Cloth Diapering FAQ

How many cloth diapers do I need to get started?
There are so many different diapering systems, where do I start?
Why should I use prefolds and how do I use them?
How much money will I save using cloth diapers?
How do I wash my cloth diapers?
What do I use for a diaper pail?
Wool diaper covers? What?
How do I care for my wool diaper covers?
What are the extra laundry and energy costs involved in cloth diapering?
What is PUL?
How many cloth diapers do I need to get started? TOP
You need to consider the age of your baby. Newborns and infants use about 10 to 12 diapers per day while toddlers may need 6 to 8. Two to three dozen diapers should be enough if you launder every two to three days. Many parents use only one system of diapering (like prefolds with covers or pockets), while others like to have a few of each type for different situations. For example, I use prefolds trifolded into a cover when at home and pockets or all-in-ones for outings, overnight, or grandparents.

Other items you may need are:

� Snappis for securing prefolds.

� Diaper covers if you intend on using prefolds or fitteds

� A Diaper pail liner � this is a waterproof liner that can be thrown in the wash with your diapers on laundry day. I have an extra liner for when one is in the wash. You can also buy liners that can be hung from a doorknob.

� Wet bags for outings � these are waterproof zippered bags that are used to transport your soiled diapers home to be washed.

� Cloth wipes � these can be washed right along with your diapers. I like to pre-moisten mine and keep them in a disposable wipes container. Just as easy as disposable wipes!

There are so many different diapering systems, where do I start? TOP

Every family has a system or combination of systems that works best for them. It really depends what you want from your diapers (for example, economy, ease of use, cuteness). I will explain each system with its advantages and disadvantages. This information is based on my and other parents� personal experience.

Prefolds
Prefold diapers are rectangular pieces of absorbent cloth that have several layers. Most prefolds are either 4x6x4 or 4x8x4, which indicates the number of layers on each side and in the super absorbent thicker strip down the middle of the diaper.

Prefolds can be secured either with pins, a Snappi diaper fastener, or simply folded and laid into a diaper cover, which is then fastened onto the baby. Prefolds require a cover because they are not waterproof.

� Prefolds are the most economical way to diaper. They average about $33 per dozen.

� Some would argue they are the easiest to launder as they do not need any special care like folding or the removal or stuffing of inserts. They also dry quickly.

� You can choose which type of cover to use, PUL, fleece, or wool (read on�)

� Prefolds are a two-part diapering system meaning you need to use a diaper and a diaper cover.

� Prefolds don�t have a lining to wick moisture away from the baby�s skin, although you can add a liner inside the diaper for this purpose.

� Prefolds are pretty plain as far a cloth diapers go, although some people like to dye or embellish them.

Fitted Diapers

Fitted diapers are contoured cloth diapers which generally have elastic leg openings and either snap or Aplix (Velcro) closures. Fitteds with snaps can be either front-snapping or side-snapping. Fitted diapers are not waterproof so they do require a cover.

� Fitted diapers typically cost $10-20 or more a piece, depending on the brand and quality.

� Some would say that fitted diapers are better at containing messes than prefolds due elastic leg casings.

� Fitteds are a two-part diapering system meaning you need to use a diaper and a diaper cover. You can choose which type of cover to use: PUL, wool or fleece.

� Fitteds often don�t have a lining to wick moisture away from the baby�s skin, although you can add a liner inside the diaper for this purpose.

� Fitted diapers are available in sized or one-size designs (one-size diapers can fit babies from birth to potty learning – we do not currently carry one-size fitted diapers in The Cloth Diaper Shop).

� Fitted diapers are available in plain, coloured, or printed designs.

� Many parents will put a fitted on their baby without a cover or pants while at home and then change whenever they become wet. This is a great way to let baby�s bum get some air and can help prevent or cure a diaper rash.

� Fitted diapers often take longer to dry in your dryer or on a clothesline than prefolds

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers consist of a waterproof cover outside and stay dry liner inside with an opening in between in which parents can stuff absorbent materials (such as an insert or a prefold). Pocket diapers are available with Velcro or snap closures, depending on your preference.

� Pocket diapers typically cost between $15 and $22 a piece.

� Pocket diapers require that you remove the insert before laundering

� Pocket diapers are available in sized (S, M, L, XL) or one-size versions which can fit babies from birth to potty learning � these are a great way to save some money.

� Pocket diapers are available in many cute colours and prints

� The absorbency can be customized to suit your baby�s needs. For example, a great nighttime solution is to double stuff a pocket diaper with two inserts for extra absorbency. Drybees Fleece Pocket Diapers are another great night time solution.

� Pocket diapers have a quick drying time since the absorbent insert is removable for laundering.

� Pocket diapers are very babysitter and grandparent-friendly!

All-in-One Diapers

All-in-one diapers are exactly that: A waterproof outer and absorbent inner all in one! These are available with snaps or Velcro fasteners.

� All-in-one diapers typically cost between $15 and $25 a piece.

� The absorbent material is sewn directly into the diaper � no need to stuff pockets or remove inserts before laundering.

� All-in-one diapers are very babysitter and grandparent-friendly.

� All-in-one diapers do take longer to dry in the dryer or on a clothesline than pocket diapers

� Some All-in-one diapers do not allow for customizable absorbency, although you can add a diaper doubler to the inside if you like. Two of the brands of All-in-One diapers available at The Cloth Diaper Shop have a pocket opening to add extra absorbency if needed!

This seems like a lot of information to digest but follow the links to the different products for a closer look, contact us with questions (we’re happy tp help!) or visit our Facebook Group to look up or ask any other questions you still have about deciding on a system.

Why should I use prefolds and how do I use them? TOP
Prefolds are the perfect workhorse diaper! They are relatively inexpensive, very versatile, easy to wash and put away, and easy to get stains out of. They are also great burp cloths, change pads, car rags, and the list goes on!

Prefolds are available in preemie, infant, and regular (premium) sizes. Some sites have Toddler size available as well.

Using Prefolds:

Start by prewashing your prefolds at least a few times in hot water. They will quilt up, and become more absorbent with each wash.
There are many ways to fold prefolds (video tutorial coming soon!).
Tri-fold and place inside a snug-fitting diaper cover (such as a Thirsties cover). Then fasten onto your baby. The cover will contain any poop blowouts.
The poop-pouch fold – lay the prefold on the table and place baby on top. Fold the front of the prefold up between baby’s legs letting the diaper bunch up between baby’s legs to form a pouch. Fasten with a Snappi or pins. Use a cover to make this system waterproof.
Click here for other ways to fold a prefold – find what works best for your baby!
Cover prefold with a diaper cover for a waterproof system. Some parents of older babies like to use a prefold Snappied without a cover to let the bum get some air – just change your baby once he/she feels wet.
Washing Prefolds
Couldn’t be easier! Shake solid poop into the toilet and toss it in the dry pail (exclusively breastfed babies’ poop can go straight into the pail). On laundry day dump them in the washer – then either tumble dry or hang in the sun to get stains out and save energy. There is something so serene about a clothesline full of prefolds drying in the sun!

 

How much money will I save using cloth diapers? TOP

 

Huggies brand Disposables

Avg cost per diaper = 0.25
Cost per wipe = 0.03
Cost per diaper change = 0.28
8 changes per day x 0.28 = $2.24
$2.24 x 913 days (2.5 years):
Total Cost = $2045.12

Cloth Diapers � Flats and covers
(The cheapest option)

24 Flat diapers x $1.69 = $40.56
5 X-Small covers x 11.99 = $59.95
5 Small covers x 11.99 = $59.95
5 Medium covers x 11.99 = $59.95
5 Large Covers x 11.99 = $59.9
30 Cloth wipes x 1.35 = $40.50
Total Cost = $320.86

 

Pampers brand Disposables

Avg cost per diaper = 0.28
Cost per wipe = 0.03
Cost per diaper change = 0.31
8 changes per day x 0.31 = $2.48
$2.48 x 913 days (2.5 years):
Total Cost = $2264.24

Cloth Diapers – prefolds and covers

**These can be purchased in stages as your baby grows

24 Infant prefolds x 2.79 = $66.96
20 Premium prefolds x 3.79 = $75.80
5 X-Small covers x 11.99 = $59.95
5 Small covers x 11.99 = $59.95
4 Medium covers x 11.99 = $47.96
4 Large Covers x 11.99 = $47.96
30 Cloth wipes x 1.35 = $40.50
Total Cost = $399.08

 

This means you can save anywhere from 838.22 to 1,943.38 by choosing cloth!! Your diapers can be used for subsequent children also, meaning you could save up to $4000!

Don�t forget about the extra savings in time and money from not having to drive to the store to purchase the diapers, as well as not having to buy diaper rash cream!

More good news � Cloth diapers have a good resale value. You can sell your too-small dipes on Kijiji or Craigslist, plus there are websites out there just for buying and selling diapers!

Cloth Diapers � One-Size Pocket Diapers

24 One-Size Pocket Diapers x 18.95 = 454.80
30 Cloth Wipes = 1.35 = $40.50
Total Cost = $495.30

Cloth Diapers � Sized All-in-One Diapers (The most expensive option)

**These can be purchased in stages as your baby grows

24 Small All-in-One diapers x 16.20 = 388.80
24 Medium All-in-One diapers x 16.20 = 388.80
20 Large All-in-One diapers x 16.20 = 324.00
30 Cloth wipes x 1.35 = $40.50
Total cost = $1142.10

 

 

 

 

 

How do I wash my cloth diapers? TOP

Well I have good news for you! Washing cloth diapers is really no more difficult than washing regular laundry. Here are some tips to get you started on the right track.

Storage of dirty diapers: You have a choice to use a wet-pail or dry-pail method. The wet-pail method involves storing dirty diapers in a pail of water usually with baking soda added. The dry pail method involves storing dirty diapers in a waterproof diaper pail liner (which is machine washable), then just dumping the diapers into your machine on laundry day along with the pail liner. Most parents I know use the dry-pail method as it is easier, doesn�t involve lifting/dumping heavy water-pails, is less smelly, and safer, since wet pails can pose a drowning hazard for small children. I would recommend owning two pail liners so that you have one to use while the first is in the wash. Simply use a plastic bin or hamper (with or without a lid), line it with the diaper pail liner and you are ready to go!

When you change your baby, simply toss the used diaper into the dry pail. A breastfed baby�s poops do not need to be rinsed or removed in any way. If your baby has solid poops, shake the excess into the toilet, and then place the diaper in the pail. The washer will take care of the rest.

If using flats, prefolds, or fitteds with covers, the cover can be re-used until soiled, and just the flat, prefold, or fitted can be tossed in the pail. If you are using pocket or all-in-one diapers, remove the insert (if there is one), fasten the laundry tabs, and throw it all in the pail. If you are using a wool cover click here for wool care tips.

**Buying a wet-bag for when you go out makes taking cloth diapers along easy! A wet-bag is a waterproof bag with a zipper that you can stick in your diaper bag and use to store your dirty diapers while out. Just toss it in your pail when you get home and wash the wet-bag along with your diapers on wash day!

Laundry day:

Most people wash their diapers every 2-3 days. Usually 2 dozen diapers is a good sized load, without being over-full. Too many diapers in a load may not come as clean and can cause friction and pilling of the fabrics. After a few loads you will figure out what works for you in terms of length between washes and how full to fill your machine.

If you haven�t already done so, fasten Aplix (Velcro) laundry tabs to prevent a �diaper chain� and remove inserts from pocket diapers. Dump your diapers and the diaper pail liner into the machine. Most parents like to do a cold rinse cycle before washing to avoid setting stains or smells. Then do a hot wash cycle with about � the detergent you would normally use for clothing. After washing either tumble-dry or line dry. Line drying outdoors in the sunlight will save energy, plus remove stains and make your diapers look new! Try it and see for yourself! To avoid stiff diapers, set them out on the line during early morning or late afternoon hours when they will not dry as fast. Line drying your diapers will also extend their life, especially AIOs and covers.

**Many people like Allen�s Naturally detergent, Purex Free & Clear, Original Tide, Tide Free & Clear, Arm & Hammer Essentials, Country Save, Sunlight, Biodegradable detergents, and many others. Find what works for you!

**Avoid using detergents with whitening agents as they can break down diapers and cause skin irritaion. Also avoid using baby detergents such as Ivory Snow or Dreft, and avoid ultra concentrated detergents as they can cause build-up..

**If you find your diapers are holding a bad odour, try doing an extra, hot rinse cycle after washing to remove detergent build-up, which is often the cause of odours.

**Avoid using bleach on your diapers as it will eat away at the fibers of your diapers leaving holes and affecting absorbency.

**Avoid using fabric softener as it can cause your diapers to repel liquid rather than absorb

What do I use for a diaper pail? TOP
A large plastic bin, laundy hamper, or garbage can can serve as your diaper pail. Consider purchasing a Wahmies pail liner to line your pail with and there will be no need to wash the pail – just dump the pail in the wash with your diapers!

Wool diaper covers? What? TOP
Wool makes a wonderful diaper cover for many reasons:

� Wool is a natural fiber

� Wool is breathable and an amazing insulator as well. It keeps baby cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold. Wool also prevents diaper rash by allowing the skin to breath.

� Wool can hold up to 1/3 of its weight in moisture, yet it doesn�t feel wet. Wool begins evaporating moisture into the air as soon as it is absorbed.

� Most parents agree that wool is the most leak-proof system, especially for night time when leaks happen most often.

� Wool contains natural lanolin, which creates a natural waterproof barrier.

� Wool is naturally anti-bacterial, which means it does not need to be washed if only wet with urine.

Many people decide not to try wool because they think it is difficult to care for. No, wool can�t be tossed in the wash with the rest of your diapers but the washing and lanolizng process is certainly not difficult or time-consuming, and only needs to be done if the cover is soiled, retaining a urine smell, or losing its waterproof properties. See below for wool care instructions.

How do I care for my wool diaper covers? TOP
Using and caring for wool diaper covers can seem intimidating but is quite simple in reality! Using wool has many advantages which you can read about here. Most wool covers will come with washing instructions from the retailer, however here are some general instructions for wool care

Wool covers only need to be washed when they are soiled � wool has natural self-cleaning and anti-bacterial properties due to the lanolin it contains. If your wool cover is wet after use, just hang it to air out before using it again. If the urine smell does not fade when dry or if the cover is soiled, then it�s time for a wash. Plan to wash your covers about once a month.

Wool covers also need to be lanolized about once a month (with regular use). You can wash and lanolize at the same time. Follow these instructions, but omit the lanolin if you want to wash only.

Rinse your wool cover in cold water if you need to remove any poop.
Run your sink water until it is HOT.
Plug the sink and put a small glob of Lanolin at the bottom along with a small glob of wool wash or baby shampoo. Lanolin is available in most baby stores/Walmart in the section for products for nursing moms. You can also purchase Eucalan no-rinse wool wash which replaces both products.
Run a bit of hot water over the Lanolin and soap to melt it. Mix well.
Fill the sink the rest of the way with lukewarm water. Add the wool, gently squeeze the water through the wool, and then let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
Drain the water and roll the wool up in a towel to squeeze out the excess liquid. Then hang or lay flat to dry. That�s it!
What are the extra laundry and energy costs involved in cloth diapering? TOP
This article at The Diaper Pin estimated total energy costs involved in cloth diapering to be 1.3 cents per diaper.

This article at The Diaper Pin concludes that the extra laundry detergent costs incurred with using cloth is also 1.3 cents per diaper. The article factored in using vinegar and baking soda also – neither of which are used on a regular basis for diaper laundry in most households today.

What is PUL? TOP
PUL (polyurethane laminate) is fabric that has had laminate applied to the back. It is what most diaper covers as well as pocket diaper and all-in-one outers are made from. PUL is waterproof, not bulky, and easy to care for.