Cloth Diapering Newbies: Part III


Time to dive a little deeper into the world of cloth diapering. In this post we will be discussing, in much greater detail, how to wash and dry cloth diapers, inserts, and wipes based on what has worked for us. The most important yet often overlooked step in diaper laundry is the daily maintenance of cloth diaper cleanliness. It’s like the unsung hero of cloth diaper laundry. If you want your diapers to last longer and look clean, the last thing you want to do is have poop dry and crust on them until laundry day. Anytime there is poop involved, we recommend that you rinse the diaper immediately. Not to mention how gross it would be having a bunch of poop sloshing around in the wash. This is why in our first post we mentioned having a diaper sprayer or bidet. We use the sprayer to rinse off any debris immediately into the toilet and let the diapers hang over our laundry sink until laundry day. As a result, we have not had any major diaper stains. In fact, the only stains we have are from Desitin, not poop. Basically, we never put poopy diapers in the diaper pail so what you will read below is based on care for diapers that don’t have a significant amount of poo on them. On a side note, if you have not read our previous post and are considering using flushable liners, we suggest you read it and think twice. Unfortunately, there is no magic way around getting your hands dirty if you cloth diaper…unless you are prepared to pay up.

Another part of daily diaper maintenance is something that will just make your life easier on laundry day. Instead of waiting until the day of to separate the inserts from the diapers (assuming you are using pocket diapers like us), try pulling out the insert immediately after you change the diaper as you put it into the diaper pail. We make sure to do that so on laundry day there is no extra sorting. We literally dump all the contents of the diaper pail bag (inserts, diapers, and cloth wipes) straight into the washer and toss the bag in right after. It can’t get any easier than that. So now that that’s squared away, let’s get to the washing details.

First things first. Laundry detergent. One of the things we wondered about was what kind of detergent to use especially for something going directly on baby’s bum. The options are many from Seventh Generation, The Honest Co., Burt’s Bees, Babyganicf, etc. and all have minimal ingredients (scented with essential oils) and no harsh chemicals, which is perfect for diaper laundry. We settled on a brand called Ecos because it fit the criteria of being chemical-free, it had built-in softener, and being available at Costco meant the price was just right. So far we have zero complaints; it delivers stain free laundry that smells great and is budget friendly. Score!




Cloth diaper laundry is surprisingly easy and straightforward. There is no special cycle or real need for several washes (unless you’re not rinsing the poop right way). The important thing to know here is that you should always wash your diapers, inserts, and cloth wipes on cold.  There is no reason to use warm/hot water unless you have some seriously messy diapers. Even then, try not to do that too often as frequent washing in warm/hot water can ruin the leakproof ability of the diapers. We did not try this to know, but if you’re spending all that money on cloth diapers you’ll probably want to play it safe and follow the manufacturers’ suggestions. Although it is subjective and hard to measure, we have not noticed any difference in absorbency (excessively leaky diapers or a drastic change in the number of diapers we use daily). Babies will always leak. Our baby leaked with pampers and seventh generation disposables and he leaks through cloth diapers. It’s just because he pees a lot and not because cloth diapers are not as absorbent.

Here are the exact settings we use for our wash cycle:

  • Wash Mode – Normal Cotton
  • Wash Time – 60-100 Minutes
  • Wash Temperature – Cold (30°)
  • Wash Soil Level – Medium or Heavy (depends on the situation)



Once the wash cycle is complete you will want to separate the diapers from the inserts and cloth wipes. Go ahead and throw the inserts and wipes (and the diaper pail bags if you washed them) into the dryer. We set our dryer to 1 hour on medium heat and they turn out perfectly dry and smelling fresh. You really do not want to exceed medium heat because you can shrink and ruin your inserts. If you are in need of diapers immediately, toss them in the dryer afterwards on “Air Dry”. It will take time but not as much as hanging them to dry.

For drying the diapers, it is best to hang them on a rack somewhere where there is a draft or fresh air. If you are blessed to live where there is good sunny weather, you can hang them outside. Our weather doesn’t accommodate this luxury 8 months of the year so we installed a wall drying rack in our laundry room. Our setup (see below) cost around $40: $20 for the hook hangers by J.S. Hanger ( iPow is another good brand on Amazon) and $20 for the Grundtal Drying Rack by Ikea. Ikea has several cheaper options that are portable and foldable but if you’re looking to save space, a wall set-up is the way to go.




Once your diapers have fully dried (around 3-4 hours), all that’s left to do is grab a helper, stuff your inserts back into the diaper, and lay your prepared diapers back on the changing table shelf for use again. Our baby loves the bright colors of his diapers so we usually sit all together in the nursery and talk about our day while we stuff the diapers and baby rolls around playing with his diapers. Cloth diapering is definitely not as “quick and easy” as disposable diapering but because it is meaningful to us we find ways to cultivate cozy moments around the routines that come with it.


Our adorable helper

This concludes our cloth diapering series in terms of what you need to get started and how to maintain a cloth diapering lifestyle. Yes, it’s a bit of extra maintenance and laundry but it is not overly taxing or impossible. That is our takeaway message. We hope that if you are on the fence or hesitant about cloth diapering, you now feel it is something you can totally do (because it is)! While we have only been cloth diapering full-time for 6 months, we have had a very positive experience so far. There is still much to learn and reflect on and we will likely do a reflection/update post in the near future as we continue this journey. Until then, if you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you!

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Cloth Diapering Newbies: Part II


If you read our last post (Cloth Diapering Newbies Part I) and feel like you warmed up to the idea of using or switching to cloth diapers but still have some hesitation about the daily ins and outs of cloth diapering, then this post is for you. So you are considering buying a stash of diapers, how many do you need? How often do you have to wash them? And how do you store the smelly demons until you wash them? If these are the questions you’re having, keep reading. We hope to have answers for you!

How many diapers does a baby need a day?

Newborn babies poop and pee constantly so you will need between 8-12 diapers a day since you’ll be changing them about every two hours. As our baby got older he started averaging around 8-10 a day and did not need more than two changes throughout the night. We have diapers specifically set up for bedtime that we place two inserts in and for the most part he gets through the night without leaking (10:30pm-7:30am). Basically if you’re planning to cloth diaper on a full time basis and do laundry every 3rd day, like us, you will need to have around 32 diapers at the minimum. By the time it’s laundry day, our baby has gone through around 24-27 diapers which leaves us with 5-8 diapers while the rest make their way through the wash. This leads us to the next question…

How often do I need to do diaper laundry?

As I mentioned above, we try to wash our diapers in the morning every 3rd day. So if we wash them Monday morning we won’t do laundry again until Thursday. Every now and then, we will do an extra load a week but for the most part we wash them 2-3 times per week. The more diapers you have the less often you have to wash them but even with our humble stash of 32 we are able to make it work. To think of it another way, we usually know it’s time to do laundry when we have 5 folded diapers left on our changing table shelf. By the time the remaining 27 diapers are washed and dried (5hours later), baby has gone through about 3 diapers so we always have a cushion of 2 diapers. If you decide on a smaller stash, say 24-28 diapers, you will probably have to do laundry every other day. It really comes down to what you are comfortable doing and what you can afford.

“I heard about these wonderful things called ‘flushable diaper liners,’ should I buy them?” Can I flush them down the toilet?

No, no and no! Just no. Cloth diaper liners are technically (and in a perfect world which doesn’t exist) a way to keep your diapers from getting stained and keep you from having to clean them more vigorously by hand.Yes, the labels say FLUSHABLE, but NO, they ARE NOT SAFE FOR A NORMAL SEWAGE LINE! We speak from personal experience and a nice $200 to the plumber who snaked out 4 months of these liners. They were clearly not biodegradable like they said they were. We should have known when they made it through our washer and dryer on accident but we naively trusted the label. Would you flush baby wipes or Clorox wipes down the toilet? If your answer is no then you wouldn’t want to do that for these as the material they are made out of is pretty much the same. In other words, don’t waste your time or money on these. If you’re going to cloth diaper, you have to be okay with occasionally getting your hands dirty.

What type of diaper pail should I get? Will it keep the lovely scent of poop away?

There are many diaper pails out there that are made specifically for cloth diapers. We’ve seen people use your everyday trash cans but we personally did not want to take a chance with the smell. After a bit of research we decided to go with the Dekor Plus because we liked its design with 2 flaps, which helps to keep the nursery odor-free. The only downside to the Dekor is that because cloth diapers are bulkier than disposable diapers, it fills a lot more quickly. Which means diaper laundry every 2-3 days. We personally don’t mind and it’s a sacrifice we are willing to make but if doing laundry that often is not in your plans then cloth diapering might not be for you. Other than that we would personally recommend getting the Dekor pail and purchasing the 2-pack Cloth Diaper Pail Liner to go along with it.

These pail liners are machine washable-we just empty the diapers & inserts into the washer and toss the bag in right after. And since there are two, you’ll always have a liner in the pail even when it’s laundry day.

We also recommend getting a wet bag to keep in your diaper bag to contain dirty cloth diapers when you’re out of the house. We have one that came with our set of Adovely diapers but you can purchase one separately for pretty cheap like this Diaper For A Change, Inc on Amazon.

What about the water bill that will come crashing down on me like the hammer of Thor?? 

I work in finance so I know my numbers. I had always heard the retort that cloth diapers don’t save money or the environment because of the use and cost of water. This is simply a myth. After we switched to cloth diapers, I created a schedule in excel keeping track of how many times we washed our diapers in a week. Turned out we were averaging around 2-3 laundry days a week for a total of 12 a month. The damage?  Our water bill has gone up on average between $5-10 a month. This is nothing compared to the cost and waste of baby wipes and the plastic bags to contain them.

So what now?

If, after all this,  you’re still seriously considering cloth diapering but are not sure if your lifestyle can accommodate the washing and drying of cloth diapers then check back soon for Part III which will cover all the specifics of what diaper laundry entails. Our hope is that if you really feel strongly about cloth diapering but find it intimidating, you no longer will.

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