Cloth diapers are environmentally friendly, cost effective, and safe for your baby’s skin. Whereas disposable diapers contain toxic chemical beads that absorb moisture, cloth diapers are made of naturally absorbent fabrics. As a result, parents switching from disposable diapers may find that cloth diapers need to be changed more often. Prompt changes will also help prevent diaper rash.
How many diapers do I need to start?
- Your cloth diapering system can be all one type of diaper or a combination of pocket diapers, covers, prefolds, and inserts.
- We recommend that you start with at least 2–3 dozen diapers. To make sure you have enough clean diapers to change your baby after each wetting, you’ll need at least 20 clean diapers available while the others are in the laundry.
- Frequent washing of a small number of diapers will cause your supply to wear out quicker. A large supply will allow your system to last until your baby is potty trained.
Will high heat help seal the diaper?
- No. This is a myth. In fact, heat is harmful to the diaper’s waterproof outer shell.
- Most of our diaper pockets and all of our covers have an outer layer of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) fabric. TPU is a biodegradable waterproof fabric that is made via heat lamination instead of chemical bonding. TPU cannot withstand hot water or high heat.
- The maximum washing temperature for our diaper pockets and covers is 95 degrees F or 35 degrees C. Higher temperatures can damage the elastic as well as the waterproofing.
- We recommend that you wash your diapers in cold water. The colder the water, the softer the diapers will become.
- DO NOT wash diapers in hot water or tumble dry on high heat. Doing so will void your warranty and cause tiny cracks in the laminate.
Is caring for cloth diapers difficult and time consuming?
- No. Cloth diapers are easy to wash and dry. Just be sure to rinse off soiled diapers before storing them in a diaper pail. You will need to launder diapers at least once every three days.
- Please continue reading our FAQ for more information.
Do I need to prep cloth diapers before the first use?
- Yes. The protective coating on new fabric and the oils in natural fibers block absorption. Wash new diapers and inserts 3–4 times in mild detergent to bring them to maximum absorbency. Reduce the amount of detergent to 1/4 of your normal amount. The detergent must be completely dissolved for optimum results. No drying is needed between washes.
How do I wash cloth diapers?
- Rinse immediately after changing. Shake the diaper over the toilet to flush away any solid waste. Then rinse thoroughly to avoid stains and odors. For optimal results, presoak inserts in cold water for half an hour before washing.
- You do not need to wash the cover after every use if it is not soiled. Simply rinse it thoroughly with warm water, line dry, and reuse a few more times before washing.
- Wash diapers separately from other laundry. You may wash the outer cover and inserts together in the same load.
- Choose a mild detergent. Any baby detergent that doesn't contain brightener or fragrance is safe to use on our diapers. Reduce the amount of detergent to 1/2 of your normal amount. For optimum results, the detergent must be completely dissolved.
- Do not use harsh detergents or additives. Many regular detergents contain enzymes, bleach, brighteners, fragrance, and other chemicals that can damage the waterproof outer shell (TPU fabric), causing diapers to leak. Antistatic products, fabric softeners, and other additives can irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
- Use lots of water. During the wash cycle, more water is better, especially for poopy diapers. Try washing your diapers on a larger load capacity or with extra rinses.
- Prevent color bleeding. If the outer cover is a dark color, wash it with like colors in cold water 2–3 times before use. This helps prevent the color from bleeding. When storing wet diapers, do not leave wet colored diapers mixed in with whites because dye transfer can occur.
- Stick to a wash routine. Do not wait more than three days to wash your diapers. Washing every 1–2 days helps prevent odor-causing bacteria. Rinse soiled diapers before putting them in the diaper pail. Use a pail liner or soak diapers in a solution of lukewarm water and a gentle detergent. Before washing, run diapers through a spin cycle to release excess contaminated water. This will help prevent stains and odors.
- Set the right temperature. The maximum washing temperature for our diaper pockets and covers is 95 degrees F or 35 degrees C. Higher temperatures can damage the elastic as well as the fabric. The same heat restriction holds for bamboo inserts. Microfiber inserts can be washed in any water temperature.
- Turn diapers inside out before washing. This will help the outer cover last longer and will prevent colors from fading.
- Use the fold-back laundry tab. Secure the Velcro fastener during washing and drying so that it doesn’t catch on other diapers or pick up lint. Do not open the Velcro fastener when the diaper is wet; doing so will reduce its stickiness.
What’s the best way to dry cloth diapers?
- Diaper pocket or cover: For best results, line dry (lay flat to dry). Or you can tumble dry for 10–20 minutes and then line dry if still damp. Do not hang dry, as the weight of the water will stretch out the fabric and the elastic.
- Bamboo inserts: Tumble dry on low heat.
- Microfiber inserts: Tumble dry on any setting.
- Cotton prefolds: Line dry.
What’s the best way to undo snaps?
- When unsnapping a diaper, use your fingers to open each snap one by one.
- Do not pull on the fabric in an attempt to open all snaps at once.
Are there things I should avoid when washing cloth diapers?
- Do not use liquid fabric softeners or dryer sheets. They clog up fabric fibers, reducing diaper absorbency.
- Do not use detergents that contain fragrance, brighteners, or whitening agents. Harsh chemicals can irritate your baby’s delicate skin and cause diaper rash.
- Do not use bleach. It can ruin the elastic and damage the waterproofing of your pockets or covers. Also avoid borax, whitening additives, detergents with chlorine bleach, and stain removers.
- Avoid rubbing detergent directly on the pocket or cover. It will damage the waterproofing and void your warranty.
- If you use a diaper cream, put a liner between your baby’s bottom and the diaper. This will prevent the cream from transferring to the diaper and reducing its absorbency.
How often should I disinfect cloth diapers?
- We recommend you disinfect your diapers once a month. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Other than sunlight, what natural solutions will help disinfect cloth diapers?
- Baking soda can kill odor-causing bacteria.
- o Hand washing: Add a little bit of baking soda to a basin of warm water (95 degrees F or 35 degree C) and allow the diapers to soak until the water has cooled. Line dry in sunlight.
- o Machine washing: Use 4 teaspoons (20 grams) of baking soda for a full wash load. Line dry in sunlight.
- o Do not use baking soda to wash bamboo diapers or inserts, as it can cause bamboo fiber to disintegrate.
- Vinegar is a natural antimicrobial that helps neutralize the urine in diapers. It also breaks down soap residue buildup and softens fabrics. We recommend using not more than 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle.
Is there a natural way to soften cloth diapers?
- Washing your diapers in cold water will soften them. The colder the water, the softer they’ll become.
- Lemon juice can soften your diapers. Add 4 teaspoons (20 grams) of lemon juice to warm water, and soak the diapers for an hour before washing.
- Vinegar softens as well as sanitizes fabric. We recommend using not more than 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle.
Why do cloth diapers leak more than disposable diapers?
- Whereas disposable diapers contain toxic chemical beads that absorb moisture, cloth diapers are made of naturally absorbent fabrics. As a result, cloth diapers need to be changed more often. Waiting too long to change a diaper can cause leaks.
- There are other causes for leaks as well, such as incorrect use of an insert or residue buildup over time. These problems are easily solved.
What can I do to prevent or stop leaks?
- Prep new diapers. The protective coating on new fabric and the oils in natural fibers block absorption. Wash new cloth diapers and inserts 3–4 times before the first use to achieve maximum absorbency. Reduce the amount of detergent to 1/4 of your normal amount. The detergent must be completely dissolved for optimum washing results. No drying is needed between washes.
- Make sure the insert is securely in place. Even a tiny bit of insert fabric sticking outside the cover can cause a surprising amount of urine to wick out quickly. When diapering your baby, make sure the insert is properly stuffed into the cover/pocket.
- Change the diaper before it’s completely saturated. When a diaper becomes saturated, dampness spreads to the outer shell or cover, usually from the legs, and causes leaks. You need to change the diaper before it gets to that point. If your baby is a heavy wetter, you may need to add more padding.
- Change a newborn often. Newborns have tiny bladders and require frequent changing. To prevent leaks, you may need to change your newborn every 1–2 hours.
- Add extra padding. If your baby has a strong urine stream, you can slow it down with extra padding. A boy will need thicker padding in the front; make sure not to cover the tummy button (umbilicus). A girl will need thicker padding in the back.
- Strip your diapers once a month. Buildup of residue from detergents, water minerals, fabric softeners, ointments, and creams can cause cloth diapers to lose absorbency and begin to repel moisture. Stripping diapers will remove buildup and restore absorbency. It’s easy to do:
- Run a cold rinse with no detergent
- Run a warm wash cycle with a little detergent, if necessary, but no bleach.
- Run another cold rinse.
- Continue washing on warm and rinsing on cold until all the suds are gone and the rinse water runs clear.
- Soak inserts before washing. This will help remove residue and oils that block absorbency.
- Microfiber: Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to warm water and soak your microfiber inserts for half an hour before washing.
- Bamboo: Soak bamboo inserts in cold water for half an hour. Do not add baking soda; it will cause the fiber to disintegrate.
What is the best way to store wet or soiled diapers before washing?
- When you’re at home, store wet or soiled diapers in a diaper pail. You can presoak the diapers (“wet pail”) or simply store them (“dry pail”). When you’re on the go, it’s best to place dirty diapers in a zippered waterproof cloth bag (“wet bag”).
- Rinse off soiled diapers before storing them. Shake them over the toilet to flush away any solid waste; then rinse thoroughly.
- Wet pail: If you prefer a wet pail, be sure to use a diaper pail with a locking top. As an extra precaution, keep the pail out of your baby’s reach. Soak diapers in a solution of water and a natural odor and stain eliminator, such as baking soda. Make sure the lid is closed securely.
- Dry pail: If you prefer a dry pail, you can use a medium-sized trashcan with a flip-top lid or a diaper pail. Simply store diapers in the pail until laundry day. To control odors, sprinkle a little baking soda inside or toss in a small towel sprinkled with lavender or tea tree oil.
- Wet bag: Store dirty diapers in our washable, zippered waterproof wet bag. Pack it in your diaper bag or snap it onto your changing table or stroller.
When storing diapers, what things should I avoid?
- If you use a wet pail system, do not leave the lid unlocked or the pail within your baby’s reach. Water in any container large enough to hold a baby is a drowning hazard.
- When storing bamboo diapers, do not add baking soda, as it will cause the fiber to disintegrate.
- Do not leave diapers in the pail for more than three days.
- Do not leave wet colored diapers mixed in with whites because dye transfer can occur.
- Do not store wet diapers in plastic bags, as the lack of airflow will promote mildew growth and staining.
What is linting?
- Normal use and frequent laundering can cause fabrics to release bits of fiber and fluff. In the washer and dryer, lint and other particles can get caught in a diaper’s Velcro fastener, causing its stickiness to weaken. Try sheering some of the fuzzies with sharp scissors.
How can I prevent the Velcro fastener from losing its stickiness?
- Use the fold-back laundry tab to secure the Velcro fastener during washing and drying so that it doesn’t catch on other diapers or pick up lint.
- Do not open the Velcro fastener when the diaper is wet.
What is pilling?
- Pilling occurs when short or broken fibers on the fabric surface become tangled together and form a tiny ball, or pill. Pilling results from rubbing or abrasion of the fabric during normal use. It is particularly prevalent with polyester and polyester blends.
How can I prevent pilling and remove pills?
- When laundering diapers, use a slower agitation and a shorter wash cycle.
- Use a mild detergent or allow powdered detergent to dissolve completely before putting diapers in the machine.
- Remove diapers from the dryer as soon as they are dry.
- To remove pills, use a battery-operated pill remover, which shaves the pills from the surface of the diaper.