The Four Basic Types of Cloth Diapers:
All-in-One Cloth Diapers (also known as "AIO"s) - These diapers are the easiest and most leak proof diapers to use and have a built in diaper cover sewn into the cotton or fleece layer. They fasten with snaps or velcro and work like the ease of a disposable. NO diaper cover required.
Examples of All-in-Ones:
- bumGenius! All-in-One Cloth Diaper - The bumGenius! All-In-One Cloth Diaper is a distinguished iParenting Media Award Winner! This product was tested by an expert, a parent, a child care center and an executive review committee. It was given the thumbs up by everyone and was the first product of its kind to be awarded an iParenting Media Award.
Fitted or Contoured Cloth Diapers - These diapers are fitted with snaps or velcro and do require a diaper cover. One of the reasons why customers choose these diapers is because they dry faster than the All-in-One diapers.
Examples of Fitted/Contoured Diapers:
- Kissaluvs Fitted Diaper - Kissaluvs fitted diapers are known for their quality fabrics and terrific fit. All of Kissaluvs diapers are made with wonderfully soft, absorbent, and durable cotton fleece or fleece/terry. These diapers DO require a diaper cover.
- Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diaper - A stay-dry fitted diaper perfect for daytime use.
Pre-fold and Flat Diapers (old-fashioned diapers) - These diapers are wonderful for not only diapering but are used as burp cloths, household clean-ups, and so much more. These diapers need to be fastened with pins or a Snappi and used with a diaper cover. Most of the covers we have available do NOT require the use of pins.
Examples of Pre-fold or Flat Diapers:
- Chinese Prefold Diapers - These are by far the best pre-fold diapers on the market. They are super soft and become more absorbent wash after wash. These diapers are recommended if you are going to use pre-fold diapers full time. Available in white (bleached) or natural (unbleached). 5 sizes available.
- Birdseye Cotton Flat Diapers - These are the true old fashioned diapers (nappies) that are made of soft 100% birdseye cotton. They measure 27 by 27 inches and are one layer thick. This is the original cloth diaper still used in many countries. These are a one size fits all diaper that requires folding to properly fit baby. These diapers also make wonderful comfort blankets, dish towels, burp cloths, cleaning cloths, lap pads, and more! The diapers dry very quickly because they are only one layer thick. Use with pins and pants or try one of our diaper covers. If you have the patience and the pioneering spirit, using these diapers are far and away the least expensive way to comfortably diaper your baby.
Pocket Cloth Diapers
What is a Pocket Diaper? The three main components of the pocket diapers are: first, a waterproof outer barrier fabric that is sewn to the second component, an inner moisture-wicking fabric that keeps the skin feeling dry. These two fabrics form a pocket for the third component, an absorbent insert. However, the term "Pocket Diapers" is so much more than just two layers of fabric sewn together! Pocket Diapers function in a way that no other diaper has in history. They use special materials against the baby's skin to keep the baby's skin dry resulting in numerous benefits for the mom and baby, not to mention the elimination and treatment of diaper rash ... which is why this style diaper was created in the first place.
Examples of Pocket Diapers:
Washing Cloth Diapers
Washing Brand New Products...
New diapers do need to be laundered prior to their first use. Some items such as pocket diapers, covers, inserts and items made from micro-terry or bamboo only need a quick wash; warm or hot water works best (detergent is optional but recommended).
Organic/Unbleached Cotton and Hemp products...
Organic and unbleached cotton and hemp products (inserts, prefolds, etc…) do require several washes BEFORE they will be absorbent; otherwise, leaks will occur. Generally it can take between 5-6 hot water washes (or more) before the natural oils from the cotton or hemp are removed and allows the fabric to properly absorb. Items will become more absorbent with subsequent washes.
For optimal results use hot water for the wash and warm water rinses (if an option on your machine). We do recommend drying the diapers between washes - however, you can also opt to wash twice, dry once, and continue repeating until the diapers are fully prepped.
Washing Soiled Diapers – Keep it Simple!
Cloth diaper laundry recommendations are a dime a dozen. However, we all use different washing machines, different detergents, and even different diapers. Therefore, finding a diaper laundry routine that suits you best can be cumbersome. We recommend keeping it simple!
The following routine has proven to work well for most people, regardless of what type of machine or cloth diapers you use:
- 1 short cycle cold water wash with detergent
- 1 long/heavy duty cycle hot water wash with detergent (use slightly less detergent)
- 1 additional rinse*
*Warm water rinses, if an option on your machine, work best at removing residue.
Detergents We Recommend:
We have provided additional resources on our DiaperShops.com blog, Cloth Diapering 101 Series. How to Prep Cloth Diapers. We also include the following Laundry Tips sheet with most orders.
There are a plethora of cloth diaper laundry lists available with other recommended detergents but we like to stick to what we have personally tried and know works well.
Note: Rockin' Green, bumGenius, and Tiny Bubbles detergents have all been formulated for use with cloth diapers. Therefore, you should follow the recommended amount on the packaging.
Baking Soda (1-2 tablespoons) - helps neutralize acid and odors. Baking soda can be used in place of detergent in the initial cold water wash, or substitute ½ of your detergent for baking soda in the initial cold water wash.
Bleach: (1-2 tablespoons) - While bleach is typically a cloth diapering "no-no" - we do recommend a periodic bleaching of micro-terry inserts; especially since micro-terry is more prone to build-up and stink issues. Do not use on other types of cloth diapers, especially those with PUL.
Vinegar (1/4 cup or less) works by breaking down residues making them readily wash away. Also helps restores the pH balance in fabrics, reduces lint, and naturally eliminates static cling. Not recommended or necessary unless you develop consistent problems with residue build-up. Use in the rinse cycle—either with a Downy Ball or in the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine.
PLEASE NOTE: Some manufacturers explicitly state not to use these additives, and the use of these additives can void certain manufacturer warranties. While every effort has been made to provide safe, reliable and helpful information, Kelly's Closet is not responsible for any damage or injuries resulting in following our recommendations/suggestions.
Have specific washing questions and need help? CONTACT US!
How do I handle and store soiled diapers?
Wet diapers only are a breeze – just toss in the diaper pail and go!
Soiled (bowel movement) diapers do require a little more attention.
Newborn poo doesn't typically stain… therefore some people just toss soiled diapers directly into the diaper pail or wet bag until laundry day and do a prewash to loosen up and rinse away most of the debris. However, for optimal washing results, we like to recommend either using a disposable diaper liner or a diaper sprayer.
Disposable diaper liners such as the Bummis Bio-Soft or Cutey Baby Flushable Liners facilitate an easy breezy clean up! Simply remove the liner from the diaper and toss and flush in the toilet – and voila, you're done!
Otherwise, we strongly recommend the use of a Diaper Sprayer! Diaper Sprayers allow you to remove most (sometimes all) of the solids from the diaper right into your toilet, without having to utilize the dreaded dunking method. Diaper Sprayers are also great for personally hygiene uses too!
For storing your soiled diapers until laundry day we strongly recommend the use of a dry pail. Dry Pails are diaper pails that do not use water to soak the diapers in. Wet pails pose a safety hazard and are more likely to cause stink buildup in the diapers.
Therefore we recommend lining a lidded 13 gallon plastic trash bin/can with a diaper pail liner such as Planet Wise Pail Liner. If you don't have much room for a plastic trash bin you may alternatively use a hanging diaper pail liner, such as Knickernappies Doorknob Diaper Pail, on a door handle inside your bathroom or connect it to your changing table.
For on-the-go storage we recommend using a wet bag. Planet Wise are our most leak-proof and odor resistant wet bags. Wet bags wonderful for storing not only soiled diapers but all wet items such as swimsuits, towels, wet clothes, etc…
We also recommend the use of a diaper pail deodorizer to help combat stink inside the diaper pail between washes.
My Diapers are LEAKING! HELP!
The 3 most common reasons why diapers leak:
First, it's important to change your baby frequently. Although cloth diapers do absorb very well and are much healthier than their disposable counterparts, you cannot leave baby in a diaper for 4-5 hours during the day and expect the diaper not to leak. If a diaper becomes saturated it will leak!
Therefore, we recommend changing baby every 2-3 hours or as needed (usually more often for younger babies and less often for older babies).
If your little one is a super soaker – then you may consider adding additional absorbency to prevent leaks. Hemp inserts or doublers will provide you with the best absorption possible! We like the BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz or the Knickernappies Loopy-Do Prewashed Hemp inserts.
If you're trying to go overnight with no leaks, then our number one recommendation is to use a bumGenius One Size Microfiber insert and a Knickernappies Super-Do Prewashed Hemp insert.
This is hands-down the most leak-proof combination for overnight protection. The Super-Do insert utilizes a combination of 6 layers of thin but super absorbent prewashed hemp terry coupled with two layers of micro-terry. Combined with the 3 layers of super thirsty microfiber terry from the bumGenius One Size Microfiber insert – you've got it covered!
If the diaper doesn't fit properly, it will leak. Diapers that are too small or too big will cause leaking and/or wicking. If you're using a one size diaper – make sure you're using the right setting for your little one!
Please note, while one size diapers are designed to fit babies from roughly 8-10 pounds through potty training (usually around 35 pounds) – it's important to realize that babies come in all shapes and sizes – therefore a one size diaper is a relative term.
Newborns don't typically fit a one-size diaper very well from day one. Therefore, we like to recommend the use of either an X-small pocket (such as Fuzzi Bunz), All-in-One (such as bumGenius Deluxe All-in-Ones), or Prefolds and Diaper Covers in the early weeks until baby has had the opportunity to thrive and thicken up a little so the one size diapers will fit better.
3) Residue Buildup
The third main reason you could be experiencing leaks has to do with residue buildup.
If you're using a Free and Clear or commercial detergent (including commercial HE detergents) then it is highly likely you're diapers have a build-up of residues which is causing your diapers to leak/repel.
Additionally, if you've used any fabric softener or oily/petroleum based diaper cream without a liner – this will also cause your diapers to completely repel as well.
Therefore it's important to not use any fabric softener, non cloth diaper friend creams/ointments (without the use of a liner) as well as an approved detergent.
Cloth diaper friendly detergents will reduce your chances of detergent residue build-up and are free from enzymes, dyes, fragrances, fabric softeners, etc… which can cause excessive wear and tear on your diapers.
Detergents We Recommend:
There are a plethora of cloth diaper laundry lists available with other recommended detergents but we like to stick to what we have personally tried and know works well.Note: Rockin' Green, bumGenius, and Tiny Bubbles detergents have all been formulated for use with cloth diapers. Therefore, you should follow the recommended amount on the packaging.
- Baby Soaps (such as Dreft or Ivory Snow)
- Free & Clear Detergents
- "Natural" Detergents
- Any detergent with: fabric softeners, whiteners/brighteners, enzymes, fragrance, and/or bleach
These types of detergents will typically cause residue build-up which can lead to repelling and/or leaking issues. They may also cause premature wear and tear on your diapers. If you have used one of these types of detergent then you will need to strip your diapers and switch to a recommended detergent.
Have specific washing questions and need help? CONTACT US!
My Diapers are horribly STINKY! What can I do?
Nobody likes a funky smelling diaper! This is probably one of the more annoying problems with cloth diapers. In order to solve the stinky problem it's important to find out the source/cause.
Do You Have Hard Water?
Simply put, hard water has a lot of minerals in it, namely calcium and magnesium. These minerals, if not properly rinse away, can lead to a mineral build-up in your diapers which may cause offensive odors!
If so, hard water can sometimes lead to stinky diapers because:
1) The detergent is not able to work as effectively in hard water
2) The minerals from the hard water are being deposited back onto the diapers
Many detergents don't work as well in hard water because they have to work at softening the water rather than cleaning. Therefore we recommend using a separate water softener, such as Calgon Water Softener (NOT Calgon bath products). Calgon Water Softener is considered safe for use on all types of cloth diapers.
Calgon can also be used for stripping diapers, especially for areas with especially hard water. Just wash clean diapers 3-4 times with hot water and Calgon (no detergent). As always, be sure to rinse thoroughly!
Use ½ the recommended amount for a top loading machine and ¼ the recommended amount for a front loading machine.
Detergent residue and/or Bacteria Buildup
If hard water isn't the problem then it is likely due to detergent residue and/or bacteria remaining in the diapers/inserts.
If you suspect detergent residue is the problem then you will want to run your clean diapers through several (4-6) hot water wash cycles with no detergent or additives.
If you suspect residual bacteria is the problem then the quickest and easiest way to resolve this problem is by bleaching the inserts (not the pocket diapers). Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to a hot wash cycle. This should do the trick. Afterwards, for maintenance we recommend bleaching your inserts once or month (or as needed if you notice any smell issues).
Additionally, we strongly recommend SUNNING your inserts and diapers. The sun is a natural disinfectant (and also removes stains and whitens so your inserts/diapers will look pretty spectacular too).
For more detailed information on stinky diapers and solutions please visit our blog, The Cloth Diaper Whisperer or CONTACT US.
Stripping diapers, although sounds harsh, really isn't and shouldn't be!
If you notice your diapers are leaking/repelling quite often or there are horrible smells emanating from the diapers the moment they become wet or soiled—then it's time for a good stripping! The method will typically depend on the cause behind the problem so it's important to determine the cause first.
Generally, for the vast majority we recommend several (4-6) hot water washes (no detergent) which will get rid of most detergent buildup/residues. This is the safest stripping method available for all types of cloth diapers. You may consider adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to the first cycle or two. Vinegar is optional, and not generally recommended for products containing PUL. Also, some people have reported using vinegar with stink issues only compounds the problem.
There are other stripping methods. However, some methods are not suitable for all types of cloth diapers or washing machines. Again, determine the source of the problem first and go from there… when in doubt, double check with the manufacturer of your diapers.
If you need additional help in determining the source of the problem – please CONTACT US!
Diaper Rash – What You Need to Know!
High fevers and listlessness aside, there's little else that raises our mommy alarms than a rash! Rashes come in all shapes and shades, even textures… some are quite frightening but typically harmless. Generally, rashes are usually a sign or symptom of a problem; this is especially true for diaper rashes.
First and foremost we always recommend consulting with your pediatrician, they are far more experienced and qualified to determine whether the rash requires any medical treatment or if it's nothing to fret about.
Now, the good news for those who cloth diapers, rashes are a less common occurrence. Studies have shown approximately 5% of cloth diapered babies experience diaper rash issues as opposed to 50%+ amongst the disposable diapered babies.
Why such a drastic difference between the two?
Disposable diapers are made from plastics, not paper like many people mistakenly believe (even chlorine-free diapers are also made from plastic polymers). Plastic does not allow the skin to breathe properly and causes heat retention which can ultimately leads to rashes.
Additionally, some babies are very sensitive to the chemicals found in disposable diapers and are unable to wear them at all without developing severe blistering rashes. This is referred to as allergic contact dermatitis.
However, diaper rashes aren't exclusive to the disposable diapering bunch. Rashes that occur with cloth diaper usage are typically either the result of prolonged wetness, sensitivity or reaction to detergent and/or bacterial residues on the diaper, or more rarely an allergic reaction to material/fabric itself.
Frequent diaper changes will generally resolve rash issues caused by prolonged wetness. It also helps to ensure baby is dry before putting another clean diaper on. Allow your children a few moments between changes to "air out."
Some babies develop yeast rashes/infections due to continuous exposure to moisture/wetness, especially in their little nooks and crannies since yeast thrives in warm and moist areas. Therefore, it's especially important to change baby regularly and ensure they are dry.
It's important to note when battling a yeast rash/infection – the diapers do require disinfection. Otherwise, bacteria from the rash linger in the diapers and can ultimately re-infect your little one making the rash last for weeks and sometimes months on end!
Ways to disinfect your diapers from yeast
Make sure you're using hot water to wash your diapers (after your initial cold rinses of course). Hot water does help in killing a good majority of bacteria.
Depending on what type of diapers you're using – you may consider using between ¼ - ½ cup vinegar in the main wash. The vinegar is acidic and works to kill most, if not all the bacteria.
Be one with the SUN! Sunning is an excellent way to rid your diapers of bacteria naturally. It also helps whiten, brighten and remove pesky stains from your diapers.
Adverse skin reactions are trickier to figure out since there are so many!
If there is detergent buildup on your diapers then it is likely a child will experience a reaction due to the buildup while other children may truly have a sensitivity to the particular detergent. We suggest washing the diapers several times in hot water with no detergents or additives to ensure the diapers are free from detergent residues and see if that doesn't resolve the issue. If a true allergy to the detergent is suspected then it is recommended to discontinue use of the product.
There are other skin reactions such as eczema, psoriasis, or just plain friction which results in rashes. Although rare, some children develop a sensitivity or allergy to synthetic fabrics and well. Therefore, it's really important to consulting with your pediatrician or family doctor as they have years of experience and seen the gamut of rashes to provide a proper diagnosis.
Diaper Creams, Medicated Ointments and Powders
If you thought your cloth diaper options were numerous – try checking out the number of diaper creams and ointments on the market! A large majority of diaper creams and ointments aren't cloth diaper friendly. Our personal favorites is Grandma El's.
Even with the use of cloth diaper friendly creams or salves, we like to recommend the use of a protective barrier/liner just for good measure. Disposable liners such as the Bummis Bio-Soft liners or washable/reusable liners such as Hemp Babies Raw Silk liners are wonderful liners. On a budget? Make your own liners by cutting up an old t-shirt or some very thin fleece.
We do not recommend the use of baby powder or corn starch. This is unnecessary and has been known to cause more problems than any possible good. Babies can inhale the powder which can lead to severe respiratory problems. Additionally, baby powder is believed to be associated with the increase in Urinary Tract infections (UTI's) and promotes yeast rashes (especially when using corn starch based baby powders).
Should you have any additional questions or concerns please CONTACT US!
NOTE: Again, we strongly recommend you seek the advice of a medical professional in evaluating your child's rash. If your child's doctor prescribes a medicated cream or ointment please be it is most likely not cloth diaper safe. We still recommend following the advice and course of treatment as dictate by your doctor. If you still decide you'd like to use your cloth with a cream or ointment that is not cloth diaper friendly it's important that you wash all wipes and liners separately from your diapers, otherwise the creams/ointment can be deposited onto the diapers during the wash cycle and cause repellency issues.
While every effort has been made to provide safe, reliable and helpful products and information, Kelly's Closet is not responsible for the development of any rash or adverse skin reaction directly or indirectly caused by any of the products we carry or recommendation we make.
- Pediatrician Elizabeth Brown, M.D. Personal conversations during routine office visits. October 2004 – March 2006.
- Pediatrician Andea Siano, M.D. Personal conversations between with pediatrician during routine office visit. March 2009.
Cleaning BumGenius Diapers
Care Instructions for bumGenius one size cloth diapers
- Shake solids into toilet and store in dry pail.
- Remove insert before washing.
- Fasten tabs to laundry tabs on inside of diaper.
- Rinse well with another full wash cycle on hot.
- Tumble dry medium.
- No bleach, no fabric softeners.
Customers have great results washing on cold with detergent first, then two hot or warm washes with no detergent.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WASHING CLOTH DIAPERS
How many diapers will I need?
First of all you need to determine how often you will be doing laundry. With that in mind, here are some reasonable estimates of how many diapers you will need:
Newborn to 4 months - 20 - 24 diapers
Infant (4 to 10 months) - 16 - 20 diapers
Toddler (10 months to potty training) - 12 - 16 diapers
Please note quantities are based on an average sized baby and if you wash every other day. More diapers will be needed if you go longer between washings.
Please contact us if you have further questions.
The information provided is to be used as a guide and is not to take precedence over a professional's advice.