Q&A: Curious About Cloth Diapers
By Elodie Planche and Angela Moy
Just about every soon-to-be parent considers the options around diapering their newborn. Which is best? Cloth diaper? Or disposable? Both have their pros and cons. And a lot depends on YOU and your values system. In the end, the decision to use cloth diapers is a personal one.
Here are some specific concerns often heard with correlating responses, tips, and suggestions.
I would like to start using Cloth Diapers (CD) but what if it’s a lot of work?
Deciding to “go cloth” is usually fueled by strong convictions not associated with (or a fear of) the time commitment. The decision centers around a desire to:
- place a healthy material on your baby’s skin
- minimizing landfill pollution
- saving money
Even so, using cloth diapers isn’t the time sucker often described. Rinsing soiled CD is highly recommended. After that, the washing machine and dryer do the heavy work for you. Imagine no more stinky trash to take out. And diapers will never again be on your shopping list, or worse, cause a late, late night trip to the store.
There are so many brands and styles of cloth diapers. Pocket Diapers, AIO (All in One), AI2 (All in Two), Prefolds, Fitted, etc. How do I know which one is right for me and my baby?
Consider your preferences based on:
1. Style: Educate yourself on options. Learn more about AIO versus A12 here. http://www.diaperjungle.com/aio-cloth-diapers.html Choose between AIO (all in one piece like sposies) or AI2 (a waterproof cover with a fitted diaper, inserts or a flat prefold, or a pocket diaper with inserts inside).
2. Size: Your two options include:
One Size (OS) – adjusts to your child’s growth from newborn to potty-trained with a perfect fit thanks to rows of snaps. Or,
Size-specific (Newborn, Small, Medium, Large)
3. Material: Diaper covers, or shells, are always leak-proof material but inside layers/inserts/fitted or flat diapers are either made of man-made material, like fleece and PUL (fleece-like material that wicks moisture away into the inserts), or natural fibers like (organic) cotton, hemp and bamboo.
4. Closure: Most brands offer snaps and velcro.
If you don’t have set preferences, reading testimonials will help.
Dirtydiaperlaundry.com offer video demos, reviews.
Cottonbabies.com is a very resourceful retail site.
Check thediaperfinder.com to combine your preferred options and choices among the results of your search.
What else should I know about prepping, changing, rinsing, washing and drying cloth diapers?
All In One (AIO) CD look just like disposable diapers (sposies) and are used the same way. If you have an All In Two (AI2) pocket cover with insert(s), stuff the inserts in first.
For all types of CD, when soiled, drop off #2 in the toilet, rinse off #1 and store until laundry day, every 2 to 3 days. CD are dryer-friendly or you can line dry.
Other than the diapers, what accessories will I need? Diaper Pail, Wet Bags, Sprayer, Dryer Balls?
CD has become a big business, and as such, offers many accessories. What you absolutely need is a CD-friendly detergent (good for all laundry, comparable in price to Tide), a dedicated plastic “tool” to scrape/push #2 in the toilet (a repurposed empty facial cream cleanser tube works great!) and a pail, basin or wet/plastic bag to store soiled CD. A zippered plastic bag is a perfect on-the-go washable wet bag. The rest is wants, not needs.
What if I spend all that money and decide that cloth diapering isn’t for me?
Start with 1 or 2 CD to see if using CD works for you, then build your stash of cloth diapers (12-16 CD are usually recommended). You can very easily resell CD on ebay, diaperswappers, diaperpin and other CD sites.
Which detergent is best to use on cloth diapers? I’ve read that regular detergents are not good. Does hardness or softness of the water affect the washing too?
Most detergents contain enzymes, scents, brighteners and dyes that may clog the fibers of your CD, causing leaks. So you need a CD-friendly formula. Many options exist like Country Save and Rockin Green, both cheaper than Tide. Follow your CD brand’s recommendations and check the quality of your water. In general, use a little more detergent with hard water, or less detergent with soft water so your CD rinse well and come out suds-free.
If you’ve already made the leap of faith, or know your decision is to go with cloth diapers, you’ll also want to read our follow-up article (link below) with additional questions and tips.
Read more – Cloth Diaper Q&A Part 2
||Elodie Planche is passionate about everything green and strives for a more sustainable, eco-conscious life. She lives in West New York, NJ with her husband and their two young children and tweets @beltwits
||Angela Moy is a professional graphic artist, small business owner and a full-time mom of two. She respects the Earth and strives to make a positive impact through conservation and advocacy.
Tags: cloth diapers, green living