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Cloth Diapering 101: Not Your Mama’s Cloth Diapers

If you are interested in cloth diapering then you are in the right place because today I am sharing with you all about our experience with cloth diapering our 2 boys.  Today I’m going to cover some of the basics, consider this your cloth diapering 101 crash course.cloth diapering 101- picture of a stack of cloth diapers

I’ve been called crazy for cloth diapering.  I have one friend who thinks it’s absolutely gross.  And I have to say it’s not for everyone, but it’s something that we love and it works well for our family.  As you read this, keep an open mind.  It might be something that could work for your family too.

Honestly we didn’t consider cloth diapering until our childbirth classes hosted a speaker who was a lactation consultant and owner of a shop that sells breastfeeding supplies and cloth diapers.  She handed out some pamphlets and I looked through it later.  I thought the diapers were cute, but it seemed like a lot of work.  Then one weekend my husband and I visited some friends who lived out of town that we don’t see too often.  She was cloth diapering her second baby and I got to see her system in action.  That experience of seeing cloth diapering in action was what convinced me that I could do it.

I was excited about using cloth diapers with my firstborn and I’m still excited as I cloth diaper my second baby.

Cloth Diapering 101

So here’s the nitty gritty of what we use and how we clean them.  I am a little long-winded in this post, so if you want a distilled version of the pros and cons of our experience, here it is.  If you want more details, read list for cloth diapering

Types of Diapers

We use a couple of different kinds of cloth diapers.  And again, let me emphasize- These are not your mama’s cloth diapers.  Some people still use the little white ones you fold and pin, but a lot of people (me included) use much more modern cloth diapers. stack of cloth diapers- cloth diapering 101

They are shaped like disposable diapers and close with either velcro or snaps.  My husband greatly prefers the velcro to the snaps and I have to agree.  With velcro you can get a tighter fit, the only down side being that the velcro does seem to wear out after a while on some of the diapers.

There are a few different types- All in ones, pockets, and all in twos.  There are some other variations, but these are some of the popular basics.  All in ones are just like disposable diapers, everything is together.  The pocket diapers have an outer shell and you stuff inserts into the inside to customize the amount of absorbancy you need.  And all in twos have an outer shell or cover and an inside.picture comparing the inside and outside of the cloth diaper types

I have all three of these basic types.  When cloth diapering my son I initially wanted to try a couple kinds and brands just to see what would work best for us.  All three of these kinds work well for us.  We use the pocket diapers primarily over night because our boys have both been great sleepers and we need a lot of absorbancy for night time.  I love how the pocket diapers wick moisture away from the baby’s skin, which is perfect for overnight. As our kids have grown we have added additional inserts for overnight.  The all in ones and all in twos are super convenient for day time.


There are a number of brands out there.  We have used diapers by Tiny Tush, GroVia, Bum Genius, Happy Heinys, Trend Lab, and Kissaluvs.  Overall we have been very pleased with these brands but Bum Genius is my favorite overall.  Here are some specifics about our experiences with each one.

  • Tiny Tush– Fit our son the best when he was first born, but he outgrew the size smalls and we sold them so that we could buy some one size diapers that would adjust and grow with him.  One size was just beginning to be more common when we were starting out with cloth diapering.
  • GroVia– We loved that we could just change the insert a for a few diaper changes when he just wet that part and not the shell.  They are also one size so we were able to adjust them as he grew and the velcro in particular gave us a snug fit.  The velcro on these did wear out a lot and the elastic is shot in a few covers as well (after 2 years of use).  I would have liked for these to have held up a little better, but we did get a lot of use out of these with our first son.  We retired a lot of these and were not able to use them on our second baby.  I could go back in and repair the elastic, but I just haven’t had (taken) the time.
  • Bum Genius– These are new for baby #2.  And I LOVE them.  We’ve used them for about 6 months and so far they are doing great.  I like the convenience of the “all in one” design.  They come straight out to the clean laundry ready to go.  No stuffing or snapping in inserts.  We also have these in the one size adjustable version and they will be able to grow with him. (Update: I loved them all through his diapering days until he was potty trained at 2 1/2 years old)
  • Happy Heinys– We only have one of these, but that’s because it’s a pocket diaper and I use it only at night.  The fit and absorbancy on this is great.
  • Trend Lab– This was an inexpensive diaper, so I was skeptical, but it works really well and has held up well.
  • Kissaluvs– We have a few of their all in two adjustable diapers, and they are ok.  They keep moisture in well, but they’re not quite as thick as some of the others and so I don’t trust them quite as much.  So far they haven’t leaked, but I don’t love them quite as much as some of the others.

Cloth Diapering 101 Cleaning

This is typically where people shy away from cloth diapering.  But honestly, it’s not that bad to me.  My baby wakes up and I change his diaper.  I put the wet diaper into a wet bag.  As I change his diapers throughout the day I add them to the wet bag.  Now, if I get a diaper that’s a dirty one (more than just wet), I shake it off into the toilet and flush.  Then I put the diaper into the wet bag with the other ones.  If shaking doesn’t work, I use my diaper sprayer to spray it off, then flush.

At the end of the day I empty the bag into the washer, toss in the wet bag, and wash them all together.  I wash them on the power wash cycle using Ecos Free and Clear.  Just as a note to those of you thinking of cloth diapering, you can’t just use any old laundry detergent to wash cloth diapers.  There are a number of reasons, but make sure you’re using one that is OK for cloth diapers.  This list here is helpful.

Ecos laundry detergent

Sometimes I put my diapers in the dryer, but if it’s nice I hang them on the clothes line in our back yard.  The sun also helps to bleach them a little.

Supplies Needed

Everyone who cloth diapers uses a different system, but these are the essentials for me.  I have 18 cloth diapers, cloth wipes, home made wipes solution, 4 wet bags, extra inserts, and detergent.  As for brands of wet bags, I have 1 from Planet Wise, 1 from Tweedle Bugs, and 2 from Itzy Ritzy.  All of them work very well, but I like the Tweedle Bugs one the best for at home because it is the biggest one.

cloth diaper wet bag

Cloth Diapering 101 Update

I’m updating this post in 2019 and it’s been a few years since we finished with those diaper days.  I still highly recommend cloth diapering and in particular the brands mentioned above.  I loved my Bum Genius diapers the most overall but I have to say I was just looking on Amazon and there are so many new brands available.  Many of them are quite affordable so I’d recommend checking those out if you are thinking of cloth diapering.

Why We Cloth Diaper

We cloth diaper for several reasons.  I have really sensitive skin and so I knew my boys would too (they do!).  Sometimes the chemicals used to make disposable diapers cause skin irritation for some babies and I like that I can spare my boys from some of that exposure.  I also like saving money.  Cloth diapering and using cloth wipes (I make our own solution) saves us a bundle.

I do put the kids in disposables from time to time, like when they are being babysat or if we’re going to be out of the house for a long time and it’s just not practical to carry around a wet bag full of soiled diapers.  So I’m not a die-hard cloth diaper-er, but I do prefer to do them when we can.  And yes, in our experience cloth diapers work well.  Very rarely we do have leaks, but I’ve had the occasional leak when using disposables too.

Sorry that this Cloth Diapering 101 post is so long but there is just so much to talk about with this topic!  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.cloth diapering 101- how to cloth diaper, cloth diapering basics and recommendations

If you liked this post on Cloth Diapering 101 then please be sure to check out my other Kid Stuff posts.


Thursday 13th of March 2014

Do you have a special washing machine? Ours is pretty old school and I'm not convinced it'd get the job done.


Thursday 13th of March 2014

We don't have anything too special. We use a high efficiency top loader that we got about a year ago. Before that we used a hand me down washer that was probably 20 years old. With the old washer I just did an extra rinse cycle before I washed the diapers. The diapers came out clean and smelled clean and all, so I felt like it did a good job.

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Mary Martha Mama