Help! Thinking About Switching to Cloth Diapering and I Am Completely Lost!

Updated on May 25, 2011
B.E. asks from Brunswick, GA
16 answers

I am contemplating switching to cloth diapering, but I am completely overwhelmed. Could someone share with me the different types of cloth diapers? Which kinds do you prefer, and why? What will I need to buy to get started? Is washing them difficult? Do they work as well as disposables? I have a 2 year old that we are about to start potty training, and a 1 year old. I was told cloth diapers can help them to potty train faster, is this true? Please share any other info you think would be helpful. Thank you!

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answers from Kansas City on

I did it with my daughter and loved it. Here is a really helpful website that I used for lots of questions/concerns I had when making my decision

Best of luck to you!



answers from Boca Raton on

You've received some great advice. I just wanted to add that it's awesome you're switching over to cloth. Don't do a service, they can be using chemicals and yuk.
Washing is easy, you can hang outside for the sun to bleach them too.
Yes, it helps with potty training, not to mention stops the chance of getting genital cancers. So many studies to show that those gels and chemicals are giving boys testicular cancer and such. It's so bad!

I used to take off the diaper and put it into a pail, at the end of the day, I'd throw them in the wash. If there was poo, I'd try to get it off and still put it in the pail. If you put some vinegar in the wash, it'll help too.

You'll get into the hang of it!

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answers from Boston on

I really liked using cloth. They can be almost as simple as disposables. I personally liked pocket diapers, like fuzibuns or bumGenius. They have a waterproof outer layer and you stuff them with cotton or bamboo or some type of inner layer. You can vary the stuffing depending on how much coverage you need (more for nights for ex). To wash, you separate the outside and inside (or some separate themselves in the wash) so they dry easily. There are also AIOs (all in ones) that have the stuff and the waterproof all together, couldn't be easier. I liked those less because they took a long time to dry. There are also prefolds, which you wrap around the baby and put a PUL or wool cover over so they will be waterproof. No pins are necessary, there are these little clips to use with those. Then there are contour diapers and fitteds, both of those would have a PUL or wool cover over them as well. The benefit of the types of diapers that use covers, is that you don't need as many covers as diapers, you can reuse them between washes.

I think potty learning depends a lot on the kid. But cloth should make it easier because with disposable technology taking away all the moisture the child doesn't necessarily know he's wet at all. There are also cloth training pants and I definitely recommend cloth swimming diapers. Way better than disposables.

Go to a few diaper sites and look around. is one that I used. There are tons. Many diaper sites have a lot of info about the different types. Also, if you can get seconds or discontinued styles they can be much cheaper. The problem with cloth diaper shopping, is that there are so many cool ones, you can shop all day!! :) Good luck in your search.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

I'll leave most of the questions to others so I don't add to the confusion, lol. But, as far as potty training goes, there was no difference between my cloth diapered child and my disposable diapered children. I'm still more than happy to use them on my current baby, but potty training has definitely not been a factor in that!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Okay these are the types of fluff out there.

Prefolds & Covers
Flats & Covers
Fitteds & Covers

Each "kind" of diaper has tons and tons of different brands. If you do prefolds or flats be sure to buy a dsq (diaper servive quality) you do NOT want to but the ones you see at Wal-Mart or Target. (Gerber and others) They are not absorbant enough. Snappis are only needed for diapers that need a cover- prefolds, fitteds and flats. You don't have to use a snappi- you can just lay the prefold or flat in the cover. Some fitteds come with velcro or snaps so you don't need a snappi too.

We use cloth wipes- you will find that it is a pain to have to seperate disposable wipes from the cloth diaper and make two different trips to the trash can and wetbag. Alot of people buy special cloth wipes- that are made just for cloth diapering. But we just use old washcloths and all of the baby washcloths from the newborn stages. You get a spray bottle- either plain water or some people add wipe solution (you can buy special solution for cloth wipes). I use plain water- spray the washcloth for the poopy diapers and all clean. Works just like a disposable wipe- only you are saving more money by rewashing the wipes too!

I do not and never have and never will have a sprayer on my toilet. You don't have to swish anything in the toilet. I just dump it out- if it's semi-soft I wipe it off with toilet paper and there ya go!

Sunning. Setting your diapers out in the sun to dry after washing is the best way to get any stain out. You will be amazed at this. It may take a few hours but most stains will come out on the first try.

If you know what brands you are wanting to try alot of websites have "seconds sales" where there is a tiny cosmetic flaw that makes it impossible to sell the diaper at full price. You can get a $20 diaper for around half off. Brand new. Have you tried craigslist? When I was first starting I bought alot of my stash off craigslist. Or even Ebay. You don't need to buy new. There are a few cloth diaper swapping groups on facebook if you are on there. PM me and I can give you the names.

Personally I hate aplix (velcro) I only do snaps. But everyone is different. If you sew, you could make your own and save even more money. Detergent wil be a huge factor in the care and life of your diapers. You will have to use something that is cloth diaper safe such as Rockin Green, Charlies Soap, Eco Sprout, or Clean B. You cannot EVER use a diaper rash cream without a liner. Even the creams that say they are "cloth safe." I know
someone who was using a cloth safe cream and still ruined her diapers.

Washing them is really not that hard. Alot of people think that's the thing that will be the hardest. In reality it's 3 extra loads of laundry a week and I personally look forward to washing diapers. My husband even does it now too! Like I said above you just need to be sure you have a cloth diaper friendly detergent. Otherwise they will get ruined and all of your money will be wasted.

I don't know a single Mama who uses cloth that won't tell you they work BETTER than disposables. All of the nasty leaks and poop blowouts you have up the back with them- never happens with cloth.

We use a mixture of Gro-Via, bumGenius, rumparooz, Coolababy, fuzzibunz, along with fitteds, prefolds, flats and covers.

Okay this is getting really long. PM me and I can give you some information on brands and any other questions you have I will help!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Hi! Good for you for cloth diapering! I do with my son, and did with my daughter. It is SO EASY!!! And AFFORDABLE!! People would make fun of me when I was pregnant, telling me I was crazy...but jokes on them...I saved thousands on disposables!

I did TONS of research, and can make your life very easy. I have a great system...never leaks, easy and affordable. Before I tell you though, I might suggest buying in moderation at first..b/c I am wondering if your kids will go for the switch. It is a totally different feel than disposables..when they are wet, they feel it! And I have read the same about early potty training. Who knows for daughter was trained by 2, so she was early.

24 cotton prefolds. I chose unbleached. They are every where. DO NOT buy gerber..they are way too thin. You can go on Amazon and type in chinese cotton prefolds. About $27.00 per dozen.

6 diaper covers. I LOVE Bummis super whisper wraps. They have velcro, not snaps..can adjust as your baby grows. Cute styles on covers too. About $12 per cover. I just bought some from a site, . All orders have free shipping, and good selection!

4 snappys. They are these little plastic no pins. You might spend $6-12 total. I forget what I paid, but not much!

Put on the prefold, close with the snappy, and then cover the whole deal with the Bummis cover. Make sure ALL the prefold fabric is inside the cover...or you will get leaks. As long as it is all in the cover, you should be leak free!

I use disposables at night...I think it is too long of a span to leave a baby that wet. I also use a disposable if we are going out for more than a few quick case we get a poop in a store..that can be messy...and stinky to carry a dirty diaper in your diaper bag!

To wash..I bought a lidded white garbage can. I use a garbage bag as a liner. If my son pees, I just drop it in the can. If he poops I dispose of the poop in the toilet, and if it is a messy one, after the toilet has been flushed and clean, I swish it in the toilet to get the remaining poop off. Not glamorous..but who cares! On laundry day...I just bring the whole bin to the washer and put them in. I use hot instead of cold, and use the extra rinse. I read so many techniques with soaking, etc..and tried it at first...but I find it not necessary.

Cloth diapers do not take any longer than disposables. You save time not having to go to the store for diapers. The laundry is FAST. It is the easiest load to fold. I have never once thought it was too taxing for me.

I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I like the all in one (pocket) diapers. We use Kushies Ultra with disposable diaper liners. I like them because the all in one with velcro are easy to use and the diaper liners mean that I don't have to rinse the diapers before putting them in the diaper pail (just dump in the toilet). Then the diapers just need to be washed. I bought 25 infant diapers and 20 toddler diapers and then liners. Washing them is just as easy as washing other laundry. We use disposables at night (because they are more absorbent we don't have to night time diaper changes), at daycare (per their request), and when traveling (for convenience). My children rarely get diaper rash as they get changed very quickly when wet or soiled as it is more uncomfortable and noticeable because they aren't as absorbent. Hopefully this also helps them to associate the sensation of a full bladder with urinating and speeds up potty training, but it is hard to say as I don't know when my kids would have potty trained if I'd used disposables. But, I've used cloth with both my kids and would do it again. Way cheaper (my daughters current diapers have been in use for 3 years now between the two children) and less waste/chemicals. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

My favorite cloth diaper blog- Dirty Diaper Laundry- has the best intro to cloth diapering articles ever. You can find them here:

For me, washing is easy, I do it once or twice a week as my schedule allows (My partner and I work full time). They work better than any of the disposables our daycare uses- in almost 11 months we've never had a blow out.

My favorite cloth diapers are Bumgenius one size with snaps (really hard for kidlets to take off, easy to wash because you don't have to secure velcro) and GroVia all in 2. If the cover doesn't get dirty, you can just snap in a new insert.



answers from Philadelphia on

We used a combination of pocket diapers (bumgenius) at daycare and night time and on the weekends/evenings I used prefolds and thirsties covers. My son turned 2 a few weeks ago and he has been potty trained since January at home and we are now down to 2-3 accidents/week at daycare. I think this has a lot to do with the cloth diapers because from the time he was about 15 months old he would tell me to change his diaper when it was wet/poopy. Kids in disposables don't usually notice. The pockets are more absorbent than my prefolds, so they are great for overnight and car trips and things like that and they are also easier to put on. The way covers are made now you can just fold the prefold and stick it inside the cover and I think it's pretty easy too. You also have the advantage that your kids are older and you won't have to change them as often. By the time my son was 1 I think I was using 6-8 cloth diapers per day.

So to get started for both kids you'll probably need 35-40 diapers if you are going to wash every other day. Bumgenius are great because they are sizeable, so you can use the same diapers on both children and simplify things. Thirsties also has an adjustable cover and I would guess that both children would use the same size prefolds too. Prefolds and covers are the cheapest way to go. You'd need probably 3 dozen diapers ($25-30/dozen) and 6 covers ($10-20/cover depending on the brand). Pockets are a little more pricey, closer to $20/diaper and you'd probably need at least 30 of them for two children. That's why we went with a combination. At home I thought the prefolds were easy, but when we were out or my son was in daycare we needed something a little easier and more convenient.

Washing is easy. Just shake the solids off into the toilet before you put the diaper in the pail. When the pail is full dump everything into the washing machine and do a rinse to get rid of any additional solids. Do a hot wash followed by two cold rinses to get rid of all the detergent. I line dried mine because it costs less, gets rid of stains and makes the diapers last longer. You can find a list of diaper-safe detergents here

Feel free to message me if you have questions, good luck!



answers from Miami on

You've received a lot of info already, but I had a few other things to mention.

I bought a dozen bumgenius and a dozen happy heinys one size pocket diapers before my daughter was born 3 years ago. We didn't end up being able to use them so well because her legs were so skinny. After spending all that money, I didn't want to go hunting for new types. I had found some eco-friendly diapers and just did a combo--cloth at home where leaks weren't as big of a deal and disposable for sleeping and out.

There are some websites that will let you order sampler packs to try out and return if you don't like them. It's definitely a good idea when you really don't know what type you'd like to use. If you think there is a baby boutique near you that does cloth diapers, babywearing, etc, you can usually get some good hands on exposure that way.

I have used a dry bucket and use a cloth diaper wet bag. You basically throw everything in there and then empty the diapers out into the wash and throw the bag in too.

To be honest, because of my experience with my daughter, i wasn't the biggest fan of cloth diapers, but as she got older it became easier. I agree with one of the other posters, though, that it will depend on your child. My daughter is 3 and still doesn't care if she's wet/dirty most of the time regardless of the type of diaper.

I do LOVE cloth wipes, though. Not that you are really trying to switch solely for going green reasons, but I think they work so much better. I did buy the cloth wipes that are sold...I think they work a little better. I love the bamboo ones; my husband likes the flannel will depend on your preference. We fold ours in half and put them in a wipe warmer. I make a solution in a water bottle of water, a little bit of Dr. Bronner's Lavender castille soap, a few drops of tea tree oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. (Not too much soap or you get a big sudsy mess.) I pour that solution over the wipes and then just squeeze out each wipe as I use them. And since I just wash them, I don't fee bad about using a ton. :-)

I DO recommend a sprayer. MANY toilets that are newer do NOT have enough water in them to swish anything around. You will get your hands all messy if your child has anything other than a well formed BM. If you can't just plop it off, you will probably want a sprayer. BumGenius sells one, but I know there are DIY kits out there too.

Washing isn't difficult, but you'll just have to get into a routine of throwing it all in every day or two and then folding, assembling, etc.

Good luck!



answers from Missoula on

I just started cloth diapering my second baby, who is nine weeks old. We are using GroVia hybrid diapers and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. If I had had any idea that cloth diapering could be this easy I would have done it with my first baby as well. I did a lot of research before we picked these diapers, I looked at Fuzzi Bunz, BumGenius, Kissaluvs, g-Diapers, Flips, Happy Heinies, and a few others, but I choose GroVia because they have the option of being semi-disposable, and because these diapers have two separate parts, a waterproof cover and an absorbent soaker pad that snaps into the cover. When you change a diaper, you can simply remove the soaker pad and reuse the cover, as long as the cover wasn't soiled. They also have a disposable, biodegradable insert that you can stick into the cover instead of the cloth soaker. I have 6 covers and about 20 soakers, and I do laundry every other day.
They are really easy to use and wash up really well, and they are a one-size adjustable diaper that fits babies from about 10-35 pounds.
If you are interested in hearing more about them then feel free to PM me and I would be happy to give you more info and answer any questions you have.
Oh, and we used disposables for the first few weeks. One size diapers won't really fit until baby is a bit bigger, and since we didn't want to buy any tiny newborn cloths, we just did Huggies for the first 4 weeks or so. Since switching to cloth we haven't had a single blowout, so yes, they work as well as disposables, better in my experience.
Good luck!


answers from Provo on

Cloth diapers where a child can feel the wetness helps. A lot of modern cloth diapers will wick away the wetness (like disposables but with out the chemicals) because of the fabric that is on top. If you did a prefold and cover where it is just cotton and no wicking, then potty training will happen faster.

I really like pocket diapers like the other mom's have suggested. They are great for babysitters and for your. They are easy and I haven't had a leak in one in a year (you do have to change them every 2ish hours for this to happen though). And I haven't blow outs since starting too. So I am in fact doing less laundry with cloth than disposables. But now that my son has solid poops, that doesn't really matter.
The brands of pocket diaper that I love are Fuzzibunz (fb), Bumgenius (bg), Oh Katy diapers, and Thirsties Duo diaper. My son is a chunk and they all fit him well and he's 19 months so he has a ways to go in them, which was my main concern with his chunky size. I must say the Duo Diaper is my new favorite. You don't need to pull the insert out to wash. It comes out by its self!!! No touching pee soaked insert!! They have some cute prints and the come with two really nice inserts which one is half hemp which for night time you are really going to need. Hemp absorbes twice as much liquid than any other fabric, so for long car rides and bedtime it is the most widley used fabric option.
I know I'm a little spastic today, so I'm just going to give you a link to my blog where I was answering another mamapedia's mom cloth diaper questions and has pictures of the different types of diapers. I need to update it to included hybrids which means they can either do a cloth absorbant pad or a biodegradable throw-a-way or flushable pad.



answers from Sacramento on

I used a diaper service. less laundry work, more kid time!



answers from Spokane on

Mrs. Robinson gave you a good rundown of all the basics. Just thought I'd throw it out there that you should start by deciding how much money you want to spend. With our first child we went totally economical and bought prefolds with white prowrap covers - this worked GREAT, never a leak, never a rash! With our second I found a whole stash of fuzzibunz at a second hand store and just used our prefolds in them - LOVED these diapers!
Start with a budget and that will help you decide what and where to buy.


answers from Kansas City on

When I had my first two children there were no disposable diapers. Yes, I'm that old. With my last 6 we used disposable. No difference in potty training at all. Some kids don't like to feel the wetness and some could care less. Diaper rash was a problem with the cloth diapers, not with disposable as they didn't have urine on the skin so much. I would NEVER go back to cloth diapers. Mine were as white as snow after years of use but made great 'rags'. Sorry but I would never use them again.



answers from Rochester on

I use Bum Genius diapers on my kids.
I love them. I use the all in one, one size diapers. That means I do not have to have different size diapers and have use the same diapers since birth. This also means that the liners and outer waterproof covering are included as one diaper as oposed to the old cloth diapers that you would fold and attach with pins, then put on a rubber cover. The Bum Genius diapers go on just like a regular diaper. Which is great for people who are not really on-board with cloth diapering; and I think that they work just as well as a disposable. I don't use them at night though.
As far as potty training....I don't know. I have been working with my son potty training for over 6 months and am not sure that the cloth diapers really helped. What really helps is rewards and consistancy.

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