Cloth Diapers

Lessons learned from being a cloth diaper mama for 5+ years, including my favorite dipes, detergent, and more!

The Diapers

My Stash

Our stash consisted at one time of about 30 diapers. Three of them were Econobums, one is a BumCheeks, two are Rumparooz, and the rest are Bumgenius (either 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0). These are various ages, the oldest being BumGenius 2.0s and 3.0s, nearly all of which have had the aplix replaced by snaps (tutorial here) because it did not hold up well to three plus  years of use. For the newborn stage, we used 18 Kissaluv's size 0 diapers. Name brand diapers are not the only option; there are a plethora of mom-made diapers available on Etsy and elsewhere.

Currently, with LCC, we have only BumGenius 4.0 and Rumparooz diapers, about a dozen of each. 


These diapers are among the cheapest options for cloth diapering. The claim is that using them, you can go from birth to potty training for $100. We rarely used the diapers in the covers as intended, because Dee's skin was so sensitive that her whole bottom turns red within minutes after she becomes wet and even if we change her as soon as we notice her little butt stays red and irritated for a while. However, the prefolds that come as part of the econobum package cannot be beat for overnight cloth diapering. We simply fold them and use them in place of the regular microfiber inserts on whichever pocket diaper she's going to be sleeping in. After probably 2 years of wear (we purchased these when J was pretty close to being done in diapers) the prefolds are starting to wear out, with some holes becoming evident around the seams. At some point we will probably puchase replacement prefolds ($6 for a 3-pack) and retire our ratty ones to use as cleaning rags. The covers were used extensively when Dee was a wee baby, primarily as covers for her Kissaluvs size 0 diapers. If we were to purchase any other fitted diapers that required covers, we would use the Econobum covers for that as well.

Kissaluvs Size 0

We used these exclusively for the newborn phase. They are very absorbent and fit teeny babies well. My main complaint was that they did not keep moisture off of baby at all, so unless you caught a wet diaper immediately your baby would be pretty soggy until you noticed. They do require a cover; usually we paired them with Econobum covers, though we did also have a a Thirsties cover and a Cottonbabies one (which they don't make any more). Here's Dee wearing one with a Thirsties cover.


These diapers (specifically the one-sized ones) made up the majority of our stash. I definitely came to prefer the ones with snaps to those with Aplix (hook and loop) just because they lasted better, and stayed put better, though the Aplix ones were easier to put on a wiggly baby/toddler. The stay-dry sueded cloth interior keeps baby's skin dry, which was a huge plus with Dee given how sensitive her skin was. Here's a picture of J when he was teeny tiny (maybe 6 months?) wearing a BG 2.0 one-size.

I really like these diapers still, and they are definitely nice and trim for cloth. They fit LCC as soon as we started using cloth on her (they would have fit her from birth, but we were not using cloth for the first few weeks with her because we were living with my parents and it wasn't feasible). They seem to have only solid colors with maybe one print option available at a time, but the colors are awesome. 


I didn't experience these until Dee was around a year or so old, and I have to admit that these are pretty much my favorite diapers ever. They are local to CO, too, which is a bonus, but the thickness of the PUL, the patterns, the snaps, and the way they fit are all great. They are also one size, so they adjust to fit babies from birth (6 pounds+) through potty training. RAR feature a double gusset inside which does a fantastic job at containing breastmilk poo from teeny babies, or just generally explosive poo that some babies are really good at (though we never had problems with poosplosions no matter what brand of cloth diaper our kids were wearing. EDIT: apparently LCC took this to be a personal challenge. She managed to poop out the FRONT of one of these diapers, up to and including her belly button. So I'm glad she was in cloth, but hot damn, child.). The diapers are fleece-lined which keeps baby pretty dry and they wash up nicely. They are a bit more bulky than the BumGenius, but they are also better for overnight without leaks because of the added absorbency. Here's Dee wearing a RAR with owls on it:

The Detergent

 We have used a number of detergents over the years. Back when J was a baby, we used liquid Arm and Hammer Free and Clear on the Kissaluv's dipes, then switched to CountrySave once we started using the BumGenius pocket diapers. (We have occasionally used whatever we used on laundry at the time, with varying and non-impressive results.) We have hard water and even with the CD-friendly Country Save we had to strip (and strip, and strip) the diapers once in a while with J. It got to the point where, when Dee was ready to use those dipes, they stank. They had been washed several extra times (and stripped) before storage, but the ammonia smell was just awful. So I went looking for a new solution. I found it in Thirsties SuperWash, which was for sale at a local diaper boutique. It is also available on Amazon. It took (I think) about 6 washes to get the stink out of our diapers, but once it was gone, it was GONE and didn't come back. We have never had to strip the diapers while using the Thirsties. However, the Thirsties is a bit pricey at $20 a bottle on Amazon (less in local stores). Of course, we ran out, and it is no longer manufactured, we bought some more Country Save to use for a while. I figure that if we use up the box of CS, we'll be ready to buy more Thirsties (which I hope will be available by then!) and it will all be gravy. Not literal gravy, because that, in the context of diapers especially, would be disgusting.

Rumparooz has a detergent list on their website, and since LCC was born and we were in our new house, we've been using Tide Free and Gentle in our new HE machine with no issues (no stripping needed). Bonus that we can just use one detergent for everything, because with three kids, forget having a complicated laundry routine.

So I guess my favorite detergent was the Thirsties SuperWash, but since it has gone the way of the dodo I've been very pleased with the Tide. We usually do two hot washes with detergent and an extra rinse, then two rinse and spin cycles.

The More

 We have used a diaper pail with all the kids; ours is a Diaper Champ. We have used trash bags (the horror!) instead of wet bags because at the time J was born we couldn't really spend $40 for two wet bags. We just reused our trash bags until they wore out, then we threw them away. We have a large wet bag that we use now for LCC's diapers (can be found here, it's a PlanetWise one). I really love it, and it's great to reduce even the little waste we were producing with the trash bag.You can use trash cans with a wet bag, or a trash bag. Cloth diapers are pretty forgiving that way. You *can't* use a Diaper Genie. The only smell you generally get is one of ammonia, as you should dump any solid waste into the toilet before putting the diaper in the pail. Breastfed baby poo doesn't need to be flushed because it is water soluble and washes out with no problem. If you notice a strong ammonia odor, it may be time to strip your diapers.

There are a few ways to strip diapers. One is to add couple tablespoons of dish detergent (people usually say Dawn, but I never used it) to the wash and just keep repeating rinse cycles until the water has no bubbles in it. You can also use RLR laundry additive, or OxyClean. I generally preferred to use OxyClean. The Zany Zebra has a lot of good information on stripping diapers.

Cloth wipes are another option that many cloth-diapering families choose. We did not, but you can buy flannel wipes on Etsy or at many diaper stores, or you can just use baby wash cloths (the cheap ones that are stretchy). If you use cloth wipes, you just toss them in the wash with the diapers.  You will also need some kind of wipe solution, which is sold everywhere cloth wipes are sold, or you can make your own

Sometimes, diaper rash happens. Most diaper rash ointments are *NOT* cloth friendly. While you may prefer to use disposables until the rash clears up so you can use your favorite ointment, there are options! Coconut oil is a cloth friendly option. Alternately, you can use diaper liners that keep the ointment off the diaper. There are disposable and cloth options available. We have the Kanga Care ones and have been pretty happy with them (one pack is really plenty).

Helpful Links:
Top Cloth Diapering Questions, Answered 

Please feel free to leave questions or comments about your own diapering experience!

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