I’ve had a huge response from so many of you reaching out to learn more about cloth diapering. Ever since I shared cloth diapers on my Instagram. Both during my pregnancy and after my little guy was born. So I’ve made a list of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received. I thought I would share a whole post dedicated to our routine with as many specifics as I could possibly include.
Quick disclaimer, I’ve included affiliate links to all the products I’m currently using. I’m not being paid to talk about any of these brands, I did my research and made the investment based on that. That’s why I’m sharing this well after we’ve had time to really fine tune our setup. That way I can give you the best advice possible and be brutally honest.
You can shop all items mentioned on my Cloth Diapering Amazon page
When you mention cloth diapering you either get one of two responses. “Oh, wow that’s awesome!” or “Ew, I could never do that!”. There seems to be a lot of the latter response in my experience. Which is sad when you’re excited to embark on a routine that you know is the most cost efficient and eco-friendly. But people around you think it’s really weird or gross. I couldn’t have been more excited finding out I was pregnant due to the sole fact I knew in my heart I would cloth diaper. It wasn’t even something I second guessed or had to question. I was set on that being what was best for us. Working from home makes it easier to manage but there is still added work involved. Of course, it’s well worth it for us and after a couple of weeks you get into a rhythm.
I can’t stress enough the importance of the right setup to make this as easy as possible. As well as a few steps to take before and after each changing. I’ll also include a little info on cloth wiping. We’re cloth diapering and cloth wiping full time now. Originally Calvin was using bamboo disposables for the first month due to his weight and needing time to adjust to motherhood. I was really out of it for the first two weeks and needing to keep my life as simple as possible. No shame to anyone that chose to go that route, you can even opt to cloth diaper part-time when it’s more convenient for you. It’ll help save you some money and reduce waste, win-win.
How did you get your partner onboard?
My spouse didn’t need any convincing for cloth diapering. I imagine if your partner does, if you went over the overall cost savings and the environmental impact it has you could get them to at least try it part time. I know not everyone has the means to do this but it’s totally fine to be a part-timer, if it’s more feasible for you.
How much is the initial investment?
It varies on the brand, style and amount you get. But for me I bought 12 Bambino Mio All-in-Ones for roughly $200 brand new, 12 Grovia Hybrid Shells + 16 (8 sets) No-Prep Liners for about $340. The Hybrids are half and half snaps and velcro (or hook and loop as it’s referred to).
Please keep in mind you do not need brand new cloth diapers and can find them for a fraction of the price second hand. I went this route because I plan on saving them for a second baby and I was really excited for my first kiddo so I bought during sales the months before he arrived and had some gifted to us. I’ve since picked up a few more snap hybrid shells to help extend washing days.
What’s the most difficult part?
I guess the most difficult part would be the general upkeep. Knowing it’s a constant cycle can be daunting at first. After awhile it becomes second nature and part of your normal routine. Of course it does require more time, it’s 100% worth it for us.
How many do you have/use per day?
Right now we average about 8-10 diapers per day (24 hours) and a solid 12-14 cloth wipes. Some days might be a little more and others a little less. It all depends on the timing. Sometimes we get unlucky and change him after he’s gone only for him to not be completely done and go again in a fresh diaper. You start to learn their patterns though. It’s worth noting Calvin is exclusively breastfed, I’m not sure what would be different for a formula fed baby but keep that in mind your setup might be different to accommodate that.
What’s your washing routine?
I typically wash every other day right before going to bed. It depends on the amount you have. The cleaning will also range depending on what type of machine you have too. I actually have an old school washer, literally the one my mom used when I was a baby. It’s still running in great condition after all these years!
I grab my wet bag full of dirty diapers and unstuff them into the washer. Running a hot water quick normal cycle with biokleen detergent and a hot water long heavy cycle with the same detergent. I let the cloth shells air dry, but tumble dry the inserts and all-in-ones diapers on low for 70 minutes. Sometimes I have to run that cycle a little longer if it’s a larger load. You can also air-dry them overnight to reduce any wear and tear on them in the long run. After everything is dry I usually reassemble and stuff all the diapers the following morning. It’s worth noting I also cloth wipe and those get washed along with the diapers.
How often do you wash?
I currently have enough to wash every other day, but at first I was washing them daily right before bed. To make that process as easy as possible I prep the diapers beforehand as I place them in the wet bag. Which just means, as I change Calvin I take the dirty diaper and pop the snaps or unstuff it – while still keeping it in place and just holding it shut as I put it in the bag to reduce any mess or smell. For the velcro diapers it’s important to also press the tabs together so they don’t catch onto other diapers as they wash. I made the mistake of not doing that in my first wash and it was a tangled mess to take apart.
When do you strip them?
I haven’t personally needed to strip my diapers yet, but from what I know it only needs to be done when/if they’re feeling grimy. I’m using the Grovia pods for that. To my knowledge, as long as they’re properly cared for you should never have to strip them. This is dependent on your detergent and diaper balms though. You can find more information on striping diapers here.
What brand do you recommend?
I only have experience with Bambino Mio and Grovia. I decided to go with those two brands based on research, reviews and friend recommendations. After many weeks of use, I highly recommend the Grovia Snap Hybrid Shells + No-Prep Liners. You can get away with only needing to swap out the liner if it’s a lighter pee and reuse the shell 2-3 times before needing a wash, unless it’s soiled. The great thing about the shells is how quickly they are to prep for washing and snap back together. If you’re buying snap hybrids all you do is unsnap them, close the diaper (not snapping it shut), and place it in your wet bag to be washed in 2-3 days. If you’re using the velcro hybrids you’ll need to add an extra step of folding back the velcro tabs so they don’t stick to other diapers in the wash, I made the mistake of missing that step in my first round of washing and it was a mess – don’t do that.
I also recommend the Bambino Mio All-in-Ones for on-the-go because they act as closely to a disposable as it gets. The only downside is having to manually unstuff them, which requires a bit more work/time overall compared to the snaps. It can also get a little messy in the process too. But the prints are super fun and vibrant and they’re incredibly soft.
I have heard from other parents that with time their kids can remove the velcro diapers. Which is another reason to consider snaps. They might seem intimidating at first but you’re able to custom adjust them as your baby grows and they’re harder for them to take off.
If I could only pick one…
Overall I do prefer the Grovia Snap Hybrid covers + No-Prep Liners because they absorb even more and take less time/effort to prep/wash. I believe they are the most cost effective cloth diapering option. Grovia also runs sales from time to time with diapers they’re discontinuing. I have a handful of the Grovia O.N.E. diapers I picked up on clearance and actually prefer those as Calvin’s overnight diaper. They included two different liners that can be used simultaneously, perfect for sleeping in 4-6+ hours and still staying dry.
I hope this was helpful for those considering cloth diapering. Please let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be happy to answer them as best as possible. We truly love cloth diapers and can’t recommend trying them out for yourself enough.3