Just getting started with cloth diapers? Looking for all the best tips to help you avoid issues and make cloth diapering a breeze?
Cloth diapers are great. They’re healthier for your baby, better for the environment, and can even save you loads of money. But, getting started with cloth diapers can certainly be overwhelming.
There’s a learning curve you have to overcome, familiarizing yourself with all the new lingo, and determining which advice you should follow and which you should ignore. But with the right tips and tricks, cloth diapering can be a cakewalk.
Listed below are 25 of the best cloth diaper tips to help you succeed at cloth diapering.
25 of the Best Cloth Diaper Tips
I’ve learned a lot over the past 3 years of cloth diapering two kiddos. I instantly fell in love with the fluff and became quite the cloth diaper geek. I want you to be successful at cloth diapering as well and enjoy it as much as I have, so I’m sharing 25 of the best cloth diaper tips and tricks you’ll find around.
1.) 24-36 Diapers Should Do the Trick
How many diapers you have is totally up to you, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to have 24-36. If you’re investing in a newborn stash, you may wan’t to lean on the side of 36, as your baby could go through 12 or more diapers in one day alone.
2.) Use Cloth Wipes
You’re already using cloth for your diapers, so you might as well use cloth for wipes. Simply throw them in the wash with your dirty diapers and reuse them over and over again.
I actually found cloth wipes to work SO much better when dealing with poop. You only have to use 2-3, maybe 4, compared to 6+ when using disposables.
We’ve been using the GroVia cloth wipes for over three years now, and they’re still in great condition. I have tried a few other brands, but these are definitely top-notch, as they’re nice and thick, but still ultra soft.
3.) You Don't Need a Fancy Wipe Solution
Despite what some people may say, you do NOT need a fancy wipe solution. Plain ole’ water works just fine. 🙂
You could wet your wipes down in the sink before each change or you could keep a peri bottle or small spray bottle at your changing table for easy access. We do the peri bottle during the newborn months and start wetting in the sink when I can carry baby on my hip.
4.) Try Out Different Types and Styles
Don’t be afraid to try out different styles, brands, and types of fabric. I always recommend buying 1 or 2 diapers of various styles when just starting out to see what you like best before purchasing your entire stash.
Plus, as your baby grows different diapers may fit him better or worse depending on leg thickness, height, etc. You can check out various brands and styles over at Nicki’s Diapers. They even have a 15 day try, wash, return policy if you’re not fond of what you got.
5.) Use Natural Fibers for Heavy Wetters
If you find your baby to be a heavy wetter, then I would invest in more natural fibers, as they tend to be more absorbent than their synthetic counter parts. Go ahead and give cotton, hemp, and bamboo a try if your baby is soaking through their diapers. You could even try using some wool covers.
6.) Store Your Dirties in a DIY Pail
All you need to make your diaper pail is a tall kitchen trash can and an anti-microbial pail liner. I know many moms also use those standing plastic laundry baskets with holes along the side of them. And contrary to what you might think, the more air equals the less stink, so keep those lids and doors to the room open.
When laundry day comes, you can easily pull out your pail liner and flip it inside out to throw your dirty diapers in the wash without you even having to even touch them.
7.) Get a Wet Bag (or 2) for Traveling
I know some moms skip the pail and just use a large wet bag for storing their dirty diapers at home, but I prefer wet bags strictly for traveling. We have 2 medium size wet bags for daily travels, which fit nicely in the diaper bag, and we also have one large wet bag for when we go on weekend trips. The large ones also work well for storing wet swimsuits and towels when you go swimming.
8.) Make Sure Your Diaper Cream is Cloth-Safe
Not all diapers creams are safe for cloth, as some can cause repelling and staining. You’ll want to be sure to familiarize yourself with cloth-safe diaper creams in order to choose the right one for your diapers and your baby. We actually mainly just use plain coconut oil as diaper cream at our house.
9.) The Detergent Makes a Difference
Just like with your diaper cream, you also need to choose a detergent that is safe for cloth diapering. Many detergents can cause repelling issues, ammonia buildup, and even chemical burns. And, homemade soap just doesn’t do the trick when it comes to cleaning and can even destroy your washing machine.
Be sure to checkout Fluff Love’s Detergent Index to find one that is compatible with your diapers, your water hardness, your baby, and your lifestyle. We use Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus at our house, but I know many moms that stick with trusty old Tide Powder. Here are a few other recommended detergents you could choose from:
- Amway Legacy of Clean SA8
- Kirkland Environmentally Friendly/Responsible
10.) Change Your Diapers Every 2 Hours
In order to avoid leaks and diaper rash, you should be changing your baby’s diaper AT LEAST every 2 hours during the day. If your baby is a really heavy wetter, you may need to change every 1.5 hours.
I would continue to change your baby’s diaper every time they wake up at night during the newborn stage, in order to keep track of wet and dirty diapers, but as your baby gets older, you can let them go longer, even the whole night, without a diaper change. You just have to find the right nighttime solutions.
11.) Wash Every 2-4 Days
How often you wash is up to you, but I probably wouldn’t go longer than 4 days at most. If you’re washing every 1-2 days, you won’t need as many diapers, but if you need to go every 3-4 days, you’ll probably need to invest in a few more.
12.) No Need to Rinse the Breast Milk Poo
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to rinse the poop off before throwing it in the pail. Because breastmilk poop is water soluble, all you need to do is do a pre-rinse or short wash before your main wash in the machine.
However, if the smell bothers you, go ahead and rinse the poo before storing it until wash day. If your baby is formula fed or eating solids, you will need to rinse with each poopy diaper.
13.) Try & Keep it Simple
While I agree with Fluff Love’s advice on detergents and water hardness, I do find some of their washing recommendations a bit extreme. I believe you should try and keep your wash routine as simple as possible.
Do a pre-rinse or short wash before your main wash, and be sure to use the heavy soiled setting. Use hot water if you’re using a plant-based or all & clear detergent.
14.) Always Check Your Fit
Be sure to check your fit with each diaper change to avoid leaks and blowouts. Make sure there’s no gaps in the legs, your rise is on the right setting, and the diaper is not on too tight. Pink marks are completely normal with cloth, but red marks are NOT. If your baby is left with red, loosen that diaper. If you’re unsure how your cloth should fit, you can find a tutorial here.
15.) Velcro Doesn't Last
While velcro (hook and loop) is nice for grandparents and day care providers, it just simply doesn’t have the longevity that snaps do. Plus, snaps make it more challenging for your baby to pull their diaper off.
If you do choose to use velcro, just be sure to attach your tabs to the inside tab savers before throwing them in the wash to extend their life as much as possible. And, if your velcro ever does wear out, you can always replace it with snaps.
16.) Complex Folds Aren't Necessary
If you’re wanting to use prefolds to get the most bang for your buck, but the origami folds seem too intimidating, then you’re in luck. Truly, no complex folds are necessary.
You can simply fold your prefold like a pad and place it inside your baby’s cover, like displayed in this easy nighttime solution. I do find the more complex folds helpful during the newborn stage, but once baby is about 3 months old, we typically just stick with the pad fold.
17.) Repurpose Your Prefolds
Prefolds are great because they’re so much more than just a diaper! Their excellent absorbency also makes them great burp cloths. We even like to use them as a changing pad, since you can easily toss them in the wash.
Once you’re done using your prefolds with your baby, you could resell them or save them for cleaning around the house.
18.) You Should Rarely Need to Strip
If you’re doing everything right you shouldn’t ever need to strip. So, make sure you’ve got a good wash routine down, the right detergent, and a cloth-safe diaper cream.
If you buy pre-loved (used), it’s probably best to do a strip, unless you know for a fact that previous owner had a good wash routine.
We’ve gone 3 years now without ever having to strip our cloth diapers, so I’d say we’re doing something right. 😉
19.) It's Nice to Have Backups
While I hate having to buy disposables, they do come in handy in emergency situations. We always have a pack of disposable water wipes on hand (especially in the diaper bag), and a small pack of backup disposables during the newborn stage.
Sometimes you just didn’t wet enough wipes for a massive poop, or you don’t have access to water, or you simply don’t get the diapers thrown in the wash on time. Mom life can get pretty crazy. It happens.
20.) A Diaper Sprayer is a Total Lifesaver
A diaper sprayer isn’t a necessity, but it certainly makes cloth diapering much more manageable. I know some moms just use the dunk and swish method, but my husband and I much more prefer spraying the poop right into the toilet.
This diaper sprayer hooks right up to your toilet for easy access. Just be sure to turn the water valve off with each use to extend it’s life. To avoid the poo even more, you could use some cloth diaper hacks, and make a DIY splatter shield.
21.) Line Dry Lengthwise
It’s especially important to hang your heavier diapers, like your all-in-ones (AIOs), lengthwise when line drying. Otherwise, the elastic will get pulled on and possibly stretched out.
You certainly don’t have to line dry though. The dryer works just fine. But, it is nice to use the sun for getting out those stains.
22.) Find the Right Pants to Fit Over That Fluff
Unfortunately, most baby clothes made today are accommodated to just fit over thin disposables. You’re either going to need to size up in clothes, or find the right kinds to fit over that fluff.
But a lot of the time, we simply don’t even bother with pants and just use baby leg warmers so we can show off our cute cloth.
23.) Take Lots of Bum Pics!
Commemorate your cloth diapering days by taking loads of bum pics. Those diapers are just too darn cute not to document. They even make for some excellent photo shoots!
24.) Join the Cloth Diaper Community
Facebook groups can be so helpful when it comes to cloth diapers. They can help troubleshoot your issues, give you encouragement to stick with it, and just be loads of fun with all the cute pics. Here are just a few of my favorite groups:
25.) It Doesn't Have to Be All or Nothing
You don’t have to go in 100% when it comes to cloth. Even just using cloth part of the time will be healthier for your baby, better for our environment, and of course, save you money.
Don’t feel bad if you just want to use cloth at home and disposables when you’re out. And, don’t feel like you need to start out right away. It’s okay to use disposables those first few weeks to get yourself adjusted to life with a new baby before having to worry about dirty diaper laundry. Your fluff will be there when you’re ready.
Love that Fluff
Cloth diapering can seem challenging and intimidating, but with the right tips and tricks, it can be easy peasy.
I’ve gained so much cloth diaper knowledge over these past 3 years and really haven’t ran into any issues. I hope these 25 tips of mine will help you be successful at cloth diapering as well.
Now get out and love that fluff!
What About You?
Did you find these tips and tricks helpful? Share some of your best cloth diaper tips in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with all your new cloth mama friends.