Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth diapering is a practical, money saving option when it comes to choosing a diapering option.  It is the thrifty choice in the long run and can be fun and addictive too.  There is a little bit of a learning curve when getting into cloth diapering but with this guide, you'll have the basic knowledge to dive into cloth diapering.

Benefits of Cloth Diapering
  • It saves money in the long run.  Disposable diapers can cost between $50 and $100 a month. While cloth diapers require a large initial investment, they save money in the long run, especially if you have more kids.  
  • Disposable diapers contain chemicals and ingredients.  Dioxins, sodium polycrylate, dyes, fragrances, and phthalates have all been found in common diaper brands.  These chemicals can cause diaper rash, while cloth diapers are gentle and non-toxic.
  • Reduces your waste.  Cloth diapering means less diapers in the landfills.  Especially when you consider the number of diapers babies go through.
  •  Lots of cute prints.  There are a ton of cute prints to choose from.  Or you can even make your own.

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 What Do I Need to Get Started?
  • Cloth diapers (duh). The amount you get depends on how often you want to do laundry.  Newborns can easily go through 15 diapers a day, so I would recommend having 20 on hand at the very least. Check out this article on the different types of cloth diapers.
  • Cloth diaper friendly detergent.  You can't just use any detergent on cloth diapers, but instead have to use one that is cloth diaper friendly.
  • Wipes.  You may choose to go the cloth wipe route to save even more money.  They can get washed right with the cloth diapers so it's easy to incorporate them into your diaper routine.  Wipes can be moistened with a bit of cloth wipes solution or just plain water.
  • Diaper pail and liner.  You'll need a diaper pail or you can even use a regular kitchen trash can with a lid, and a washable liner.  
  • Wet bags.  You'll want a wet bag for when you're out and about so you can put dirty diapers in the bag and take them home to throw them in the wash.
  • Inserts.  Depending on your diapering system and how heavy of a wetter you have, you may want extra inserts to help absorb, especially overnight.
  • Diaper sprayer.  This is optional, but can be very useful once baby starts solids.  It attaches to your toilet and sprays the poop into the toilet for flushing. 

How to Use

There's no complex folding or safety pin fastening involved with modern cloth diapers.  They are incredibly easy to use and typically come on and off with just a few snaps or Velcro fasteners. Some diapers do have a place for inserts to help with absorption.  There are a number of different types of cloth diapers to choose from.

Before using cloth diapers, they will need to be prepped.  For pocket diapers, inserts, covers, microfiber and micro-terry diapers, do a wash in warm water with detergent.  Organic/unbleached cotton, bamboo or hemp products need 6 or more hot washes to remove the natural oils and make the diapers fully absorbent.  Failure to prep properly may result in leaky diapers.

When it's time to wash the diapers you can follow these simple steps: Do 1 short cycle wash with cold water, then 1 heavy duty cycle with hot water and detergent, 1 additional rinse cycle, then hang to dry. It is important to only use detergent that is cloth diaper friendly. If you have hard water, it is recommended to use a water softener, which is safe for use on all types of cloth diapers.

If your cloth diapers begin to leak regularly or stink, they need to be stripped.  Stripping diapers removes the buildup of minerals and residues.  To strip a cloth diaper, wash it 4-6 times in the hottest water your washing machine will allow with no detergent.  If your cloth diapers are bleach friendly (check the manufacturer's directions) you can add in half a cup of bleach.  

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About Coffee and Wine Mom

Maddi Casey is a muscle car driving, hard working mama who is obsessed with football and good beer. She has two beautiful baby girls and loving husband. Writing is a passion, hobby and sometimes career of hers at She is also passionate about animals, nature and entrepreneurship.
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