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Cloth Diapering FAQ:

Why should I use cloth diapers?
How much extra time/effort does cloth diapering require?
New to cloth diapering?
Basic types of cloth diapers
How many cloth diapers or cloth wipes do I need?
How should I store dirty cloth diapers?
How do I prep my new cloth diapers?
How do I wash my cloth diapers?
Can I wash my cloth diapers at a laundromat?
How should I dry my cloth diapers?
How do I strip my cloth diapers?
What should I do to remove stains from my cloth diapers?
Can I use diaper cream with cloth diapers?
If my baby is in daycare, will I be able to use cloth diapers?
Help! My cloth diapers are leaking!
How do I fold a pre-fold?
Overnight solutions with cloth diapering



Why should I use cloth diapers?
The modern cloth diaper offers an easy, affordable diapering solution that is eco-friendly and will not clog up landfills with plastics and other chemicals.  The Real Diaper Association (RDA) reports that 1 baby in disposable diapers produces a minimum of 1 ton of waste to your local landfill (a disposable diaper can take up to 250-500 years to decompose) making disposable diapers the third most common consumer product found in landfills.  Landfill space is limited and there are many areas that have already begun the need to ship their garbage elsewhere due to lack of space.

You will save money.  If you take into consideration the average child is in diapers for 2-3 years, the cost of purchasing disposables, even at bulk or discounted stores, is staggering.  An article in Consumer Reports states "You can expect to spend around $2,500 or more [on disposable diapers] by the time your baby is potty-trained."  The Real Diaper Association (RDA) reports a minimum of "... $1,600 [is spent] to diaper [a baby] for two years in disposables..."  Why not make a small investment (which is what cloth diapering is, an investment in your child's future to help promote a more earth friendly culture) up front and purchase cloth diapers.  There are several types of cloth diapers that are just as easy as disposable diapers but you do not throw your money in the trash like you do with disposables.  If you plan to have multiple children, once you make your initial investment in your first child you are pretty much set for your future babies whether you have 2 or 10 (normal wear and tear may require some diapers to be retired which will require a replacement).  Cloth diapers can also be recycled, re-used, or re-sold getting you even more bang for your buck.  The average, good used condition diaper can re-sell for around 50% retail value. 


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How much extra time/effort does cloth diapering require?
Cloth diapering actually takes very little extra time/effort vs disposables, but it all depends on your washing routine. It takes less than 1 minute to take the soiled diaper into the bathroom, dump the solids into the toilet, flush and put the dirty diaper into your wetbag or diaper pail. If you don't have that extra minute the moment you are changing your baby, set the diaper aside (out of baby's reach) and you can take care of it later. Multiply that by 8-10 changes per day and you're looking at an additional 10 minutes (or less) per day. If you look, the instructions on many disposable diaper packages advise that solids be flushed before discarding which makes this step not any extra effort.

Once your wetbag or diaper pail are full (it is suggested to wash at least every 3 days), take your wetbag or diaper pail into the laundry room, dump dirty diapers into the washing machine, turn on cold rinse (no detergent) - that takes about a minute. After the cold rinse is complete, return to the laundry room, set the washer machine to hot/warm or hot/cold wash, add detergent - add another minute (that's 2 so far). After the wash cycle is complete, set the machine to an additional cold rinse (no detergent) - one more minute. Once this last rinse cycle is complete you have two options: line dry or tumble dry. If you choose to tumble dry, it is recommended to at least line dry your covers to extend the life of the waterproof material, so the option to tumble dry takes about 5 minutes. If you choose to completely line dry all of your cloth diapering pieces, you can add about 10 minutes.

Depending on your diaper style (AIO, AI2, Fitteds, Pre-folds, Pocket, Hybrid) you can add an additional 10 minutes or less to accommodate the time to make your diapers (snapping, folding, stuffing, etc). In total, there is an additional 23 minutes (or less) added with each wash day.

That makes it less than an hour of actual added time/effort to use cloth diapers vs using disposables. Looking at the amount of money you're saving using cloth diapers as well as the environmental impact you avoid using cloth, it is well worth the little amount of extra effort required.

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New to cloth diapering?
If you're new to cloth diapering and are feeling overwhelmed with your options, take a deep breath. We are here to help you! First piece of advice, instead of choosing one style of cloth diapers sight unseen and purchasing your entire cloth diaper stash, why not consider purchasing a cloth diaper kit to sample a certain style. Throw in one or two of a few different styles or brands and give yourself a week or two as a demo period. After your demo period, you can make a confident decision that you are investing in the cloth diapers you like best instead of basing your decision off of opinions or reviews. Every baby is different so every 'perfect diaper' will be different as well. If you decide to take the leap and dive into cloth diapering and you come across a problem or question, email us and we would be glad to offer our assistance.

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Basic types of cloth diapers:
There are 6 basic types/styles of cloth diapers:

All-in-One Cloth Diaper (AIO) - All-in-one cloth diapers are the easiest cloth diaper choice on the market. This style of cloth diaper is most similar to disposables because you simply velcro or snap the diaper onto your baby. AIOs are often the most trimmest style cloth diaper. No diaper cover, inserts, or pre-folds needed. Choice of velcro or snap closures. The cons for AIOs are that they require a lengthier drying time.

All-in-Two Cloth Diaper (AI2) - All-in-two cloth diapers, such as Best Bottoms, is one of the newest cloth diapering system available. They offer all of the pros for each style of cloth diapers (fast drying, trim, easy to use, very absorbent, and inexpensive) and none of the cons. The all-in-two cloth diaper system requires a diaper cover and snapable inserts. Once soiled, simply unsnap the dirty insert, wipe out the diaper cover, snap in a new insert and you're ready to go. Choice of velcro or snap closures.

Fitted Cloth Diaper (Fitteds) - Fitteds tend to be a little bulky but they are also the most absorbent cloth diaper option making them excellent for heavy wetters. They are also leak proof and usually provide the best fit for newborns. Fitteds require less drying time and are more breathable when a cover is not used. This of course can reduce the risk of diaper rashes. Choice of velcro or snap closures. Cons: fitteds do require a cover (your choice of PUL, fleece or wool) when used under clothing or for example in a car seat.

Pocket Diapers - Pocket diapers are as the name describes, a pocket. They consist of three layers, a waterproof outer layer which is sewn to an inner, moisture wicking fabric creating a pocket. The third layer is the insert that you stuff inside of the pocket. There are several varieties of inserts including microfiber, bamboo, hemp, cotton, charcoal bamboo, etc. Each type of insert has a varying degree of absorbency and can be partnered with an additional insert to provide the ultimate absorbency. Pocket diapers reduce the frequency of diaper rashes due to the moisture wicking inner layer. Cons: they require stuffing which adds a minimal amount of effort to your laundering routine.

Flat or Pre-fold Cloth Diapers - Flat or Pre-fold cloth diapers are the old fashioned style of cloth diapers your grandmother used and are the most economical choice of cloth diapers on the market.  Flats are a square single layer of fabric that is folded to form the diaper and is pinned in place or can be folded and placed in a diaper cover. Pre-folds are also a flat sheet of fabric that is sewn into a smaller size so less folding is necessary. The term Pre-fold simply means the fabric has been folded several times to create layers and is sewn together. Actual folding is still required and is used in the same way as the flats. Pre-folds are typically made from 100% Chinese or Indian Cotton although other fabrics are now being used such as bamboo and hemp. Look for this term - Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) - when purchasing your Pre-folds as these are the best quality available. Another benefit besides being the best economical choice, is that Pre-folds can be re-used / recycled as they make excellent dust rags, burp cloths, etc. They can even be used as an insert or doubler in any style diaper. Simply stuff your Pre-fold in your pocket diapers or lay in your AIOs or Fitteds. Cons: they tend to be bulky, require folding, and they do require a diaper cover (your choice of PUL, fleece, or wool) and some sort of pin or elastics to close. You can also use a Pre-fold in any diaper cover of your choice allowing you to choose a velcro or snap version to forgo pins or elastics.

Hybrid Cloth Diapers - Hybrid cloth diapers offer the convenience of disposables with an environmentally-friendly twist. Hybrids consist of a reusable diaper cover and your choice of either a biodegradable, disposable insert or a reusable cloth insert. Cons: if you choose to use the disposable inserts there will be an ongoing expense until you potty train.

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How many cloth diapers or cloth wipes do I need?
The number of cloth diapers that you will need depends on few factors: the age of your baby, changing your baby every 1-3 hours while they are awake, how often you plan to wash, and if you will be cloth diapering full or part time. Here is an average guideline to follow when purchasing cloth diapers:

For newborns - approximately 10-12 cloth diapers per day
For infants - roughly 10 cloth diapers per day
For toddlers - approximately 8-10 cloth diapers per day

For example, if you have a 6 month old (infant) and plan to cloth diaper full time and wash every 3 days you will need approximately 30 diapers.

Washing every 2-3 days is a good schedule as you do not feel you are constantly doing laundry. If you choose to purchase enough cloth diapers for 1 day and plan to wash daily, your cloth diapers will not hold up as long (more wear and tear from daily washing). This is important to consider if you intend on re-using your cloth diapers for future children or re-selling them after potty training.

If you're making the switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers then the math is easy, simply count how many disposables you go through in a day and add one or two for safe measure.

If you plan to use cloth wipes, it is suggested you buy 2 cloth wipes for every cloth diaper that you purchase.

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How should I store dirty cloth diapers?
To store your dirty cloth diapers, first remove the majority of the solids (if any) from the dirty diaper by knocking, scrapping, spraying, etc. Any remaining poop left behind will be removed in the first cold rinse cycle in your washing routine. You can now store them in a wet bag or diaper pail of choice. It's as easy as that!

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How do I prep my new cloth diapers?
New cloth diapers need to be prepped/washed before use. Prepping your new cloth diapers is simple. Diaper covers, pocket diapers, and inserts made from microfiber require only a simple wash, warm or hot with detergent.

If your diapers are made from organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp they require several washes before they become absorbent. In fact, they will become more absorbent as time goes on after each wash. It is recommended to wash these materials 4-6 times or more in hot water to remove the natural oils making them absorbent. A small amount of detergent should be used for each cycle.

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How do I wash my cloth diapers?

There are several methods that can be used when washing your cloth diapers. It is suggested that you refer to the manufacturer's washing instructions to prevent any cancellation of manufacturer warranty.

First start by removing the majority of the solids (if any) from the dirty diaper by knocking, scrapping, spraying, etc. Any remaining poop left behind will be removed in the first cold rinse cycle in your washing routine.

It is recommended to use detergents designed for cloth diapering (Rockin Green, Ruby Moon, GroVia Tiny Bubbles, Bum Genius Diaper Detergent, etc.) or detergents without chemicals/additives (perfumes, dyes, and optical brighteners) such as All Free & Clear, Tide Original, etc. The use of detergents with additives will leave chemicals behind which eventually causes detergent build up.


It is suggested to always use the next load size up when washing cloth diapers to allow an ample amount of space for agitation and proper rinsing. For example, if you have a medium load size, wash as a large load, etc.


If using a top loader, start with only using 1/2 of the instructed amount of commercial detergents. If using cloth diaper detergents, use the amount instructed. If you find it is still too sudsy, reduce the amount of detergent. If you find your cloth diapers are not coming clean enough, increase the amount of detergent.


If you have a front loader or high efficiency washing machine, start with only using 1/4 of the instructed amount of commercial detergent. If using cloth diaper detergents, use the amount instructed. Adjust as necessary.


If you are washing with hard water you may experience mineral build up over time which can cause stink issues and repelling. An occasional (bi-weekly/monthly) water softening treatment (RLR, Calgon, etc.) is recommend to remove the mineral build up.


The following wash routine has been proven to work for many, myself included:

(1) cold rinse - without detergent

(1) hot/cold wash - with detergent

(2) additional cold rinses - without detergent


The additional cold rinses safeguards against traces of soap lingering in your diapers which may cause a problem with stink due to detergent build up.

*Do NOT use bleach as it can break down the material of your diapers which causes loss of absorbency and durability.

*Do NOT use fabric softeners as this can cause repelling, loss of absorbency, or break down of your cloth diapers. Wool dryer balls are an excellent alternative to fabric softeners.

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Can I wash my cloth diapers at a laundromat?

Washing cloth diapers in Laundromats is possible! It is recommended that you wipe out the washing machine and dryer to remove any possible build up from others using the same machines. The best way to avoid dealing with build up is to wash the rest of your laundry first, then wash your cloth diapers. The benefits of washing at a Laundromat are the huge, commercial grade machines can wash very large loads and they're easier on your diapers than a top-loading machine.

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How should I dry my cloth diapers?
To continue to reap the environmental benefits of cloth diapering, hang dry your cloth diapers. Hang drying also allows you to save on your energy bill while also extending the life of your cloth diapers. If you are short on time, you may tumble dry your diapers on low heat.  It is suggested to line dry your covers to extend the life of the waterproof material.

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How do I strip my cloth diapers?
If you notice your cloth diapers are starting to leak or are not quite as absorbent, you may have a repelling issue. To test if you have a repelling issue, pour a small amount of warm water onto the inside of your cloth diaper, if it quickly absorbs, you are fine. If it beads up and rolls off you have a repelling issue and need to strip your diapers. There are two options to strip your diapers:
1- Wash your clean diapers on several hot cycles (4-6) with no detergent. This is the most safest stripping method and is suggested for those with High Efficiency (HE) washing machines.
2 - Wash your clean diapers on hot with 1-2 Tablespoons regular Dawn (blue) dish detergent. Extra rinses will be necessary. Rinse until there are no longer any bubbles present. Use caution if using a HE machine. Dish detergent is not low sudsing. If using a HE machine, see stripping method 1 above.

3 - Boil your inserts for 30 minutes - be sure to stir frequently.  You can also add 1-2 Tablespoons regular Dawn (blue) dish detergent, if you wish.  Be sure to rinse well until there are no longer any bubbles present.
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What should I do to remove stains from my cloth diapers?
To help prevent staining, use a disposable or re-usable liner. This keeps the poop from touching your diaper directly which will eliminate most staining. Fleece liners are also excellent in helping prevent diaper rash as they wick away the moisture from your baby's skin. Bleach and other chemical whiteners are not suggested for use on cloth diapers. For a chemical free solution to fighting stains, line dry your diapers in the sun. If you're battling a tough stain, sun your diapers for an entire day. If you live up north where you experience below zero winters, you may also sun your diapers in a sunny window, however, this method usually takes a little longer. Sun bleaching is an effective stain fighter for all of your clothing and will ultimately leave your clothing looking good as new while also eliminating the use of harsh chemicals that can harm your family and our environment.
 
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Can I use diaper cream with cloth diapers?
*It is recommended to use a liner (re-usable or disposable) when using diaper cream to prevent any possible repelling issues.  Fleece liners are also excellent in helping prevent diaper rash as they wick away the moisture from your baby's skin.

Only use cloth diaper safe diaper creams including, but not limited to, CJ's BUTTer, GroVia Magic Stick, California Baby, and Grandma El's. For a more natural, home remedy for diaper rash, you can try breast milk, olive oil, coconut oil, or lanolin.

*Be careful when using breast milk as a diaper rash treatment as this is known to make yeast rashes worse.

If you're battling a yeast diaper rash, first consult your pediatrician, and then try CJ's BUTTer PLUS. CJ's BUTTer PLUS contains sesame and neem oils which have shown to help treat yeast rashes. Another effective treatment of yeast diaper rash is Grapefruit Seed Extract. Mix 10-20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract with 1 ounce water and spray or dab onto baby at each diaper change. It is recommended that you continue the preferred method of treatment until several days after the rash has disappeared. When battling a yeast infection, your cloth diapers must also be treated to ensure the yeast has been destroyed. You may follow the instructions on stripping your diapers above or you may try adding 10-20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to your last rinse cycle for 2-3 consecutive wash routines
 
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If my baby is in daycare will I be able to use cloth diapers?
Absolutely.  First, check with your daycare to see if they accept cloth diapers.  If they do not, try educating them a little by suggesting a demonstration where you can bring in your diapers and show how they are used.  They may not allow cloth diapers simply because they are not familiar with them.  If all else fails, you can always cloth diaper part time.  This will still save you money and benefit the planet.  For more tips on cloth diapering and day cares, check out the Real Diaper Association (RDA) day care tip sheet.
 
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Help! My cloth diapers are leaking!
If your cloth diapers are leaking you may have one of the following problems: sizing, absorbency, or build up.

Often cloth diapers are not fastened tight enough causing small gaps in the legs which can result in leaking. Make sure to fasten the diaper snugly on your baby.

If you have a heavy wetter, then you may need to increased the absorbency of your cloth diapers by upgrading your insert type (absorbency scale from the most absorbent to the least: hemp, charcoal bamboo blends, microfiber bamboo blends, bamboo, microfiber, and cotton).

If you've verified you have the correct fit and absorbency then it appears you have a build up problem.  
See stripping instructions above.
 
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How do I fold a pre-fold?
Basic or newspaper fold: Lay the pre-fold out flat, fold into thirds lengthwise, lay into diaper cover.
Bikini twist fold: Lay the pre-fold out flat, twist the top and bottom halves leaving a twist in the center, and lay into diaper cover.
For maximum absorbency in the front (or back): Lay the pre-fold out flat, fold in one quarter to one third widthwise, fold into thirds lengthwise, and lay into diaper cover.
Angel wing, burrito or fan fold: Lay the pre-fold out flat, fold in one third widthwise, fold into thirds lengthwise, lay into diaper cover, and pull out tips to create a fan to wrap around baby. This method works best for newborn or runny poops.

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Overnight solutions with cloth diapering
There are several overnight solutions with cloth diapering. You can double up your inserts or use a more absorbent type insert (absorbency scale from the most absorbent to the least: hemp, charcoal bamboo blends, microfiber bamboo blends, bamboo, microfiber, and cotton). Do not be intimidated by cloth diapering at night. Use trial and error and see which method works best with your baby. I'm confident you will find a method that works to keep your baby dry but if all else fails, you can always cloth diaper part time and use disposables at night.

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*The above cloth diaper care information is provided for informational purposes. We are not to be held liable for damages caused by improper cloth diaper care. It is recommended that you refer to the manufacturer's washing instructions to prevent any cancellation of manufacturer warranty.