So, you know you want to cloth diaper, you’ve chosen your favorite style and brand, but you still have a few lingering questions.
Wouldn’t it be great if every stage of parenting came with a list of tips?
Almost anything can be washed out of a bathtub. Let your toddler color the walls, play in shaving cream or even paint each other and then boom. They’re already in the tub.
It happens frequently that caregivers come to our boutique asking for advice and their question can be answered with a quick tip.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite cloth diaper tips and tricks to answer some of those lingering questions and make cloth diapering easier.
11 Tips and Tricks to Make Cloth Diapering Easier:
- Don’t be Afraid to Mix and Match
- Consider the Caregiver
- Choose Natural Fibers When Possible
- Choose Diaper Balm in Stick Form
- Use Wool to Prevent Leaks
- Out and THEN Over
- Changing Pods Will Change Your Life
- Sun Out Your Stains
- Use Bioliners Instead of a Diaper Sprayer
- Unsnap and Unstuff
- When in Doubt, Grab a Cloth Wipe
Let’s start by mixing and matching.
1. Don’t be Afraid to Mix and Match
We often speak with parents who love a brand’s cloth diaper system, but one or more pieces aren’t working as well for them. For instance, you may love the style, cut and fit of a bumGenius One Size Pocket Diaper, but find that the microfiber inserts don’t provide as much absorbency as your toddler needs.
If Thirsties organic cotton/hemp blend inserts fit in your bumGenius Pocket perfectly and provide more absorbency, use them. There is no rule that says every single cloth diaper item in your home needs to come from the same manufacturer.
At the same time, if there is a style that works for your newborn better than it does for your toddler, use it. Different kiddos may need a different system depending on their body shape, developmental stage and weight.
Feel free to mix and match until you find the perfect system for your family and your little one.
2. Consider the Caregiver
Many households have multiple caregivers changing baby at different points in the day. We work with hundreds of families who must consider their day care providers, babysitters, step parents, grandparents and even older siblings.
The support system in your life is so much more likely to get onboard with cloth diapering quickly and easily if they have access to the style of cloth diapering system that fits their needs.
Why does your diaper stash have so many different styles?
Because we have lots of different people changing baby!
My husband will always choose a hook & loop closure option, no matter the style, because he can just ‘slap it on’. #dadisms My oldest prefers to grab covers and inserts because they are so quick and easy to pack, but I will always grab fitted and wool covers because they are so absorbent.
No matter which style you choose for your household, consider the caregiver first and choose the style that will work for your kiddo and the person changing them!
3. Choose Natural Fibers When Possible
At the beginning of your cloth diapering journey, you will probably choose a style based on ease of use. However, fiber content is equally as important and the more you wash cloth diapers, the more you will understand why.
Natural fiber inserts, prefolds and diapers are significantly easier to clean than synthetic options.
So which types of fibers should you look for? Choose organic cotton, bamboo and hemp when possible, or even inserts and diapers that are a natural fiber blend.
Can you successfully clean synthetic fibers?
Yes, but you must pay attention to set in stink and may need to use more detergent to accomplish the same level of clean.
To make your cloth diapering experience easier, choose natural fibers when possible and consider layering them or choosing blends to optimize absorbency without sacrificing fiber content.
4. Choose Diaper Balm in Stick Form
There are so many great natural diaper balms out there, and some even come in stick form! Diaper balm in stick form allows you to get baby the balm they need without getting your hands dirty and then needing to wash up.
The GroVia Magic Stick is a great natural option for clean hands and rash free bottoms. Made with Grape Seed Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil and essential oils, there is both a 2 oz and .15 oz option to choose from.
#protip: Need to keep track of the cap? Fit it onto the bottom of your stick and tiny hands won’t walk it away.
The CJ’s BUTTer Quick Stick is all natural, made in Colorado and our cure all for chapped skin, wind burnt cheeks and dry hands. There are so many different scents to choose from and they are all delicious!
Mom hack: Leave a CJ’s BUTTer Quick Stick or a GroVia Magic Stick in the door of your car for those times when you run out, you forget one or your toddler has tossed yours out the window of a moving vehicle and it has now come to rest in the school parking lot somewhere… Archer’s mom cloth diapers too, maybe everyone will think it was her? Either way, you’ll have an extra when you need it!
5. Use Wool to Prevent Leaks
Caregivers new to cloth diapering are often cautious about using wool, but don’t be! Wool covers can help to provide bullet proof leak protection and make overnights a breeze.
The lanolizing process is what creates a waterproof barrier over your wool and allows you to prevent leaks.
To lano your covers, start with clean covers that have been washed in wool wash, rinsed and are still warm. Add a teaspoon of solid lanolin and 1-2 emulsifying cubes to a pint sized mason jar full of very warm water.
Let it sit.
No, seriously. I promise. Please let it sit.
After about 10 minutes, when the cubes are completely melted, stir. The water should turn a thick milky color and look almost exactly like whole milk.
Once your lano mixture is complete, add the warm lano mixture to like temperature warm water and soak your cover for 30-45 minutes. Then, remove your cover, gently squeeze out the water (don’t wring!) and lay flat to dry.
The result will be a waterproof wool cover that is perfect for naptime, night time or anytime!
6. Out and THEN Over
This seems like an easy one, but it’s by far our team’s most recommended tip.
When changing baby, take the wings of your cloth diaper and pull them directly out to the side first, THEN over to their waist closure.
Why is this on our list? Because pulling your child’s waist elastic taut before crossing it over their body to secure their waist allows the back of their diaper to remain flat and completely rids the extra fabric that causes bunching.
A better fit means better protection against leaks and more comfort for baby.
This will also allow you to determine, when using a sized diaper or cover, if your child has truly outgrown their current size or if you just need to adjust their rise snaps to give them extra room.
Remember, the perfect fit is flat!
7. Changing Pods Will Change Your Life
The HIE Changing Pod is a game changer. An easily accessible place for your wipes, a fold out changing pad that is completely removable and a zipper storage for your cloth diapers make this clothy accessory a must have.
The HIE Changing Pod is the size of a cute clutch, comes in two cute colors and cleans up so fast. It has stroller straps attached so that you can take it anywhere without actually having to carry it along. (because let's face it, everyone needs a latte hand)
Leaving the diaper bag in the car makes errands SO much easier and being able to change baby let’s you be active without having to carry along everything and then some.
Mom hack: Do you know who needs access to cloth wipes, a clean place to stand on and a pocket for extra snacks, underwear and bandaids?
Every. Kid. Ever.
8. Sun Our Your Stains
The first time I heard this advice, before my first child was ever born, I was convinced it was nonsense. Then, I had a baby, fed her peas and my willingness to take conventional stain removal steps quickly faded.
To sun your diaper stains, use your normal wash routine first. Diapers must be thoroughly cleaned without any residue.
Before putting them in the dryer, or hang drying if that is your routine, lay them out in the sun and watch the stains disappear!
Some particularly tough stains may need an additional treatment with a Buncha Farmers stain stick to completely clear. Before you set your diapers out to sun, you can run the stick under warm water, rub it on your stains and sun like normal. However, if you choose to use Buncha Farmers while sunning, you will need to rewash your diapers before use.
9. Use Bioliners Instead of a Diaper Sprayer
Diaper sprayers are a great option to remove solids before washing, but what if you aren’t at home?
GroVia Bioliners are easy to use and so convenient when you are out and about.
Bioliners are thin sheets designed to make cleaning up solids mess free. They come in rolls of 200 and are about half the thickness of a dryer sheet.
You simply rip off a single liner, lay it on the outermost part of the diaper (closest to your baby’s skin) and throw away at the next diaper change. The solids will stay on top and the liquids will absorb into your diaper.
Not only are bioliners so easy to use, but they travel extremely well. You can pack 100 without taking up any room whatsoever.
#protip Bioliners are perfect for potty training too!
10. Unsnap and Unstuff
Make your diaper laundry easier by unsnapping and unstuffing your diapers before dropping them in your wet bag or diaper pail. Not only will it prevent you from having to dig through an entire load of dirty cloth diapers on laundry day, but this will also help your diapers agitate more thoroughly in your washer.
Why is this important?
Agitation is what helps remove buildup, solids and ammonia from your diapers. Washing your diapers takes three basic components: detergent, water and agitation. You cannot effectively clean your diapers without each of these elements.
Unsnapping and unstuffing before putting your diapers in your pail or wet bag will prevent you from forgetting this step later on and ending up with diapers that must be rewashed.
Simply put, you will appreciate not having to sift through two day old dirty diapers, if nothing else.
11. When in Doubt, Grab a Cloth Wipe
Most caregivers interested in cloth diapers convert to cloth wipes later on. They last for years and are so much more environmentally friendly than disposable wipes. However, there is an inherent feeling that cloth wipes are an extra step, when the opposite is true.
If you are already using cloth diapers, you are already doing cloth diaper laundry.
If you are already doing cloth diaper laundry, washing cloth wipes is truly less effort than making a trip to the store for disposable wipes.
Cloth wipes are thicker and more durable by far than the disposable wipe options. You can use them to scrub, wipe and wash without watching them fall apart.
#protip Use cloth wipes for everything! Sticky hands, dirty faces and even tables, chairs, carts and strollers. GroVia Cloth Wipes are the best makeup removers and cost only slightly more per pack than a pack of disposable baby wipes.
If nothing else, it will take you exactly one cloth diaper load where you forget to throw away your disposable wipe and then are stuck picking an entire glitter tube’s worth of microscopic lint creatures off of your cloth wipes to switch.
You can wait for the horrifying lint creature invasion, or switch before you get to experience it. When in doubt, grab a cloth wipe.
We could share cloth diaper tips and mom hacks all day, but these are some of our favorites! If you haven’t yet decided on a cloth diaper style you love, checkout our review of The Best Cloth Diapers of 2018 for some of our top recommendations.