Real Simple Mama

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10 Cool Facts About Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are really cool. They save us money and they save the environment. But they’re also pretty weird; I mean, the fluff community has to be kind of crazy to do what we do with other people’s soiled nappies! I’ve been thinking about random cool tips and tricks about cloth diapers, and so I compiled this quick article for all of you learning about (or falling more in love with) cloth diapers. Here are 10 cool facts about cloth diapers.

 Boys and girls wet in different spots, so plan accordingly.

Yep, it’s true. Boys will tend to wet their diaper more in the front third, while girls will wet the middle section. This is good to know when looking at extra inserts (especially for long car rides or overnight).

When it comes to poop, anything goes. You’re on your own. Although I will say that I’ve never had a blowout since my daughter started wearing cloth. Literally none.

You can pick and choose, mix and match brands and styles.

Ahh, what a refreshing thought! We buy the cheapest inserts possible and use them for overnight diapers (a prefold and a waterproof cover), and prefolds don’t have to be the same brand as the cover at all. Some cloth diapering parents have brand loyalty; personally, we don’t. And it doesn’t hinder our experience at all.

As far as using one “type” of cloth diaper (which you can read more about here), there also is no need to pick just one. I love all-in-ones for their convenience, but they’re the most expensive style. In the beginning, most of our stash was the prefold and cover combo… and they were used. Again, pick and choose what works for your family.

10 Cool Facts About Cloth Diapers - Real Simple Mama

Baking soda will eliminate odor in between washes.

If your wet bag is starting to reek, just pour some baking soda in there. It will absorb the smell and come out in the wash. (Not that I need more reasons to be lazy when it comes to my wash schedule…)

No need to buy those special pods like from Arm and Hammer, or Munchkin, though those certainly work too. I literally buy the off-brand box and keep it on the changing table. And I just drop a few shakes into the bag. I really need to do this since my daughter wears one diaper overnight… and let’s just say that toddler pee stinks. Like a lot.

Use the sunshine to help with stains and bacteria.

The sunshine is great, it’s free, and it’s really beneficial for cloth diapers. Whenever you have the time, hang all of your diaper components in the sunshine. The sunshine will significantly reduce any staining, and is also helpful in killing fungus and bacteria.

While you can’t count on the sun to make your fluff completely sterile, it’s comforting to know that something so easy has other benefits, too.

And if those diapers seem a bit stiff after drying in the sun, just toss them in the dryer for ten minutes. No heat needed; the simple agitation will soften them up again!

If you want a bit more scientific info about sunshine disinfecting garments, you can check out this article here.

Let’s talk stripping.

Don’t worry, this will be G-rated. But there are a zillion opinions of cloth diaper stripping online. What is that, and why do I need to know about it?

Stripping your cloth diapers is when you do a specific process (more than just a wash) which gets your cloth diapers back to like new. It removes deposits of minerals and any residues which may have clogged up the absorbency of the diaper itself.

Some people strip their cloth diapers regularly; others only do it as needed. I am of the mind that “less is more”, and I don’t want to do a complicated process (which can include bleach, dish soap, Borax, and other specialty products) unless I feel that there’s a problem.

And one last tip which I say from experience: if you feel like your diapers never smell clean, or that they aren’t absorbing well, check your wash routine before you jump to more drastic measures. I panicked and attempted to strip my cloth diapers before reassessing my wash routine, where I realized that I just wasn’t using enough detergent. No issues since.

So if you get asked about stripping, smile innocently and make a sweet comment about pee or something.

You can make your own cloth diapers!

Say what?! Well, ok, I personally can’t make cloth diapers because sewing is completely foreign to me. But if you want to be really frugal, pick your own patterns (or make some extra money), it’s really easy to find cloth diaper patterns online.

Cloth diapers have resale value.

This makes me so happy that I want to cry. When our little girl is fully potty trained, and we’re done having kids, we can sell our cloth diapers! That’s something you can’t say for used disposables (um, ew).

Whether you sell to a cloth diaper retailer or you bundle yours up for a sale on something like Craigslist or Facebook, chances are you can make a decent amount of money when you’re done with your fluff. Alternatively, they’d be great for a new parent on a budget, or someone who’s interested in taking a cloth diaper test drive.

When we sell ours we will have: 24 prefolds, 10 covers, 8 all-in-ones, 10 extra inserts, 6 pocket diapers, 3 wet bags… the list goes on and on. And you’re darn right that I want to make some money back when we’re done diapering butts!

What in the hell is “hook-and-loop”?

Basically I learned that this is the generic term for Velcro. As far as fluff is concerned, the hook-and-loop usually refers to the closures on the sides. Hook-and-loop diapers tend to be slightly cheaper than the same style with snaps.

Your fluff will get softer over time.

Each time you wash your cloth diapers (particularly prefolds since they’re all fabric), they’ll get softer and softer. It’s great! That’s one reason I actually don’t mind using used cloth diapers: as long as you’re confident that the fluff has been cleaned properly (see the stripping comment above), used cloth diapers are often softer once they’re worn in a bit. Just be sure to check them normally for wear and tear.

You can use cloth wipes or disposable wipes.

When I started out with cloth diapers, I felt like using cloth wipes would be too much. So I didn’t. And I found (by accident) that disposable wipes do just fine going through the washer and dryer. They ball up when the diapers have dried, without getting lint all over everything.

I went through a phase where I used cloth wipes too, but it wasn’t sustainable for me; now I use disposable wipes as needed, and it’s no more work for me! So just pick a routine and a product that works for you and your family.

10 Cool Facts About Cloth Diapers - Real Simple Mama

Aren’t cloth diapers cool (and weird)? I’m so glad we made the jump from disposables. Our cloth diapers were confusing to learn about at first, but once I got over the intimidation of trying fluff – and learned some basics – I quickly became really comfortable with the idea.

You can find my entire stash of cloth articles here! Thanks for reading and sharing!

4 Comments

  1. Ok, so question for you. If you’ve potty trained yet, do you think cloth diapering helped with potty training quicker? I’ve heard cloths make kids more aware they’re wet and it helps the process because they don’t like it. Any tips from experience?
    Our son wears disposables but we have a bunch of clothes because we intended to cloth diaper and just never did (ah the intentions of a new mother). I’ve been considering switching to cloth now that he’s starting to get interested in the potty but yet still doesn’t care to try most of the time.
    Thanks!

    • The Mama

      June 9, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Ooooh that’s interesting! I do feel like my daughter (cloth) is very aware of when she needs a change, she’s 1.5 and tells me when she’s about to/just went poop. Now maybe that’s because she’s a girl… but my son was disposable-only and he definitely was not interested in potty training until over 3.5… we didn’t fight it because it wasn’t worth the effort or mess! So I don’t know for sure if cloth is what is making my youngest seem so much more interested in potty training, or if she’s just a girl (who are supposedly easier to PT anyway). I’ll have to write about it once we start PT with her! And you guys let me know your experience with your son too!

  2. Just a comment to point out that you shouldn’t hang any parts of diapers that have elastic because it will eventually stretch them out. You said to hang-dry “diaper components” but I wanted to point out specifically what our brand said!

    • The Mama

      June 8, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      True! I do hang out my elastics and I have never had any issues. You can still hang them but it has to do with how – you want to lay them across (so that the elastic doesn’t have to hold up the soaking wet fabric) as opposed to over, if that makes sense. So the AIO (or whatever) will take up more space on your line since it’s hanging horizontally. Thanks again for taking the time to clarify!

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