Cloth Diapering 101

By Polly Conner

Cloth diapering. Isn’t that something that hippies who don’t shave their armpits do?

OK, so maybe that is stereotyping a bit, but I realized very quickly that not everyone is so keen on the idea of cloth diapering. At my baby shower, I could tell that many people were skeptical about the idea and confused as to why I would even consider it. Many people think cloth diapering is still folding flat diapers, pinning them in place, and covering them with plastic. And the clean up?  Don’t even think about it.

If that were the case, I’d be disinterested too. However, many people have missed the amazing evolution that cloth diapering has gone through. The cloth diapers I use are not only super easy to use and to keep clean, but they are also so darn cute! Add the amount of money we are saving on diapers and it’s a win-win for our family.

Why Cloth Diaper?

Gosh, there is a lot I could write about here but I’ll try to keep it simple. If you want the hard facts on cloth diapering, including the benefits to the environment, your baby’s health, and your budget, visit Real Diaper Association. It’s got loads of information.

For me, simply put, I like cloth diapering for a lot of reasons:

– It saves loads of money (especially if you get your diapers as gifts or find a good deal on ebay or craigslist)
– It is better for the environment
– It keeps chemical-laden products off of my baby’s sensitive areas
– It’s not much more work than disposable diapers
– I personally love the way they look!

It’s Not for Everyone

I get the sense there is a little pride among cloth diapering moms. I don’t want to be like that. As with any parenting choice a mom makes, we should strive to not be legalistic. Just because it works great for one mom doesn’t mean it is the best choice for every mom. In fact, I didn’t even start using our cloth diapers until our daughter was 7 months old. This was because my gal would get a mysterious rash on her tush when we used them. I’ll never figure out what caused it, but I learned from that experience that not every baby and mom is meant to use cloth diapers-even if they want to! I write this post not in an attempt to guilt trip moms into cloth diapering but with the hopes that they will not rule it out because of lack of information. If you’ve made an informed decision to not cloth diaper, power to you. I don’t judge you. Hopefully other moms won’t either.

What Brand Do You Use and How Many Should You Have?

I’m a Fuzzibunz mom through and through. I like their durability, their ability to grow with my child, and their ease of use. I like that the One Size FuzziBunz will fit my little one from newborn to 2 years old. I like their colors and style. I’ve also heard from trusted resources that BumGenius diapers, Flips diapers, and Charlie Banana are also good. I can’t personally recommend them though.

As far as how many to get…well, it’s really up to you and how much you want to do laundry. You could get by with 12, but I don’t want to do laundry that often. I have around 24 and that is MORE than enough. We’d probably do fine with 15 or 16. I do a load every other night after she goes to bed. It’s been a good system for us.

Another point worth mentioning is that we don’t use cloth diapers 100% of the time. When we travel, we use disposables. If we have a babysitter, we give them the option of using a disposable. If we know she is due for big ol’ poo, we use a disposable. It’s not like you have to do all or nothing. Make it work with your family, life, and schedule.

Ummm, So How Do You Wash These?

This is probably the most common concern when it comes to cloth diapers. I know it was mine, especially pre-baby when you aren’t used to getting your hands a little dirty. Here’s the deal: Every cloth diapering mom has their method and opinions on this subject. Different methods work better for different moms and babies. It takes some trial and error before you get in your own groove with it all.

Before we introduced solids, my daughter was on 90% breastmilk. We didn’t even have to rinse the poops off of the diapers. We just unstuffed the diaper (pull the insert out) and dumped it into the dirty diaper bag for washing later.

When solids entered the picture, that all changed. Here are two options:

1) Use a diaper sprayer

When there is a solid in the diaper, simple take it to the toilet, fling it in there and rinse with a diaper sprayer. It takes a little practice to get the technique down to where you don’t spray any water OUT of the toilet but once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that hard.



2) Use flushable liners

(update: flushable liners were the culprit of a sewage back up in our home. If you have an older home with questionable plumbing, don’t use them. If you have a nice new home with clean PVC pipes, flush away!) 

After using these the first time, I sent a text to my husband saying, “Flushable liners = awesomeness.” They are great! You can buy these in rolls of 100 or more. They are like a dryer sheet that allows moisture to pass through but serves as a filter for solids. So when your baby does poop, you can just peel off the liner and dump it all in the toilet. I also like that you flush the poo so you don’t have any stink in your nursery. Occasionally, the liner won’t catch all of the goodies so it’s nice to have a diaper sprayer as an alternative option.


As far as washing goes, we currently do a load of diapers every other night. This works pretty well for us. Here’s the recommended process:

1) Run a rinse cycle with cold water, no detergent. This gets all the yuck dissolved and out of the way before the real wash.

2) Run a cycle of hot water and cold rinse with detergent. I use Charlie’s Soap. I’ve also heard good things about Rockin’ Green.

3) Dry on LOW or air dry. Sun drying the diapers actually helps prevent stink AND helps prevent any staining.

Show Me More!

Sometimes it’s just easier to see something rather than read about it. With that in mind, I whipped up a video to give you a visual of Fuzzibunz Diapers and how they work. Hopefully this can help you get a holistic picture of what cloth diapering is like.

Be sure to check out my most recent post about cloth diapering in which I update some of my information!

(Like this post? Check out other posts specifically written for pregnant women and new moms!)

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23 replies
  1. Kelsea says:

    What brand of diaper sprayer do you have? The link in your post no longer works and I’m looking for a recommendation. Thanks!

  2. Aline says:

    Hi! thank you for the review, but especially for the video showing your baby! I just bought fuzzybunz diapers and will start using them when my baby comes along and your review and video were very helpful!

  3. Kristi says:

    I am a cloth diapering mom too and love it! I use Bum Genius & Fancy Pants diapers. I have about 24 total. I just wanted to share what I’ve learned to possibly help a new to cloth mom. The hook & loop (velcro) tends to wear out quickly, I had to add snaps to mine. Never use fabric softner and be careful about the type of detergent you use, because it will cause the diapers to stop absorbing. Some babies are allergic to the fabric they use for pocket diapers, which probably caused your babies rash, Polly. Most babies grow out of this quickly. My baby only had a slight rash once or twice due to running out of sensitive wipes, a major plus for cloth diapering. And just an FYI, I found to be the least expensive.

  4. Kersten says:

    Love this! Thank you for posting it. We have baby #2 on way and I’m going to stay home this time and am considering cloth diapers to help on budget! Reading this makes me feel better about it 🙂

  5. Abi says:

    I am a HUGE fan of cloth diapers. We are using them with our second child and wish I would have made the plunge when we had our first! It really is not that much extra work compared to disposable. The hardest part for me was to get my husband on board, and although he sneaks disposables in here and there he enjoys the money we have saved this time around! I also have used them on my three year old during nap time (we use pull-ups at night) with an extra insert and that has saved us a little money on pull-ups! Plus she likes the fun colors : ) We used Real Nappies until she was 6 months then I found a great deal on ebay for BabyLand diapers and fell IN LOVE with them!

    • Polly says:

      I haven’t heard of BabyLand Diapers. I’ll have to look into them!
      That’s really resourceful of you to use them in place of a pull up.
      I’ve also heard cloth diapering leads to faster potty training. Did you find this to be true?

  6. Bonnie says:

    I too am a cloth diaper fan. I have tried numerous brands and found that for our family the Flip diaper system has been a big win. The Flip covers are not a pocket diaper (no fleece lining) so you can reuse the cover as long as you change out the insert and there wasn’t a big poo. Fuzzibunz weren’t an option for us because we don’t have a dryer in Korea to quickly dry out the thicker inserts so we had to be creative and ended with the Flip system. Great post. I love cloth diapers and I’m not a hippie either. 🙂

    • Polly says:

      I’ve heard that the Flip diaper system is pretty good from other moms as well. Glad cloth diapering has worked so well for you- even without a dryer!


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