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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hook and Loop (Velcro) or Snap? Snap. Hook and loop is easier for sure but as soon as I get a hook and loop strapped onto Vivi? SHE RIPS IT OFF. Snaps last longer anyway. I wrote about hook and loop vs. snap on Cotton Babies if you want more on the topic.
- Wipes. So the thought of using cloth wipes grossed me out in the beginning. But if you use disposable wipes you’ll have to throw them away separately before dumping the poo unless you like clogging your toilet (which I don’t, at all.) I use one flushable wipe initially, then do detail work with cloth wipes and a bum spray (you can make your own, use a spray bottle. I prefer California Baby Diaper Area Wash, one bottle lasts a really long time.) My favorite wipes are Charlie Banana. So soft, double layered. Trust me on this one.
- Wool Diaper Covers. I have them. Um, I’ve used them. I’m still testing. I’ll get back to you on this one.
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