baby blythe

d + r = baby b

How We Cloth Diaper


I’ve already written about why we cloth diaper, but I haven’t given you details on HOW we cloth diaper. 99% of you don’t care (and I think I’m being generous when I assume that 1% of you do), BUT I’ve had some pregnant friends ask me for details, so I decided to write a post.

Before I give any details, I’d like to say that there are many ways to cloth diaper and dozens of types and brands. This is just how we do it and what works FOR US. I don’t know everything about cloth diapering, and when I started, I had a million questions. I turned to the internet and a good friend who was also cloth diapering and learned a bit along the way.

cdThe Goods:

We use BumGenius diapers. It is recommended that you have at least 24 diapers. We have closer to 30. I’d say we have around 20 BumGenius 4.0 diapers and 10 BumGenius Freetime diapers. The Freetime diapers are nice because the inserts are already attached, but they do take longer to dry. They are also a bit more expensive. The 4.0 diapers are nice, too, because since they are a pocket diaper, it makes it easy to stuff for nighttime to add extra absorbency.

We also use cloth wipes. It seemed easier, since we were already washing diapers anyway. You can use baby washcloths. I registered for BumGenius wipes and was lucky enough to get them. We use LuSa Baby Wipe Juice as a solution. I put it in a spray bottle and spray the wipe. I experimented with making some of my own cloth wipe solutions, but this ended up being my favorite. It is the easiest, because it just mixes up with water.

You can’t use regular diaper rash cream with cloth diapers, but there are plenty of cloth diaper safe options out there. We use LuSa Booty Balm. I am obsessed with this stuff.

We do not have a diaper pail. We bought a Simple Human trash can with a pedal and use that with a Planet Wise fabric pail liner inside. We have two pail liners, so we always have a clean one while the other one is being washed. If we’re out and about, dirty diapers go in a Planet Wise wet bag that easily fits into the diaper bag. We have three of these, because they get tossed in the diaper pail whenever we get home with the dirty diapers. When we’re traveling away from home for a few days, we use a larger wet bag, like this Bummis one.

We have a BumGenius diaper sprayer, but we haven’t had to use it yet. When I was trying to convince David to cloth diaper, he said he’d be on board as long as we had a diaper sprayer.

The Process:

When Porter pees or poos, the process is almost the same as changing a regular disposable diaper. If he was wearing a Freetime diaper, I don’t have to do anything. I just put the whole diaper in the diaper pail. If he was wearing a 4.0 diaper, the insert needs to be taken out prior to putting the diaper in the diaper pail. This doesn’t mean I have to necessarily touch the insert, though. There is a small tag on the insert, so I pull on that and the insert easily slides out. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I get poop on my hand when I do this, but I’m pretty sure that happens with disposables, too. The insert and the diaper goes into the diaper pail (with the liner). Even with poo, I do not have to rinse the diapers before putting them in the diaper pail. I know that sounds gross, but breast milk poop easily dissolves in water. There is no poop residue inside my washer after washing the diapers. When Porter’s poo starts to become more solid, we’ll need to dump the poop into the toilet before putting it in the pail. If it’s really nasty, we’ll need to spray it first with the diaper sprayer.

Does Porter’s room smell like pee and poo? I get this question a lot, and to be honest, no, it doesn’t. The diaper pail (garbage can) has a lock on it, but honestly, we don’t lock it 99% of the time. I do have some freshener things that I put in the bottom of the pail (NOT the liner) but the same freshener has been in there since day 1 and I haven’t switched it out, and it doesn’t stink.

The Washing: 

People assume that washing the diapers is the worst part. Honestly, it’s really easy. I wash every other day, and even while the washed diapers are drying, I have enough diapers. Like I mentioned, we have close to 30 diapers. I’m sure we’d be fine with 24 (or less), but since Porter was going to be at a sitter, I wanted to 100% make sure we had enough clean diapers at all times.

When I put the diapers in the wash, I don’t have to touch the diapers. I open my washer and just turn the pail liner inside out as I’m dumping it inside. The liner goes in the wash, too!

We have a HE washer and dryer. I didn’t know this until I started doing research about cloth diapering, but apparently it is much more difficult to get cloth diapers REALLY CLEAN with a HE washer.  HE washers use less water, which makes it more difficult. Anyway, I do a heavy duty cycle with a pre-wash and extra rinse. The pre-wash, adds more water in there. My washer has a pre-wash detergent dispenser, but I don’t put any detergent in that dispenser. The pre-wash is just with water and it basically gets them all sopping wet.  The only detergent I use is in the main wash dispenser. The entire cycle (with the pre-wash and extra rinse) takes 1 hour and 26 minutes to run. Once it’s done, I put the inserts, cloth wipes, and pail liner in the dryer and hang dry the shells (outer part of the cloth diaper.) In the summer, I put the shells and inserts outside. Not only does the sunshine dry them faster, but the sun also acts as a natural bleach!

I’ve experimented using a few different detergents, and I’ve liked all of them. Just like diaper rash cream, your cloth diaper detergent must be made specifically for cloth diapering.

Charlie’s Soap is great because you can use it on all your clothing (it’s even gentle enough for baby’s stuff!) and it gets high ratings when it comes to cloth diapering. For HE washers, you only need a tablespoon, so it lasts forever.

Ruby Moon is great if you want something scented. This stuff got my diapers really clean. When I was using this, I still used Charlie’s for everything else.

Country Save is known for how well it cleans cloth diapers. This can also be used on everything! I like this, too. It makes my diapers so soft!

Sometimes cloth diapers need to be stripped if they have detergent build up. This is a tricky topic when it comes to cloth diapering, and I’m really NOT the right person to ask about stripping diapers. I’ve used Mighty Bubbles a few times when I thought that maybe my diapers needed to be stripped, but I’ve never really known for sure. Again, there are millions of ways to strip cloth diapers, and I’m sure I’ll end up experimenting with that as well.  This is what Cotton Babies (the makers of BumGenius) recommend for stripping. I’ve used this method once, and it seemed to work just fine.

The Assembling: 

When everything’s dry, the Freetime diapers just need to be folded up because the inserts are already attached. The 4.0 diapers need to be stuffed. I do this at night while watching tv or relaxing on the couch with David. It only takes a few minutes, and I really don’t mind it.

And that’s it! I really love cloth diapering, and I’m quite passionate about it (more so that I ever expected myself to be!)

What about night time? Does he leak through his diaper? Even when Porter sleeps 11-12 hours at night, when his diapers fit correctly, 99% of the time, he does not leak through his diaper. At night we use a 4.0 diaper and we add an extra insert. This makes the diaper extra bulky, but it works for us. I have some Thirsties hemp inserts and I also have some Baby Kicks inserts. I like them both, but I think I like the Baby Kicks better. Now that’s not to say we haven’t had any leaks at all, but most of the time leaks have been due to needing to change the size of the diaper. For instance, his thighs have recently slimmed down and aren’t as chunky as they used to be. Thus, the diaper was fitting a little larger and he was leaking. I changed the size of the diaper and our problem was solved. Even with the smaller diaper, he would occassionally leak during a nap, so I have been double stuffing during naps and at night, and we’ve been fine.


5 thoughts on “How We Cloth Diaper

  1. Thanks for this post. My baby is due in October and I am planning on cloth diapering. You did a great job of clearly and succinctly describing your entire process! Out of curiosity, what did you do when your baby was a newborn? Did the bum genius fit or did you do something else? Also, did you experiment with different types before you stuck with bum genius? Thanks again for a helpful post!

    • Hi, Colleen! I forgot to mention that we didn’t start cloth diapering until Porter was 4-5 weeks old. We had received numerous diapers as gifts, so I wanted to use those first so they wouldn’t go to waste. However, I have heard that some people have had success with the smallest setting on the bum genius diapers for newborns, but only for bigger, chunkier babies. They also sell a newborn size, if you want to cloth diaper from the start. The only other diaper I tried aside from the bum genius was flip diapers (also made my Cotton Babies) and I did not like those as much. We have four of those, and I don’t use them at all.

      • Thanks for the response! PS: I’m an English teacher too. 🙂

      • You’re welcome! English nerds unite! 🙂 Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and let me know if you have any other cloth diapering questions!

  2. Thanks for your blog post about cloth diapering. We are planning on getting started with this and I had no idea where to even begin. You pretty much answered every question I had! I can’t wait to get started and buy everything I need. Ty!

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