7…Make That 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Cloth Diapers

March 5, 2014

New to Cloth Diapers?

In June 2012, I published what would come to be one of the most highly viewed and shared posts on All About Cloth Diapers. 7 Things I Wish I Knew About Cloth Diapers summed up what I felt were the seven basic how to use cloth diapers tips and necessities every beginner could start with and be successful.

All are still valid and if you started there you’d do great. But, after looking over the list I think I could further simplify it for you even more.

After cloth diapering straight for 9 years 5 months {Seriously??? Wow time flies!} I’ve tried hundreds of cloth diaper brands, styles and accessories. I’m forcing myself to pick the bare naked necessities. This will be hard.

1) Wetbags. No matter what system I’m using, problem I’m having or whether I’m moving halfway across the country or camping for a week, I always have a wetbag. It’s the one accessory that makes life easier for everyone and really never causes any problems.

You might be inclined to think any ol’ wetbag will do the job. Alas, not all are created equal. I’m a sucker for prints and have bought several brands that, although uber cute, leaked smells and left my guests green when using our bathroom/laundry room.

Over the years, Monkey Foot Designs has been that top performer in combining cuteness and functionality. And they’re affordable.  It’s a no brainer in my book, buy 2 or more XL Monkey Foot Designs wetbags and store all those nasty cloth diapers without any worries of stinking out your guests.

Once you’ve tried an MFD wetbag you’ll soon start collecting them. A few medium sized bags for outings, a couple of small ones for wipes/makeup/mama cloth/snacks/etc, a large one for swimsuits…you get the picture. They even work for carsick bags.

I have a couple of Ragababe and Rumparooz wetbags in rotation as well, but after a couple of days I can smell an odor.

2) Detergent. What are you supposed to use to clean, and I mean really clean, those stinky cloth diapers?

Over the years I’ve tried nuts, natural powder, natural liquid, chemical laden liquid, and kinda-in-between-maybe-good-maybe-bad liquid. All worked for a short span of time before problems started creeping up. All except one. The kinda-in-between-maybe-good-maybe-bad liquid.

Purex Natural Elements worked for a long time for us. I used it with soft and hard water. But, then I had to switch because it wasn’t available at my local store. I then switched to Bright Green liquid detergent (a Safeway brand). I’ve been using it for more than 6 months with no problems. I use almost exclusively all-in-ones, have hard water and my routine consists of warm quick wash for prerinse (nothing added), warm (occasionally hot) wash with detergent just over the midline on cap, and warm quick wash for 2nd rinse. Then I airdry.

3) Buy used. When you are starting out you have no idea what is going to work for your child. It’s a good idea to buy a few different brands and styles second hand from sites like Diaperswappers, Cloth Diaper Trader, Craigslist, Re-Diaper or check out the ‘Gently Used’ section on most cloth diaper boutique sites.  It’s almost impossible to avoid Facebook these days and yes, you could shop exclusively on Facebook quite easily.

For info on how to safely buy used check out Buying and Selling Cloth Diapers Part 1 and Part 2 (where to buy).

Read these before you make the purchase! Not everyone is as honest as you may be, shocking I know.

4) CJ’s BUTTer Spritz. Having an easy to apply rash remedy is a necessity for me! I can’t always get right to a sink to wash my hands so a mess free applicator is needed. CJ’s BUTTer Spritz gets my top recommendation because the scents have me almost loooking forward to diaper changes and it quickly clears up minor rashes. I have at least 6 bottles of spritz in my house right now because I hate running out!

For a more than minor rash {like yeast} I either use CJ’s BUTTer PLUS!, Scarlet’s Naturals Hiney Honey (mess free Quick Stick) or Pooters Skin Therapy (it’s a little pricey, but totally worth it and the bottle lasts forever!) I’ll also add that way back when, like in 2009, I used Grandma Els and loved it. Too bad it has gluten in it or I’d probably still have some around.

If you are just switching from disposable diapers it’s important to remember that no matter how “stay dry” the fabric is your baby will feel more wetness than in a ‘sposie. This can sometimes cause a slight rash but shouldn’t cause major alarm. Providing a moisture barrier with these sprays and creams will help your baby’s skin remain smooth and blemish free.

5) Start simple and know your situation. Flats are super simple to clean and are an inexpensive way to cloth diaper BUT if you want a system that is a quick change and is easy for everyone they may not work for you. They don’t for me or my family.

Pocket cloth diapers are probably the safest recommendation for all cloth diapering families on any budget, at any experience level and in any environment. You get to add the absorbency your child needs, you can buy China-cheap or WAHM handcrafted and they can still be hand-washed fairly easily if needed.

My cloth diapering journey began in 2005, with prefolds and Prorap covers and I quickly “moved up” to Happy Heiny pockets. Man, was I in cloth diaper heaven!

If you need help navigating the plethora of brands for each cloth diaper system check out the My Recommendations page.

Let’s sum up this summary. What do you need?

  • A couple of high quality wetbags from Monkey Foot Designs.
  • A good detergent like Purex, Bright Green, or if your heart desires go for Tide. But just don’t stress out about it. They’re just fabric and they need to be cleaned.
  • Buy used and try out a few brands and types of cloth diapers before you invest in a stash.
  • A mess-free rash spray and maybe a major rash remedy on hand.
  • Simplicity is the key to long-term success. Pocket cloth diapers are a great all-around system, allowing you many options on absorbency, price and situational demands.

Here are a few links to further answer any questions you may have:

13 Most Commonly Asked Cloth Diaper Questions: simple answers to big questions

Cloth Diaper Mysteries Solved! Wicking, Stripping and PUL

What is RLR and How to Make it Cheap?

You can cloth diaper on a budget!

and for easy, fast answers to all your cloth diaper questions you can purchase my book Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapers! Your purchase means a lot to us and we sincerely thank you.

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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

11 Responses to “7…Make That 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Cloth Diapers”

  1. Madison D Says:

    Great read and lots of awesome tips. Thank you!


  2. Sandra Caballero Says:

    Great read for new cloth diaper parents like myself.


  3. Jessica C. Says:

    Thanks! I need to find a new detergent but didn’t know what to use until reading this?


  4. katie Says:

    So weird but I prefer pockets while my husband prefers prefolds and covers. Purex worked great for us too.


  5. Rebeca k Says:

    Thank you so much!


  6. Deborah D Says:

    I get the most useful information from your site. Just recently discovered it.


  7. Hope Says:

    Glad to hear about wetbags. Nobody ever talks about those, but they can stink too. I will be checking out the company you mentioned. We also like itzyritzy (I think that’s how it’s spelled). So we’ve done mostly used, but have lately run into a problem of not honest people, I just wasted about $75 because people were untruthful.


  8. Rachel Says:

    I wish I’d known not to buy a whole bunch of the one type without trying them out! Wasted money that way.


  9. Tiffany Says:

    Can you use the sprays to prevent rashes – so with every change? Or is it only reccommended to use when a rash is present?


    • Jennifer Reinhardt Says:

      Hi Tiffany, you absolutely can use the spray or any cloth diaper safe rash cream at every change. I have been using Cj’s butter to keep things moisturized down there because my daughter’s legs are getting dry where the elastic rubs. You don’t need to gob it on. A little goes a long way!


  10. Andrea S Says:

    I could agree more to your statement:
    “Simplicity is the key to long-term success.”
    I once stressed about wash routines, detergents, diaper creams etc. When I finally decided to just do what needed to be done and bought detergent I could use for all my laundry, and switched to natural fibers so that I could have more freedom with rash creams… I began to enjoy diapering my baby and I found CDing to be easy-peasy. And, no more issues either!


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