Cloth Diapering 101

Unless you are already well versed on cloth diapering, I already know what you’re thinking… “Groooooossss!!”,  “I could NEVER do THAT!”, “Disposable diapers are SO MUCH EASIER!!”.

Believe me, that was me. About 5 years ago, before I ever got pregnant with my first child I was adamantly against cloth diapering.   I silently scoffed at “those moms” and probably mumbled an ignorant statement or two.  After all, I was a child of the early 80s when a lot of people still had to cloth diaper. I was aware of the pins and the covers and the leakage.  It never occurred to me that like almost everything  else baby related, times had changed.

While I was pregnant with my first child I stumbled across a friend’s blog post about why she cloth diapered and what she used.  I was intrigued! She made it seem so easy, and doable!  I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face after when I told him that I wanted to use cloth diapers. “Whatever you want to do.” That’s about all he had to say.  I imagine he thought it would be short-lived or I’d give up the idea before our son was born so he never really questioned it. Here we are two kids later, still using cloth.

Here is the short list of why I chose to cloth diaper:

  1. Cost effective. The average cost for a year’s worth of disposable diapers is around $1000.  The average cost for one reusable cloth diaper is about $15. Both can absolutely vary cheaper or more expensive depending on what you choose to do. But you can easily do the math.  You can also use the same stash of diapers for multiple kids and the savings will just keep on piling up!
  2. Easy. Contrary to popular belief, cloth diapering can be just as easy as disposable. You can still go old school with pins (or Snappis) and covers or you can go all out with “All in One” diapers that require zero effort. Yes, you have to wash them but the washer will do all the hard work.
  3. Green. Now I’m not super hippy, but I do like to be conscious of the environment. The vast majority of disposable diapers are not biodegradable and will sit in landfills forever. Gross.
  4. You never run out/always have the right size. No late night trips to the grocery store. No, oops the UPS guy didn’t deliver my Amazon package on time. No, uh oh! the baby outgrew size 3 overnight and I have no size 4! With the exception of newborn diapers, cloth diapers are one size. My son wore the same diapers from 2 weeks until he potty trained at 2 years. If you’re running low, just throw them in the wash! I can have clean diapers in around 2 hours.
  5. Better for baby’s skin. My son did not have super sensitive skin, but my daughter does. Neither of them have ever had a diaper rash. I have never bought diaper rash cream in my 4 years of being a mommy. That being said, SOME babies will still have rash issues for various reasons. Have you ever opened up a wet disposable diaper to see what’s inside? No thank you!
  6. Early potty training. Now some people will argue this point, but most mom’s of cloth diapered babies report early and better potty training.  I have only potty trained one child so far but he potty trained in 3 days the week he turned 2 and never wore pull ups.
  7. Customizable. I use pocket style cloth diapers so I can customize the absorbancy as my babies age or sleep longer. There are different types of inserts for different diapering issues. Just like you may try several brands of disposables to solve a diaper problem, you can do the same with cloth.
  8. They’re cute 🙂 I just have to add this one. There are SO many brands and styles of cloth diapers these days so the colors, patterns, and prints that you can choose from are endless!

Common questions that I get asked:

  1. What about the POOP???  Simple. Exclusively breast-fed baby’s poop is water-soluble and requires zero attention. It can go straight into the washer. If your baby is formula fed or eating solid food you can find your own way of getting the majority of the poop off the diaper (some people own diaper sprayers, some use old spatula’s) before it goes into the wash or do what I do, use flusable/biodegradable liners. At around 18 cents a diaper you can just toss it right in the toilet.  I had a diaper sprayer, and I used an old spatula, but the liners are awesome. I do not feel that I deal with poop anymore than anyone else that changes a dirty diaper. 


  2. Don’t they leak? In my experience, no more than any other diaper! Blow outs actually happen LESS in cloth diapers than in disposable ones.  If your child is a heavy wetter, then leaks are just going to happen, but no, I do not even think of leakage as being an issue.
  3. What about daycare/church/babysitters etc?  My children have gone to a home daycare, a traditional daycare center, and different church nurseries and nobody has every had a problem with them.  They really do go on/off just like a disposable diaper and if you do the leg work of having them ready and supplying the wet bag there really is nothing to complain about.  Some people are initially apprehensive about cloth diapers but I have never had someone be unable to use them with my children.
  4. But you use disposable when you travel right? Nope. Never have.  And we travel a lot.  If you’re traveling to see family then you have a washer/dryer at your disposal.  If you’re staying at a hotel, most have washers and we just make sure we find one that does. Some hotels, like Candlewood Suites, actually have FREE guest laundry (double bonus when traveling with kids in general). Sure I’ve had to get creative on where to hang the un dryable covers but I’ve always made it work.
  5. Doesn’t your washer get disgusting? Not any more disgusting than washing your dirtiest/muddiest load of laundry.  Each brand of cloth diapers has a specific way in which they should be washed which generally utilizes a pre wash and an extra rinse cycle plus you have a hot cycle in there so I’ve never noticed any difference in my washer.   I also “strip” my diapers about once a month with bleach and Dawn blue and that actually cleans the washer in the process.  If you regularly clean your washer with a washer cleaning tablet anyway then you definitely shouldn’t have any issues. 
  6. Doesn’t all the washing/drying raise your utility/electric bill?  We have never noticed a difference.
  7. But you use a disposable at nighttime right? Nope. I use

    so that I have the ability to customize the absorbancy. Over the years I have learned the best solutions for heavy wetters/nighttime diapering.

  8. How often do you have to wash? The system you choose and how many diapers you have will determine this.  When I did newborn cloth diapers with my second child I only had 12 diapers so typically I had to wash every day or every other day at best. Once she was big enough to wear the one size diapers that I have 24 of I wash about every third day.

Hopefully I’ve now convinced you to at least look a little more into cloth diapering! I’d encourage you to check out This is a great one stop shop website where you can compare the different types and styles of cloth diapers and accessories and choose ones that will work best for you.  They also have links to great resources for all things cloth diapering from washing/drying, stripping, and trouble shooting problems like smells, stains, and leaking.

In the meantime, check out my Cloth Diapering essentials list to add to your baby registry!

Happy diapering!

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