Cloth Diapering 101

{the complete part 1 and part 2 of cloth diapering}

You want to {CLOTH} what?!

although {cloth diapering} has increased in popularity lately
there are STILL lots of skeptics
it might be YOU or your HUSBAND

or MAYBE you think it's a good idea but everyone {else} is telling you NOT to

OR maybe you are just WAY to confused to know where to START!

WhatEVER the reason...
I HOPE this post will {help} you along {your} cloth diapering ADVENTURE

and yes... I said ADVENTURE! {grin}

Why {cloth} diaper?

It's better for the environment
YOU will not {contribute} to the estimated 10,000 tons of disposables that are added to the landfills EVERY day!
Your trash CAN won't stink so bad!

It's better for your BABIES bum
Your baby will have less diaper rash
No sodium polycralate {those little crystals} on your babies bum

It's better for your {wallet}
Check out THIS great calculator to figure out how much you can SAVE

No late night runs to the store for diapers


In order for cloth diapering to really work well for your family you probably need to get into a good routine. What works for me may not work for you... but it might help you create your own routine.

.MY {wash} Routine.

Take the diaper{s} off
fasten the Velcro to the laundry tabs and set aside
wipe... toss the wipes on top of the diapers
put CLEAN diaper{s} on

then I carry the diapers into the bathroom where I keep our wetbag
If it's only wet I toss directly into the wetbag
If it's soiled I turn the diaper inside out and knock the poop off
...this usually works very well if you do it right away
... if you wait sometimes you need to help it off {ewww I know!}
{I keep an old spatula in the wetbag to use if needed}

Once the wetbag is full or I ONLY have 6 diapers left I bring the whole pail to the washer
Since I've already made sure all the velcro is fastened to the laundry taps...
and they're as clean as it's going to get before going into the washer
All I need to do is dump them all in washing machine
I highly recommend purchasing a good wetbag...we LOVE our bummis one.
You can bring it anywhere, use it as a pail liner, hang it on a hook, or use it as a dirty clothes bag on trips {grin}

.IN {the} washer.

THIS is where all the {magic} happens
I wash the diapers THREE times

{one} wash the diapers on COLD with soap
{two} wash the diapers on HOT with soap
{three} wash the diapers on HOT with NO soap
{if you machine is able you can do the 3rd wash as an extra rinse}

after the diapers are washed I try to dry them on the line if at all possible
if NOT I dry them in the dryer on medium for 70 minutes
{not all brands recommend using the dryer... check your diapers first to make sure}

NOW washing {can} go GOOD or BAD
hopefully I can HELP with...

.a few WASHING tips.

USE the right soap
...don't use any soap with additives, perfumes, ect.
BUT don't use free & clear either!

SO what do you use?
Charlies Soap... awesome soap however it is NOT a disinfectant so be sure to use bac-out or oxygen bleach every 10 days or so
Allen's Naturally
Country Save
Soap Nuts

So... you've WASHED but your diapers still SMELL?!

Make SURE you are washing frequently
EVERY 2-4 days should be enough

MAYBE you have a detergent build up?

are you using regular soap on all of your clothes?
TRY using the {same} soap on everything... mixing soaps- even is separate washes is a bad idea.

MAYBE your washer isn't rinsing well enough?
Try ADDING an extra rinse at the end

Are you USING regular soap?
Most soaps are NOT made to thoroughly clean a soiled diaper

IF your having leaking and wicking issues you MOST {likely} have a detergent build up
IF they are {absorbent} but SMELL you most {likely} have a bacteria problem

WHAT do {you} do NOW?

rinse RINSE rinse
wash your diapers 6-8-10 times with NO soap

IF that does {not} work
...try adding 1/4 C. vinegar to the wash
Vinegar is GREAT at restoring the pH balance and removing residue
HOWEVER it is not recommended on many AIO diapers.
You {can} STILL use vinegar just make SURE to not use too much and {again} RINSE thoroughly!

If it's STILL not working...
TRY tea tree {oil}
It is naturally antibacterial & antifungal.
Just make sure to {again} RINSE a few extra times to make sure all the oil is out.

If ALL THAT does {not} work
...use a little EVIL bleach {grin}
Bum Genius actually {recommends} using bleach on occasion
...but most say it's a no-no.
Just add an extra....

can you guess?!

RINSE afterward to make sure all the bleach residue is gone!

and {don't} forget SUN power!
drying OUTSIDE is much better for smell, stains & your electric bill!

once you eliminate your wash problems
you should be able to stick with the 2-3 wash routine.

NOW you know {why} and {how}...
but you are STILL wondering what diapers to choose

AIO {all-in-ones}
they are JUST like a disposable
{except} they're cuter and you WASH them!
no covers, pins, or inserts
you can get them with snaps or velcro
some are sized {S-M-L} and others are one-size

We've used Bumgenius 2.0 & 3.0 {S-M-L} velcro diapers
these were my first cloth diaper love
they are easy as any disposable
they fit and absorb great
{however I have had some serious problems with the velcro and elastic holding up}

.Pocket Diapers.
these are generally one size fits all
they snap to adjust size and generally fit very well
they are called pocket diapers because...
you have to fill the inside pocket with an insert
usually called doubler, insert, prefold or soaker.

I initially stayed away from pocket diapers for 3 reasons...
ONE... I didn't want to take the time to "stuff" the diaper
TWO... I didn't like that they were bulkier.
THREE... I thought velcro was easier than snaps

However I have come to LOVE pocket diapers.

when you are wearing them on the largest size...
they aren't any bulkier than AIO's.
stuffing does take a little extra time...
BUT they absorb more.
and while velcro is easier...
it wears out & babies can undo them!
{my bungenius velcro is unusable now}

Our very very favorite are
Bum Wear
...diapers and inserts

We've also used and have had no complaints with...
Fuzzi Bunz & Happy Heinys

.Fitted diapers {with} a cover.

a fitted diaper looks just like an AIO
except it's not leak proof.
So, you get to add a cute diaper cover over it!

It may seem silly BUT fitted diapers and covers are nice
because you need less covers than diapers because you can reuse them
...without washing {unless they're soiled}
{we tend to wash ours everytime however}

We've used Thirsties covers & fitted diapers
and love them!
They are VERY absorbent

.Prefolds {with} a cover.
these are the old fashion cloth diapers know the ones our parents used to pin
except I don't pin {grin}

I fold the prefold in 3rds
{there are many different folding styles}
lay it inside the cover and put the diaper on.
easy. peasy.
it's slightly bulkier than the others
but it's much cheaper
and I think they are easier to wash.
We LOVE bummis prefolds and covers.

OTHER options I haven't tried but should mention are...
prefolds or fitted diapers with a wool cover
tossable liners with a cover
all-in-ones with a insert {for extra absorbency}

There are MANY choices in
and the BEST thing you can do is decide which one will work best for YOU.

.you need wipes {too}.
you can purchase premade wipes... like these or similar
or you could buy some flannel and cut them up into squares {easy and cheap!}
use {any} container you'd like... bowl, cup or similar
fill it with water and castle soap
dip the wipes in when you're ready
or if you're container is larger you can keep your wipes in the water.

.some Nitty Gritty {tips}.

sprinkle some baking soda OR tea tree {oil} in the bottom of your pail to keep odor down

use a {wet} bag when you're out... if you don't have a wet bag try a ziploc

STUCK without the right soap? Baking soda and Vinegar will do the trick

heavy wetter at night? Try adding an extra soaker {insert} or prefold
{although WE use disposables at night}

{and} about & don't want to worry ABOUT leaks?
...because YES you DO have to change cloth more often
Use disposables... it's okay! {grin}

Whew! That took me {too} LONG!

I HOPE I answered {most} of your CLOTH diapering questions...

if NOT... ask here and I'll TRY to answer!


  1. Super good post! B.U.T. I have a few recommendations...

    1. Buy the Bio-Soft liners (Bummies) are flushable. The poop comes out like magic! No scrapping AT ALL.
    2. The BumGenius 3.0s now have a snap diaper instead of Velcro. Way better than the Velcro. Ours have become 'worn' over time and don't fasten real well anymore.

    Have you ever fixed the Velcro by redoing the fasteners? I am thinking about doing it to save our 20+ diapers. Have any tricks?

  2. brittanyclaire8/23/10, 9:55 AM

    we have some of the flannel bummis liners and do use them, I just forgot to mention. They are great, however my little ones seem to move too much and they don't stay in place so they only catch half the poop sometimes. :)

    I saw the bumgenius have snaps now, those would be the way to go. I've thought about redoing the velcro but haven't had the time. I just use my other diapers. I have 20+ bumgenius diapers sitting in a box unusable. Such a shame!

  3. Ugh! I know. Mine definitely need some TLC! We bought one snap diaper and just love it!! I am thinking of redoing mine soon. I'll let you know how it goes.

  4. margaret way8/23/10, 10:23 AM

    Can you tell us why Bumwear is your "very very favourite". I like the looks of them, I must say :-)

  5. brittanyclaire8/23/10, 10:37 AM

    They fit my babies bums so well, they NEVER leak, they are super absorbant, the girls can't unsnap them, they don't stain, and I think that's it. :) Their designs aren't my favorite... but hey! {grin}

  6. I use BG 3.0, but my new favs are Flip diapers and for prefolds, I love EconoBums. I get all three from Cotton Babies and they have been really great to work with (they didn't pay me to say this, nor do they know who I am, but I would take money (or diapers) if they wanted to give me some. ;-)

    I really like the EconoBum and Flip one-size snap covers, and would like to get a few more covers. Anyone else have any fav one-size snap covers they really like? I do not like the BG as much for a newborn. They are expensive and since a breastfed newborn poops so much, I can never reuse the covers without washing first.

  7. margaret way8/23/10, 10:49 AM

    Thanks! I was wondering why so many people seem to like them. They're a LOT cuter than Bumgenius and I am happy to hear that they work very well. I'm seriously considering them now :-)

  8. Hi Brittany :) We have been doing cloth for 14 months now, and one of the big reasons that we started was a post similar to this on that you did awhile ago. I have 2 BG that are my going out diapers, but the rest are just boring old pre-folds and covers :) We use snappi's which for well for us as far as fastening goes, and you don't have to tri-fold, which cuts down on bulkiness :) Anyhow, thanks for a great post!

  9. Have you thought about selling them on ebay? Even in that condition, some handy little momma might be willing to "fix" them, if she can get them at a great price.

  10. Yay! thanks for posting! I can't wait to cloth my babies on the way!

  11. Please understand that this question is a friendly one...I'm not a hater! I really and truly enjoy your blog. Just really curious about this one:

    You say that cloth diapering is better for the environment, but do you consider how much water you are using with all that machine washing??? It definitely is keeping disposables out of landfills, but you are using A LOT of water with minimum of three loads per diaper. Thoughts?

  12. I didn't mean to be anonymous either, but I can't figure out how to sign into Disqus. It will not accept my password. I always have trouble with it, which is why I don't comment here often. :)

  13. Thanks so much for your tips! My mom sent me your link and it was very helpful. We just started cloth diapering and love it so far. Right now we are using bum genius' detergent. Have you heard any reviews on that? Thanks for your input!!!!

  14. Also, you can go super old school and buy flats. Single layer, you can fold them a myriad of ways, can be used for stuffing, wash and dry super easy. Might require folks to pin though, hehe. Really it wasn't bad and our guy never got "stuck" (can't say the same for hubby and I, whose fingers occasionally took a hit). And when they retire their diapering duties, they make great kitchen towels to replace the use of paper towels. ;)

    Elimination Communication is another thing for folks to consider. It's not for everyone, but worth looking into as it can cut down on diaper laundry and help lead to earlier potty training/learning. Just a different way of looking at our little one's eliminations, if you will. =)

    Oh and we exclusively cloth diapered and I washed with washing soda (NOT baking soda) and simple green, with some vinegar in the final rinse, always had great results. Very small amount of washing soda (like 1/8 cup or less), a few quirts of simple green. No build up ever and super CHEAP.

    Good work promoting cloth diapering Brittney! =)

  15. Lisa, When they make disposables, the fibers are washed and bleached in the process (as well as a number of other processes and chemicals), so not only is water being used there, but then you are also throwing it away after one use.

  16. I (used) to love the look of all my cloth diapers and wipes on the line...that is until I saw your the heck can you make a load of cloth diapers look so darn pretty?!?!?!?! ;)

  17. Thank you so much for the great post! I am pregnant with my first and we are going to use cloth diapers!! whoo hoo We are very environmentally friendly and try to do what we can to help the environment. I have bought about 6 bum genius diapers so far, but am gearing to buy 20! Thank you for the great tips, I have found very helpful for when the baby arrives in November! :)

  18. brittanyclaire8/23/10, 1:47 PM

    It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

    The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water. Pro-disposable advocates say that cleaning cloth diapers uses more energy and contributes to the load on sanitary sewer systems and potential water pollution. This view really makes no sense if you think about it. The amount of water used per week to wash cloth diapers at home is about the same amount consumed by an adult flushing the toilet four or five times daily for a week. Also, the greater amount of water and energy being used by diaper service companies to wash large amounts of cloth diapers multiple times; the per diaper impact on energy and water supplies is actually less than home washing.

    Finally, when flushing solids from a cloth diaper down the toilet and washing the diapers in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at wastewater plants. This treated wastewater is much more environmentally friendly than dumping untreated soiled disposable diapers into a landfill.

    found this here...

  19. Where do you buy your diapers from? We are just starting out with twins. We currently use a diaper service and some of our own covers I bought. I ended up needing more and still wash have to wash almost daily and end up using disposables. Sorry about previous erased everything I had typed.

  20. Brittany is probably going to get sick of me posting, but I am just so excited and proud of myself for finally feeling like I have this cloth diaper thing down! I posted earlier that I get my BumGenius, Flip by BumGenius, and econobum from They almost always have free shipping and I have been happy with the cost and more than happy with the products.

  21. I use BumGenius too, but have fallen in love with Flip and econobum. They are made by the makers of BumGenius and work very well on a new born, since the covers are reusable. I got one Flip day pack and one econobum full kit from and along with the 6 BumGenius I already have, are a really good amount. I would like another Flip day pack when I get the extra money.

  22. Thanks so much for such a great post! I am newly (very early) pregnant with our first little babe and we've always said we would use cloth. I just would feel awful about putting all that waste into the earth/environment and putting those chemicals on my child's bum. Plus, cloth is SO much cuter and I think it's a lot more user friendly than people think.

    This post is such a great resource for people who are starting out or didn't really know exactly what to do.

    Do you use a combination of AIO, pocket diapers and prefolds w/ covers? I can't decide what I want to do. I like the ease of AIO, but prefolds w/ covers seem to be a more economical choice.

  23. Out of curiosity, how do you get out stains? I have depended on the good 'ole sunshine to remove stains from my diapers (I have been using gDiapers with the resuable cloth inserts), but the weather here will soon turn very cold and I don't think hanging diapers outside will be an option for a few months. :-) Thanks for your great post!!

  24. I love cloth diapers!

  25. Sunnymama - how did you do it? Any tips???

  26. My friend made most of the diapers and she had 6 bum genius. So she had rolls of velcro already! WE just pulled the old velcro pieces off (the little tabs they are just sewed on) not the long velcro in the center! We cut the new velcro to size of old and sewed them on. They work like new! I hope that made sense. I should have blogged it.

  27. Brittany,
    Thanks for all the tips! We use Bum Genius One Size diapers and we've had the same problem with the velcro. However, if we are blessed with more little ones, I think we'll try to replace the vecro using our sewing machine versus buying more new diapers. If the sewing doesn't work, I'm curious to try the prefolds! I also love your idea for keeping tea tree oil or baking soda in the bottom of the diaper pail. I'm going to try that out TODAY! :)

  28. If I can find the time to sit down and replace my Bum Genius velcro, I'll let you know how it goes and maybe you'll get inspired to save yours. :) OR, if mine look halfway decent and I'm feeling adventurous, I'd be happy to sew yours and return them for you if you ship them to FL! :)

  29. We use BG's 3.0 aio and LOVE them. It took us trying lots of others to find the love but once you get a good dipe its really easy :)

  30. Candra Georgi8/26/10, 6:57 AM

    this was a very informative, thanks

  31. You have made me a believer, Brittney! :o) I'm due with baby boy (our 4th child; we love those big families too!) and this will be our first time cloth diapering. My mom thinks I'm NUTS but I"m going to give it a shot.

    Have you ever used a toilet sprayer.. is this just a waste of money?

    We're going to be using FuzziBunz All in Ones and I"m hoping to make some homemade wipes this afternoon.. nothing like a little nesting on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks so much for your blog.. I really have enjoyed it.. and have followed you since you were preggo with the girls. You have such a beautiful family!

  32. Thank you for this post! We are expecting #4...and going back to cloth. I was given a bummis kit (organic, infant), but everyone I know hates prefolds and uses AIOs or pockets so it was nice to hear that you like them. I used other prefolds with my first two children and really liked them. Thanks again!

  33. muliebrity9/1/10, 3:53 PM

    Did you see that has the Flip disposable liners in? I just ordered some yesterday, and you can get a free pack, plus free shipping with a $50 order. Just use the code TRAVEL at the check out. They are also having a BG seconds sale today, but, of course, I just placed an order yesterday. :/

  34. Etsy is a great cloth diaper resource! I have 3 pocket diapers, a bunch of inserts, 5 contours, one cover, training pants, night-wetter pants, wipes and wet bags from there. Oh, and many different wipe solutions.
    Some of the stuff there is better than the big companies.

    There's a seller there who converts shot velcro to snaps:

    It's not my shop, not trying to promote myself or anything. :) Just passing along valuable info about a seller from whom I bought stuff!

  35. I love cloth diapering! And your post made me love it even more! Thanks for this post it was rather helpful!


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