softener sticks to the fabric and can cause repelling.
There’s no need for bleach unless when sanitizing. Do not soak diapers. Soaking can weaken elastics. For stains put freshly washed still damp diapers under the sun for about 10-15 minutes. Putting lemon juice on the stain prior to sunning may also help with stubborn stains.
Other Care Tips
How to Store Dirty Diapers Until Wash Day
This is a matter of preference. You can use a closed system, such as a diaper pail or trashcan lined with a PUL liner. You may also use an open system such as a regular laundry basket. Or you can use a large hanging wet bag to hold your dirty diapers. Do not store dirty diapers in a wet pail (ie diapers are soaked in a pail of water). Doing so breeds bacteria and is also poses a drowning risk for curious mobile babies and children.
Check the Diaper Cream You Use
If using diaper creams make sure there are no petroleum-based ingredients. Petroleum can cause repelling and is not recommended to use without a liner. You may use a disposable liner, or other thin fabric such as fleece, flannel, cotton and the like.
In the next issue we will go over styles and types of cloth diapers, so stay tuned!