Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cloth Diapers, Cloth Wipes and everything in between

I have always loved the idea of cloth diapers, both for cost and the environment, but for the first year of my son's life, I used disposable. My work had a phenomenal diaper shower for me, so we did not need to buy diapers or wipes for the first 8 months.  After that, we began buying the weekly box and the dollars kept adding up. Also, along the way, my son had an itchy rash around his waist, which I kept treating with hydrocortisone, vaseline, sensitive diapers, or anything else I could find to help with itching and skin irritation. I had always thought about cloth diapers and how great I thought it would be to use them, but since I work full-time, never thought it would be feasable, so I talked to our daycare lady, who by the way, is AMAZING!!! She cloth diapered her daughter and was totally on board with the endeavor.

After much research and consideration I decided on the Bum Genius Elemental One-Size All in One dipaers. The criteria that I had were: one size (one diaper for 7-35 lbs.), all-in-one (no extra parts to make it easiest to bring to daycare or have others use), and snaps instead of velcro (velcro tends to wear too quickly). They are all relatively similar in cost (expensive), fluctuating a little. But, it was worth it to us, especially considering that any of our future children would be able to use them. We ordered a set of 12 for $264. In the four months that we had to buy disposable diapers, we had already spent this much, so the investment was worth it to us. If you are staying at home, I think 12 is a great amount. It also worked well for us for a couple months in daycare, but since I work outside the home and need to make sure that I have plenty clean at all times, I opted for 18...Merry Christmas, Manwich! Your parents love you! That's right, the last 6 were a Christmas gift, giving the high cost, and the fact that our one year old didn't pay attention to anything anyway.

 Drawer full of colorful diapers :) I was conscious to get mostly gender neutral colors. They have the cutest colors! The darker green (Ribbit) and orange (Clementine) colors are my favs!!

 The inside of the diaper

The inner flap...this is great because you don't have to add inserts each time you use them and they dry soo much quicker than if it was sewn in all the way around! A+!!!!

(I forgot to take a pic of the front snaps to show how they "size down" for little babies, but the website does a good job of that!)

In addition to the diapers, I ordered a set of 6 Stay Dry Doubler Inserts to go inside the diapers during nap times or for overnight. With a little baby, you probably wouldn't need these for a while, but since mine was already older, I found it crucial for the extended periods of time. I had one set and that worked well, but ordered one more and feel that 2 sets are the perfect amount. One tip that I learned through trial and error was to fold the insert...for boys at the front and for girls, in the middle to add to the absorbancy.

This is what the insert looks like.

Example of how to fold for a boy...

Example of how to fold for a girl...

 This is what I do insert straight out and another folded for the most absorbancy. (They fit well when you are actually putting the diaper on your baby. It's a bit bulky, but everything fits.)

Along with the diapers, we purchased the Bum Genius Toilet Sprayer for #2s! That's right people...YOU DON'T HAVE TO TOUCH POOP!!! You can just spray it into the toilet and flush! What bum genius'!!! (pun intended!)

You can read more about how awesome these diapers are and how the sprayer works on one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love.  They have a link about the intallation of the toilet sprayer. I did it by myself in about 20 minutes. Not bad at all!

After we got all of that set up, I needed to figure out what to put the dirty ones in. For travel and daycare, I got a small wet bag off etsy. They have TONS of cute designs. Just search: "wet bag" or "diaper wet bag". For home, I needed something much larger, so I turned to PlanetWise. (Ours is in the River Rock pattern.) This bag is great and the smells really are well contained, even after a couple days. I typically just throw it in the wash with the diapers and it has held up extremely well.

We hook our diaper sack to the side of the dresser. Look at the handsome model! lol!

Close-up of the hook. This is just a stick-on 3M Command hook from Wal-Mart. I got the jumbo/strongest one. I think it was $3-$4.

I wash the diapers at least every other day, but typically each evening after my manwich goes to bed. They are washed on HOT and dried on a high heat dryer setting (this sanitizes them). I can't wait to line-dry them in the hot Georgia summers! (pause for daydream......)  Ok, I'm back. I wash using gentle detergent, but shortly after, I started making my own laundry detergent. I love it; it's gentle, works really well on odors, and costs next to nothing...approximately 1 cent per load!

One tip I read: If you have a front loading/water saving washer, "up" the load size by one to make sure that there is enough water to get the odors, etc. out...meaning, if you really have a small load, set your machine to "medium". Does this make sense? I don't have one, so I just set it as is and haven't tried this.

 This stuff is great...Charlie's Soap. I got it off Amazon and it really does last a long time. I periodically use it since I have it, but now mainly use my homemade soap.

I bought this to help with odors. Sometimes, even with spraying, there is a lingering odor. It really does work well! Even though it's a bit expensive, you use maybe a tablespoon in a load, so it does last a long time. It's also great for other household items.

BUT, after trying straight vinegar, I found that this works just as well, is SOOO cheap, and is good for the environment! Yay! (I use 1/2 cup or so per load.)

After a while of cloth diapering, I decided to also switch to cloth wipes at home. The ones I chose are by Baby Kicks. The reason I chose these over others was partially cost, but also, they are an oval shape and do not roll up in the dryer. I find that it is much easier at home to use cloth wipes over disposable. Everything goes into the wet bag and you don't have to sort through it to throw out the wipes when it comes time to wash, which can be kinda gross. These wipes are GREAT for wiping noses/face, etc. too...very soft and absorbant. I keep a few in the kitchen for after meals as well.

Also, to go with my wipes, I made a solution for them. There are two methods for this: 1. mix everything in a jar, shake, pour some in a spray bottle and spray as needed, and 2. put solution in an empty wipes container and soak cloth wipes. For me, I use the spray bottle method because typically I am not at home all day and I don't want the wipes to become moldy. The solution I chose (but there are HUNDREDS of them online that you can search) is:

Baby Wipe Solution: (I doubled this and put it in a large mason jar to fill my spray bottle as needed.)
  • 2 TBSP Baby Wash
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil or 1 TBSP Calendula Oil (I used Olive Oil)
  • 2 Drops Tea Tree Oil
  • 2 Cups Water Mix well in a spray bottle or your wipes box. Spritz on wipe before using if in spray bottle. Swish solution around over wipes if using a wipes box. Tea Tree Oil has lovely disinfectant properties along with its wonderful, clean smell.

These are the wipes and my spray bottle for the solution.

I do use disposable wipes for the occasional horrible #2, but try to stick to cloth. I think this container of wipes has lasted me well over two months...not too bad!

All in all, this is definitely an upfront investment, but one that I am committed to and totally geeked out by!!! I'm such a dork! LOL!

I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, but please feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I'll get back to you. Also, do you have any advice for cloth diapering while in daycare??? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. This answers a lot of questions for a want-to-be mom who likes things green! Thanks for this post. I'm sure I'll revisit it once we have our own little one. :)

  2. anytime, ladies! I'm obsessed, so ask away :):):)

  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this post, Katie and for telling me about it! It really is very helpful to someone like me who is interested, but not completely sure, and overwhelmed by all the info online! Nick and I still have some discussing to do . . . but I think it might be great. :-)

  4. Thanks, Meg!! I will tell you that they have a new kind by Bum Genius that if I ever needed more, I'd get. They are basically the same but not organic and about $50 cheaper. They are called the "Freetime"

    Everything else would stay the same. Their girl colors are SO CUTE, too!!

    Please call me if you have any questions. I now don't wash them every day. I do wash them about twice per week, but I think it just depends on how many you are using. Since you will most likely be at home, when you have two left, throw them in the wash. Then the dirty ones will be clean and dry by the time you need them. :) Good luck and let me know questions. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing! I'm sure to some people, this seems like basic info, but it's so helpful to me!! I'm pregnant with my third and am considering doing cloth with this one. My first two I used disposable. I feel much more of a veteran at mommyhood and up for what seemed like such a challenge before. :)

  6. Thank you, Tiffany! We have now been using them for almost 2 years, and are still going strong. We are about to start potty training around here...(wish me luck, lol!!) but will save these for our next child. Please feel free to leave any question you have. Good luck!!! It really is so easy to build into a routine because the washing machine does most of the work. :)