Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Cloth Diapering Routine

As I've mentioned before, we don't use cloth diapers full-time. Sometimes it's not even really part-time, either, but it's what works for us.

Diaper Choice

There are 5 main types of cloth diapers to choose from:
  • Flats: The simplest type of cloth diaper, flats are simply a flat cloth - like a receiving blanket. Flats require a waterproof outer cover to keep them from soaking through onto stuff. Remember how I accidentally wound up using a flat? Yeah, that was fun. 
  • Prefolds: The next step up from flats is prefolds. They're thicker and more absorbent than flats, and they're sewn into thirds, which makes it easier to fold them {get it, prefolds?}. These also require a waterproof cover.
  • Fitteds: These are sewn into the shape of a diaper, so there's no folding required. Still require a waterproof cover.
  • Pockets:These are a bit more like the traditional disposable diaper, in that there is no folding or diaper cover required. The inside is made of a soft, absorbent material while the outside is made of a waterproof material (usually PUL). They are called "pocket" diapers because there is a pocket in which to stuff microfiber, wool, hemp, or bamboo inserts in order to increase the absorbency. 
  • All-in-ones: All-in-ones are just like disposables; no work required.

I am by no means an expert in the different types of cloth diapers. What I do know is that the work required tends to decrease as you go down my list, but the price increases as you go down the list. I use either a prefold and a cover (system is shown below) or a pocket diaper.  Here is a little more on the pros and cons of each diapering system.

Changing Routine:

Here's what I do when I want to use cloth diapers (prefolds) on my boy:

First, as with any diaper change, I gather the necessary supplies. The prefolds are in Asher's room, as are the covers. The wipes are... wherever we changed his diaper last. We just change him wherever is convenient for us [I chose our bed this time], but that makes it hard to find everything sometimes.

Necessary items: Diaper, Cover, Wipes, Baby!

Second, I fold the prefold into thirds and lay it inside the diaper cover. (There are more complicated ways of folding it which I suppose work well for some people, but my way works just fine for us).

Next, I lay Asher down and remove his diaper, clean his bottom, and place the new diaper under him.
If possible, you may want to clean baby's bottom as much as possible before removing the dirty diaper, and then do the rest once the clean diaper is under baby. I should have taken that advice when I was taking these pictures because, well, you'll see.

Everything was going all well and good, and then it came...
The poo-splosion!

It was the first poop which has ever necessitated a bath for him.
Not the first one which has necessitated a shower for me though.

Clean and ready for new {cloth} diaper

Then, depending on the diaper cover, I'll either snap the buttons or velcro the back to the front, put him back in his clothes (or leave him undressed, ya know, whatever!) and he's clean!

Finally, I take the diaper downstairs, and if it's just wet, I'll do a quick rinse in the downstairs shower, or a longer rinse if it's dirty, and then place it in my diaper pail (filled with water and some baking soda). Sometimes I forget to do this part, and the dirty diaper will just lay on the bed or in the floor or wherever I changed him until I realize I need to pick it up.

This is called the wet pail method. There is also a dry pail method wherein the diapers do not soak in water, but I like it better with the wet because it keeps stains from setting.

On wash day, which is whenever I have enough diapers to make a small load, I drain the diaper pail in the downstairs shower, then throw all the diapers in for a cold rinse, followed by a hot wash cycle (and occasionally, another rinse). Then, I dry them on low or line-dry them, put them away, and they're ready for the next use!


You can't use just any detergent on cloth diapers. Those brighteners and perfumes and softeners which make grown-up clothes look and smell and feel nice affect the absorbency of the cloth diapers. So the detergent I use is a homemade mix of equal parts Borax, washing soda, and Oxi-clean. I use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.

There are ready-made detergents available too. I like this chart because it gives a rating to every detergent I've ever heard of (and many more that I haven't heard of).

So what do you think?

Have you ever tried cloth diapering? What system do you use? What do you think about using cloth? I always love hearing back from readers, so let me know in the comments! 

1 comment:

  1. When we do have children I think God is going to lay cloth-diapering on my heart. My husband (the oldest of five) was the ONLY child who needed cloth diapers because he was allergic to disposable. He is also the only child with a LOT of allergies. I don't think I'll mind, it sounds like more work, but also sounds like something that once you get into the routine it's not tooooo hard.