17 Reasons Cloth Diapers Stink! (And 3 Reasons to Try Them Anyway)

It seems to me that every cloth diapering mom blog I’ve visited has had nothing but good things to say about their choice of washable diapers. They share how eco-friendly they are, and how much money they save in the long term… but never have I read a single complaint.

Well, I for one feel the need to set the record straight. Cloth diapering is not fun. It is a chore, and is definitely not the easy option. However, it is something that is so worth the extra effort in my opinion. So here is the world of cloth diapering, from my point of view…

baby in a cloth diaper

17 Reasons Cloth Diapers Stink!

1 It Might Not Make Sense for Newborns

I have never been able to cloth diapers for my newborns. They simply wet way too often. My little ones seem to have super sensitive skin, ’cause it doesn’t take much at all for them to break out in a terrible rash.

I try to rotate cloth and disposable diapers as my baby gets a little bit older, just to save money.

Once my babies are around 3 months old, I begin trying to cloth diapers exclusively. When Xia hit six months old, I refused to buy another disposable diaper. Freebies are always welcomed though!! My reason for cloth diapering has nothing to do with saving the planet (though it is nice to know that I am not creating more waste), for us it is all about savings.

2. It’s Not Always Convenient

Cloth diapering is not always convenient. Carrying a soiled cloth around in your diaper bag until you are able to get home and wash it isn’t fun. They do make cute waterproof bags you can zip your wet ones up in… but it’s a plastic grocery bag for me. Not exactly odor proof.

I don’t have a huge stash of cloth diapers, so it’s a load of laundry every day. My 8 mo8-month-oldy girl is going through about 18 diapers per day.

3. There’s Still Diaper Rash

To fight diaper rash, I’ve found that Almond Oil works really well at protecting the baby’s bottom from the moisture in soiled diapers.

I’ve also noticed that rinsing the diapers in 1/2 c. of white vinegar before drying them works wonders at removing the ammonia in the cloth which causes the irritation. I don’t use store-bought wipes either. No matter how “gentle” they say they are, they always cause a rash.

Cloth diapers are generally considered better for a baby’s skin but that’s only if you’re good about changing them often. They are less absorbent than disposables so you have to change them often – if you don’t, diaper rash is going to be an issue.

4. You Might Have Trouble Getting Help

Other people are not so willing to help change a diaper when they see that it’s a cloth one. It’s not that bad, people!

5. They Can Be Stinky

The urine smell in the nursery can be hard to disguise. I put my wet diapers in a diaper pail, but if they sit there for a few days the smell gets very strong. Washing daily helps tremendously.

Plus you’ll need to wash them in full loads for optimal environmental friendliness. And who really wants to wash poopy diapers with anything except other poopy diapers, anyway?

When you wait for eight to ten diapers to pile up before cleaning them, there’s a good chance that they’re going to build up a serious stink.

6. Solids – Uh Oh!

Once baby starts eating solid foods, the poops are not as easily washed out. No longer can you simply toss the diaper into the washer. First, you have to dump and swish in the potty to get all of the solids off. So not fun. A diaper sprayer attachment is very helpful though!

7. Fashion is Different

Oh, and you can forget about those adorable little flare leg jeans you got for your baby. They are NOT going to fit over that bulky diaper. Trust me. It’s not happening.

Cloth diapers can be cumbersome, and while there are fitted diapers that aren’t quite as bulky as the voluminous bloomers you’re probably used to seeing, they are all considerably larger than regular disposables. Add an extra size to your baby’s outfits to be safe.

8.You May Want to Start Small

If you’re thinking about trying cloth diapering, you may want to start small. Cloth diapering isn’t for everyone and it’s not a good idea to invest in dozens of cloth diapers only to find out you don’t want to use the diapers you spent hundreds of dollars on.

Start with just a few diapers and then see if it’s something you like and can handle. If you don’t like them, no worries! It’s not for everyone.

If you do decide that cloth diapers are the way to go, you’re going to need a lot of them. You’ll need at least 20 to use them full-time.

9. It’s Not Always the Most Eco-Friendly

Regular disposable diapers get a lot of flack for not being eco-friendly, but cloth diapers might not be as good for the environment as you think, either.

In fact, some studies have shown that the environmental impacts of using reusable diapers can be even higher than disposables depending on how they are laundered.

For the ideal low impact to the environment, you would wash your diapers in full loads, without a dryer, and then reuse them on a second child. Doing this might reduce our carbon footprint by about 40%!

However, the reality is that few of us actually wash cloth diapers in this way, instead washing them in half-loads with a tumble dryer.

Therefore, if your primary goal in using cloth diapers is to improve the environment, you may want to rethink your aspirations.

10. They Can Be Tough to Find in Stores

Note that I said tough – not impossible.

You might have a harder time finding cloth diapers in stores near you than disposable ones. However, you can also buy them online from retailers like Glowbug, Grovia, and of course, Amazon. Be sure to check reviews so you know what you’re getting for your money!

Remember that it’s not just the cloth diapers you’ll need to buy but additional equipment too.

You will need a cloth diaper pail and cloth diaper pail liners (often these are different from what you’d use for disposable diapers, like a Diaper Genie). You should also get a travel wet bag to store the dirty diapers when you’re on the go.

I also recommend buying a diaper sprayer. This attaches to the interior of your toilet and can be used to spritz lingering poop (pleasant) off the dirty diapers.

If you’d rather not spray the poop off with a sprayer, you can get a diaper liner. These serve as barriers between your baby’s bottom and the diaper, catching the poop so you don’t have to spray.

11. They Have a TON of Snaps

If you thought baby onesies were bad with all the snaps, you have another thing coming in cloth diapers, my friend! And that’s if you get pocket diapers. If you get traditional cloth diapers then you have to pin them, which in my opinion is even more aggravating than dealing with the snaps.

The reason why there are so many snaps on cloth diapers is because this is how they are held together. The snaps bring together a waterproof outer layer and an inner “dryness” layer and together form a pocket in which you stuff an absorbent pocket diaper insert.

12. Your Laundry Routine Might Be Different

If you don’t mind an extra load or two of laundry per week, then cloth diapers probably won’t be that big of a hassle for you. However, it’s important to note that it’s not just extra laundry you need to do, but laundry that’s somewhat different in nature, too.

Laundering cloth diapers requires a different type of detergent. You may want to switch to a heavy-duty washing machine and detergent to make sure they get clean. Again, you’re not going to want to wash these dirty diapers with the rest of your laundry!

You’ll also want to implement a solid regimen when it comes to removing stains. As with any kind of fabric, cloth diapers do stain. You can use a spray to get out the stains (or even sit the cloth diapers in the sun – the sunlight works wonders in removing stains).

13. Easier Toilet Training

This is purely anecdotal but I’ve talked to many mothers who say that using cloth diapers has made it far easier for them to potty train their kids. When children wear disposable diapers, they never really feel how dirty or wet they are because the diapers contain sodium polyacrylate. This is a chemical used to help keep disposable diapers dry.

While it’s beneficial in preventing diaper rash and other problems, it can be problematic when it comes time to toilet train young kids based on how wet or dirty their diapers feel. If they don’t know they’ve soiled themselves, how are they supposed to tell you to get them to the potty?

14. More Comfortable

Some parents also say that their little ones started sleeping through the night when they gave cloth diapers a try. That’s likely because they didn’t have disposable diapers scratching at their sensitive little bottoms all night!

They do need to be changed more often, again, but this can be beneficial in some ways.

15. They Don’t Leak As Much As You’d Think

Another common misconception about cloth diapers is that they have a tendency to leak. Believe it or not, they’re actually mostly leak-proof. You can use cloth diapers overnight and you’ll only need to change a cloth diaper once every three or four hours before they need to be changed.

Just make sure you buy cloth diapers that actually fit your child. You might have to size up or down, tighten the leg fastening, or add an extra liner if you’re having issues with leaks.

16. There is a Learning Curve to Putting Them on Baby

You may find that Dad and Grandma hesitate to put cloth diapers on babies because they go on a bit differently than the disposables. However, I wouldn’t say that they’re difficult to put on by any means. Just different. Whether you’re using cloth diapers with snaps or velcro closures, just know that the process is different – but not necessarily harder.

17. They Might Not Last for More Than One Child

If you use cloth diapers, don’t expect them to get through all of your kids. The elastic stretches out, the leg holes get loose, and they get stained. These might be a one-time investment for each kid but you might not be able to reuse them.

3 Reasons You May Want to Give Them a Try

  1. They Don’t Contain Any Chemicals

If you’re trying to raise your child with as few chemicals and unnecessary additives as possible, then you may want to consider cloth diapers. Disposable diapers contain all kinds of nasty ingredients, like polyacrylate, perfume,, and chlorine. Chlorine, in particular, can strip away protective bacteria from the skin and change the pH balance of your skin – not great news for abibes, who already have sensitive skin to begin with.

This can lead to skin irritations,dryness, and – you guessed it – diaper rash. Some studies have even found that an increase in respiratory problems and childhood asthma can be linked to babies wearing disposable diapers. Even staph infections and things like fever and vomiting can be tied to these carcinogenic chemicals.

2. Diaper Services to Save the Day

If you aren’t sure whether you want to commit to all the extra laundry involved in cloth diapering, then know that you can always pay a bit extra for a diaper service.

A diaper service brings away your dirty diapers every week and then washes them for you before dropping them back off. It can cost around $80 per month, so if saving money is your primary goal in using cloth diapers, then this may not be worth it.

However, if the baby’s health and the health of the environment are what you are concerned about, then I’d say a diaper service is worth the money.

3. You Don’t Have to Go All or Nothing

We tend to be a bit cult-ish when it comes to our devotions to either cloth or disposable diapers but you don’t have to go all in. You can give cloth diapers a try and only have your baby wear them at certain times – like only when you’re at home or only at night, for example.

Don’t feel like you have to commit right away. Give cloth diapers a try and see how you feel!

Cloth Diapering – Yay or Nay?

Even with all of these inconveniences associated with cloth diapering, I am still glad we do it.

There is something about  wrapping your delicate baby’s bottom with something soft and natural, as opposed to crinkly paper and plastic, that feels really nice.

Cloth diapers are convenient in that you never run out. You won’t have any uh-oh-I’m-out-of-diapers-and-can’t-get-to-the-store moments. You might have to wash one up, but you won’t ever be completely out of luck. This is especially helpful in emergency situations.

And you just can’t beat the savings. When we were rotating cloth and disposables, it was costing us about $40/month to diaper a baby. It would have been double that had we not used cloth at all. Now that we are exclusively cloth diapering, that’s money in our pockets!

I realize that one extra load of cloth diapers a day adds a little bit to our power bill, but I haven’t noticed a huge difference.

Anyways, that’s my take on it! Yeah, they are messier, a bit bothersome, and a little more work, but cloth diapers have been a blessing to our budget.

What about you? Do you use cloth diapers? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

updated 09/23/2021 by Rebekah Pierce

cloth diapers Pinterest image

39 thoughts on “17 Reasons Cloth Diapers Stink! (And 3 Reasons to Try Them Anyway)”

  1. Back in the day…

    Raised 3 girls back in the early 70’s. With the first daughter we were gifted with 2 months of diaper service which was convenient. After that new moms were on their own…for all other babies. No one brought us dinners… no one came in to help. It would have been weird, kind of insulting, to think we couldn’t handle it on our own =D

    I used prefolds for all the girls. Always had 3 dozen washed folded and ready. It’s all in the way you fold them onto the child as to how bulky they are.
    No plastic pants unless we were not at home.
    Change them the minute you realize they have wet or soiled the diaper. Yes… that is a lot of diaper changes.
    Funny… you guys all dislike the solid poopies, but I couldn’t wait TILL the poopies went solid. EASY to shake off into the toilet!

    Washing the diapers. After having diaper service, seeing those snowy white diapers delivered each week, I was determined to have our diapers just as white and fluffy.
    Here was my routine.
    Diaper pail was in the bathoom. Add borax or baking soda to a few inches of water in the pail.
    Soiled diapers- urine, fold diaper soiled side out, folded in half, hold at top, swish in toilet, hold tight and flush. This rinses most urine out. Place diaper in diaper pail. Poop, messy poops, same as above. Solid poop, shake into toilet, then same as above.

    Washing- Back in those days there were no front loading fancy washers like today. To wash the diapers I’d dump the diapers that had been soaking in the washer and use the rinse cycle which would rinse the diapers and spin them to rid them of any unclean water from the pail. Then fill the washer with HOT water using the regular cycle, Oxydol was the soap of choice and I used 1/2 cup bleach. Let the machine begin the washing process and run agitating the diapers for 10 minutes, then stop the washer. Now go find something to do for about an hour.
    Restart the machine which will spend some time agitating then go through the spin/rinse cycle. Now I’d reset the machine to the quick cycle, hot water, add a cup of vinegar and let the machine go through the wash and rinse.

    Nothing remains in those diapers. I used the dryer for them because this fluffed them and made them soft. My diapers were bright, white, odor free, soft soft soft, and fluffy.

    In today’s world.. I’d still choose the great prefold diaper and diaper pins with the safety head. Never stuck a baby or had one come undone.

    I’d still keep the pail (5 gallon buckets are awesome) in the bathroom so that you can use the exhaust fan if you need too. Baking soda, borax.. okay but now I’d use the laundry soap from ecostoreusa.com/ even in the diaper pail.

    I suppose for today’s new front loading machines you could do about the same thing and you wouldn’t use as much water. I have a kenmore front loader but I’m guessing they’re all the same or close.

    Dump diapers into the machine. Set for rinse and spin, let cycle complete.
    Set machine for the long regular cycle/HOT. The only laundry detergent I’d even consider now is from ecostoreusa.com/ smells great and washes out cleanly. Still can’t beat Clorox as a germ killer so add that to the cup for bleach. I’ve tried the homemade detergents… sorry… WAY to much time. Buy the detergent, go spend the time playing with the kids or with YOUR feet up. I digress… sorry… Once the cycle completes, set it for the fast wash, extra rinses, pour 1/2 cup up to 1 cup of white vinegar into the detergent cup. Run the cycle.

    Your diapers should be lovely, clean, fresh, germ free. I hang clothes year round, freezing cold or blazing hot because I’m cheapcheapcheap and i love the smell of line dryed clothes. For things like tshirts I do use the dryer to fluff them, even if it means hanging them on the line for most of the dry time then finish drying in the dryer.

    Laundry soap. I love the eco store laundry soap. It’s strong enough to get my husband’s horrible work clothes clean, Gentle enough that I’ve used it on my hair. I use it for dishes, laundry, car wash… love the stuff, I use white vinegar for most other cleaning (and hair rinse) and have a steam cleaner for the floors, from Hahn although there is another one called a ladybug…the shark left floors to wet. Dry HOT steam is what cleans and kills germs. I figure that the money I save by not using the dryer, by washing dishes, by not buying all those chemical products for cleaning saves enough to allow me the indulgence of the great laundry detergent and my steam cleaner. I also LOVE their baby lotion for ME. Legs and arms…so soft, and keep some by the sink for your hands.

    The steam cleaner is great for sanitizing your carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, dog or cat beds, bird/hamster/gerbil/???? cages.

  2. I love cloth diapers. As my little one is in the process of potty training I hate to see the cloth diapers go. 80 bucks for two years worth of diapers is unbeatable. My little one never had rash with cloth. Homemade soap and line dry worked for us. I will not use throw away again.

  3. I love the bulky butt not being able to wear cute pants. LOL so True!!
    Also I have planet wise wet/dry bags I use for wet diapers when going out. They have all sizes and very cute. locks the smell in. Then I just throw it in the wash with the diapers. I get them on Amazon. Not super cheap. but I have had it for 8 months and they have held up good. 🙂


  4. I agree about cloth diapering not being fun. I have been using cloth diapers fully for about 2 years because of the economy, (I definitely prefer to fold it up a throw it in the trash.)However, it is a good way to save money because you can make cloth diapers out of just about any clothes you don’t want.As far as stripping my diapers I have only done it once and used dawn dish soap in the first wash, washed them two more times and rinse with vinegar plus hung them in the sun and I still have a slight smell. We have also come up with some solutions for not having to rise diapers in the toilet. Take old cotton shirts cut them into strips, lay one inside the diaper. If it gets messed on toss it in the trash, if it gets peed on toss it in the diaper pail and use it again or make it into a wet wipe.I also read about the diaper rash situation, I to have had some problem with that and came across a solution that works really well. Take some all-purpose flour and but it in a skillet (cast iron works best) then brown it. Once brown but it in a shaker bottle and apply when ever needed. I hope this info helps.

  5. oh, also when baby was new and peeing/pooping constantly, we used g diapers with little home made inserts and changed them out ever hour or so! worked well.

  6. love the post. Fully agree that you rarely get the FULL picture, usually only the upsides of cloth.
    I happily cloth diaper my daughter of 14 months.
    We use fitted diapers (all of which I find used or make) and prefolds with diaper covers.
    I really like Thirsties and motherease covers.
    I have tried all in ones and found that they leak.
    we use disposables at night and because they soak up SO much, I leave it on her till she poops in the morning!
    then its cloth all day.
    we wash diapers every 4-6 days… we use about 3-7 diapers/day.
    and my only quam is that I am finding now they smell like ammonia really bad.
    but, thanks to all the info in this post and comments, I have some things to try out!
    cloth diaperers – unite!

  7. We use the all in one pocket diapers that are made of fleece. There are all kinds of problems with fleece if you use the wrong kind of detergent. Plus, washing them in hot water has made several of them lose their waterproofing on the outer cover so they leak. It’s frustrating and I would hate cloth diapering if it weren’t for our first method of choice…Natural Infant Hygiene. While recovering from an emergency c-section, I read the book “Diaper Free” and started holding my baby over a potty bowl many times a day since she was 4 days old. She wears a diaper throughout the day but we take her to the toilet every time she wakes up and several times a day. It works great for us and she only pees in her diapers. We have only had to change less than 15 poopy diapers in 11 months. I recommend it!

  8. I am thinking about making the switch to cloth diapering. Out of curiosity, what brand do you recommend? There seem to be a million and I don’t know which to pick, or how to pick the best one.

    • Ashlee,

      You know, I haven’t had experience with many brands. I can only recommend what I’m using, which is Motherease one-size diapers, and Bum Genius covers. I didn’t exactly shop around and compare them with other brands, etc. I just lucked up and scored them on Craigslist for an awesome deal about 3 1/2 years ago, and have used them on two babies in that time. The diapers are starting to wear out a little around the edges and the velcro on the covers is shot so I safety pin them, but for the most part they’ve held up incredibly well. I expect to use them for this next baby coming along 🙂 If I had the money, I’d prefer using AIO (all-in-one) diapers, as they don’t require a separate cover, so are more like disposables convenience wise. I’d recommend anything that snaps over velcro. Hope that helps!! Keep an eye out for used ones on Craigslist (ebay tends to be too expensive nowadays).

  9. Thanks for this post. We are considering cloth diapers and this really helps out because you are being so honest.

    New to your site and am enjoying it:)


    When my first child was born, disposable diapers were expensive and still used pins! I bought cloth diapers and searched every baby book I had for directions on how to fold them and put them on and couldn’t find instructions anywhere!

    I used cloth diapers with my first eight children. It was a great investment. I didn’t have hot water in my laundry room so I had to get creative in getting them clean. First, my diapers lasted longer than most of my earth mother friends’ diapers did. I realized early that urine is ammonia and bleach and ammonia make acid, so washing with bleach the first time around was literally eating the fabric up. Another thing I noticed is that clean diapers smelled sour as soon as they got warm on the baby. Washing with pine oil rather than bleach took care of both problems. Make sure you use a brand that disinfects. Those that only ‘deodorize’ don’t kill the germs that cause the smell in the first place. The products like Dreft were a waste of money.

    If you don’t want to rinse your diapers twice in a large machine (once for the pine oil and then the bleach) you can use a bucket with the pine oil in water. If you use a bucket of dirty diapers but don’t have them soak in anything, you’ll need to wash them first in pine oil and then rinse them again with bleach.

    My pail of dirty diapers had pine oil in the water. Some mom’s use T-tree oil but back then Tea tree oil was extremely expensive and could only be purchased in very small quantities.

    The pine oil and water bucket takes me to the next issue with cloth diapers: Sloshing them out.

    Now there are few things in my world as nasty as dealing with poop so I made a place in my bathroom for diapers. The smell stayed where those kind of smells are suppose to be. I had two five gallon buckets that I got free from a local deli department, (just ask). For a long time I only had one bucket. I’d slosh out the poopie diapers in the toilet and put them in the pine oil water, with the urine diapers.. When we moved into a newer home, I had a newer toilet. My old home had a ten gallon water tank on the toilet and the new toilet only had a six gallon tank. Sloshing was a lesson in futility. Therefore, two buckets. One for urine diapers and one for poopie diapers that were sloshed daily and put into the urine bucket. Then the poopie water was flushed and refilled in the tub and pine oil added fresh. I washed a hundred diapers a week, one time a week and the smell was seldom an issue….even with the next pregnancy and morning sickness added to the mix. I kept a pair of hard core rubber gloves clothes-pinned to the side of the bucket handle for the chore. Most of the time the buckets were stored in the walk-in shower so pets and children were safe. Lids were too much trouble.

    I made a nice changing table for our first child out of an old desk and a covered piece of foam with a hanging caddy for diapers, hung from a plant ’L’ hook. I wore that out and eventually had to make a diaper caddy to hang cloth diapers when disposable diapers were in vogue. Cloth diapers were too heavy and large for the hanging caddies that were on the market. I also ended up having to make my own diaper bags as well. The market for diaper bags catered to disposable diapers and bottles. Nursing mom’s that used cloth diapers were simply out of luck. Throw in the need for supplies for a two year old and a four year old and nothing worked off the shelf.

    The changing table eventually moved to a bathroom counter with a pad and easy access to water. Then, as my older children helped with diapering and with the changing, the dynamics and the place for diapering changed as well. The couch, the floor, the bed…..anywhere was fair game for a diaper change. That’s when I created a diaper caddy that was mobile. I could have used a Rubbermaid product created for cleaning supplies with a handle but I’ve always been cash poor. I collected flip top laundry detergent boxes from friends and used them as diaper caddies. I wiped the dry detergent out and put supplies in them; diapers, baggie of wipes, bottom creams, special toy, etc. I say ‘them’ because I made them for several places in the house. Eventually I decorated them for whatever room they were in. It simply looked better in my living room to have a pretty box rather than a TIDE box hanging around. I covered them with scrap wallpaper or boarders to match the room. You can paint the boxes as well. Be sure to use Gesso on them first so the paint won’t flake off.

    Now as my children are older, I use the same idea of laundry boxes for my teenagers that share a bathroom. They each have their own boxes that keep their personal bathroom items separate from the public domain.

    On the up side of cloth diapers, those that wear out, make great rags. Ten years after our youngest child was born, I was rag poor and realized why; no hand me down diapers. That’s when I started cutting up tossed clothes for the rag bag. Another up side to cloth diapers is that many times I’d run out of diapers as I stayed longer than expected at friends. They’d offer a hand towel to prolong our visit and needless to say they didn’t want it back after my child used it on their bottom. I ended up with the most wonderful and eclectic collection of hand towels over the years. Again, ten years down the road and I was hand towel poor as well.

    In using pins next to the baby’s body, I put my fingers between the pin and the baby…..always. I’ve been poked but none of my children have. Keeping a squirmy baby still is important, especially if you are using pins and by the time they are three or four months old, they are old enough to lay still. Have a few toys that they get to hold during diapering and use consistent words ‘lay still’ and follow up to insist on it. I’m a believer of loving, consistent corporal punishment and an occasional pop on the leg to insist on a safe diapering environment simply worked better for me than diapering an octopus for two years. Make diapering time for singing certain songs and face to face talking to the baby.

    Another hint for pins, to make them slide smoothly through the fabric, run the sharp side through your hair before poking them through the cloth. There is just enough oil in your hair to give it the ‘slide’ that it needs.

    Store bought baby wipes are very cheap now. Back then they all contained alcohol so I made my own. You can find many recipes on line. This is how I made mine.


    1 roll of paper towels (Bounty works best)
    2 T. baby oil or light mineral oil (Johnson smells the best)
    2 T. baby bath shampoo or 15 drops of Tea Tree oil. Dr. Bonner’s castile soap works well too but avoid the peppermint kind.
    2 cups boiled water, then cooled (or distilled water)
    Old diaper wipe container, 3 lb margarine tub or zip bag

    Cut the paper towels with a knife with a small seriated edge. (I used my large bread cutting knife.)
    Mix the ingredients in two separate bowls, half in each. Stir carefully so it won’t suds.
    Remove the cardboard from the middle of the roll.
    Set the cut edge of the roll into the liquid and let it absorb. Turn it over as necessary. After the towels have set for a short while, they will absorb the liquid more evenly and will keep fresh for several weeks. Longer if you use T-tree oil.

    I kept a ziplock bag of them in the glove box in the car and in the kitchen and next to my bed and in the center of the school room table, next to the toilet and of course my diaper bag. Because they were so cheap, I used them without reservation.

    I hope some of these ideas help.

    © Copyright Notice: Permission is hereby granted to make copies as long as Emma Marlow is properly cited/credited as the author. Emmamarlow.org

  11. I love good, old-fashioned flats! They are SUPER cheap at about a buck a diaper. You just have to get the hang of folding them. They are trimmer than prefolds, too. I use Thirsties covers and Snappis. I use homemade laundry detergent too and to bleach out the stains I just lay them out in the sun. I bought baby washcloths on sale and use them with water for wipes, and Lansinoh for diaper cream.

    I haven’t gotten to the solid poop part yet as my baby is still breastfed exclusively, but I read somewhere that you can let the poop hang out in the diaper for a day and it absorbs most of the liquid out of it and then it’ll shake off the diaper easier.

    I sprinkle about 1/2 cup of baking soda in my dry diaper pail. I haven’t really had a problem with it smelling, but I usually wash every other day. I use the plastic bag while we’re out, too!

  12. Instead of buying the diaper detergent I made my own. I was afraid that using my homemade laundry soap would cause build up on the diapers due to the soap in it. Here’s the recipe.

    2 cups sun
    1/4 box washing soda(3 cups)
    1 box borax(12.5 cups)
    1 box baking soda(6 cups)

    Mix everything together in a tub or box, label it and use 1 tablespoon per load. A batch of this will provide you with enough detergent to wash 376 loads for a total cost of $8.46 or .02¢ per load. For a box of Bum genius diaper detergent, which is very similar to mine, it costs $13.00 for 66 loads or .20¢ per load.

    I also run mine through a cold rinse first, then a hot/cold wash and into a hot dryer.

  13. I don’t use cloth diapers, but I do use my own wipes. I use a squirt bottle with water and a teaspoon or so of olive oil. For the cloths I toss them in a bucket with water and a splash of bleach (and I mean like 1-2 teaspoons) a little goes a long way. Even though I use desposible diapers my kids NEVER have diaper rash. I just had my 3rd baby 2 months ago and we seriously don’t ever have a rash (and my 2nd is still in diapers, and he eats TONS of fruit, he’s only gotten it once and that was a day after eating lots of pineapple and oranges. He’ll be 2 in August). We just used coconut oil on it when he got it and it went away in no time.

    My personal opinion is it’s more the wipes than the dipes. I’ve found with my newborn if I use disposable wipes she breaks out. When I use mine she’s fine. Needless to say, even though we got them as gifts, we use our homemade ones.

  14. We have been cloth diapering for over 2 years now (since my first was born in December 2007). And We love it. Sure the washing can be gross/annoying. We do diapers almost every day, but that is because we have a toddler and a newborn in diapers. If I wait too long to wash, there are just too many diapers in the wash.

    As for irritation, Oxiclean is known to leave buildup in cloth diapers. Also, if your homemade cleaner uses soap instead of detergent, you probably have buildup (hence the ammonia smell). I finally gave in and bought some WAHM cloth diaper detergents to try out when we were doing multiple washes just to get rid of the smells. Its not the cheapest thing out there, but it makes my wash routine very simple and it works every time. My personal fave is Rockin Green since it works for hard water really well, but there are several out there that I have heard work well. Initially I planned to just use it for occasional soaks to get rid of residue, but I like it so much, we use it for all the diapering stuff now and our whites.

  15. I just wanted to let you all know that with cloth diapers (and those lovely potty training accidents) I soak them in appx. 1/3 cup vinegar & 1/3 cup baking soda in a gallon or so of water. I used to scrub, scrub, scrub and now it seems to do most of the work for me. Seriously, it was a good day if I spent 15 minutes scrubbing out the stains back then, and after, it takes 5 minutes max. When I still needed cloth diapers, I started a bucket with the first diaper of the day, kept adding, and let them soak until after the kids went to bed. I know it sounds gross, but it will not stink… except the vinegar smell. 😉

  16. We started cloth diapering when my second child was 8 months old and continued through my 4th child. We started with all the fancy diapers. We ended up loving the prefolds with a snappi the best. We diapered newborns through 3 year olds. When my daughter was having trouble with sensitive skin I went to the store and bought a piece of fleece (in hot pink I might add) I came home and cut it the shape of our inserts and laid one in each diaper. Worked like a charm for her and her baby brother LOL. He was too little to complain about the pink. We loved it and would do it again in a heart beat. But I have to say I am glad my diapering days are over.

  17. We cloth diaper using mostly Thirsties diaper covers and prefolds with snappis. They save us lots of money, and that’s why we do them, but it’s very refreshing to see someone just say it like it is for most people. They aren’t the best thing ever to happen to me, but I feel good knowing that my little bit of effort is helping my family go in debt a little less (my husband is in medical school and we’re living off student loans- with 2 kids). Every little bit helps!

  18. I love the fact that more and more moms are using cloth! I have a 4 month old that I have been using cloth on (my first!). I have had no rash issues with him, except a small red spot here and there occasionally. I am using organic cotton prefolds and organic wool covers. I wonder if the wool covers are the reason he does not get a rash. I LOVE the wool – they allow the diaper to breath, where I know all other covers have a variety of plastic in them. Wool was what was used back in our grandmother’s day because the wool has natural lanolin in it and when urine comes in contact with it, it is turned to a soap. I only have to wash the wool covers every few weeks or when they get soiled with poo. I don’t use store wipes. I just use warm water on a cloth and I have my own aloe, water, and tea tree oil mix that I use as well. I only need to put a barrier oil on him at night ( he goes 12-14 hours without a change) and I use angel baby bottoms nipple cream ( I know it’s for breastfeeding, but it works great on baby bottoms too!) So far I have had no leak issues at night.
    We have a hard water issue out here and what has helped with that is using Thirties pre-wash and superwash and then a rinse with vinegar.
    I also make sure that I give my son some diaper free time every day.


  19. I used cloth diapers on my daughter. They were much cheaper, but I go SO tired of being peed on. We double diapered, used different types of covers and it didn’t matter. When she went, it overflowed everywhere. If I were to do it again, I’d have used more disposables.

    My daughter graduated college 6 years ago, so she’d be embarrassed to know I was telling these kinds of stories about her!

  20. I love cloth diapering but family and friends think I’m crazy, old fashioned and they think it’s so hard why would I do it? I don’t care!

  21. We mainly have Bum Genius one-size diapers and Bum Genius Flip diapers. Our one-size diapers are wearing out, so I’m slowly switching over to the Flip diapers because they have snaps. (2 inserts/month = $10…far less than we’d pay for using disposables full time!)

    Honestly, I do love it, but I will admit it’s a lot of work to keep up with the diaper laundry! We do it for a combination of environmental, health, and financial reasons…and their little bums are much cuter this way, too 🙂

    (I keep disposables on-hand for emergencies, but I never pay more than $5 for a pack of disposable diapers by watching for sales & using coupons.)

  22. I cloth diapered my first for only the first 3 months, then I went back to work and to disposables. With my second I was given a whole bunch of newborn and size 1 disposables so felt I should use what was given to me 🙂 I did not get back to cloth with her until using them a little bit with potty training. My third has been cloth all the way. My third has been more natural all the way. My first 2 I had c-sections and my third was an all natural home birth. By far the best experience.
    She is now 14 months old. I did have recommended to me and used disposables the first few days with the meconium. I sent my husband to buy a small package for the first few days and he went to Costco and bought a huge box of size 1-2. They lasted an entire year. We used them to go camping and with babysitters that weren’t up to cloth.
    I also found her to have more sensitive skin than I have dealt with before. I used Bummis newborn covers at the beginning, but she would get heat rash. Any time we use any plastic cover of any kind she gets heat rash. I use wool covers and LOVE it. They took a little getting used to and they are very expensive to buy, but I learned how to crochet my own and that has helped. I have also practiced EC (elimination communication) so we have had very few poopy diapers. The poop just goes straight in the potty. Wonderful.
    Sorry I have gone on a bit long, I really love cloth diapering. Yes, they can be inconvenient, but I feel so much better about it.

  23. diapering now is amazing! my kids are long grown up now, but if these type of things would have been around then, I probably would have used cloth too. by the way, all this lingo ya’ll use ( all in one, wetbags, fuzzi buns, etc) is completely lost on me!

  24. Liz G –

    I would recommend trying https://www.cottonbabies.com/ for their Flip diapers. You can buy a few diaper covers (with 1 insert per diaper) at $16 each, and then buy additional inserts at $4.95 each. Very high quality diapers, and the snap closures won’t wear out like velcro does. They have free shipping on all orders.

    As far as cleaning, I don’t swish my diapers. I plop the soiled contents into the toilet, throw it in a plastic garbage can lined with a diaper pail liner (around $15), and then toss the liner & soiled diapers into the wash machine every other day. 1 cold wash/rinse with a small amount of detergent, 1 hot wash/rinse with a small amount of detergent, and 1 extra rinse to remove any leftover detergent. Then I dry them – outdoors on a drying rack in the summer, in the dryer in the winter. Every once in a while, I use a small amount of bleach in the hot wash. You want a detergent without many additives that could cause a buildup on the diaper. Many cloth diapering websites will suggest detergents that work well with cloth diapers.

  25. I’ve cloth diapered two kids and actually think it’s easier than disposables. We do use disposables when we travel or if kids are staying overnight with Grandparents or their uncle. But usually grandparents prefer the cloth, except at night they use a disposable.

    I don’t think it’s a hassle, I’m already doing wash everyday since I have young kids and we live on a farm, so what’s one more load. I keep the soiled diapers in the laundry room to cut down on the stink. In the winter, we use a biodegrable liner and in spring, summer and fall I take all the diapers outside and spray them down with the garden hose – works as a prewash and gets rid off all the mess!

    We never had an issue with diaper rashes with the oldest, the little one gets horrible diarreha when he teethes (cloth holds in the mess better than disposable!) and when he gets rashes, I just let him run around in a prefold I converted to a side snapping fitted.

    I make all my own diapers. We use a combination of All-in-Ones, fitted with a wool wrap or longies or a fleece cover. My fitted diapers are all prefold conversions.

    I use disposables for the first 4-6 weeks and then switched to cloth for both kids. Probably because we had tons of disposables from gifts.


  26. Ok, so I have been thinking about doing this and I have a couple of questions.

    1. How do you clean them? I understand the potty swishing, but do you just then dump the in the wash and only add detergent (with the exception of the vinegar during rinse cycle). Can you use bleach? How do you know they are clean?? -I’m nervous that they won’t be clean, and I will be putting a bacteria infected cloth on my baby.

    2. Do you recommend any brands? I have looked around and at $16 dollars a diaper, I can’t afford to buy one that doesn’t work well.

    Thanks, liz

    • Liz-

      Okay, so here’s what I do. My baby girl isn’t having solid poops yet, just the runny breastfeeding kind, so no dumping off the solids yet for me. When my diaper pail is full, I just dump them all into the washer (diapers and covers). I fill it up with hot water, and use my homemade liquid detergent (with some OxyClean), then rinse with vinegar in the rinse cycle. I hang dry on sunny days, and tumble dry low in dryer other days. I think I’ve washed them with bleach maybe three times in the three years I’ve had them. The sun does a good job at bleaching them most of the time. You know they are clean when they don’t smell like urine still when they come out of the washer. Sometimes I do an extra rinse if they still smell slightly.

      I use Motherease diapers, only because I found them on Craigslist for a steal. I got like 30 diapers with snapping inserts for $40!! I also found BumGenius covers on Craigslist- 5 for $20, plus some other random vinyl covers. So, if you keep your eyes open, you can find some great deals on pre-owned diapers. The ones I got were hardly even used at all! The grandmother bought them for her daughter, who didn’t like using them, so I lucked out.

      Whatever you do, I’d highly recommend snapping diapers and covers. Velcro is a pain. In the wash they get stuck to everything, and they wear out quickly. Mine are “One Size”- which means they adjust from newborn size all the way to toddlers. I love this, as I don’t have to keep buying more as baby outgrows them. I wish I could try out other kinds of diapers. I’d love to find some that might not break out baby so badly. But I’m like you, I can’t afford to try a bunch that might not work well!! Good luck!

  27. I did cloth diapers also for the savings. I no longer have any children in diapers, but a hint that my mother gave me and seemed to work was fill your diaper pail about half full with water and add some Borax to it. just through the diapers in their when soiled and it cuts down on the smell and the diapers are getting to soak while waiting to be washed. when your ready to wash just dump the whole thing into the wash. I used prefolds and they stayed very nice and white now they are used for dusting and rags.

  28. Girl…YES!! You said it all!! ;D
    Our baby Norah Jane is having some trouble with cloth diapers giving her blisters, and I think it is the ammonia not being washed out good enough. We use vinegar in the rinse and I make our laundry soap so it is baffling to me..never had another child with this problem and we have used cloth on 4 others. I just can’t help but think her skin is just too sensitive???
    We use all in ones. We got them as a gift years ago and now if we get asked what we need for new babies we always say those. We also use these handy diaper liners. They hold the solid poop and also some of the messy kind and you just dump in toilet and flush…rarely have to rinse any!! They biodegrade within 48 hours so they are still eco friendly and I think for 400 liners is like 12 bucks.
    We, however, are the same as you…we don’t use to be ecofriendly..we just use because it saves us a TON of money! Thanks for sharing, friend!! Love this…will post on my page!! ;D

  29. OHHH…and SOAP NUTS are fantastic with cloth diapers. I haven’t had to use vinegar or anything else to get the ammonia smell or irritation out. Seriously they are little miracle workers!!!

  30. We just switched from disposables to Fuzzi Bunz One Size. I do love them but the poopies are a little gross 🙂 I really don’t have a problem unless its diahreea. With the Fuzzi Bunz the waste just kinda “falls off” into the potty leaving little to no residue. Do you sew? You can make the wet bags for a reasonable price certainly less than they are offered online.

  31. Kendra,

    We plan on using the Baby G Diapers. They are cloth diapers that actually have an inside flushable liner. When baby goes potty the liner absorbs it and you just flush. A friend of mine told me that when she switched to them her little boy never got a diaper rash again. Apparently they are extremely breathable.


    I’m excited!

  32. I’m cloth diapering my second baby now, and I truthfully love it. My boys aren’t heavy wetters, and don’t go through a ton of diapers, so I wash only every 3-4 days. We use a disposable at night because I’m too darn lazy to change baby in the middle of the night (sleep is too precious!) And sometimes when we go out as well – I find that long car rides often cause my covers to leak. It’s mostly about the cost savings for us, but also for the enviro impact as well. We use prefolds with Bummis covers, and my son is the FOURTH baby to use these diapers – they’ve gone a long way, and have more than paid for themselves, and they have a lot of use in them still.

  33. I am just starting, and so far am loving it ;), but haven’t had to deal with solid poopy diapers as baby is only 7wks old. Am interested to know what kind of cloth diapers you use? are you using prefolds? so far I’ve had no rash issues, but I am using Bum Genius 3.0’s and FLIP, both of which have the stay-dry feature. so far I am doing the wetbag method of putting all dirty/wet in the bag, zip it shut, and wash every 2-3 days (I only have 14 dipes). So far the wet bags are amazing. I’ve had no smell issues (till you open the bag LOL), no leaks…just unzip the bag, and dump the contents in the washer…no touching the mess, and just throw in the bag too! Maybe you could offer to review a wet bag (my big one is from Leslie’s Boutique), and score one for free ;). I use a fuzzibunz wetbag in the diaper bag, that I got on clearance. Not cheap up front for sure! going to try and sew my own Flip style diapers… I think once I hit the big baby stage I’ll use some kind of liner to avoid the dump and swish as much as possible!

  34. I use cloth to be eco-friendly and to save money. I am by no means a purist. I usually buy a small package (about 36 diapers?)a month. It costs about 10 bucks. I use cloth almost exclusively at home. I also use cloth while out running some errands, while going to other people’s houses, etc. I use disposables for MOPS, longer outings, fun things (like the zoo or arboretum…yeah, I am lazy and it is harder to change a 2 year old in public than a little baby!. I will also put my daughter in a disposable if we are going to someone’s house and I know she hasn’t pooped yet and am expecting her too.
    I really like cloth, but I agree they are a pain sometimes. I started using them when my daughter was 3 months old, and she is my only child so far, so while they are more work, I don’t have really a lot to compare it to. It is nice not having a can full of dirty diapers out with the trash every week.

  35. When we had our oldest I had considered it but for me the only option was diaper service. Can you say expensive?! When we moved back to the midwest when baby number 2 was in diapers a diaper service was unheard of in our area and to find nice diapers (easier) like they have now were unheard of. So…now with baby number 7…just never got around to it. *sigh*


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