Cloth Diapers – Kind of Long

Cloth Diapers – Kind of Long

Before Cooper was born we had an entire wall of his bedroom lined with packages of diapers. I remember thinking, “We won’t have to buy diapers for a long time.”  Then Cooper was born and they all seemed to disappear instantly. Every time I bought another package of diapers I felt like I was literally throwing money away. As our garbage can filled up higher than ever before, both my frugal self and my earth conscious self began to feel a little sick.

I have a handful of friends that use cloth diapers and used to find it strange when they would talk about how much they “loved cloth diapers.” It would have made sense to me if they’d said they liked how they saved money or felt better about their trash footprint, but the use of the word “love” seemed a little excessive. When I decided to try cloth diapers I got some advice from friends (special thanks to Lina for answering all my weirdest questions), but never thought I would actually become attached to the method. I bought my first cloth diaper 7 months ago and in 7 months I’ve gone from a skeptic, to a part-time user, to an absolute lover that hasn’t bought disposables in over a month.

For those of you that have ever even considered trying cloth diapers, try it, you might find you love it too. I think three of the major hang-ups for people are 1. It’s gross 2. It’s time consuming and 3. Do you actually save money? Allow me to share my thoughts.


I think using cloth diapers is far less gross than many of the other things I don’t get a choice in doing as a mom (washing a poopy baby, having spit up in my hair, wiping someone else’s nose, etc). When I first started using cloth diapers I occasionally swished diapers in the toilet because that’s what I thought you were supposed to do. That was kind of gross. Then, I did some reading and discovered that not everyone swishes. If Cooper produces a particularly runny diaper (more common before he started solids) I just throw the diaper in the pail. If there’s a more solid substance in there, I find that simply holding the diaper upside down over the toilet usually takes care of most of the mess. When it’s time to wash everything I can just empty the pail directly into the washing machine with minimal waste contact.

Time Consuming

On a weekly basis I suppose cloth diapering does take a little more time (although I don’t have to drive to the store, compare ads, look for coupons, etc). Essentially it’s an extra load of laundry to wash and put away. Still, I don’t think it’s that bad. I push a couple of buttons, the washing machine does all the work, I hang the covers up to dry, and throw the absorbent inserts in the dryer (unless it’s warm out, then everything goes on my beloved clothesline). When everything is dry I take 10-15 minutes to assemble everything. Not too shabby.


Starting to use cloth diapers can be a little bit of an investment, especially depending on the diapers you use. However, with all the options you save money long term. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of cost analysis. Besides, cloth diapers feel more like an investment since you don’t just throw them away and chances are you’ll be able to use them with more than one child.


Pretty much any website that sells cloth diapers will have some information on diapers, but here are some I have found helpful:

Fran’s Cloth Diaper Primer
Cloth Diapering Dictionary
Green Mountain Diapers- New mom info
Nell’s Natural Baby (they have good prices on the diapers I like and amazing customer service)

Other Options

If you aren’t convinced that cloth is the method for you, there are still some things you can do to be more green as far as diapering is concerned. There are several cloth diapers that have a hybrid option (Gdiapers are the most well-known and the only one I’ve tried). With this option you use a cloth diaper cover, but you dispose of the inserts after the baby has done his/her business. Still not sold? Try Chlorine Free Diapers like Seventh Generation. You can get coupons by signing up for their newsletter. I am slightly in love with their products.

My Method

Everyone I know has a different preference for diapers and how they take care of them. I’ve tried a couple different ones (Bum Genius, Flip, gDiapers, Thirsties, and GroVia). I’ve discovered that I prefer diaper covers (probably the diaper that pops into your head when you think of cloth diapers) to pocket diapers (they have a pocket that you stuff with an absorbent insert – the finished look is similar to a disposable) simply because I hated pulling soggy inserts out of the pocket diapers. Plus, I can reuse diaper covers a couple of times which makes it so I don’t need as many diapers as I would if I were using the pockets. I’ve used microfleece inserts sold by diaper companies as well as prefold Gerber inserts. I’ve found that I actually prefer the cheap prefolds to the slightly more expensive special made inserts. Cooper doesn’t seem to notice the difference.  I prefer one size diapers to fitted diapers. This choice is a money saver since you don’t need to buy several different batches as your child grows. Lastly, I prefer snaps to velcro. This one is probably the silliest of my preferences, but I hated how the velcro would fray with washings and how if the tabs came undone in the machine they all stuck to one another. I have 10 diapers (7 Flips, 1 GroVia, and 2 Thirsties) that I use regularly (Bum Genius and gDiaper got axed). I wash diapers every 1-3 days (depending on how things are going) using a short cold cycle followed by a longer hot one. I did buy some special detergent (Charlie’s Soap), but it was more related to environmental convictions than thinking the diapers needed special soap. I don’t have any special diaper pail. We just bought two little lidded garbage cans that open when you step on a lever (one for cloth diapers and one for wipes since I haven’t gotten up the gumption to try cloth wipes yet). I did buy a wetbag for traveling since we’ve decided to go completely cloth. Thus far we have not had any negative repercussions. I can honestly say that I love my cloth diapers and as an added bonus, I think they look cute. Everyone does it differently, but I’d obviously love to answer any questions if you have any 🙂

13 thoughts on “Cloth Diapers – Kind of Long

  1. I have been thinking of posting about this, too! It always makes me happy to know that other people love cloth diapering, and it’s fun to hear what works for someone else and what your “system” is. As for “grossness,” do you know about the flushable liner option? (I tried to post a link, but either I can’t do that in a comment, or I am not doing something right). Anyway, maybe you already know about them, but they are what saved me from being grossed out. They are a very thin (biodegradable) liner (think dryer sheet minus chemicals and scent) that lets moisture pass into the cloth diaper, but prevents the solid mess from getting on the diaper. Then when the diaper is messy, you just put the liner and the mess in the toilet and flush it all away. If it’s just a wet diaper, I actually fold up the liner with the diaper and wash it with everything else and reuse them a time or two, until they start falling apart. I use the Imse Vimse brand and order the from Nicki’s diapers.

    And I’m like you, I haven’t gotten into cloth wipes, either. But I buy them from Costco and have found the wipes are large enough that I only need to use half of one most of the time, so I am reducing my waste somewhat, right?

    With two kids in cloth, I have gotten lazy, and I don’t even assemble a diaper until it’s time to change someone. I just have bins for liners and put the covers on a shelf underneath. It’s definitely more work with two kids to cloth, but I still prefer it!

    1. I’ve used gdiapers disposable inserts before, but never one that you combined with a cloth insert. I found the disposable inserts to be effective, just an added cost I didn’t want to deal with. The way I do things now I don’t really think of any part of it as being that gross. I just thought it was gross when I plunked the diaper in the toilet and swished it around when I first started cloth diapering. That was before I realized that there were equally effective and less gross methods of getting chunks of poo off before throwing everything in the washing machine 🙂

  2. Although pretty persuasive, I still don’t think I could do it. But, you never know, you might prove me wrong one day 🙂

  3. I’ve thought about this. I’m keeping it on the backburner for when Isaac has less runny diapers… but it IS convincing. I would also like to have my own washer and dryer before doing it.

    1. I can understand the washer and dryer thing. I didn’t try it out until we lived in a place that didn’t require trips to the laundromat 🙂

  4. You are amazing! I have to agree that Cooper’s diapers are hands down the cutest I’ve seen. They definitely beat our Garfield and Odie value brand. I am just wondering how often you have to change them and if they leak/blowout easily. I can’t tell you how many times the previously mentioned diapers let it all loose, and they are disposable… Gotta love the value brands. So you almost have me convinced. Oh, what are the pros/cons of the toilet sprayers? And do you use the fleece liner things? One of my friends uses those and I’m not sure what they are in relation to the whole cloth diaper thing. Thanks for the info!

    1. Oops, I just read that you used the fleece inserts. Are they more convenient to wash than the other ones? And how many of the different parts do you need?

      1. Generally each cloth diaper has an option of buying fleece inserts that are “specially made” to go with that diaper. With my experience they are pretty interchangeable though. They’re softer on little bums and supposedly more absorbent, but I think that’s arguable. Since the fleece inserts have a little bit more texture than the cotton prefolds I use, the pooh tends to stick to them a little better, which is where I think a sprayer might be really nice. As far as washing them in the machine, I haven’t noticed any noticeable difference in one coming cleaner than the other. How many diapers/parts you need will depend on what type you decide to go with (you’ll need more diapers if you decide on pocket diapers since they can’t be reused). I’d recommend buying one of a couple of different kinds that interest you as a trial and then buy more of your favorite. I know that Nell’s Natural Baby (which I mentioned in my post) will let you put together a “preview pack” of diapers that you would like to try. You get to use them for up to 3 weeks and then you can send back any that you hated. They then give you a full price refund in the form of store credit to buy more of the diapers you decided you liked. I didn’t find out about that till I’d already decided what I liked, so I haven’t tried it myself. Okay, I’ve written another novel. If you have any other questions, feel free to repost, email, call or whatever. I’ve also got some other experts I can send you to with questions if you want other opinions 🙂

    2. The cloth diapers hold incredibly well as long as you put them on right (we’ve had 1 or 2 mishaps with lazy diapering before bedtime). For example, last night Cooper didn’t get his diaper changed for 13 hours (I was being a bad parent and forgot to change him when I fed him at 5am) and when I pulled him out of his crib this morning he was just barely staring to leak. The diaper weighed like 8 lbs and was full of all sorts of fun surprises . . . I don’t have a toilet sprayer, but everyone I know that has one them loves them. I think the biggest con is just cost, which has prevented me from getting one. I don’t know that I would classify them as a need, but they would be awfully convenient. Perhaps someday I’ll budget for one.

  5. Oh, you so have to try cloth wipes! So simple and so easy! Depending on the kind of messy diaper, I’ll use a regular wipe to get the gunk so I don’t have to clean off the wipe before it goes into the washer.

    We have kept track of our cloth diaper expenses (which are many), but it has still paid off for us. We only have a few one-size diapers, so we have bought more over time, along with wipes and a sprayer. Oh, and we have bought fleece liners too. It has still been cost-effective. Hooray for cloth diapers 🙂

    It is kind of funny how grossness isn’t much of an issue being a mom. It was more at first, but it just goes away.

    Since you sent that email to my sister-in-law (and before that too, I guess), I’ve thought if I get more diapers I’d like to try Flip diapers.

    I have too much to say… I’ll stop 🙂

  6. Thanks for the info. I have a lot of the same thoughts as you. My sister is letting me try her cloth diapers so I can see if I like them before investing the money.

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