What have I learned about cloth diapers after using them for almost two years? My experience may differ from yours, but in this post I’ll let you know my top ten cloth diaper learned lessons.
If you have read any of my other posts about cloth diapers, you would know what I think about them. If you haven’t yet, just know that the way I see it is as the cloth they are.
It has been a work in progress, all this conversation about cloth diapers. It is important to know that it is not as big of a deal as it sometimes (or most of the time) sounds.
With that in mind, let me share with you my top ten cloth diaper learned lessons.
10 Cloth Diaper Learned Lessons
Lesson 1– Washing Routine
Not going more than 3 days without washing the diapers. In my experience, wash them every two days and max of three days is IDEAL! Ask me, why Edi? Well, if I take two days to wash my diapers I am less likely to strip them on a routine basis, and they are less prone to odor with my current washing routine. If you wash them every three days, the game completely changes. It will work, but they will hold a little more odor and will more likely need to be stripped.
Know also that this is based on my experience using earth-friendly laundry detergent. In case you use regular soap, you might extend the days you wash your cloth diapers, but I would still go no more than three days between washes.
At some point, I used regular soap to wash my diapers for a month and can tell you that washing them every other day worked very very well. No smell or odor.
I am currently using natural soaps since my girl has sensitive skin. I have another munchkin coming my way and don’t feel safe about washing the diapers with all that fragrance and ingredients. Maybe she won’t be sensitive, but I’d rather be safe than sorry for now.
Lesson 2- The rinsing ritual…
My washing machine does not have the “rinse only” feature, so I rinse my diapers before putting them in the pail instead of doing two full loads.
I learned that rinsing the diapers prior to putting them in the pail will help to control the odor so common in cloth diapers.
I use a pail without a lid. When you use a pail without a lid, it will help dissipate the odor in the air and if you have your pail in a ventilated area it will be much better.
Lesson 3- Raising the bar
I stopped the fuss and confusion about cloth diapers once and for all. I wash them as regular clothes should be washed. Except for knowing that the diapers ARE and WILL be where babies do their business every day.
So, I treat it as I would treat clothes right? BUT with the sole focus on washing them properly. Keep them clean so you avoid rashes and any other problem that can arise on your baby’s skin due to the diapers not being clean enough.
Lesson 4- Drying routine
Drying the cloth diapers shell in the dryer for a certain period of time or until they are completely dry. Over time, you will know the amount of time necessary for them to be dry. They dry faster than the inserts so I try to remove them sooner. Of course, it also happens that the diapers dry in a whole cycle without me removing them. Oh well…
If you keep them in the dryer for as long as the inserts every single time, the elastics will most likely wear out much sooner. It happens that you’ll leave the shells inside the dryer for as long as the inserts – I am guilty of it myself – but the sooner your remove them the better. Especially if you intend to use them for future blessings.
Lesson 5- Cold water
You can wash cloth diapers in cold water. Of course you can! This will save you on gas and electricity, will clean your diapers just as well and might even help to keep the elastics longer too.
You can wash them the way you want! You might do it like me – wash in cold water on a regular basis and only use hot water when you need to strip them.
Lesson 6- Ointment, not always necessary
Ointment is not always necessary. It might just be me, but if my diapers are clean and I change my daughter’s diaper regularly, she seems to have fewer rashes. Anyone out there with the same experience? I met a mom who had a five month old, and she didn’t use ointment ever with her baby.
I use natural oils on a regular basis. I use petroleum-based diaper rash ointment when I am outside the house because it’s easy to carry in the diaper bag. I also use it if I use a disposable diaper or in case my baby has a rash. I also use it when I don’t have another option.
Regular ointment builds up in the cloth, no doubt about it, but you can still use it. Just know if you use regular ointment, you’ll have to strip your diapers more often. And when you use it, use just the necessary amount.
No need to put a thick layer like you would with strawberry jelly on a slice of bread. Yes, I did it too. Keep in mind that the more you use it, the more buildup you’ll have.
Lesson 7- Organized for success
Stuff your diapers for success! I have organized my stash in a few different ways. The way that works best for us is stuffing them prior to use.
You definitely don’t want to be stuffing your diaper when laying your child in the diaper station. Why? It will take you forever to stuff it and control a moving baby. So stuff before you use it. No need to snap as you put it away. Keep it simple! Snap only when you put the diaper on your baby.
It holds true if you use flat or prefolds. Better to fold them before you head to the changing station with that moving little human.
Lesson 8- Get rid of those stubborn stains
Stains anyone? Deal with stains as they start to show up! The sooner you take care of it, the easier you’ll get rid of it.
You can use different ways to remove the stains. Whatever method you use, just make sure that you do it sooner than later.
That is going to make your life much easier.
Lesson 9- How many are enough?
How many cloth diapers should I have? Standard is twenty-four (and I spelled it correctly!) BUT you can have fewer than that and still be able to cloth diaper. It will all depend on the age of your baby right now since toddlers use fewer diapers than newborns and infants.
I have 21 diapers and have been using the same quantity since my daughter was 6 months, washing them every two days. Now that she is two, I can extend my washing until three days and she will be fine. Eventually we can run out of diapers, but it’s really rare.
With my second baby, I intend to start cloth diapers after a month or so. I intend to buy 24 prefolds – which I think will be A LOT – and 3 to 4 covers. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Lesson 10- Hey, don’t forget your diapers!
It happened and it still does with us! Don’t forget your dirty diapers in the car. Also, don’t forget to bring them home with you when you visit your parents or parents-in-law. Make sure before you leave that you have gotten all your used cloth diapers, alright?!
Trust me when I say that you do not want that diaper returning to you many days later dirty and odorfully bad. That is going to take you some washes to get rid of the smell. Nightmare…
Overall, you are always free to change what is not working for you. Don’t be shy or attached to it evangelically. I should follow my very own advice in this one though.
These are the lessons I learned through my short journey cloth diapering. What have you learned so far? What are your tips and tricks?
Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
See you around the blog,