Considering Cloth?

Some of you are going to think I'm totally NUTS- but lately, I've been reading a lot about cloth diapering and I'm thinking of trying them out, now that Maranatha's going through only a few diapers a day. Coming to the place of being open to this idea has taken a process of reading about them, hearing from friends that cloth diapering isn't as difficult as it used to be, and that it's a huge money saver. It's an idea with merit that's worth more than a cursory glance.

If you're remotely interested in cloth diapering (or even just morbidly curious, which is where I was just a few months ago), you'll want to check out some excellent and informative resources I've found:

  • NEED MOTIVATION? Once again I find myself thanking Sara for challenging us in these "green" areas (that's green for the environmental perspective, not green for what you may find in the cloth diapers you use because of your environmental perspective! :) Sara has written "Choose Cloth", which will challenge you to think reusable rather than disposable in a WIDE variety of areas! (Ever heard of cloth toilet paper? No? Well then head on over to Sara's place and prepare to have your eyes bug out opened, friend!)
  • NEED CONVINCING? Here an article that explains that regular people actually still use cloth diapers.
  • NEED INFORMATION? Here is an excellent website that explores all the ins and outs, all the "why?"s, "how?"s, and "which ones are best?" kind of questions you might ask about cloth diapering. With a variety of articles, this is an excellent resource for finding out all about cloth diapers.
  • NEED RECOMMENDATIONS? Read these mother-written reviews of various cloth diapering options to get a feel for what products are tried-and-true according to mom.
  • NEED HELP SORTING OUT OPTIONS? This article, HOW DO I CHOOSE?, is helpful for sorting through all the varieties and options and getting a feel for how to start cloth diapering.
I'm in the process right now of deciding whether to buy and what to buy in this whole area. I figure right now is a great time to start, if I'm going to... I don't have a newborn, so I won't have NEAR as much laundry while I'm getting acclimated to cloth diapers as I would if I were starting with a new baby. What's more, I have a dryer here, which I won't have when we move back overseas, so it will be easier to start here and now than at some later time in some other place.

What say you? Do you use cloth diapers? Have you ever? Would you? Does the idea alone send shivers down your spine? Let me hear from you!


Kim said...

I have a good friend who reminds me of you. At any rate, she tried cloth diapering with her second child, and used disposables only when going out, to church or whatever. At any rate, the disadvantage was that she started them before she moved to a new house 120 miles away, and so she got off track and never got back on. So I guess just be sure it is a transition you feel as though you can make.

I think it's awesome though, and I totally would do it!

Tracy said...

I used cloth diapers for a while with my first and second children. They were similar to the ones that you show here. They were called Bumkins, and were lined with a soft cotton flannel. They really did work very well. Velcro tabs and no pins. The outside was a buttery soft fabric that was waterproof. I never had trouble with leaking, etc. Unfortunatley, these were VERY pricey, and did wear out after a while.

I had a friend who used old fashioned cloth, and I couldn't stand to hold her baby. He smelled like urine, even when he was dry. Perhaps she didn't use bleach, or ... I really don't know. Maybe it was the old fashioned rubber pants that were the culprit.

In any case, I'd say go for it. BTW, the bumkins wore out because of the dryer, I think.

Sara said...

Do it! Cloth dipes are so much better in so many ways. And the Kissaluvs that you have in the photo are one of my favorites for newborns. They are so soft. It can be very overwhelming when you're just good friend Sarah has a great resource page here:

I'd love to answer any questions for you...we loved it. We have done pretty much everything with cloth dipes...camping, flying, you name it. Have fun!

Mrs. Brigham said...

We have used cloth since day one with our daughter and love it. I have been planning to write about cloth diapers later on this week as part of my "Young, Crunchy Mama series" as I must share the goodness of cloth with everybody :o) lol.

My daughter's diaper stash consists maninly of unbleached chinese prefolds, but we have purchased several pocket diapers and AIOs to try. AIOs are used just like disposables, except they are cloth. I do know a lot of people who LOVE them, but I have found them to be a pain to dry and not worth the high price tag. Pocket diapers look much like an AIO except they have a pocket that you will stuff with a "stuffer" or a prefold. The ones we own have an inner lining made of fleece and the outside in PUL. These are nice for grandparents por babysitters who may be reluctant to learn prefold usages. I have head some people also refer to them as "Daddy Diapers". lol.

I originally figured prefolds would be a lot of work, but they were the more frugal option so I went with them. We purchased 40 infant premium prefolds, six medium size Prorap covers, two Snappi fasteners, and several doublers for nighttime. We spent maybe $70 tops for our whole diaper stash. I did wind up needing to purchase about twenty preemie dipes after my daughter arrived early, but once she hit ten pounds, she was able to use the sizes we had purchased with just a little extra folding.

Prefolds are SO easy to use. I was terrified that I would never master the folding, but have to laugh at myself now. I just lay the diaper under my daughter and then take the front, fold it slightly, pull up the back and snap it together with a snappi and then cover with the cover. it is really a breeze. We use our cloth diapers when we are out and about and just carry a "wetbag" in the diaper bag to keep them in until we get home. We have even cloth diapered through two moves, including a two day drive, and never felt inconvenienced by there usage.

Washing diapers is REALLY easy. I purchased a spatula at a dollar store and will use that to scrap "solid matter" into the toilet and then I just throw the diaper into the wet bucket for laundry day. I use a mix of vinegar, water, and a few drops of tea tree oil in my wet bucket. On laundry day, I just throw the diapers into the washer like a regular load. The only difference in the extra rinse cycle that I turn on for this load. About once a week, I add baking soda to the wash water, along with the detergent, and apple cider vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. This combination helps to get any odors out of the diapers. For drying, sometimes I use a clothesline, other times I dry in the dryer on low heat.

I handwash the diaper covers and then hang them over the shower curtain rod to dry overnight. The covers are not changed each and every time you change a diaper, but only need to be changed should they be soiled. If they are not soiled, then a fresh one just needs to be used once a day.

My favorite site to buy diapers and everything baby is Cloth Diapers 'N More:
They offer several well priced diaper packages. You can find ones with all one particular type of diaper or packages that contain an assortment. They also sell great slings, postnatal care items, nursing items, and other baby needs items.

Sheesh, I wrote a novel! Can you tell I love cloth diapers?!? ;o) If you have any diaper questions, I would be happy to answer them if I am able. :o)

Sara said...

In response to Tracy's comments...

Cloth diapers ARE more expensive up front, but you will save literally thousands of dollars because these diapers can be used for more than one child.

Your friend's child's diapers probably weren't getting clean...but it's very, very easy to get diapers clean without using harsh chemicals like bleach. There is also a common misconception that you have to use a "wet pail" for diapers to soak in before washing. We never did...and I don't know many moms who do. A dry pail is fine. We used a stainless steel lidded step can with a wet bag as a liner. When it was time to wash, we would just grab the whole bag and dump it in the wash. And no...there aren't any poop chunks left later :)

And yes, anything that is plastic "should" be line dried for maximum performance...they will last much longer, although you can dry them on low in the dryer as well.

Every child has a different not every diaper will work for every baby. Some diapers fit better on babies with skinnier legs, tummies, etc. It's a matter of finding what works for you and sticking with it until you do. Don't just try one kind and give up because they "leaked", etc. There is always a solution to the problem.

Buffy said...

You have my wholehearted approval on behalf of the environment. I love the nappies in the picture - how colourful! I am linking to you again, hope this is OK.

BTW it was nice to see you leaving a comment, I hope you enjoy the film The Painted Veil as much as I did.

Anna S said...


I've read many of your posts through links on LAF, but never commented before.

I don't have children yet, but my mother says she used only cloth diapers with me. She claims she tried disposables once and stopped because they caused me to sweat a lot and I had a horrible rash because of it (there. That's quite a morbid confession, I know :P)

Cloth diapers are definitely better for our pocket, our environment and children's health. The only thing one may have to say against them is the convenience factor...

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy we used cloth diapers with our three children. We saved a TON of money, and once I had my system established for laundering there really wasn't much to think about.

I started with 2 dozen prefolds (I had the Gerber, which are thinner, and the Dundee, which are beefier). When each new baby came along, I would buy one dozen new diapers, to supplement the existing supply. I used the type of waterproof pants that were almost like a nylon windbreaker material. The diaper pail was kept right next to the toilet and we would swish any solids off before putting the soiled diaper into the pail. Some baking soda added to the soaking water in this pail kept odors to a minimum.

I washed diapers every other day, using bleach & Dreft. On a windy day I could hang the load outside (this kind of whipped the cloth into a more, shall we say, user-friendly softness!). Other times I just threw them into the dryer.

Our kids did not suffer any extreme cases of diaper rash because of cloth diaper use. I believe that's a myth that anti-cloth proponents will put out there. Actually, their skin was usually quite healthy-looking and

One thing that you may want to be aware of if you switch to cloth, is that almost all ready-made infants & children's clothing is cut to fit the trimmer profile of the disposables. I found this kind of annoying sometimes. Sewing some of my kids' clothes did help, as did sizing up one size for their little jeans, etc. and then just turning the cuffs.

Good luck to you! I think you'll be happy if you make the switch.

best wishes-

Anonymous said...

From an aussie perspective: I used cloth for my first 3 -4 children. No prefolds here, though (didn't know they existed!), Just terry-towelling squares to fold into various shapes depending on newborn or older, boy or girl, and pinned together. ALWAYS hung outside - the sun bleaches them white, and stops them smelling. Plastic pants to cover. I became lazy with babies 4-6 and went to disposables (mostly). By then, disposables had become cheaper too. Have fun experimenting!
Sim in Oz.

Catherine said...

We used cloth with my first - just your basic diapers with DiaperWrap brand covers. It was extra washing, but cheaper than disposable. When my son came along, we used a diaper service for a while (money was less of an issue). We eventually went to disposables because my dh was the stay-at-home parent and it was much easier and quicker for him to change disposables when he was out and about. Cloth is a little extra work, but worth it.


P.S. Got to your blog from the Sonlight forums.

Anonymous said...

This is my first baby (out of 5)to wear cloth and I am terrible sorry I waited so long- so much money wasted! My daughter has less rashes with cloth than she had with disposables. They are much easier to use than I thought they would be. My husband thought they would smell but they only stink while being washed. BTW, I never used a spatula or whatever for BMs. I use an old pair of latex gloves and rinse them out by hand in the toilet. I wash them approximately three times per week- one cold water soak/wash (w/regular amount of detergent), one hot wash (2T detergent), one warm wash (no detergent). A clean cloth diaper should be completely odorless. I always tumble dry the diapers (not the covers) because my daughter didn't like the rough texture of the line-dried ones. I love super snap bummi's for the covers.(bigger babies undo velcro as fast as they undo diposable diaper tabs!) Great website for supplies and instructions:
Best wishes,

Serena said...

I just started using cloth diapers for my daughter. The developing thoughts that you expressed are pretty much the same as mine. After going to cloth menstrual products for myself, I realized it was a bit hypocritical of me to be sticking disposables on my daughter. She also was getting horrible diaper rashes, which have stopped since switching to cloth.

I had a gift certificate for a baby store here in town, so I went and purchased two diaper covers (all the gift would buy), thinking that I could, at the very least, put her in cloth at night (I know, the opposite of logical thinking). The covers I got are cot'n wraps (the only ones the store had), and I LOVE them. They fit my daughter perfectly. I do want to get some wool covers, but haven't gotten around to it. My daughter stays drier at night with the cloth diapers. She was waking up with her pajamas wet before.

I still use some disposables, mostly when we're out and about, because I'm not 'officially' set up for cloth diapering. I just started using my old burp cloths, which are cloth prefolds, and didn't actually purchase any more diapers. I DO need to get more covers. I think I could manage it with a few more covers, and doing laundry every day to two days. I also don't have a wet bag, which has me reluctant to cloth diaper when we're out all day.

I am painfully slow in changing cloth diapers. I can't seem to pre-layer. I have to do it one layer at a time. Because of this, with our next baby, I think I may try some all-in-ones for the first few months, to make it easier for me, AND so that my husband can do some diaper changing! Changes are 99% my domain, but I'm not willing to give up that 1% when I have a newborn! (I really like my prefolds, though.)

I got some diaper liners and Snappis from, and was very impressed with their service. I ordered on Saturday and got it on Monday. I was thrilled!

Sorry about the looong comment. You don't have to publish this if you want. Excellent post, as usual, Jess!

Help meet said...

We did combo cloth and disposable diapers on both our kids. Thats the advantage of being a SAHM! Your not bound to the disposable diaper for the daycare's sake! I actually had fun with it, I mean what is cuter than a baby in a cloth diaper!
With the dirty ones, I just shook out the poopy into the toilet and put it into a pail full of a water / vinegar solution to soak. Then I'd wash them myself.
One more advantage, I found it was easier to potty train with cloth diapers because my oldest could actually feel when he went potty in a cloth diaper.

Jana said...

I used disposables with my first two, and with the last, I went with cloth and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! I wish I had done it with the first two.

heather said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for sharing your stories!

Since discovering Sara's blog from this one, I have been so challenged and encouraged to be bold in making healthy environmental choices. I have long leaned in that direction, but have not done too well implementing things. Reading the stories of others is so great! It reaffirms that "I can do it!" feeling.

I considered cloth diapers with my firstborn, changed my mind because of negative comments from others and my own apprehensions. Even my doctor, at the time-we have since switched, told me all about the terrible rashes from cloth and how you "really" don't save anything by doing it, but said, "it is your decision." I was even give some wonderful homemade cloth diapers which I have used as burp rags.

I have some apprehension still, but I am moving more and more in the cloth direction. I read Sara's post on cloth toilet paper and at first was floored that people use that, but after reading it, I am so open to that idea!

I think my cloth journey is about to begin, with baby #3. I am already reducing our paper towel usage and buying more rags. I have no excuse as I now have a wonderful washer and dryer and a place for a clothesline-I just need to hang it up.

Hannah said...

I began using cloth diapers with our fourth chilld and agree that they are pretty easy to use. By the fourth child, I was doing loads of laundry every day and it wasn't any extra work at all. Unfortunately, Ella (the fourth) has very sensitive skin and as an infant was plagued with constant hives and rashes. When I briefly switched to disposables for a trip overseas, I found her constant hives and rashiness disappeared. I think her case is not the norm though because I've never heard of anyone else getting hives from cloth. I was using no allergy detergent and the dryer when laundering them, so I know that was not the issue. I do miss them and now that her skin issues have calmed down, I am considering trying them again.

CappuccinoLife said...

We use cloth diapers, I would say "most of the time". I simply do not have the quality diapers necessary for nighttimes with no leakage, so I use disposables at night, and for when we're out several hours ('cause I'm lazy!)

I mostly use prefolds and flat ones (which I fold myself), with wraps that I got on Ebay. No problems with smells or washing. Toddler poops have been an issue. they *do* leave chunks in the washer if I don't get it all off in the toilet first. Yuck.

Susan Tipton said...

Personally I think cloth can't be beat. I use a dry diaper pail. Then wash every day to two days by doing a cold rinse cycle then a heavy wash cycle in hot with detergent I make from Naptha, washing soda and borax (you heat it until it forms a gel, i make 5 gallons every 3 months). Costs a penny a load. I never use bleach and have no stains.

I use a combination of flat birds eyes and hemp flats with snappis. I think my entire diaper hoard cost $50. The only time my older kids have complained about him smelling is the rare times we've been traveling and the baby's worn disposables. They think that perfume/urine smell of disposables really gross.

I knit wool covers to go over the diapers. The few times I tried aio's I thought they were more trouble to get clean and dry, not to mention the cost and some of the brands seem to wick all the moisture onto the baby's clothing.

I have 6 children with one on the way. I've done it both ways in the past and always prefer the cloth. I don't find it extra work. Nor do I find cloth any more likely to leak than disposables. It always amuses me how hard some people like to make you think cloth is.

Kelly said...

We use cloth, and I actually have the pricier ones,, and LOVE them. They're one size fits most, so my son used them as an 8lb newborn and my mostly-potty-trained 40lb 3yo wears them at night. Yes, they're pricey, but you could ask for them as a gift (I plan to exclusively ask for these diapers for my next baby's shower). Cloth is so much nicer on baby's skin. We do the spatula for solid matter too. We're big fans of cloth here. :)

FutureMom said...

We used cloth almost exclusively for my older son. We even took week long trips (both car and plane) using cloth. He used Huggies overnights only when the double/triple stuffed Fuzzi Bunz couldn't hold his night time pee. He toilet trained fairly easily (but then again, the daycare folks did most of it for me).

For my 2nd son, we used them exclusively for about the first year, then switched to disposibles at night, then used disposibles on vacations, now, he is in disposibles all the time but I keep hoping he will toilet train soon and we can be done with them. I wish we'd stayed in cloth (and had daycare help us toilet train), but it's too late for that now.

We used the least expensive method, I think. Flat (fold 'em yourself) diapers and velcro (Bummi) covers. We used a dry pail and washed 2-3 times a week.

Julie said...

My daughter is 2. Is it too late for me to switch to clothe diapers? Where did you buy yours from? Is there a web site?

Jess said...

Hi Julie,
Good questions. I bought mine used (yes I know, to some people that may seem totally "ick"), but I wanted to see how I liked them before I paid full price.

Here are the kinds I like so far:
Kissaluvs Fitted Cloth Diapers with a Super Whisper Wrap Cover, and BumGenius All-In-Ones(mine are the old kind, with super-soaker inserts, but this new kind looks great!). People vary in which ones they like. I'd just search the web, search eBay, search around, to find the best price for what you're after.

I don't think it's too late to start, particular if you're going to have more kids. The approach I took was that I'd go ahead and start while my daughter is a little older, so I can get used to them. That way, if/when another one comes along, I won't be learning as I go (with a newborn using 12+ diapers every day!).

Hope this helps.

Julie said...

Thank you so much, Jess! I'll surf around ebay and see what I come up with. Really, I should just potty train my girl. But, I don't think I'm ready for that!

I am totally new to all of this 'natural' stuff. I grew up on Pampers and instant mashed potatoes and Jiffy peanut butter. I had no idea that a different world existed! One that makes a difference for the environment and my family's general health.

I'm making small changes so far. The diaper thing would be my first big one for the family.

I just stopped using shampoo and am now using baking soda. My hair feels gross. Could be because I'm using it daily instead of giving my hair a break. I bought apple cider vinegar today hoping that would help. We'll see.

I'm glad to have found your blog. I'll keep snooping around and see what else I might try!

Bobbie-Jo said...

I used cloth almost exclusively for my first, even long car trips, and my second also got hives/eczema from cloth. I tried again with number three, but had so many little ones and some post-partum depression that I couldn't carry on with the workload. After that I got rid of ALL my cloth diapers. We have now adopted three boys, all came in diapers. One is potty trained now, but the other two (1 1/2 and 2) will be a while yet. So I am looking for some good cloth diapers for older babies.

Sara's blog just got me started on cloth toilet paper (most of us here LOVE it) so switching from Pampers to cloth diapers will be no sweat!