Most days I love cloth diapers, other days I’m okay with them, and some days I just don’t want to deal with them.

We still have and use disposable on occasion, mainly for overnight, super nasty and constant poop issues (teething) or when Vivi has an enormous gnarly rash that requires crazy amounts of various oils, potions and creams. Cloth diapers can be finicky and finding what works can sometimes be infuriating. After the recent yeasty beasty rash of 2012 I had all but given up ever using cloth again. However, going to the store to actually buy diapers for $20 a box physically hurt, and having to clean out the diaper pail? Whew. With cloth you have a never ending diaper supply, it’s a very comforting feeling. (The feeling is probably similar to breastfeeding, baby food! On demand! For free!)

Besides, they’re super cute.

a rainbow of cloth diapers.

It bums me out when someone turns their nose up and proclaims how gross and disgusting cloth diapers are when they’ve never used them. I am not loading my washing machine full of poo twice a week, in fact there isn’t even any poop in my house because it all gets flushed down the toilet where it belongs. (Technically you’re supposed to flush poop from disposables down the toilet too, but how many people actually do that?) Some people make their own diapers, some people buy the most expensive and convenient ones possible, some people find the cheapest option and make it work, while other people, like me, find a balance in all of the above.

What makes me qualified to talk about cloth diapers? Eh, not much. Aside from the fact that I’ve used them for a year now, I have traveled with them twice, I have a very difficult baby to fit (with all that chubby going on) and I did an extensive review for Babble wherein I tested over 20 different brands and styles of diapers, which is not something many people have the opportunity to do.

I finally feel like I’m at a place where I have found a groove, I’m no longer out there looking for the next best thing or something that works better than what I have. I have tried a lot, and I have my established favorites (as well as my well established not so favorites.) In list form, here’s the world of cloth diapering according to Casey.

  • I have four favorite brands (in no particular order.) BumGenius 4.0 are easy to stuff, hold up well, fit well and keep messes in, perhaps the easiest to use and most straight forward. Apple Cheeks with the bamboo insert (not the microfiber.) These ones fit *really* well, the insert actually shakes out in the wash on its own, and the bamboo insert is super soft and absorbent without too much bulk. Rumparooz are really well made, really absorbent (the two microfiber inserts snap to each other so there’s less sliding around) and they have inner gussets that keep the super leaky poop (and poop in general) under control and away from the edges.  OhKaty are my fourth favorite, they also fit really well, are crazy absorbent and come in the MOST delicious colors of any of the diapers I own.

thighs of POWER

  • Storing them. I have a three layer basket from The Container Store that holds all my clean diapers and accessories (wet bags, liners, wipes, sprays, and lotions.) I keep the dirty diapers in a big flip top garbage can with an elastic topped pail liner in it. Two pail liners is kind of a must, that way when you wash one you can just throw the other one in and continue to use your pail. Stink hasn’t ever been an issue, I have one pail liner from Planet Wise (fun colors) and one from Kissaluvs (boring white but supposedly antibacterial.) I could easily suggest either brand.

chubby cloth baby

  • Wet Bags. You use wet bags when you’re out and about to keep your clean and dirty diapers in. I have a Wet n’ Dry tote from Smitten Baby that I really like. The strap is starting to wear out but I use the crap out of it so I’m not all that surprised. I don’t like their customer service at all, which makes me sad, but they do make a really good product. Downfall? You have to hunt the Smitten Baby brand down, you can’t just buy one. I’ve bought one from Baby Steals and one from Zulily. Etsy also has a marvelous selection of wet bags.

cloth diaper butt flap.

  • Soap. Oh man. I swear to you I have used every soap ever suggested by anyone ever. We have a top loading HE machine and water so hard it actually hurts coming out of the faucet. I’ve settled on bumGenius diaper detergent and Rockin’ Green Hard Rock as my two favorites.  BioKleen Bac-Out is my most favorite way to strip and de-stink them. (I also use Borax as a water softener when I strip them.)

diapers in the sun

  • Dryer Balls. I hang dry my covers and put my liners in the dryer. I have four anti static dryer balls that keep the inserts (especially the microfiber) as fluffy as possible and cut down on the amount of static dramatically. The inserts also dry faster and more evenly with the balls. Vivi likes to run off with them when I’m folding laundry which leaves me storming through the house asking if anyone has seen my pink balls, that alone is kind of worth having some.
  • Poop. Some people dunk their poopy diapers in the toilet, others use a spatula, and some have a sprayer attached to their toilet. I use flushable liners because I want as little contact with poop as possible. Diaper liners are basically like thin biodegradable dryer sheets that you lay inside each diaper, they catch the solid stuff allowing you to simply dump it in the toilet without ever having to spray, rinse, dunk or touch. gDiapers has a diaper liner that is crap. Complete and utter crap, it dissolves when Vivi pees on it and turns into pulpy junk that ends up all over my inserts in the dryer. GroVia makes the best diaper liners out there. Don’t experiment with them, just buy the GroVia ones. Trust me on this one.

eight months-9929

  • Laundry Schedule. Diapers require a cold rinse to get rid of the nasties and remove proteins, then they require a hot wash with an extra rinse. I’ve found that if I start the cold rinse once Vivi’s in bed and then run a good hot wash cycle on them as I head to bed they’re ready to be hung out to dry the next morning. That way they’re not tying up the washer and I don’t have to wait for them to be done. I could kiss my washer and dryer on the face if they had one. I wash them every three days. I wish I had an outdoor line to dry them on but my HOA won’t allow such a thing.
  • Changing them. When Vivi was on the bottle her diaper had to be changed every two hours or less. Baby peed like it was her job. Now that she’s off the bottle and onto the sippy she can go three to four hours between changes assuming no poop is involved. Disposables have a chemical in them that turns pee to gel so it can’t leak out as easily, cloth diapers don’t have that feature so they can only hold so much before reaching capacity.

a rainbow of cloth diapers.

  • How many? When I first started I had 12, then I bought 6 more, more than enough for when I started at 4 months. (I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to cloth diaper a newborn, we’ll see.) At one time I had over 60 diapers because of the Babble review, I have whittled them down by passing many of them on to  friends and currently have around 30, which is a lot. The darn things are addictive with all the colors, patterns and styles available. You’ve been warned.

cloth diaper bum

  • Which ones are the cutest? Oy, there’s so many cute ones out there it’s stupid. OhKaty has the best solid colors with BumGenius in a close second. Bummis TotsBots fairy tale prints and GroVia have some of the cutest patterns. Emily loves the Bummis for Paul, I like them okay. I like the GroVia hybrids more than their AIO (all in ones) but both are good diapers.  Cloth diapers in general are cute, but some are certainly way more appealing than others.

vivi's cloth bum

  • Hybrids. Hybrid diapers are ones that can use a biodegradable liner or a reusable liner. The biodegradable liners are basically like giant maxi pads made from wood pulp while the reusable liners can vary from prefolds in a variety of different fabrics to a kitchen towel in an emergency. Bummis and GroVia make my favorite hybrid diaper shells while GroVia makes my favorite biodegradable liners. My favorite prefold is most anything made from bamboo or hemp (I really do like the Apple Cheeks bamboo inserts.) Natural fibers stain easier than synthetics, but synthetics can get smellier than natural fibers (think barnyard smell, if you smell a barnyard? It’s time to strip them.) Hybrids are also nice to have around if you have a gnarly rash that requires a cream you can’t use on your regular cloth diapers.

that ceiling fan is amazing.

vivi at the window

Is that it? I know there’s stuff I’m missing. Like stripping, oy. Stripping cloth diapers can be a CHORE. Keep up with it regularly and it won’t be such a hassle (or cause any untimely leaks or rashes.) Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me have ‘em.

I really do love cloth diapers, and if I can do it? You can do it. (More specifically, if Cody can do it? You can do it.)

********

This is my last time posting here on behalf of Disney Baby. Soon the site will launch and I’ll be sharing tips like this over there regularly! SO MUCH WISDOM! Thanks to Disney Baby for sponsoring this post.

Diapers by photo:  1) everything I own. 2) (black) OhKaty. 3) (white floral) Bummis Super Whisper Wrap over a Tots Bots Bamboozle. 4) (Blue Pattern) BumGenius 4.0. 5) Mixed, the green/purple/white/black one is a Bitti Tutto. 6) (Blue Pattern) BumGenius 4.0 7) More of what I own. 8 ) (pink hearts) Charlie Banana Designer Series. 9) (pink peacocks) GroVia Hybrid Shell. 10) (pink plain) Ones & Twos. 11) (green) GroVia AIO

Comments

  1. Chrysta says:

    Hudson came in the room while I was reading this in my reader. I had to click over to tell you that he was/is in awe of Vivi’s chub. He just kept repeating, “Wow. Chubby. Chub. That’s one chubby baby. Cute chubby baby. Wow.” And eight year old boy took notice of Vivi’s thighs. In a good way. :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrysta, It’s hard to miss.

  2. We mainly use disposable but sometimes cloth. But, without fail, as soon as we put our baby girl in a cloth diaper, she poops. It’s like she knows! We have a sprayer attachment, which works great.

    Casey Reply:

    @KDA, Maybe it’s because she’s so comfortable? Heh.

  3. Love this post. I use cloth on my 15 month old twins 75% of the time. I actually didn’t know about the grovia liners….(I just use cutiepoops pocket velcro diapers and those will be FANTASTIC!), I will be making a purchase today! Pretty sure that will save me a little of my remaining sanity. THANKS!

    Casey Reply:

    @Windy, Yeah, I bought the GroVia first then tried four other brands and they were all awful. GroVia forever from now on.

  4. I used cloth for my boys too. Loved Bum Genius! But really commenting on the deliciousness of your baby! I had skinny babies – not fair!

    Casey Reply:

    @Vicky, My best friend has skinny babies, I have no idea what she munches on.

    Vicky Reply:

    @Casey,
    plenty of munching on cheeks…just no thigh munching :(

  5. Laura W. says:

    Loved all the adorable Vivi pictures :) And you photograph things so beautifully-I’m actually feeling wistful about our cloth diapers. (We cloth diapered our son until he was 2.5, and our daughter until about eight months, but we had to give up when her rashes kept getting worse and worse).

    Casey Reply:

    @Laura W., I’m going to miss them. Which sounds stupid, but true.

  6. I miss my cloth diapers. P my youngest just turned 3 and is potty training. I can’t get him to put a cloth diaper on for the life of me. Most of them have been passed on to friends and family. I do still have our wool longies waiting to be sold or pasted on.

    I do have some great pictures of the boys in there fluff.

    We did wash like you

    Casey Reply:

    @saramd, I am going to miss them, which is why I have SO. MANY. PICTURES.

  7. Kristen says:

    Ok, wait. Am I missing something? This was a Lot of great info about cloth diapers, but did anyone else notice the mention of possibly trying them on a newborn in the future?
    Maybe I misread this, but I’m too curious to let it slide…
    If so, you’d get more use out of your diaper investment. Just saying.
    Oh, and those thighs! And that hair! Too adorable.

    Windy Reply:

    @Kristen, I used them on my newborn twins….more prone to leaking, but once they put a little chub on their legs and the diapers fit better, you are good to go!

    Windy Reply:

    @Windy, OH…I found velcro on newborns fit better because you could tighten them JUST right. :)

    Kristen Reply:

    @Windy,
    Thanks, but I wasn’t talking about me…I was wondering what Casey meant in her post about trying out newborn diapering and just trying to encourage her to give it a go :) in case she’s on the fence.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kristen, Give the newborn a go or the diapering a go?

    Casey Reply:

    @Kristen, 1,986 words about cloth diapers and THAT’S what you notice? Sheesh. ;)

    Kristen Reply:

    @Casey,
    Didn’t mean to offend. Just hopeful for another adorable chubby muse for you to diaper however you choose.

    Does it make you feel any better knowing I am out of the diapering stage and yet still read your entire post on it?

    Casey Reply:

    @Kristen, None taken! I guess I hadn’t really realized I’ve become okay with talking about another baby like it’s nothing (when it’s really everything)

    Rachael Reply:

    @Casey, It was not just you, Kristin! I noticed too. I also am nearing the end of diapering and yet still read this entire post… For no purpose at all I guess. Just because. And for Vivis chub.

  8. I noticed too……

    Casey Reply:

    @Amie, Man, I can’ slip anything past you guys. (No, I’m not, nor will I be anytime soon but it’s not totally off the table.)

  9. Im jealous of your stash!

    Casey Reply:

    @Jenny, I’ve been so fortunate to be able to pass so many on and get others on the cloth diaper wagon as well!

  10. My mom had no choice but to use cloth diapers on me as a baby but they didn’t have all those cute diaper covers in the *cough* late 70′s *cough*. My mom still has my ruffle butt covers and they look so uncomfortable!

    Casey Reply:

    @KaraB, Oh yeah, my mom used them on my sister and they were…not so great.

  11. I’m definitely bookmarking this. I clothed with my first and really want to again this time around. I exclusively used BumGenius 4.0s b/c I was afraid to experiment and spend even more money. It’s so nice to have a real account on which ones work well or don’t and why. Now I’m excited to start shopping for more. I think I have 12 from before, but the hook and loops need to be redone.

    Casey Reply:

    @Gamanda, Some companies will actually switch out your hook and loop for snaps, (groVia being one of them) Enjoy shopping for them, there’s so many cute ones out there.

  12. You wrote for Cottonbabies’ blog? I’m jelly.

    Casey Reply:

    @Emily, I still do! Twice a month!

  13. Sorry, I blacked out as soon as I saw those fat little leggies and now i have no idea what the rest of the post said…

    Holy CRAP. Your child is the poster child for adorable baby pudge. I cannot even stand the cuteness!

    Casey Reply:

    @Molly, Heh. They’re pretty cute right?

  14. Ok, so I’ll admit, it may be strange for me to comment on this post since A: I do not have babies in diapers any more and B: ain’t gone be no more babies up in here. BUT! OMG VIVI THIIIIIIIIIIGHS! I love them so. Her diapers are cute, too. THIGHS!

    Casey Reply:

    @Jen L., Which is exactly why I put so many photos of baby thighs in there, something for everybody!

  15. You. Rock.

    I am a CDing for two months (started when my boy was 4mos), and it’s been so hard to not be totally overwhelmed by information on the webs! This post cleared up quite a few questions I still have, made me feel like I’m on the right path, and gave me some great ideas for laundering and new brands to add.

    Thanks Casey!

    Casey Reply:

    @anna {girlwithblog}, Oh yes! I put off starting late because I was SO overwhelmed. I’m not sure how anyone can not feel overwhelmed!

  16. No baby yet–due Dec 4, if all goes well. This is brand new territory! I’m starting to look into things and would like to try a hybrid system. The three main options I’ve found are GDiapers, GroVia, and Flip. I don’t like having to buy different sizes for the G’s so am leaning towards the other two.

    I don’t want constant laundry and worrying about build-up and stripping. What’s your opinion on using disposable liners full time? How does the price compare with boxes of diapers? I would like to save money and the idea of no chemicals. I’m just worried they won’t be as absorbent as regular cloth liners and will have more leaks. How often do the shells need to be washed when using disposables?

    Thanks in advance!

    Casey Reply:

    @Rachel, Disposable liners will never be as absorbent as disposable diapers (or cotton prefolds) meaning you’ll have to change them more often and they are going to be around $0.50 a change whereas chemical free disposables (Honest Company for example) are around $0.30 a diaper. Classic disposables (Huggies, Pampers…) are around $0.15 a diaper. Shells can go through 3-5 wet changes before needing to be switched out, if there’s poop involved it will depend on if poop got on the shell or not.
    Green Mountain Diapers makes cotton prefolds that are super cheap and really affordable (and loved by so many people) that would be easy to clean and keep up with as long as you use the right soap and hang dry your shells.

  17. I’m curious about the GroVia liners you mentioned. You said that you’ve tried over 5 types and these were THE BEST because they didn’t turn into pulpy diaper clogging sludge when wet which I’m totally down for.

    We are expecting our first in Nov and are prep-ing for full time CD-ing but one thing we keep talking about is liners vs sprayer. I’d love to do liners but we are all on septic here and I’m worried that if a liner is durable enough to hold up to diaper duty, it might also be so durable that it doesn’t degrade properly in a septic system (in fact GroVia liners specifically state use at your own risk in a septic) Are there any liners that are maybe not QUITE as tough as GroVia but are definitely septic safe that you would recommend?

    Casey Reply:

    @Jaime, If you are on septic I wouldn’t do liners at all, the thought just makes my skin crawl. I used apple cheeks, gDiapers, Kushies and Bummis.
    Second to the GroVia was the Bummis, they broke up a little bit in the diaper but made poop flushing easier. The other ones, oy. Specifically gDiaper liners, they were thick and nasty and just fell apart into chunky pieces that turned into lint and fluff all over ALL my laundry. They didn’t even make flushing poop easier.
    People either love or hate sprayers, I think it depends on how good your water pressure is and how well it is installed. (I’ve been known to take some tragic diapers in the back and spray them with the hose when I’m just not up for scraping.
    I’m a big believer in liners, and if you were to use, say the Bummis ones, you would only be flushing a few depending on how often your kid poops (Vivi’s at about once, maybe twice per day.) When she’s just wet we put the used liners in compost.
    So it’s not as though you would be flushing a whole roll down a day.

    VDog Reply:

    @Jaime, I’d just use micro fleece or flannel liners. They work the same-ish but you have to wash them. I use them b/c I’m on septic as well.
    Lift the liner up out of the diaper, turn into the toilet & pray it all falls off. Haha.

    VDog Reply:

    Oh I forgot to add that you can make your own no-sew ones if you have pinking shears (or can borrow some) out of old flannel baby blankets (or sheets or shirts or whatever) or get some micro fleece from the fabric store. The MF won’t fray but the flannel will a bit.

  18. Courtney says:

    I have to say, I cloth diapered a newborn, and it was kind of a pain in the tush (you have to say “tush” instead of ass when you’re a parent, you know). We had a diaper service then, though, so it wasn’t bad in terms of laundry, just that we were using old-fashioned prefolds.

    My faves are definitely the BG 4.0s, and I’m really hoping we have a girl this time so I can get some new girly covers. We also use Smartipants because the insert comes out in the wash, which made them easier to send to daycare (nothing for them to do but throw them in the bag).

    They’re the best for us for nighttime, too. We use BG 4.0s stuffed with two hemp inserts and a microfiber insert because my boy can PEE. Disposables are no match for him.

    And I totally agree about velcro vs. snaps. I used to get them nice and snug on J, and as soon as he would sit up they would bust open! Gah. He did have such a pot belly . . .

    Um, and that’s my cloth diaper rant for the day.

  19. I also started at 4 month, largely because of you, Casey, but also bc a friend lent me some and now I’m hooked.
    Also my daughter kept peeing out of the disposables every night. With cloth I don’t have to change her at night and I don’t have to worry about it because she’s not sitting in chemicals for 10-12 hours!
    Love your stash and your pics and OF COURSE your baby (THIGHS!!!!).

  20. Cassie Beckstrand says:

    I LOVE her deliciously chubby legs. Like, oh so much! Your girls are growing up so fast and are as beautiful as ever.

  21. Perhaps it is because I don’t have children to diaper, but, what I got out of the 1,986 words on cloth diapers was that your HOA won’t allow you to have an outdoor clothesline. That makes me sad.

  22. michelle davis says:

    I am wanting to start using CD and i have a 15 month old boy , i just bought 2 AIO what else do i need for them ? i wanna try it out and see how it does before i send lots on more CD..

    Casey Reply:

    @michelle davis, You don’t need anything else really as long as you have a good cloth diaper friendly soap.

    Casey Reply:

    @michelle davis, (I mean, if you like them, then you can invest in a few more things, but just for trying them you only need a good soap.)

  23. I’m so glad I discovered this post! I’m just about to give up on cloth diapering … but now feeling re-energized. Sophie keeps leaking out the sides. It’s not a volume issue. I can’t figure out why it keeps happening. Do you have any advice? Our stash is mostly “gently used.” I’m wondering if I need to strip them? Thanks so much for this post. Had never heard of the liners … checking Amazon right now …

    Casey Reply:

    @suzanne @ pretty swell, Yes, strip them. And depending on the age of your baby they pee a whole lot more between 9-12 months, Vivi has slowed down on the pee dramatically now that she’s dropped milk.

  24. One more question … where do you find the best deals on cloth diapers? Zulily?

    Casey Reply:

    @suzanne @ pretty swell, Cotton Babies has buy 5 get one free on occasion, Zulily, ecobabybuys.com and babysteals.com are also good places (but not very reliable as far as when they’ll come onto the site or the brands.) Smartipants are another really good and affordable brand.