Cloth diapers: How to wash them so they are actually clean

I have been cloth diapering for over two and a half years now.  I have cleaned my fair share of diapers.  So this advice is legit.  DSC03088 I will first start off with saying that I have well water and I have a top loader Our water is full of iron and minerals and who knows what else.  Therefore, I had to try a lot in order to get the perfect wash routine.  And as for a top loader vs. a front loader — don’t you need water to get things clean?  I don’t understand how the “energy efficient” washers work — and in my experience, at my mother in law’s house, they don’t work all that well.

What didn’t work: Allen’s Naturally and Rockin’ Green (yes, even the Funk Rock).

What I am using now: This is not a “recommended” brand, but it has gotten my diapers cleaner and brighter and whiter than they have ever been.

Tide Free and Gentle!

DSC02241 Here is my down and dirty routine:

  1. The child goes in the diaper.  If it is pee, I throw it in my hamper with a diaper pail liner (I use a white trash can that has a foot pedal).  If it is solid, I dump it into the toilet or use some toilet paper to scrape it into the toilet, then it goes into the hamper.  (A diaper sprayer did not work from me, it sprays the stuff all over = gross.) 
  2. Once my diaper pail is full, I bring the diaper pail liner down to the basement and throw it all in the washer (I have a beloved top loader (I really don’t know how a front loader, energy efficient washer gets these diapers clean!!)  I cold rinse.
  3. I hot wash, cold rinse with 1/8 cup detergent – a little goes a long way!  (I only have the option to cold rinse, but I would hot rinse if I could!  Then I might cut one of the rinses!)
  4. I hot wash, cold rinse with nothing.
  5. I dry in the dryer (gasp!) on low.

DSC02247 “Stripping” your diapers once every month or two should be part of your regular routine — this is because your diapers may be getting leaky due to build-up or they just may need a good sterilizing:

  1. Add 1/4 tsp dish soap and 1/4 cup bleach to your hot wash, cold rinse with detergent
  2. Continue to hot wash, cold rinse until there are no more suds in the washer.  (About 5-8 times.)

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 Happy diapering and washing!
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Cloth diapers: What I’d buy if I could do it all over again

Tomorrow, April 20th, is The Great Cloth Diaper Change!!  Saving the world, one cloth diaper at a time!!

I have been cloth diapering for over two and a half years now. I can honestly say that I love it as much now as when I started.

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See?!  I now have a boy and girl stash (two children in diapers, for me, did not mean washing twice as much, so I had to buy a pink, pink, pink stash when my daughter was born!)

I began my cloth diaper journey with diapers bought even before I was pregnant. Crazy, right? Well, I thought that I was being prepared — because they were on sale. I bought many brands, all different kinds, super cute ones.

And they all worked, but as I grew more experience with cloth diapers, I realized that not all brands or diapers are created equal. For example, many mamas will tell you that the organic cotton will protect your baby’s bum from rash. It was the opposite for my sensitive-bottomed little guy, so out went all of organic cottons diapers and in with the stay-dry polyester.

So I ended up having to sell a lot of what I had. This isn’t too difficult, just head on over to DiaperSwappers.com and try to navigate your way through that mess :/ The site is wonderful, but it is difficult to understand at first. I sold all that I didn’t want, though, so it was nice to get (most) of my money back.  You can also buy gently used diapers on this site which is great if you want to take a test run or buy a whole stash on super sale!  Please let me know if you have questions and I will try to help you!

So on to what I wish I would have bought, had I known then what I know now, at the beginning.

If you’re looking for the lowest price, then prefolds and covers are what you’ll need.  You’ll need at least 4 covers per size (from x-small to large — about $12 each+) and about 24 prefolds ($1.20 each).

But prefolds are not convenient.  I don’t like them.  But I do use them for baby naked time and changing poop time, but that’s it.

If I could do it all over again, I would purchase 24 of my hands-down favorite diaper….

Blueberry Simplex.  (The brand is formerly known as Swaddlebees.)  This diaper has an organic cotton soaker , is very absorbent, and has an attached stay-dry insert that can go on top — where your baby’s bum touches.  (No stuffing the insert in the diaper!)  So you can choose cotton or polyester for closest to you baby!  Blueberry has adorable prints for boys and girls (a must!).  I love this because of the convenience (much less folding time) and they are not too bulky.  I’m sad to say I only have one, but I will be buying more when I find a good deal!

I should add that all of the below are One-Size diapers, which means that you can snap the diapers to become smaller, medium, large, as your baby grows (8-35 pounds)!  This truly is the way to go (versus “sized” or “perfect” diapers).  The exception is the newborn stage because most of the diapers really aren’t a good fit until about 10 pounds, in my humble opinion.

Also, you may choose between snap or velcro (hook/loop) closures.  I favor snap because the velcro sticks to everything in the washer/dryer!

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And the second brand that I love for convenience (no stuffing!) is Freetime by BumGenius.  This runs a close second to my beloved Simplex for the simple reason that it is a bit more bulky than the Simplex.  But!  I use this for my night-time diaper for my baby girl and it works great!  No leaks so far, and she is almost 7 months old!  There are so many great colors to choose from and BumGenius is a brand that you can trust.

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Pocket diapers are wonderful.  You can stuff them with as much absorbency as you need (i.e. a microfiber insert — what it comes with — and one or two hemp inserts for night time).  But!  The stuffing becomes monotonous!  If I could do it all over again, I would have bought all Simplex and Freetimes (All in Ones).  (Below is a BumGenius one-size 4.0 — which is the most recent version — I also love, yes, the Blueberry pocket diaper!  These two diapers make up the vast majority of my boy and girl stashes!)

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The only downside to All in Ones over Pockets are that they are a bit bulkier:  (However, the Simplex are the same thickness as a regular pocket!)

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I have discussed prefolds above, but below is another option, fitted diapers with a cover for water proofing.  Many people have success with this.  I tried this, but hated it.  The fitted diaper gets soaked with pee and your baby is then very, very wet.  It made my son rashy and it just seemed uncomfortable to him.  I see how this might be helpful for potty-training, but my son is still in diapers and knows when he’s going, announces it, and sometimes makes it to the potty, so by the time they are potty-training (my son is two and a half), the feeling wet part is not as important.  Though, as a side-note, cloth diapers definitely help your child potty-train quicker, or so I hear.

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And there you have it.  My humble opinion for what you should get if you are just starting out.  The BumGenius Freetime diapers are $19.95 each, but there is always a “Buy 5, Get 1” sale going on (BumGenius pockets are $17.95 each).  And the Blueberry Simplex are a bit pricier at $25.95.  You are saving so much money on diapers, even if you splurged on all Simplex.

If you got the above BumGenius sale, you’d be spending $400 up-front for a whole diaper stash of 24 diapers.  But you’d spend an estimated $3000 on disposables if your child wears them until he’s three.  That’s a lot of savings!

What is your favorite cloth diaper?

What brands did you have to go through before you discovered your favorite one?

There are many places to try to find good deals on diapers: Kelly’s Closet and Diaper Junction offer rewards and coupons all the time.

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