Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Choosing Prefolds and Flats, Part I:Why

First of all I wanted to give a little explanation, again, about why we use the types of diaper we do. There are so many pocket and all-in-one or all-in-two diapers out there. It seems to a lot of people that the only reason you would use prefolds or flats and covers is because of finances, but I can honestly say that regardless of cost we are not interested in these types of diapers.

For one, I don't find them to be more convenient. A pocket has to be stuffed, just like a cover, and most all-in-ones do not have enough absorbency for an older baby without adding a booster. As far as buying convenience is concerned it makes a lot more sense to me to add another dozen prefolds than one pocket or all-in-one diaper. Either way you are spending $15-24. Why pay for one more change between laundry when you could get 12 for the same price?

The other reason I don't like these options is that they are much more difficult to care for. A cover with PUL inside almost wipes clean, and the cotton prefold washes just like a tshirt, the easiest thing you have to care for. Pockets or all-in-ones on the other hand have synthetic fibers that develop strange smells over time, or a dozen layers of some absorbent fabric pressed up against a waterproof barrier. How does this every get clean? Also, many diapers claim that their insert agitates out in the wash, but I have tried very few that actually did. This means that, unlike with a cover and diaper, any insert that has to be stuffed when it is clean, has to be unstuffed when it is dirty. Yuck.

Finally, many of these diapers are just too bulky. Most are "one size" diapers, which is really such a joke. Who wants to put a diaper on an 8 lb newborn that would fit a 40 lb toddler? So many also have extra fleece stay dry layers and so forth. a pad folded flat in a well fitting cover is as trim as a disposable (and it doesn't grow to ten times it's size when wet), and unlike a pocket or all-in-one this combination will last three changes for $12-20 instead of one.

Covers with prefolds, flats, or fitteds just seem like the most common sense type of diaper to me. With the variety of covers out there, and your options of folding you can meet the needs of any body type and absorbency level a baby could have. They are much more economical and much easier to care for, and simplicity means trimness. We use these diapers because we love them, and they are best for our kids, not because we are broke.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cloth Diapering Accessories 101

You will probably not be surprised to hear, that we are pretty minimalist when it comes to cloth diapering accessories. In addition to our diapers, covers, and wipes, we have only a few other helpers.

The first and most important are wet bags and a pail liner. I have a cute wet bag and travel wipes case to match the diaper bag, but it is good to have a back up wet bag too, in case you bring one home with dirty diapers in it, and need to go out again before you can wash it.

My wet bag is from American Country Designs on Etsy, but I like the ones I make better because the front zip is easier to use, and mine are attached inside so the pul doesn't turn inside out in the wash and have to be re stuffed. My wet bags are $14 for all PUL, or $20 with an outer layer of designer cotton print at You can get a 10% discount by using coupon code BLOGREADER.

For a diaper pail we use a small trash can with a Bummis Large Tote as a liner. It used to have a lid to contain the smell, which I'm sure is still around somewhere, but now it lives in the laundry room behind closed doors, so it wasn't used as much and is currently in hiding. I think I paid $16 for mine, but they are $18 now at, which always has free shipping. We love this pail liner because it is really thick and sturdy, it fits our little pail perfectly, it is the least expensive we've found, and it has a drawstring for traveling.

We don't have a diaper sprayer, but I really want one for getting stickier messes off without having to dunk and swish. Who wants to touch that? Yuck. You can get the bumgenius on for $45 at Cottonbabies, it is the mostly popular. The fuzzibunz one is usually $34-$38 on Amazon. Or you can make your own, like in this tutorial for a lot less.

As far as detergent is concerned, there are about a hundred different types, and you can sample them all, or you can trust me when I say that Allen's Naturally Biodegradable is wonderful. The $52/gallon price tag might scare you off, but it uses only 1/4 oz per diaper load, and 1 oz or so per regular load (we use less), so it lasts 6 months or more. The gallon comes with a pump which makes it so easy to use, and I really trust with it that there is nothing left on our clothes after the wash. Use coupon code GOODWASH at Cottonbabies for free detergent shipping. This save a lot since a gallon is so heavy

I want to say here as well that while most cloth diapering websites will tell you you can't use store bought detergent on cloth diapers (anything with softeners, brighteners, or enzymes) We did so for six months or more before ever having any residue problems, and this could have been just because we were using really thick prefolds that needed extra rinsing.

Many websites have various "stripping" instructions for removing stinky residues from your diapers, but I have recently heard that you can use ammonia neutralizer made for fish tanks. It is a very harmless chemical (gentle enough for goldfish to live in) and gets to the source of what is making your diapers smell funny when wet.

Basically every once in a while you may need to run your diapers through a few extra rinses in case there is any build up. Anything "free and clear" will probably not be terrible for your diapers. Even regular powdered tide has quite a large following on

Monday, October 17, 2011

Super Basic Cloth Wipes Tutorial

Just like my diaper routine, my wipes routine is very basic, so I thought I would share, just in case any one needs a little demystifying in this area.

I tried making two ply flannel and terry wipes like most cloth diapering websites sell for about $1 a piece, but they were too thick and bulky, and I never really liked them, so we went back to disposables, until we ran out one day and used a few of the boys cheaper wash rags, and they worked amazingly. So I got on Amazon, and searched "baby wash cloths." After comparing reviews and prices on several options, I went with Spa Silk brand, which are usually the first option to pop up. They are usually $6 for 10 wipes.

We like the Parent's Choice (WalMart brand) boxes best because the hole in the lid is big enough to get your whole hand in and pull out a cloth wipe.

Out of the wash I fold all of the wipes in half. We have aquired more and more because we use them for everything. 4 dozen or so is great, but you can get by with a lot less. You can stack the wipes in two boxes.

Then go to the sink and with the wipes set aside on the lid fill the box to just above the little line in the bottom, maybe 3/4" and push the wipes down on it, then pull them out and repeat, this time sitting the dry side downward. You will get the hang of how much water you need for different sized stacks of wipes. If you get the top and the bottom of the stack saturated the middle will be wet by the time you get to them.

I tried a couple of different solutions for the wipes, but in the end I didn't like leaving anything but water on the boys' clean bottoms, and we use them all before they can start to smell musty. If you go through them slower and they smell a little you can use boiled water to wet them instead of straight from the tap.

Just wet one box at a time and then when you run out switch to the other one. Having two boxes helps though if you don't wash your whole stash every time, so you have a place to stack clean dry ones when one box has wet ones still in it.

We just leave the wipes in the dirty diaper like you would with a disposable, and throw them in the wash with everything else. I find myself using clean ones for just about any mess. It is just so convenient to have a box of wet rags every where we go.