I’m often asked questions about cloth diapering. There is TONS of information online about the various cloth diapering options, and it can definitely be overwhelming. What works for our family might not be the best option for yours, but I’m going to do a post on what I’ve learned and the kinds of diapers we prefer. We also practice Elimination Communication (EC) which I’ve also posted about, so I don’t go through as many diapers in a day as someone who isn’t doing EC, but we still do our fair share of diaper laundry. We’ve tried almost every type of cloth diaper out there. For a good overview of all the different cloth diaper options, watch this awesome video series on YouTube.
The cheapest option out there is the prefold with cover. We have a bunch of those. We used those a lot at first. They work great and are relatively easy to use… you usually don’t have to wash the covers as often, either, which means less laundry. But my fave diapers are FuzziBunz One Size Elite, which is a pocket diaper – meaning you place the insert (microfiber or minky or bamboo material) inside the cover in a large pocket. The outside of the pocket that touches baby’s skin is fleece, which wicks away moisture, and the insert absorbs it. So it’s soft and fuzzy…and they come in a range of bright colors, so they also look super cute! You can add extra inserts for added absorbency, too. The new Elites are less bulky than the originals, which means they fit better under clothing, too. And I like the one-size because you can adjust the leg and waist elastic, and snap it differently, so that it fits a wide range of sizes and grows with the child. I have 12 Elites that I purchased for around $200, and 2 FuzziBunz originals, and that is plenty for at least 3 days usually. If your kiddo doesn’t ever go on the potty, you’ll probably want to have closer to 20 diapers, though. I wash the diapers at LEAST every two days if not every day, because I don’t want bacteria to grow or the diapers to get all funky smelling. Then I go ahead and stuff the inserts in once everything is dry, and it’s just like a regular disposable diaper – easy to put on and take off, no fiddling with prefolds trying to get a diaper and cover assembled while baby is squirming around.
Some people think cloth diapering means tons more laundry, but really, if you have a little baby in the house, you are going to be doing laundry way more often than you are used to anyways – from sheets to burp cloths to clothing (yours and baby’s!) – spit-up and milk and pee and poop… and later, solid foods – just get everywhere, so it’s not hard to throw some diapers in with the mix, or run an extra load at the end of the day. Since we have a washer and dryer in-home, it’s really not a problem for us to do the extra laundry.
I use Charlie’s Soap for our laundry. It’s natural, biodegradable, and doesn’t cause much build-up, if any, on the diapers and we’ve been happy with it. A little goes a long way! I’m still on our first container of it, actually, and I bought it when BabyRoX was born. That was 7 months ago! And I do laundry pretty much every day. For poop stains, I run a couple extra rinse cycles or an extra wash cycle, and that usually takes care of it. If the stain is still there, however, I just hang the diaper or clothing in the sun (still wet! don’t put stained clothes in the dryer!) and let the sun bleach them. It totally works. Try it.
I usually throw both my FuzziBunz covers and the inserts in the dryer on low heat, but once in a while I’ll hang the covers and just dry the inserts. Low/no heat is supposed to help the waterproof PUL liner last longer. If I’m washing the diapers with other clothes and there are just some wet diapers in there, I don’t always run hot cycle. But I do a good, thorough cleaning with a hot cycle followed by a cold cycle once a month to deep-clean the diapers and keep them absorbent and bacteria-free.
Finally, I don’t use any diaper ointment! Luckily, BabyRoX hasn’t had a diaper rash in forever – he also doesn’t have super sensitive skin AND we don’t leave him in wet/dirty diapers for very long. He either goes on the potty or we change him soon after he goes in his diaper, and he’s good about letting us know he needs a change! But if you DO need diaper ointment, keep in mind that most ointments are NOT OK for cloth diapers. They will ruin the diaper. We love using Indigo Bath and Body’s Bazic Skin Stick, which is all-natural with shea butter and olive oil, and keeps BabyRoX’s heiny fresh and soft, plus it’s super convenient and I don’t have to get my fingers all greasy. You can also just put some olive oil on a q-tip and rub that around the diaper area, too. But don’t use the Desitin or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste or any of those other products on cloth diapers. If you do by accident, you’ll have to scrub it out with Dawn dish soap and strip the diapers. Again, there’s tons of info online about cloth diapering, so I won’t go into all of that here – just Google diaper stripping!
Oh, and we also have cloth wipes, so those get thrown in the wash, too. I’d estimate that we save at the very, very least $20/month on diapers and wipes. It would be even more if BabyRoX wasn’t also using the potty 50-75% of the time. So. That’s how we cloth diaper, after trying almost every type on the market. FuzziBunz wins. I’ll still use the others, especially the prefolds and covers, from time to time, but we mainly use FuzziBunz now. Let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t answer here!