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Cloth IV: Tips for Cloth Diapering

September 10, 2009

Just some tips for cloth diapering in no particular order:

  • Cloth diapers from exclusively breastfed babies can be thrown directly into the wash.  Formula fed babies, older babies, and babies eating solids will likely need the contents of their diapers emptied before washing.  You can simply shake the diaper or use a diaper sprayer.
  • Keep something extra over your changing pad and cover to protect it.  It’s easier to just throw a spare prefold or burp cloth into the wet bag than to rewash your changing pad cover every day.  We use an organic cotton pad that was actually meant for the crib.  We didn’t feel safe putting it in the crib, but found it makes the changing pad extra luxurious!
  • Keep a small toy near your changing station.  This will distract baby and keep little  hands away from a soiled diaper.
  • Use cloth wipes and just throw them in the wet bag with the used cloth.  You don’t need to buy cloth wipes specifically.  We have a mixture of lovely hemp cloth wipes as well as cheap “baby” wash cloths.  We have some organic cotton wash cloths that we use when we need an actual wash cloth, but those other guys work great for a wipe!  Cloth wipes are also more green as well as economical!
  • Try different kinds of inserts to see what you like best.  We have three different kinds of inserts:  microfiber, bamboo, and hemp.  They all work just fine, but the hemp are the most absorbent and the most trim.
  • Use a squirt bottle of some sort for wetting your wipes.  We use the peri bottle from the hospital for this purpose.  Many companies sell special baby washes.  We usually use plain water.  A few drops of tea tree or lavender essential oils might be a nice touch as well.
  • You can put your wet bag in a trash can with a lid to control smells.  You can also sprinkle a bit of baking soda in with your CDs.  For now, our wet bag just hangs on a hook by the changing station.  I imagine we’ll have to modify that set up as Baby O gets older.  Some wet bags have a fabric tab on the inside where you could put a few drops of essential oil (lavender and tea tree are good choices).  *Always use a very modest amount of EOs.  Too much could cause your cloth diapers to start repelling moisture.
  • Attach velcro to laundry tabs before throwing your cloth in the wet bag.  That way you won’t forget or have to pick through dirty laundry later.
  • To cut down on the bulk of a one-size diaper on a smaller baby, try using a trimmer insert.  A hemp insert will absorb just as well (or better) than a microfiber insert and is typically about half as thick.
  • Some folks put vinegar in the rinse cycle to combat hard water (act as a fabric softener).  We don’t do this as it isn’t always recommended, but do whatever works for you!
  • Stuff your diapers before putting them away.  This will save time during a change.
  • Hang your cloth in the sun to both disinfect and bleach stains.
  • Giving your cloth a bout in the dryer can help reseal PUL.
  • Diaper covers that are not soiled can be wiped and air-dried between uses.  This will allow you to have fewer covers in rotation and save you money.
  • If your prefolds have become a little small for fastening, you can try tri-folding them for a bit to make them last just a bit longer.  Outgrown prefolds can also be used as inserts for your pocket diapers.
  • Snappis are an easy (less frightening) alternative to pins (give-away coming soon).
  • Use a detergent that can be used on all of your laundry, including your cloth.  This will save money and time.  (Recommendations and give-aways coming soon!)
  • Be sure to only use diaper creams that are cloth diaper friendly.  We use California Baby.
  • Periodically “stripping” your diapers can help with wicking and absorbency issues.  (Post including one way to strip coming soon.)
  • Be sure to periodically lanolize your wool covers.
  • Keep diaper loads to 18-24 diapers maximum so everything gets cleaned thoroughly.  Make sure to keep your water on the highest setting.

This list is by no means inclusive, but hopefully it’ll help you get a good start.  If anyone else has any tips to add, I would love to hear them!

As always this and the rest of the posts in the Oh Baby O Cloth Series can be found together on the Cloth page.

Previously in the Oh Baby O Cloth Diapering Series:

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    September 15, 2009 4:02 pm

    Let me add that in a HE machine, I would suggest keeping the loads even less then 18-24 – I’d hasten to say approx. 12-15.
    When we switched from a regular machine to an HE, we started getting major stink and ammonia. I added all of these additives (which didn’t work, but I read may online) and eventually realized my diapers weren’t getting clean enough! Reducing the loads/washing more often helped and solved our problem from then on!

    • September 15, 2009 9:44 pm

      Thanks Ashley! We don’t have an HE machine yet, so that’s good to know! :)

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