FAQ: What do I need?

Posted by Becca on 11/17/2011 to Baby Wearing

Okay, so you’ve decided to cloth diaper probably because you know you’ll save thousands doing so not to mention the fact that you’re helping the environment and your baby’s precious skin.  But what next?  What does cloth diapering your baby entail?

The stash. You need a stash of diapers that will suit your cloth diapering needs.  The amount of diapers you should have will depend upon whether or not you will be using cloth diapers full time or part time.  A newborn will soil 8-12 diapers a day and an older child will soil 6-8 diapers a day.  I would suggest that you need enough cloth diapers to get you through at least two days of diaper changes if you’re going to cloth diaper full time.  If you are going to do it part time, any number of cloth diapers will help keep your disposable diaper bill down.  Even if you only use three cloth diapers a day, that means you won’t have to buy 90 disposables that month.

The Storage. You’ll need a place to store your diapers—dirty and clean.  Why not use the same methods you would have with your disposables?  Under your changing table or in a drawer works fine.  I’ve seen some people be so creative as to use a hanging shoe rack to hang their color coordinating diapers for easy access, but there’s no need to be that fancy.  As far as your dirty diapers, a diaper pail with a cloth liner, or a hanging wet bag will do just fine.

The Laundry. For washing your diapers you’ll need an additive free detergent such as Rockin' Green or Country Save.  I buy a brand called Ecos that can be found at Sam’s Club so that I don’t have to pay shipping.  In any case, your detergent should be additive free to avoid buildup on your diapers.  You need nothing else to wash them since you shouldn’t be using either fabric softener or bleach on them.  Both of these can ruin your diapers and/or kill their absorbency level.  A nice plus for washing diapers is a diaper sprayer—a simple device that attaches to your toilet and aids in the removal of solids from them.  However, I’ve found that, although this is a nice thing to have, it is not necessary as dunking your diaper in clean toilet water also works nicely to remove solids.

The accessories. If you’re using cloth diapers, it may be nice to use cloth wipes as well.  That way, you can just throw both the wipes and the diapers into your wash rather than having a separate garbage can in your baby’s nursery just to collect dirty, disposable wipes.  Cloth wipes can be bought from brands such as Kissaluvs and Tiny Tush, or they can be easily made at home with scraps of old T shirts, bits of flannel, or soft minkee bought from a local fabric store.  If you’re going to use cloth wipes, you need a wipe solution as well.   You can make your own from one of the many recipes found online through a search engine (most of which include essential oils such as Tea tree oil or Lavender), or you can buy your wipe solution.  BumGenius! Sells some that’s called Bottom Cleaner, and Happy Heinys has their Heiny wash.

If it makes you feel any better, you’re off to a better start with cloth diapering than I was! I started with only three bumGenius! pocket diapers,  one of the pink plastic bins that the hospital gives you as a diaper pail, and I was using Tide to wash my diapers (which I wouldn’t recommend).  I learned quickly the things I needed as I went along and soon I was cloth diapering without a hitch!


Date 5/22/2012 9:58:41 AM
Sarah Santoro
Exactly what kind of Ecos..? That would be great for us because we can get Rockin' Green in a store, but its like 45 min away. At that point we might as well just pay shipping vs the gas prices :P
Date 5/25/2012 12:16:31 PM
Actually, plenty of people use mainstream detergents, opting for fragrance free versions of them sometimes and also sometimes use a little bleach. So much depends on your water, your machine, your diapers, your baby and what they are eating. I know just as many people who use Tide because things like Rockin Green gave their baby a rash or Country Save didn't work and then ended up with stinky diapers.
Date 4/24/2013
Kelsie jennings
Excited to start building up my newborn stash.
Date 5/20/2013
Jel Tan Wee
My baby girl is coming this August, as a start, I plan to cloth diaper during the day and use DD at night. If things go well I hope to be able to use cloth diapers full time. Ill build my stash as I go along.
Date 7/19/2013
My just turned one and I have decided to change to cloth. Thanks this info is helpful.
Date 9/23/2013
Thanks for this post! I'm trying to find articles to give to a friend considering cloth for her 3rd baby!
Date 10/19/2013
My daughter is 2 months old and we are doing pretty well with cloth diapering. I'm still building up the stash, but love anything with double gussets! I also really like covers and liners. It is great being able to use the covers several times. Disposable wipes are super easy. We use the Prince Lionheart wipes warmer to store them. I'm still trying to work out which detergent to use since that seems to be the one controversial subject with cloth diapers!
Date 1/4/2014
I wish I hadn't gone so crazy (or I would currently stop going crazy) buying all the cute diapers. I started out wanting to save money!
Date 1/12/2014
I used to use Ecos but I've found powder detergent works better for us, particularly Gain or Tide.
Date 1/31/2014
Kaycie Knarr
Thank you for the tips! My daughter will be born in May and I'm trying to figure out how many I need :)
Date 1/31/2014
Melissa Decroteau
Thanks for this! It's nice to sort of have a check list of stuff to get! We also only use water with our cloth wipes because of my sons sensitive skin.
Date 2/1/2014
Jo-ann Emin Mitchell
My sister is expecting her first grandchild. I intend to sing the praises of cloth diapers to my neice and her husband.
Date 2/5/2014
Amanda G
I just started cloth diapering my youngest so these tips are great! I'm still not convinced on cloth wipes though since you have to buy spray to go with them. I would think it's just as expensive to buy disposable wipes.
Date 2/8/2014
Katherine Blankenship
I'm 3 1/2 months into cloth diapering but still looking for new ideas all the time. Thanks for this blog post, very helpful!!
Date 2/16/2014
Really great information for a beginner! Thank you!
Date 3/6/2014
Shanna McMullen
Thanks for the info. I'm new to cloth diapering.
Date 3/8/2014
Kassi Peerman
I plan on cloth diapering full-time except when we travel to see family. I will probably use cloth wipes as well... but still want disposable wipes for sticky situations.
Date 3/21/2014
Amanda Stewart
Thanks for this! we are getting ready for our second baby and plan on cloth diapering her full time, so I am loving all the tips on what to get.
Date 4/11/2014
Kayleigh Stratton
Cloth is so much more cost efficient! And way cuter, too..
Date 5/11/2014
Cassandra deNevers
Do you really need special detergent for cloth diapers?
Date 8/27/2014
ashley petersen
I found finding the right detergent for cloth diapers is key to success. Many people quit after a few months due to stink and leak issues from bad detergent. I have tried them all and love ecos free and clear
Date 4/16/2015
Thanks for the info! I'm getting more and more serious about cloth diapering with every new thing I read about it, so it's great to know exactly what I'll need.
Date 6/10/2015
Thanks for the tips. I wash with Vaska because it's recommended by Thirsties and it's worked great so far.

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