Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diaper 101 Series:

How to Pick Which Kind:

Do a cloth diaper trial (like I did), borrow diapers from a friend, or buy a few different kinds on sale or used (be careful buying used without help as you may be taken advantage of). Then when you know what you like you can search for great deals and gradually stock up. Make to sure to at least try one or two kinds per style of diaper. You may end up loving what you thought you would hate. 

Reading up on each type is also helpful too and the below posts will help you understand each type, but I do not recommend buying a package or all one kind of diaper until you have actually tried them out because every diaper will not fit or work on every baby. Likewise what works for daytime may not also work for overnight. A good stash will usually include a mix of brands and styles. 

 How many diapers do you need?

I like to have enough diapers to wash every 3rd day (although I had to wash every other with 2 kiddos in cloth). I don't recommend washing more than 35 diapers at once (but every machine is different). Basically you need enough to last you between laundry days (and even more if you plan to line dry).

 Most kiddos will need 8 diapers a day (plus what they will wear while you wash) you need at least 24 diapers to go 3 days. Newborns will need closer to 12 and toddlers around 5. So if you are using pockets or all in ones you need 24 diapers if using covers and inserts/prefolds you would need about 24 prefolds/inserts and about 5-8 covers (5 for a toddler and 8 for a newborn or small baby). I am all about having some variety in your diaper stash. 

Washing Guide:

Rinse-Wash-Rinse it really is that easy!

 Begin with a pre-rinse (this can be a rinse and spin or a quick wash) in cold or warm, wash on a long heavy duty cycle (any temperature is fine), then rinse 1-2 times, don't worry about bubbles left over.

 Unless the diapers actually feel soapy you are done (detergent build up is a myth). I highly recommend Tide Ultra Powder or similar strong mainstream detergents (Gain, Kirtland etc).

Start with the 1 line for loads of about 10 diapers and between the 2-3 for more than that. To combat stains you can add a scoop of Biz.

I dry inserts, prefolds, doublers and fitteds on high and covers and pockets on low-medium or hang them dry. You really can dry them on high though just wait until anything with elastic has cooled. 

* The poop of exclusively breast fed babies is entirely water soluble and does not require removal before washing (occasional formula supplementation as long as it does not change the consistency should be fine as well). Once a baby eats solid you will need to dunk and swish, spray or use liners/

Types of cloth diapers:

Why I cloth diaper:

How to get started:

Specialty Cloth Diapering:

Tips and Tricks:

Stinky or Used Diapers:

If you purchase used diapers or if your diapers ever stink they need to be sanitized. Wash them again then soak them in diluted bleach 1 T to 1 gallon bleach (use cold water and soak for at least 30 minutes, then rinse with hot water). Make sure the bleach has at least a 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite concentration and says for sanitizing. This will kill any lingering bacteria and get them clean as new. Also do this with used diapers or diapers that have been exposed to Yeast. (Do not bleach wool). For more sanitizing info consult my Diaper Myths article on bleaching

* do not bleach if you have iron hard water (see the bleaching page for a hydrogen peroxide based alternative, mentioned in the bleaching post). 
** if your water (or their water) is extra hard you may need to mineral strip before using the bleach (minerals can trap bacteria). Use RLR (available on Amazon) or Grovia Tiny Bubbles. 

What's this cloth diaper striping thing I hear about?:

I wrote an entire post on this myth and several others, I highly suggest you read it asap :) Basically you only need to strip diapers if they are buying them pre-owned, if you baby has a yeast infection, or if you had a improper wash routine (your diapers stink/have ammonia build up). 

I am overwhelmed now what?:

Don't worry pretty soon it will all make sense you and you will have your very own money saving, super cute, cloth diaper stash. If you have any questions feel free to ask me. 


  1. Such a wonderful way to help so many.

  2. This is awesome. I'm pinning this. Thanks!

  3. This is really a wonderful post. My sister is also using cloth diaper for her little pie and she is really happy with that. If you are expecting, or have a newborn, you may be wondering the best way to diaper your baby. Cloth diapers versus disposable may seem like a huge decision.
    Baby cloth diapers

  4. I'm now using Ultra Tide powder detergent, I have bleached my diapers and I change them often, but my babes get very frequent and nasty rashes. Please help!

    1. Have you tried changing to a free and clear detergent?

  5. Great info! Very simple and easy…nobody can explain as interesting as this. I appreciate your time and effort on making things simple and easily understandable. I have bookmarked your site...

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