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Cloth Diaper FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Ok, I bought my diapers now what?  Diapers need to be prepped before they can be worn.  This is to achieve full absorbency.  Natural fibers have natural oils that will repel urine.  After a few wash/dry cycles with a little bit of soap the fibers will achieve maximum absorbency.  Wash/dry 2-3 times for synthetic fibers and 3-5 for natural fibers.  Don't worry, you really cant mess up prepping.  The only consequence is your diaper isn't at its fullest absorbency, but it will be after a few use cycles, even with no prep. 


What detergent should I use?   Everyone cloth diapering mom I talk to uses something different.  If you use a commercial detergent (ex. Tide or a Free and Clear), use 1/4 of the recommended amount.  If you use a detergent for cloth diapers, like Rockin' Green or Eco Sprout, use the recommended amount.  There are many different natural soaps and cloth diaper formulas to choose from, but it is recommended to stay away from detergents with dyes and fragrances. 


Do I wash cloth diapers like my normal laundry?   No.  There are a few things to avoid.  Liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets will decrease the absorbency of your diapers and often cause leaking.  There is a debate on bleach.  Some manufactures say no, some say yes up to 1/4 cup once a month. Bleach may wear on your elastic.  If you have any questions or need help with your routine, feel free to email us!


How often do I wash diapers?  It is recommended to wash every 2-3 days. If you let them sit too long you might have stains set in.  You do not want to overload your washer because it will not allow your diapers to rinse with enough water to get clean.  


What settings should I use?  Most people recommend a starting with a cold water rinse followed by a hot water wash with your chosen detergent and finally an additional rinse. 

I prefer an initial warm water rinse.  It is proven that organic matter rinses away better in warm water than cold.  Avoid doing an initial rinse with hot because you risk setting in stains.

High efficiency washer owners need to increase the amount of water used by their washer.  You can either put a wet towel in with the diapers to fool the sensor or override the water level sensing feature.  Diapers need a bit more water to achieve a good wash then a standard a high efficiency washer allows.   Add an extra cold rinse at the end or use a heavy duty cycle that has a built in second rinse to make sure all of the detergent is gone. 


What do I do with the poop?  Poop from exclusively breastfed babies is 100% water soluble and can be thrown straight into the wash.  Poop of babies eating solid food need to be disposed into the toilet or other sanitary drain.  You can dunk the diaper, scrape the poop, plop the poop, or use a diaper sprayer. 


Eww, you want me to put poop in my washer?  Wont the rest of my clothes get poop on them?  Don't worry, your washer and clothes will be fine.  Your washer does a great job of getting normal dirt off your clothes and not contaminating subsequent loads.  Plus, as new parents know, poop goes in more places than just diapers.  Parents using disposable diapers don't throw away every item that gets poop on it. 


Is there a diaper genie for cloth diapers?  No.  Most moms use a reusable waterproof diaper pail liner and an inexpensive trash can with a lid that can be bought at any big store.  The liner goes into the washer with your diapers after being emptied, with the benefit being that you don't have to touch the collection of dirty diapers. 


What happens when I am out shopping or at the park?  You carry your cloth diapers with you just as you do disposables, but instead of throwing the dirty diaper away you store it in a wetbag.  They are waterproof, smellproof, and can be thrown straight in the wash just like your pail liners.  Just don't forget to unpack when you get home! Wet bags are also great for transporting wet swimsuits home from the beach or pool. 


So if I use cloth diapers my baby will never get a diaper rash?  That is unfortunately not true.  Rashes are not a function of what diaper you use, except in the case of allergic reactions to the chemicals or materials.  Rashes occur because your baby's skin is exposed to wetness for an extended length of time.  Modern cloth diapers now have wetness wicking layers that help keep baby's skin dry just like disposables, but a baby left in a wet diaper will get a rash no matter the diaper.  Change frequently to avoid rashes.


What do I use to treat a rash?  Avoid the common rash creams found in stores.  They are made from fish oils that will not wash out of your cloth diapers.  This will create a water barrier preventing your diapers from absorbing liquids, leading to leaks.  Choose a cloth diaper safe cream.


Oops, I forgot and used a non-cloth diaper friendly rash cream now what?  Don't panic you can clean the spot by hand after it comes out of the washer, but before drying.  Apply a tiny dot of dawn dish soap and scrub the area with either your fingernail or an old toothbrush.  Make sure to rinse well. 


My pediatrician wants me to use a special cream on my baby.  Am I going to ruin my diapers?  No, if you use one of two types of liners.  Reusable liners are made from fleece and will protect the surface of the diaper or you can use a disposable liner. 


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