If I could describe my cloth diaper routine in one word it would be – SIMPLE! I have a very basic system that is easy, relaxed, and fits our lifestyle.
As I mentioned last week, our diapers of choice are one-size pocket diapers. When our son was born we made an investment in 24 of the bumGenius 4.0 diapers. It was a large amount of money to spend at once, but the investment has paid for itself many times over by now (14 months later!).
We chose the diapers that had the hook and loop fasteners. (This is the same thing as velcro.) The other fastener option available for the bumGenius pocket diapers is snaps. Some people love the snaps, but we love using the velcro. It is super easy to put on and off, and you can get a really great fit with it.
The velcro does wear out faster than the snaps do, but we have been using ours for over a year and the velcro is still in great shape. Once the velcro fasteners do wear out, they can be replaced, along with the elastic. Cotton Babies offers these refresher kits for $1.00 each.
I plan on refreshing the velcro and elastic on all of our diapers at some point. We plan on using these diapers for as many children as they will last us through, so I am sure at some point the velcro and elastic will need to be replaced. It is a quick, simple fix and only costs $1.00 per diaper, so to me it will be worth it.
How We Store Clean Diapers
When I first started out on my cloth diaper venture, I stuffed all of the diapers with the inserts right after they were dry. This worked well. However, it does take a little bit of time to sit down and stuff 20 or so diapers. So for quite some time now, I never pre-stuff any of my diapers.
Once the diapers have been washed and dried, I simply throw them in a small laundry basket that sits on top of our dryer. This is where they stay until they are ready to be used. We have never had a changing table, so this is where all of the diaper supplies are stored.
When it is time to do a diaper change, I simply grab a diaper and an insert from the basket, stuff the diaper with the insert, and then do the diaper change. This is what works for me.
Some people like to have their diapers stuffed and ready to go. I, on the other hand, don’t mind at all stuffing them as I need them. From the time that I grab the diaper to the time that I grab my son, I have the diaper stuffed and ready to go. This also works better for us because of the fact that we use two inserts in our overnight diapers. With this method we can stuff the diapers with exactly how much we need, when we need it.
How We Store Dirty Diapers
We use this basic step-on wastebasket to store our dirty diapers. It has a lid on it that does a great job at keeping the smell in. We had a Diaper Genie in the beginning, and it was just not big enough. Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables and take up more room, so not a lot of cloth diapers would fit in there.
Any medium-sized wastebasket with a lid would work great as a diaper pail. I really like the fact that ours has the step-on feature so I don’t have to mess with opening the lid.
Our washer and dryer are in a closet in our kitchen and our diaper pail is stored beside our washer. Before I toss the dirty diapers into the pail, I simply close the laundry tabs on the diapers (this only applies to the diapers with velcro fasteners), and gently shake the inserts partly out. You don’t have to shake them all of the way out, because that will naturally happen as they are washing.
If I am dealing with a poopy diaper, I take the diaper to the bathroom and flush the contents down the toilet before placing it in the diaper pail. The poop usually comes off easily and falls right into the toilet.
However, there are occasions when it is not as solid or when I wait too long to change it, that it doesn’t just fall off of the diaper. In these instances, I hold the diaper by the four clean corners and just swish it around in the toilet for a few seconds. It usually doesn’t take long for the poop to come off, and then I just proceed as normal.
There is no need to make sure that every last bit of the waste is removed from the diaper. Any small particles that remain will be removed and cleaned in the washer.
Also note that you do not have to flush any poop if you’re baby is exclusively breastfed. These stools are water soluble and can be placed right in the washer. Only once your baby starts solids will you have to worry about flushing the poop.
On the Go:
When we are out and about, I simply carry a large gallon-size zip-loc bag with me to contain any dirty diapers that have to be changed. Some people use wet-bags for this. I originally planned on getting a few wet bags (because aren’t they cute?), but I just never spent the money on any. Honestly, the zip-loc bags work just fine for us, but I would like to eventually purchase at least one wet bag for when we’re on the go.
Once we are home, I just empty the contents of the zip-loc bag into our diaper pail, and rinse out the zip-log bag if needed. I re-use the same bag over and over. Occasionally it needs to be replaced with a new one, but not often.
My Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine
I do a load of diapers every three days. In my experience, going longer than this can start to cause stink issues with your diapers.
I also always wash on the large load setting. Although my load of diapers is not really a “large” load, the extra water in the machine goes a long way in getting the diapers clean.
When washing cloth diapers, you must be sure that you are using cloth diaper – friendly laundry detergent. I have always used the bumGenius diaper detergent. It works great for us and it is reasonably priced One box will last you for quite a long time.
Here is a very helpful article that will help you figure out if your detergent is safe for washing your cloth diapers.
My Washing Regimen:
- Dump entire contents of diaper pail into washer.
- A cold wash (No detergent)
- A hot wash (With detergent)
- Two cold rinses.
In addition to my normal washing, I usually strip my diapers once a month or so. You will want to periodically do this because of build-up from detergent and oil.
Drying Cloth Diapers:
Line drying in the sun is definitely the best way to dry cloth diapers. The sun does amazing things those little dipes. It gets rid of stains and smells like nothing else does. It is like all-natural bleach. I try to dry my diapers like this as often as possible.
However, the weather does not always permit this. My next choice for drying my cloth diapers is to line dry them inside and use the dryer for the inserts.
When line drying inside, I use wooden clothes pins to attach the diapers to wire hangers – one diaper to a hanger. Then I just hang the hangers on a long clothes rack that runs the length of our laundry
Occasionally, I will dry both the liners and the inserts in the dryer on the lowest heat setting. I try not to do this a lot, but sometimes it is just more convenient.
Using cloth wipes makes a lot of sense if you are already using cloth diapers. It really doesn’t take any more effort or time, since you are already washing the diapers anyways.
Cloth wipes are available for purchase, but are very easily made. I made mine from extra flannel receiving blankets that we had. I just cut the blankets up into wipe size squares and serged around the edges to prevent fraying. You could also do a simple zig-zag stitch like this if you don’t have a serger. For a no-sew homemade cloth diaper, choose a material that won’t fray, (such as material from old T-shirts) and cut into the appropriate size.
I store my clean cloth wipes in old, cleaned out yogurt or sour cream containers with a little bit of water. I have found that using cloth wipes with just plain water works great most of the time.
I do usually keep a spray bottle full of a homemade wipe solution around for the extra messy diapers that I feel need a little more than just plain water. (I use a homemade wipe solution very similar to the one at the bottom of this post by my friend Leigh Ann.)
Once the wipes are used, they get tossed into the diaper pail with the dirty diapers.
For on-the-go wipes, I just stick a few into a small zip-loc bag. Once they have been used, I put them with the dirty diaper into the large zip-loc bag that I use as my wet-bag.
Nikki at Christian Mommy Blogger and Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace are both posting today about cloth diapering beyond the everyday circumstances. Be sure to read both of their posts for more great information on cloth diapering.