Everything you need to start cloth diapering your kids – Ever wanted to start using cloth diapers? I have the perfect guide for you to use!
“Wait… you WASH your diapers?!”
Yes, I do! And I LOVE it! Cloth diapering has been one of the best things I’ve ever done as a frugal mom. Especially now that I have 2 children in diapers, my savings in my monthly budget are crazy!
Cloth diapering has saved me so, so, SO much money. If you compare the costs of disposable diapering and cloth diapering, it’s just staggeringly less expensive.
That’s why I want to make sure that you know everything you need to start cloth diapering. I promise that it’s easier and less expensive than you think! 🙂
I was so excited to start! I wasn’t able to do it with my oldest son. But I finally had enough money saved to start cloth diapering my second son when he was 9 months old. I took the plunge and figured that I’d just need to do more laundry for the diapers. How hard can it be? I just need some cloth diapers, right?
Cloth diapering isn’t difficult. It really isn’t. But it can be messy. And confusing. There are so many rules about what you can and can’t do with cloth diapers.
To make life easier when you cloth diaper, there are some really helpful accessories to go along with your new cloth diapers. There is so much information out there about cloth diapering, and it can get very overwhelming.
And honestly, it feels like most places will tell you to buy super-expensive diapers, but that is just not necessary. Everything you need to start cloth diapering can be bought for less than $200. That might still sound like a lot, but I’ve been using the same diapers now for 4 whole years and it’s lasted me 2 sons from the time they were born through potty training!
Here’s everything you need to start cloth diapering.
First of all, you’ll need the cloth diapers.
I’ve been cloth diapering for going on 2 years and I’m still using the same diapers that I got from Amazon for $36 for 6 of them. Considering that there are some cloth diapers that are $20 per diaper, I think that this is a pretty killer deal. I bought 4 sets of them and they’re still going strong! No leaks, damage in plastic, absorbency trouble… nothing!
Ironically, I got some of the more expensive diapers (just to see the quality difference) and they’re the ones starting to show signs of wear and tear!
My biggest piece of advice before you start: Start with the cheaper diapers! Chances are good that you’ll wash them in boiling water and mess up the plastic, or use soap on them and make them waterproof. You don’t want to do that on 10 diapers that you just spent $200 on, do you?
I put getting off a diaper sprayer for a few months. I figured that it was unnecessary and that I could manage just fine without one. Until my then-6-month-old started eating solids and his little poos required some extra work to get out of the diaper. It really makes clean up easier and faster.
Pail with a lid
A pail with a lid keeps the stickiness contained. It’s easy storage for the dirty diapers that doesn’t look awful or stink up your whole house. You don’t need anything fancy, or a “cloth diaper specific” pail since anything branded like that is sure to have a crazy high markup. I used this medium-sized trashcan with a lid and a foot pedal. It works great for us!
Liner for the pail
You’ll need a good waterproof liner for the pail to hold all of the soiled diapers. This is the one that I use. I bought 2 of them so that I could wash them separately and then still have an extra one for the next load of diapers. Having two separate pail liners helps to decrease the wear and tear on both of them. Since instead of washing them every day, you are washing each one every 4-5 days. They’re worth the investment. I got a bigger one than I needed for my small pail just so that I could wrap it up inside of the pail to help contain the stinkiness even more.
I didn’t get a sprayer shield until about a month ago and I don’t know why I didn’t get one sooner! The only downside to the sprayer is that it can make a mess. And a nasty mess, at that! The sprayer shield just holds your diaper and keeps the spatter down to a minimum. It’s really so easy and really worth the investment. Otherwise, you’ll be deep cleaning your bathroom after each time you flush poo.
Cloth diaper specific laundry detergent
It sounds a little backward, but soap is really bad for cloth diapers. It gets into the fleece and the cotton inserts and builds up over time to make the diapers basically ineffective. It makes them waterproof and that’s the opposite of what you want! There are some really great cloth diaper specific detergents out there, but I’ve found that they’re very expensive for how much diaper laundry I go through. I started making my own for my babies with their super sensitive skin and it’s worked perfectly for almost 2 years!
Check out how I wash my cloth diapers the easy way here:
A drying rack
The diaper covers (the actual diaper part with the buttons or velcro) themselves shouldn’t be put in the dryer. It can ruin the plastic very quickly and that’s not something that you want after investing so much in these cloth diapers. A drying rack is the best way to dry the diapers. It’s also a great way to get them out into the sun to naturally bleach them (since chlorine bleach is another cloth diaper no-no).
The best thing to do when it comes to cloth diapering is to start!
Move past the mental block about touching poo or pee and just go for it! I can’t imagine having to spend money on diapers for 2 children all the time. There’s more work that goes into cloth diapering, but the savings are well worth it in the end!
Shirley Wood says
Having had children during the original cloth diapering ages, I’m a fan. Cloth diapers have come a long way! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday. I’m sharing this post on my FB page today.
Ashley Tukiainen says
Thanks for this! You just answered so many questions for me. I’m having my first in a couple weeks and I’d really like to do cloth diapering, but my husband is 100% against it (he’s afraid of excrement) so I’m trying to compile as much info as possible. maybe I can get him at least to agree to a 50/50 way of things.
I’m so glad that I helped Ashley! And, my husband is afraid of poo, too. It’s worth mentioning that with newborns all the way up to when they’re eating mostly solids (around 9 months), you don’t have to spray the diapers the clean off the poo because it’s mostly liquid and gets absorbed into the cloth anyway. Especially for breastfed babies because their poo doesn’t stink! I just take the diaper off the baby, pull out the liner to separate the liner and the diaper cover (the part that’s waterproof) before I put it into the diaper pail, and just throw it all in. It’s a LOT simpler than I thought when I first started.
This was such a helpful article. Thanks! I’m considering going back to cloth. I used cloth on my first son and am pregnant with my fourth. I switched to disposable because the thought of having two in cloth diapers was stressful but after reading your article, I just don’t think I had enough. Plus my husband will change babies in disposable but not in cloth. I’m curious though, what did you do for diaper rashes? Because with the cloth diapers I had, it ruins the diapers using any diaper cream. Also, how did you manage a cloth diaper system when traveling?
Hi Christie! My husband is the same way about changing poopy diapers in cloth. After 3 kids, you’d think the shock would’ve worn off! For diaper rashes I do a few things: 1) coconut oil if it’s a dry rash, or 2) plain ol’ cornstarch for a dry rash. On top of that, I change the diaper close to every hour or hour and a half. If the rash keeps getting worse, I look at the diapers to see if they might have ammonia build up which can cause actual ammonia burns (horrifying, but it can easily happen and be fixed by stripping the diapers). I accidentally used Butt Paste on diaper rash and had to scrub the ointment out with Dawn and a hard scrub brush. It worked, amazingly, but I was really worried that I had ruined a diaper! That said, for serious rashes, I break out the disposable diapers for 24-48 hours while I slather on the ointment and then return to cloth diapers.
When I travel, I do one of 2 things. If I’m going to be away for a long period of time, like going to the beach for a week, I bring all of my diapers and detergent, and plan to do wash while I’m there like a normally would at home. Plus at the beach, kids are in and out of diapers so frequently, it’s wasteful to use disposables for just one pee at a time! But if I’m going away for a weekend, most of the time I just use disposables for the ease of it all. Sometimes, if I know I’ll be gone more than just overnight, I’ll pack my laundry supplies and plan to do laundry wherever I am. But if it’s just overnight, I don’t have enough diapers that I would do in a load of laundry and I’m really not a fan of travelling in the car with 36ish hours of diapers that need to be washed, so I just use disposables. It all depends on where we’re going.
If I do bring cloth diapers while travelling, I bring a big wet bag with a zipper, my detergent in a little jar, and as many diapers as I need to bring. It’s not that tough, I swear! Sometimes the logistics make it easier to just bring some disposables for a weekend! I hope that helped!:)
what brands do you prefer/recommend on clothe diapers?
Honestly, Natasha, I just use whichever is cheapest off of Amazon! I’ve gotten BestoBaby and LBB before in the past and they have held up well for the past 2 years (and are still going strong!). I’m not sure that there’s actually any difference between them other than their name. They even have the same fabric patterns. But whatever it is, they work really well for not a whole lot of money!
Thanks for sharing this helpful article..