My daughter was cloth diapered for two years before she potty trained. Even though my cloth diaper stash ended at a grand total of I-lost-count-at-60, this meant a lot of wear and tear on many of the diapers. Her bumGenius one size pocket diapers in particular which, at the beginning of our cloth diapering journey, saw 3-6 uses a week, are extremely worn. I ended up with lots of different types of diapers and throughout different parts of my daughters life we preferred prefolds, flats, or fitteds, but most of the time we (especially my husband) just stuck to pocket diapers. That means that with about 2 uses a week, some of my diapers were worn around 600 times before we put them into storage for a second baby. That is a lot of wear and tear. But they’re not done. I still plan on using them for our second baby. They just some TLC first.
After two years I’ve found that my aplix and Velcro closures especially have become especially worn. They’re frayed, curled, weak, and pilled. They still close the diaper, but with none of the crisp freshness that they used to have. That doesn’t mean that have to toss them and start over. I chose to cloth diaper to save money, and save it I shall, which means no re-stashing for me. Over time I’ve found and succeeded in using a couple of techniques to refresh my well-worn cloth. Now one of them requires sewing, but if you don’t sew, have no fear and read on because I also have an option for those of you who prefer to stay away from the needle and thread.
First of all, you can simply replace the Velcro. You can do this easily on any cloth diaper with hook and loop closures, from bumGenius to Thirsties. The easiest route, if you have bumGenius, is to buy the refresher kit that Cotton babies offers for $1.00. It comes with the tab closures, laundry tabs, three new pieces of elastic in case your legs and waist start drooping, and simple instructions. It does not come with the front panel of Velcro because even though that will be worn, it will still be functional, and also because you would need to take the diaper almost entirely apart to replace it. If you aren’t fixing a bumGenius, or you simply don’t want to use the kit that Cotton Babies offers, you can stop by your local fabric store to stock up on elastics and Velcro. Last I saw, Hobby Lobby even has a cloth diaper fabric section with things like PUL, Velcro, and snaps. You can simply buy the right width of Velcro needed for your diaper, rip out the old Velcro, and replace it. Personally, I used the bumGenius Refresher Kit to make about 12 diapers new for a friend and they looked great when I was done.
Convert it to snaps
A second option, which I’ve also done, is to rip out your old Velcro in whatever diaper you have and add snaps. You can find places that sell snap presses or snap pliers. I use snap pliers because I found them for $27 and because I’m not putting snaps on large amounts of diapers. Again, Hobby Lobby has a cloth diapering section with their fabrics and it includes snaps and pliers. I believe Joann’s Fabrics has a cloth diaper section online and also in some of their retail stores. In addition, there are lots of online retailers and coops that exclusively deal in snaps, or cloth diapering supplies. I found some success converting one of my hook and loop bumGenius diapers into a snapping diaper, though I admit that I wish I’d have practiced my snap-attaching skills on a smaller project before taking on the diaper because I got better at it as time went by.
Replacing the elastics in cloth diapers can be a bit trickier, but it can be done. Since the makers of bumGenius offer the refresher kit, they’ve also made it so that the elastics can be easily removed and replaced in their newer diapers if you want to do so. I’ve never replaced elastics in other diapers, but it would also require removing the inner elastic seam from inside the pocket and then re-stitching it. Again, not the easiest sewing task, as it’s much easier to put elastics in when a diaper is deconstructed than not, but totally doable.
All these tips are great if you have a worn out stash, but maybe you’re just low on cash and you can’t afford a brand new pocket/AIO/fitted stash. Well, you can buy used diapers and use these tricks to make them as good as new.
In any case, worn out cloth diapers don’t have to be at the end of their life if you don’t want them to be. With a little creativity and time you can make them easy to use once more with very little monetary expense.