November 22, 2011


Posted by special guest Jen~

Jen comes back to us with part two of her cloth diapering adventure.  Thanks again Jen (WOM-MOM EXTRAORDINAIRE) for her valuable information! 

PART II: Supply, system, laundering and care, and leakage

Yes, cloth diapers are more labor intensive than disposables. There is no way around it. They need to be rinsed, washed and stuffed. But I’ve incorporated all that into my routine and it is now just part of life. Our daycare provider (who had the original misconceptions about cloth diapers with pins and covers) uses the cloth diapers and has no issues with them. She is great! However, we do use somewhat of a hybrid approach. We use disposable diapers when we go out and travel. It is a little cumbersome to fill the diaper bag with the cloth diapers and then carry around the dirty ones. And our daycare provider uses a disposable at nap time. But for the most part, Smiles is in cloth. 

If you Google “cloth diapering” you will find tons of blogs and message boards with all kinds of info on the care and different systems people use. I’ve used a combination of several different techniques and here is what we have found works for us.

First the supply. We have 14 BumGenius one size, 9 Bumkins one size, 3 Bumkins size small, and 1 Charlie Banana one size, so 27 in all. Smiles is almost 4 months old now and we are going through 8 to 10 diapers a day. I wash diapers every other day, sometimes I can go every third day, but that is pushing it. Smiles will eventually grow out of the Bumkins size small diapers so we will be down to 24. They tell me as he gets older he will go through fewer diapers in a day, so that shouldn’t be a problem and we should have enough to last us until he is potty trained.

Storing the clean diapers
What we spent. Well, it isn’t cheap to start your cloth diaper system. But in the long run, we will see a savings. We spent about $350 on the diapers themselves, $50 for the wet bags for storing dirty diapers, and $40 on the sprayer for the toilet. So in all, $440.

Expandable snaps--they will grow with the child!
 The system. You will definitely need a sprayer attachment for the toilet. This is necessary for rinsing off the solids into the toilet. Smiles is only getting breast milk right now so his BMs are mostly liquid, but you still need to rinse off the diapers to prevent staining. After spraying the diapers off in the toilet I just store them in a wet bag on a hook in the bathroom until wash day. With both wet and dirty diapers I remove the liner before putting in the bag. They wash up much better if you remover the liner.

Washing the cloth diaper with the toilet sprayer
Washing. I have a high efficiency washer and dryer and I love them. Of course it isn’t necessary to have these in order to do cloth diapers, but it helps. Firstly, you only use half (or less) the amount of detergent as recommended. This is important because if the diapers get a residue on them from the detergent they loose their absorbency. The diaper manufacturers often want you to use the special detergent they sell, but IMO and that of other cloth diaper bloggers I’ve seen you can use a fragrance and additive free detergent and that will work just fine. I use Tide Free and Clear. It is important however to make sure the detergent is free of additives, fragrance, and softeners.

Setting the washer settings!

I run the diapers through the “heavy duty” cycle and set the water setting to HOT and add the SECOND RINSE. I was using the “Sanitize” cycle, but this cycle uses a lot of energy to get the water extra hot, and I don’t think that is absolutely necessary. The SECOND RINSE is important to make sure all the detergent is rinsed out of the diapers. Again to prevent build up and damaging the absorbency of the diapers. If diapers get stained you can hang them in the sun to bleach out the stains.

Drying. Here is where it gets a little tricky. Depending on the type of diaper you get, you will need to either hang the diapers dry or you can put them in the dyer. Be sure to read the care instructions for the diapers you get. The BumGenius diapers MUST be line dried. The liners you can put in the dryer, but the outside must be line dried to prevent damage to the waterproofing. The Bumkins diapers can go in the dryer but I often end up just line drying all the diapers, it doesn’t hurt. I bought a drying rack for this purpose. I can hang the diapers outside on the line in the summer, but hanging them outside in the winter in North Dakota is a bit of a problem unless I want to freeze dry them.

Diapers drying on the line.
However, I did start to have a problem with the Bumkins leaking. The wetness was actually seeping through the outside waterproof fabric. I contacted customer service and they actually told me to put them in the dryer to seal up the waterproofing. That seemed to work.

Leakage. Well, I can’t deny that we have had some blowouts and leakage with these diapers. Although, I can’t say that it has been any more than it would be with disposable diapers. There have been some times where we have leaked around the legs and that is a common complaint from other cloth diaper users. But honestly, that hasn’t bothered me that much. And, except for the wetness seeping through the waterproof fabric on the Bumkins (which we have remedied) I think these diapers are working well for us.

So that is how we do it. If you don’t mind investing the time and washing responsibilities, I’d say cloth diapering is the way to go. I love it. I smile every time I hang them to dry and all in all, it really isn’t that much more work. We have already upped our laundry quota since Smiles was born, so what is a couple extra loads a week anyway. Thanks to the WOM-MOMs Lori and Ethne for letting me share my experience. I hope what I have learned can give you some insight as to what might work for you.

Thank you Jen for sharing!  We have learned a ton! 

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