Cloth Diapers

Parent Q&A

  • We are expecting our first baby in December and plan on using cloth diapers, but prefer something a little more blowout-proof and user-friendly than prefolds. My Instagram feed is full of ads for the Esembly diaper system - does anyone have any experience using these, or another cloth diaper brand that worked really well for your family?  

    We had our little one about a month ago and are somewhat hybrid cloth diapering (we’ve been using disposables from time to time). I prefer “all-in-one” (AIO) diapers personally, because they’re easier than stuffing diapers. 
    Our son was born on the smaller size (5lb 12oz) so we’ve been getting a lot of use out of newborn size diapers. My favorite brands so far are Thirsties (I especially like their Newborn Natural AIO) and GroVia. We’ve also been using KangaCare Lil Joeys but they’re not as adjustable as the others. 
    I’ve also heard good things about Alva Baby but I don’t know if they have newborn size AIOs.

    Hope that helps!!

    Hi Elena!

    Congratulations on the little one! I'm so happy to hear that you'd like to go the cloth diaper route. we had two little ones and both times we used the bumgenius all in ones. I was reading a blog (young house love) and they waxed poet about them and I was sold. They worked out well for us and we actually bought a new set of elementals for our daughter which had small improvements that were nice. I would say that people are pretty passionate about their cloth diapers so figure out what would work for you (hard to know if you haven't done it before) and go for it. we liked the idea of not having to assemble things and stuff different things in but the downside is that it takes longer for the diapers to dry. we dried everything outside and occasionally used the dryer so that worked out well for our set-up. happy to answer any questions you might have. my partner did a great job of cleaning them and keeping things in order and we were really happy to have been able to go this more ecological route. if you decide the bumgenius elemental are for you, i never got around to selling my set and we could work something out, but definitely pick the system that works for you. good luck! 

    I'm not familiar with Esembly, but I'm on my third child using Bum Genius 4.0 or 5.0 pocket diapers. They are insert ones and I find them easy to wash and stuff. They do sometimes leak a little but I find we have less blowouts than disposables. They also make an all in one (called Freetime), but I feel like pocket one fits my kids better. But I had a friend who loved them. My extended family who come and have no experience with couples diapers can use these no problem, as long as I am in charge of the washing. :)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cloth Diapering Classes?

Oct 2012

Does anyone know of a cloth diapering class I can take in the East Bay area?

The only ones I'm aware of (in the E.B.) are in Alameda at a cloth diaper shop called The Diaper Connection. It's a ''mom 'n pop'' type of operation, but the couple who runs it are really nice and knowledgeable about cloth diapers. They have free classes that are posted on their web site: (click Classes). Good luck! yay for cd's

I really don't think you need to take a class. There must be something on you tube about how to actually do it. You can buy pinless diaper wraps which close with velcro, or you can use diaper pins and put old school waterproof pants on over. I used a diaper service years ago, and after a few months, I washed them myself. I would rinse out the poop in the toilet, wring them out, and wash them in hot water with a bit of bleach and detergent. I did a double rinse. Neither kid got diaper rash. It was really easy to do. Easy to wash your own if you have your own washer and dryer. It ain't that hard. Good luck! Debbie

Best Cloth Diapers?

Jan 2012

Trying to decide which cloth diapers to try for our newborn when her arrives in a few months. There are so many options: Sunbaby, GDiapers, Fuzzybunz, Grovia, bumGenius... Does anyone have a recommendation for any of these brands or another, and can tell me why you like them? I think I would like to have to option to use biodegradable inserts if I need to, not sure if all of them have that option... Thanks Julia P

We used gro-baby cloth diapers with our daughter and loved them! They can be adjusted to fit a newborn and readjusted to fit until about 2.5 for our average sized daughter. They end up being less expensive than other cloth diapers because you don't have to buy additional sizes. I recommend buying 10-15 and I would just wash a load every night or every other night with Planet laundry detergent (powder). This worked well and we never had smell issues or had to strip the diapers. We used wetbags instead of a diaper pail and would just throw the bag along with the diapers into the wash, which was so easy! The grobaby diapers have pads that snap in and out of a 'shell' so if you only have a wet diaper you can replace the insert with a fresh one and use the same shell. Anyway, we loved them! love cloth diapers

Hi, I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on this. I was totally overwhelmed by all the options at first and did a ton of research. Let me tell you what worked well for us.

For the first 2 months, we used a service. Our newborn didn't fit into the 'one size fits all' diapers yet, and it saved us the hassle of doing diaper laundry for those first hectic weeks, which was nice. After that, we started using a few different kinds, all of which were one size (adjustable) that are supposed to last until potty-training (we'll see!)

For daytime

- Flip covers and inserts (they also have disposable inserts I believe, but we use the 'stay dry' and love them)

- Bumgenius Elementals (one piece, super easy, organic cotton)

For nighttime:

- Rumparooz pocket diapers or Bumgenius 4.0 diapers (also pocket) with 2 microfiber inserts and one bamboo insert. Just FYI, I loved the Rumparooz at first, but my baby seems to be growing out of them and is only 13 months. The Bumgenius 4.0 still have room to grow.

- Sustainablebabyish snapless multis with a cover and additional insert. Super soft and one size.

I've also gotten a few sized diapers, which are nice on smaller babies especially, but babies can usually only wear a particular size for maybe 4 months, so I prefer the adjustable size ones.

Here's what hasn't worked for us:

- Fuzzibuns. I know a lot of people love these. Our one is falling apart and leaks.

- Happy Heinys - the fit has always been weird for us.

Hope this is helpful! Rita

The array of cloth diaper options is indeed daunting. I had to think about which to pick about 9 months ago when my baby was born. In the end, I received several of several types and brands as hand me downs, and I bought some of the regular old fashioned tri-folds (target or walmart or similar places) to start with. THis allowed me to figure out what the pros and cons of each type were for me. I continue to use a combination of types and this is just fine with me. In my opinion, the most convenient are the pocket diapers-- there are lots of good brands out there. Ecobubs is a good new one that I like. But they're very expensive for the initial outlay (any of them). Another thing to consider is that the part that touches your baby gets soiled each time, so you change the diaper and the soaker parts every diaper change. With the old fashioned type, you can reuse the diaper covers for several diaper changes at least, depending on how messy the diaper was. This will affect how much laundry you have to do and how often. I hand-wash most of my pocket diapers because they dry quickly and only launder the soakers .I think I like the 'all-in-ones' the least because they are the least flexible. With the pocket diapers I can put in a regular soaker, or double or triple, depending on what I'm expecting to happen. Also note, the old fashioned trifolds have doubled in price in the last 9 months. It is truly a racket. And you can get lots of the varieties of cloth diapers used through this list and elsewhere. Good luck with the whole project. I dont' think you'll regret it. happy cloth diaper user

We use BumGenius one-size after having tried those, Fuzzibuns, and Grovia (when they were Grobaby). Grobaby/Grovia were not nearly as good the BGs, could not be used overnight w/o leaking, the velcro was really weak, and they didn't fit as well. We only ever had one Fuzzibuns but I like it just as much as the BG and they do have more ability to individualize the fit by changing the elastic in the legs and waist to different lengths. Overall, I'm super happy with the BGs, but they do wear out. Mine are 16 mo old and the velcro is starting to fail and/or come off on a few. Not enough that I've had to fix them yet but I'm sure I'll have to for #2. Although I think this is common for any cloth diapers and a reason why I would highly recommend snaps. I initially bought velcro b/c they're more like disposables, but they wear much worse than snaps and are much easier for rascals like my son to take off. The BG one-size fit my son well starting around 10 lbs or so so I'd suggest getting something else to use up until that point if you're going to get one-sizes. We used the orange Cloth-eez prefolds from Green Mountain with Thursties covers for the first few months. Make sure to get Snappis for these too. You might also want to have disposables on hand for the first meconium diapers too. Something we never thought about requiring my Dad to run out and buy disposables right after our home birth. Oh and as another FYI we love California Baby diaper rash cream which is cloth diaper safe and Planet Wise wet/dry diaper bags. Also be sure to get a BG diaper sprayer! Good luck! Marne

I've used Mother-ease cloth diapers and covers for 2 years and my cousins for 6 years. They are fab, come in bulk packages for easy cleaning rotation. I really like the design because you buy one size and you can adjust for newborn and up based on the snaps. They have separate cloth inserts, but I also use flushable liners that help get rid of the poo. They also have an organic option, but I think that is not really that important since you are washing these things so often. Another secret is to get a spray nozzle that attaches to your toilet and you can spray off the poo before washing. If you don't all the diapers end up smelling after the wash and it lasts until the next wash. I also wash with vinegar and borax every time and soak in vinegar. If you put them out in the sun it gets rid of stains in a few hours. They say to not use softner because it inhibits the absorption ability.

I HIGHLY recommend the owner is an amazing mom and woman, who has created a fabulous diaper. I bought three sizes as my son grew but I saw recently that she's created an expandable version. Her diapers come with an extremely soft organic insert that I used and loved when my son was newborn, but I opted to just get her covers for the next two sizes and used the g diaper inserts or regular cloth diapers inside. The outside of the diapers were in bright colors with rainbow stitching and the inside is super soft fleece that wAs soooooo easy to clean and dried in no time which was crucial for me because I didn't have a dryer! I can't say enough how much I loved these diapers, plus it was a bonus for me to support another mom in her business. check her out! Lindsey

We're fans of the BumGenius 4.0 (one-size) with snap closure. They say it fits 7-35lbs, which seems possible-- it's very adjustable-- although we only got them when our babe was ~12lbs (now about 20lbs). We started out with G diapers-- until he outgrew the small size, then felt disillusioned with having to buy a whole new set for each size. We used premie-sized prefolds as the Gdiap insert, which was super-nice since we had been gifted a one-month diaper service. I got the Gcloth liners, but found them very papery & didn't end up using them. I also thought the little corners on the velcro tab of the Gpant seemed uncomfortable-- they would leave (very mild) red indentations on his skin, and I wished that corner was softer or more rounded.

We inherited a bunch of FuzziBunz, which we use to fill-in at the end of the laundry cycle, but they're definitely more prone to leaking as compared with the BumG on our guy. BumG doesn't have a disposable insert, which is a downside, but they do wash out pretty well. It's a good & secure fit (rarely leaks), they seem comfy, and they come in great colors! We have 13 BumG + 9 FuzziBunz and wash most days (I don't think you'd want to let them sit more than ~48h, they'd probably be harder to get clean). BumGenius Fan

For the last 2 years, we have been very happy with the Best Bottom Diapers system from Nicki's Diapers online. I like that they are made in the USA, have double leg-gussets that eliminate any leaks or blowouts, can be wiped clean for reuse when just wet, and are a one-size system (meaning, they grow with your child & you eventually just buy larger inserts).

We also like the Bummis Super Brite covers-quite durable w/leg gussets.

We did NOT like gDiapers at all--didn't fit right, a pain to wash, and always leaking. We gave ours away.

No matter what covers you get, you can always just place inside any inserts for absorbency (fitted diapers, prefolds with or without a snappi, the inserts that come with the system, or biodegradable ones). If I were to do it again, I might try out Thirties All-in-Ones.

FYI, has excellent reviews of most cloth diapering products. still cloth diapering

2009 - 2010 Recommendations

2007 - 2008 Recommendations

Switching to cloth for 1-year-old - economical options?

Jan 2008

I'm considering a switch to cloth diapers for my one-year boy, who just started walking. I have checked out some forums on diapers, but haven't found any that address all of my questions:

1. My husband and I both work, so we need something that can be washed on the weekends and requires little upkeep during the week. (Please see #2 before suggesting disposable inserts :)

2. We are on a limited budget (I know, who isn't!) and need something cost-effective (money wise) in comparison with store-brand disposables.

3. Many forum users cite months of usage, and I'm looking at a potential of two years or more, on an active toddling child. I need a cloth diaper that will hold him!

I really hope to make this switch work and reduce our household landfill contributions, so any responses to the above will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! hoping for green poops

My almost-three-year-old has been wearing Fuzzi Bunz (size large) around the house since he was about 9 months old. Two years later, they still fit him perfectly. We have a dozen diapers and about twice as many inserts (we use two inserts overnight.) For convenience, at preschool and on outings my son wears Seventh Generation disposables, which can be purchased at a quite reasonable price from Such an arrangement leaves us with about two loads of diaper laundry per week, and no diaper rash, ever. As a bonus, Fuzzi Bunz can be used as toilet training pants as well -- it is quite easy for an older toddler to pull them on and off. Fuzzi Bunz fan

your cheapest cloth option is ''prefolds'' and covers. Just buy enough to make it through the week without running a load. Go to and buy some used. No mid week upkeep would be needed - unless your nose is ultra sensitive :) my cloth diapered daughter potty trained at ~2y4m and now my son is using her handmedowns, I've gottenyears of usage from my dipes. happy with cloth

My third cloth-diapered kid is now 15 months old. I also work and wash diapers one to two times per week (now that we have only one in diapers). My kids have all been active and we've never had any real mess issues related to the cloth diapers and actually have found more leaks when using disposable on vacations, etc. The diapers and wraps are kept in a pail next to the changing table. Poopy diapers are either ''dumped'' or rinsed in the toilet and then put into the pail with everything else. I wash the pail with soap and water every once in awhile. There seems to be a lot of hype about all of this, but it's really quite simple and easy to do once you get started. My grandmother did it with seven kids! good luck

I LOOOOOVE Bum Genius by Cotton Babies. They are extremely cost effective, I think, and terrific diapers, to boot. They are expandable diapers, so you only buy them ONCE, and then use snaps to change the size. They have terrific gathering at the legs and each one is sold with a washable, microterry insert. They have very strong, industrial velcro for ultimate adjustability. They have a ''suede-cloth'' lining that wicks away moisture like fleece, but, unlike the fleece in Fuzzibunz (which I have also used) it doesn't MILDEW even after more than a WEEK sitting, soiled, in a diaper pail (yes, I know from personal experience). Finally, they are much more stain resistant than other cloth diapers (like fuzzibunz), and really hold their resale value (people are willing to pay close to retail price for clean, stain free, previously used Bum Genius diapers).

If you decide to go with Bum Genius, I do have some washing recommendations: Spraying off poop with a garden hose sprayer really helps get the diapers cleaner, because the legs are SOOO nice and tightly gathered that washing machines have a hard time getting it completely out of the gathers (it's nothing major, just some light stains in between the gathers that you won't have if you spray the diaper thoroughly before washing). And, doing a wash occasionally with baking soda, to neutralize the ammonia from the urine (a LOT of baking soda).

Check them out at Best of luck in your diaper search! Love my Bum Genius!

We used prefolds and washed them ourselves: probably the best way to go if you have easy access to a washer/dryer, a place to line dry in the sun, and can rig-up a vegetable sprayer hose on your toilet for easy poop clean-up. Get 24-30 large (premium) size prefold diapers: unbleached if possible, best to order on-line. They will last you from 1 until your child is 4+. They should cost about $2 each. You will need 3-4 medium covers and then 3-4 large covers. Best to look for these at a resale shop or on BPN. New will run $8 each. You won't be able to wash only once a week, but we got through 5 days on a set of 28 diapers. We both worked full time and it just wasn't too hard to throw a load in at the end of the day and transfer to the dryer/hang on the line in the morning. As long as we rinsed poop well before throwing the diaper in the can, smells were under control, with the addition of a borax solution to the can every couple of days. You can use torn-up old t-shirts as wipes, and save $ on wipes too. For washing, soak for 30 minutes with 1/4 c borax in hot water, then wash (hot) with 1/4 c borax and a standard strength, unscented detergent (arm in hammer is the cheapest). I have 8 premium sized diapers, 3 large covers, and half a box of borax looking for a home: email me if you go the prefold route and they are yours. marjoram

You can spend a lot of money of money on fitteds, All in ones, but I don't think you will find the economy or durability you are seeking anywhere except in good old prefolds. Get a good Chinese DSQ (diaper service quality) or Indian prefold. Used is actually best because then you don't have to sepnd the time and energy washing the new diapers eight plus times to get them ready for use.

There are some really good starter sets you can get with covers and everything, but make sure you get toddler sized prefolds. My one year-old is in them now (they're a little bulky, but fit well). She will wear these until she is in training pants (which might happen before you thing--cloth diapered babies generally pt early [as did my son]). is a great community of cloth diapering mamas where you will find good stuff for really cheap! cloth lovin' mama!

We used ABC diaper service for our daughter. She was fully potty trained on her 2nd birthday. We chose ABC because they are based in Berkeley (the other service is down in San Jose, which would use more gas for a pick up). I found that Diaperaps are the best covers, you can buy them used at Child's Play on College Avenue. Our theory in life is it is better to use something again than throw it away. Would you throw your underwear away every time you use it? Sure it uses water and detergent to have the cloth diapers washed. But vs. disposable: they have to make a new one overseas each time, ship it over, print 4 color cartoon logos on it, kill a tree to make a box, print 4 color cartoons on that box, drive it to a store, where you have to drive to pick it up, throw away the box, throw away the diapers, then do it all over again. We also figure, by having the baby know they are wet, there is incentive to get out of the diaper and learn to potty train quicker. Even if the good vs. bad are equal for cloth vs. disposable, the extra months of not having to use diapers after age 2 was worth it. Good luck. Gail

Three Diapering Questions

Oct 2007

1 - When using diaper cream, how do you all keep your baby from from getting it all over his hands? My 4 1/2-month-old is quick as can be ... I can never seem to finish up & get the diaper on before he's gotten it on his hands. I've tried giving him something to hold, and that only rarely works or doesn't distract him long enough. Hints?

2 - For home-laundering cloth diaper-ers: I like to line dry my chinese prefolds whenever its not raining. But man, do they come out stiff and NOT soft. Even after putting them back in the dryer for 20 min. Even after several extra rinses to try & get all the soap out. When they go straight into the dryer, they come out so soft ... even if I don't do extra rinses. How do I line dry and get soft diapers?

3 - Fuzzy Bunz question - sometimes the inner 'wickable' lining makes its way to the outside around the edges and then clothes, etc. are wet. Any tips for keeping that lining to stay in?

Thanks so much Many More Diapers to Go!

2. dryer balls: use 'em when you throw them in the dryer for 15 minutes after line dry. Vinegar in the rise (if you don't have hard water) softens, too. love cloth

I got my daughter to not be such a great helper during changing times by 1) handing her something more exciting and fabulous to hold on to (usually another diaper but sometimes a cool toy that was reserved only for the changing table) and 2) giving her some naked time before putting the diaper cream on.

For eliminating some of the stiffness from line-dried diapers, try using less soap in the washing machine. To make sure that the diapers got clean, we did the heavy duty cleaning by hand using a pretty mild soap and then finished the diapers off in the washing machine with very little-to-no detergent.

My daughter was always small so the fuzzibunz edging would sometimes stick out of her clothes too. We tried different ways of folding the diapers and eventually found that if we folded down the inserts and rolled the edging of the fuzzibunz inward a little bit, we had less leakage. And then, we tried to check for wetness early on, to avoid leaky mishaps on the road and out-and-about. Also, and this may sound strange, be sure you have the right size FBunz and liners. If the wrap is too loose and the liner too bulky, you can fold till your fingers fall off and you'll still get leakage. Best of luck! no more leaks!

Just for Question #1: We learned from the hospital nurses to put the cream on the diaper rather than on the baby. It works great--we can get it ready in advance, take less time on the table, and the cream is exposed for a shorter period, so less chance of diaper cream hands.

try throwing the diapers into the dryer when they're still soft with dampness but not fully dry. works for me

First, I want to applaud you for being so dedicated in your diapering. In reponse to de-crispifying your chinese pre-folds, have you tried ironing them? In Europe, where line-drying is commonplace, my friend says they iron everything to make it soft. Undies, socks, you name it! Hope it helps. Nicole

Change to cloth diapers for potty training?

July 2007

I'm considering switching to cloth diapers for my 15 mo old because I theorize this will make potty training easier. Has anyone done this? Did it work? Any suggestions on how to get up to speed on cloth diapers (how to use them/where to buy/how to clean)? Thanks. hoping to potty train this one before 3.5

I wrote some articles about cloth diapering here. I made the switch when my oldest was 4 months old, and then CD'd the next two just part-time, so I have no way to measure the effect on potty training. christine

yes, come on over! the butts are cute! The cheapest entry is using CPF/IPFs (chinese or indian prefolds) with snappis and covers. Or you can get pocket diapers, AIOs, 3IOs, etc, etc! Go to for some info. also check out's forum on diapering. Join and for discuaaions and deals on used dipes and pointers to deals on new and/or co-op opportunities.

wash is easy - hot/cold with mild detergent. add baking soda to wash, vinegar to rinse for cleansing boost. don't use bleach or fabric softeners. toss in dryer, no dryer sheet. the sun (yes that big round thing in the sky) will get out poop stains; just dry dipe outside, might need to drying cycles. use flushable liners to catch poop for easier cleanup. happy CD mom of 2

Yes, switch! I recommend Tiny Tots (, which has a great video on its web site on how to use the diapers. We use a snappy-clip, which was a little difficult to figure out at first, but once we learned, it is pretty fast to change him. Our son is now 2 1/2 and we have used cloth diapers since he was born (we are now potty training). He has had very little diaper rash and we have been very happy with Tiny Tots. Since we use cloth diapers, he is more aware of when he needs to be changed and I suspect will be completely potty-trained very soon. Lori

2005 - 2006 Recommendations

Cheap source for Fuzzi Bunz Cloth Diapers

December 2006

Where's the cheapest place to get Fuzzi Bunz diapers?

The last time I researched prices on Fuzzi Bunz (about 2 years ago), I found was the best. It's run by a WAHM in MA, and both a friend and I have ordered lots of FBs from her over the last couple years and been very satisfied Another Cloth Diapering Mom

I am not sure if you are looking for new or used Fuzzi Bunz, but I have found them cheapest through eBay. I also suggest you look for Wonderoos (also a pocket diaper), which fit most babies from newborn through at least 18 size fits all as they adjust to fit. If you are looking to support a local store, you can find Fuzzi Bunz at The Nuture Center also cloth diapering!

Cloth diapers and chemicals?

May 2006

our baby is due in August and we're trying to figure out what to do about diapers. we know we want to use cloth diapers, and i would love to be able to have a service, at least for the first couple of months. but i do have the concern about unwanted chemicals against our babies skin. does anyone with this concern have any advice? are there any services that offer 'healthier' diapers (organic?) and non-toxic soaps? also, it seems like when we use any kind of ecologically friendly soap for clothes washing the clothes just don't get clean... if we do it ourselves does anyone have any advice on what soap to use? is there any diaper resource anyone can point me to? thank you! larissa

I have an 11 month old, and had the same concerns about diaper service diapers. I wondered how they could get all those diapers used by all those babies so clean. So, I ended up buying my own diapers, and laundering them myself. I work 32 hours per week, and have not found laundering the diapers to be at all difficult. To clean them, I rinse off any poop (in the toilet), and put all the diapers in the washing machine (I wash about 2x/week), add 2 scoops of oxy-clean and one measurement of laundry soap (I read that Dreft leaves a film on diapers), and fill the wash with cold water. I usually let the diapers soak in this mixture overnight, then finish running the cold wash, then without adding any additional soap, I run the wash one more time on hot (to help sterilize, and to rinse off any extra soap). It has worked great, and I have no stains on any of my diapers. Good luck to you and whatever you decide. I hope this information can help anon

We still CD our 16 month old and have been very happy. We never used a service. We bought 4 dozen indian prefolds (google it) and use about 5-6 covers per size. We use ''All Free and Clear'' and have been very happy with the cleaning in our home washer. Only once have we done the ''refresh'' of baking soda and vinegar.

I was daunted at first, but it all went smoothly. We do use ''sposies'' (disposables) for travel. We also, once she was on solids, started using a diaper liner (looks like a dryer sheet) that makes dropping the poop into the toilet a breeze.

There's lots of support for you at places like and in the forums on cloth diapering happily!

We use FuzziBunz and wash them ourselves. It's actually not that much extra work.

We have enough (18) so that we only wash every other day when he was younger and every third day now. They're fleece (with hemp inserts) so the baby's bottom stays really dry. We found them to be way less expensive than a service and our baby stayed in the smallest size until he was almost a year old. We have a low water use washer and they suggest using seventh generation soap and they do get really clean. If they're stained at all after washing you just leave them in the sun to bleach.

When it's warm enough we dry them outside to save use of the dryer and it's better for the diapers. There are many different options like this available anon

We have been using Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers from day one, and washing them at home using gentle ecologically-frendly detergents such as Ecover, Seventh Generation, etc. Never had a problem with stains on diaper covers (diaper inserts did get slightly stained with time.) You can read up on the care of Fuzzi Bunz, for example, at . It is really not that complicated -- cold rinse, hot and heavy wash, double rinse, normal dry cycle. In the early months the diaper laundry amounted to about a load per day, after a year approximately one load every couple of days (we have a dozen of cloth diapers and use disposables for outdoor trips.) RR

First off, the KissaLuvs cloth diaper brand is the best for ease of getting on/off -makes a huge different for middle of the night changings and all around easyness.

Now, here's a much cheaper (and very easy, acutally) idea than a diaper service.

There is this thing called ''The Potty Pail'' for $20. It's not fancy, but it's a lifesaver and SO easy (totally different from how our moms had to rinse each diaper off in the toilet - ew). It is a set up that hooks to the water pipe behind your toilet. Then you pull the plug from the bottom of the pail, set on toilet, take the poopies and spray off the chunks with the high- powered attachment. All said, less than five minutes. Pop everything in washer.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear works for us. You can also buy their Non-chlorine natural bleach, or just add vinegar to the load. Good Luck!

I don't have experience with a cloth diaper service, but we use cloth diapers and wash them at home. We simply collect wet and soiled diapers and covers in a Diaper Champ, which we line using a waterproof, washable bag. Every day or every other day, we dump the contents of the bag and the bag itself into our washing machine. We do a rinse cycle on cold, followed by a wash cycle on hot, using Trader Joe's biodegradeable, unscented laundry powder (a full scoop). We dry the cloth diapers in the dryer and hang the covers on the clothesline. Any stained diapers get hung on the clothesline after the dryer, to bleach out the stains. Never use chlorine bleach. Backing up a few steps, we use a liner at every diaper change. Because we use rice paper liners, wet liners can be washed and hung with the diaper covers. Soiled liners can be flushed. (This is not the case with Tushies liners, which disintigrate after each use.) We started using the liners when our baby started on solid food.

For whatever it is worth, I am happy we have cloth diapered and washing them ourselves has not been the burden everyone told me it would be. It is quite easy and means that we are in control of using the types of diapers, covers, and cleaning agents we want to use and it means we don't have bags of dirty diapers sitting around during the week. (With a service, you still have to wash the covers yourself, I believe.) It also means that after the initial supply expense, there has been very little cost in diapering our baby. Hope this helps! happy cloth diapering parents

Have you considered gDiapers as an alternative? I find them better than cloth. anon

I was amused to read all of the thought everyone puts into washing their diapers. We rinse poopy diapers and put them in a special water-filled pail, keep all other diapers in a pail by the changing table. Then, every couple of days, I wash them with Tide (horror of horrors)...once. We are on kid number three with no problems and happy bottoms. And all grown-ups work full-time. Good luck anon

Where to buy cloth diapers in the Bay Area?

March 2006

Any recommendations on where to buy cloth diapers, such as pockets, AIOs and fitteds, in the Bay Area? I see a lot of them online, but I'm one of those people who likes to see what they are going to buy before they buy it. Also, where might I find used cloth diapers for sale? Brenda

Hi- we use tiny tots diaper service. but they also sell diapering products. Thei store-front is in Campbell though which is a drive...I do believe they sell used diapers (though maybe only ones that are meant for the rag pile). their website is They also have excellent customer service, so you could give them a call on the phone and ask a billion questions and I am sure they'd help you out. cloth diapering mama

Try Darla's on San Pablo in El Cerrito for used diapers. Bonnie

Sorry I can't find the exact online site where I bought our diapers, but there are several earthy sites that sell cotton diapers at a good price. I googled it, and then made a decision based on price. Note: I bought unbleached ones, because I wanted less chemicals, but you do have to wash them like 6 times before you wash away cotton's natural water repellant qualities (you want them absorbent-- not repellant!) and they really fluff up enough. So, that part is a pain, but ultimately, it was worth it.

Good luck. I also recommend the wool covers. Biobottoms are good if your baby has thick legs, but if (s)he is skinny like mine, then Imse Vimse is much better.

Cloth Diapering - What Are My Options?

July 2005

Seems like the two main diaper services out there (ABC and TinyTots) only offer the cotton prefold option. No one seems to do contours, fitted, All-In-Ones, Fuzzibunz, Wonderoos or any of the other seemingly more advanced cloth diapering options. Are my only options to either (1) go with a service but have to settle for prefold cotton or (2) go with the diapering system of my choice but have to launder myself?

Any experienced cloth diaper users have advice about systems/methods that work well for them? Any advice about classic diaper covers vs. soakers, wool vs. polar fleece soakers, etc. There are so many options out there, I'm overwhelmed! Brenda

I use Tiny Tots and love them! I have no problem with the cotton prefolds and still use the prowraps diaper covers that the service recommends. I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with washing diapers myself. At night we use fuzzibuns, and just insert the cotton prefolds into the ''pocket'' which keeps my baby much dryer than the normal diaper covers. However, if he has a BM I have to dump it in the tiolet and soak the cover before putting it in with the rest of the laundry, but that is rare these days. Hope you make the choice that fits with your lifestyle, it really is a personal one. Blessings to you on the birth of your child! Erin

I just wanted to pipe in that we wash all our baby's cloth diapers, covers, and wipes at home, and it isn't the hassle one would expect. She is on solids now, and we have found the flushable diaper liners to be very useful. If you want to stick with a diaper service, though, you should know that they only do diapers. You will be responsible for washing the diaper covers. There are a lot of new, wonderful covers out there that will work with the prefolds that diaper services use. You can use FuzziBunz, which are expensive, but wonderful. We have also been pleased with ProRaps (sold by diaper services) and other basic covers. I have found that the covers that work best really depends on your babies shape and size. A cover that fits a chubby baby with chunky thighs won't fit a skinny baby the same way. Check out for reviews, then eBay for cheap inexpensive used and new covers. If you want to use all-in-ones or any other kind of diaper, you'll have to wash them yourself. One comment on the all-in-ones is that they take a very long time to dry and wear out more quickly than separate diaper and cover. We have had wonderful success with prefolds (like the services use), put on baby with a twist fold, and then held in place with a Snappi clip. Good luck! Cloth diapering has been one of the choices we made that both my partner and I have been pleased with! Another cloth mama

I recommend using a diaper service, either ABC or Tiny Tots, and then checking out some good diaper covers. I like Tiny Tots because they have a great web site ( and the staff there has been very, very helpful in every respect. We have also really liked the diaper covers we've been getting from Polar Babies, web site Their diaper covers come in a wide variety of sizes, and while we have still had to use snappi clips, the diaper covers prevent leakage (for our 7-month-old) fairly consistently. Lori

A friend of mine uses fuzzibunz, but someone got her a gift of a diaper service. So, she uses the fuzzibunz outer shell but instead of using the fuzzibunz inserts, she uses the cloth diapers for inserts and has the diaper service clean those. She launders the fuzzibunz shells herself. This has worked for her for almost a year. Anon

Try perusing the cloth diapering forum on I'm sure the mamas there will be able to give you more information on cloth diapering than you'll ever need! Good luck! Cloth diaper advocate

The cloth diapering section in the archives is quite out of date. I tried to make sense of it in '93 and found that many of the diapers mentioned aren't even available anymore. Here is what I have learned over the past 2 years: Yes, you can only choose the prefolds if you do diaper service, but oh how I loved to see those blue bags full of poopy diapers go away and in their place, magically, clean soft diapers appear. I started working 3 days a week when my son was 4 months old, and I did not have time to wash diapers, although washing your own is not hard, just very very time-consuming.

This is what I found out about diaper covers: the best ones for you baby depends upon your baby's shape. I only had the first size of covers initially until i found out which ones worked best for him. He was a skinny, tall infant and so my all-time favorite wraps were ProWrap Classics ($7.95 ea) with velcro (not the ones with snaps, those don't work well) and the Bummis Whisperwraps. No matter if he was in a skinny phase or a growth spurt chunky phase, these always fit him and they washed out really well. Oh yeah, the dirty secret of wraps is that you will spend an anourmous amount of time washing poop off of the elastic leg openings and then washing the whole bunch of wraps several times per week. I found that if I couldn't get the poop off the wrap immediately, letting it dry actually allowed it to come off easier and stain less than wetting it and letting it sit damp until I got home from work. Then, a scrub with a bar of Ivory soap did the trick (I always kept a pair of rubber gloves with the soap- this gets rough on your hands.) I also used LiteWraps ($8.95 ea) for nighttime diapers because they were so big! They made his butt look like a ballon if I used them under his day clothes, but they held a diaper and insert well at night. I think I eventually decided that about 6-8 day wraps and 3 night wraps for each size was enough.

Here are the wraps I tried and why I did not like them:

CottonWraps- just like LiteWraps but much harder to clean and not waterproof.

Motherease- I really wanted to like these wraps! But they just did not fit my guy. The Nikiwraps and All-in-Ones had the flimsiest leg elastic so that all the goop would leak out. And they were billowy everywhere else yet the tummy elastic was thin and strangled his tummy. I wasted about $30 trying to get these to work. Bumpy Imse Vimse- I got into a phase where I bought quite a few of these, but ultimately I couldn't use them because they are cut so small and low at the front, which is not good for a boy, and the velcro was so scratchy that he would get little bleeding abrasions on his inner thighs at the height of his crawling phase. They are also expensive ($12.95 for day and $14.95 for night) but they are made well and have very cute fabrics. If you try one, don't bother with the night one- no different from the day one that I could tell, maybe a very slightly more dense moisture barrier but not enough to warrant the extra $2. They also tend to get kinda damp if your guy is a heavy wetter.

Diaperaps- I had older Diaperaps that I loved, very simple good design! So I bought several newer ones and was unhappy to find that they had changed the king of velcro band that was across the tummy. Instead of soft and flexible, it was now hard and non- bendable which meant that every time my guy leaned forward a very thick band of hard velcro cut into his tummy. I wrote them about this because it was so annoying, but I don't know if they have switched back to the old velcro or not. Before you buy this brand, go into Baby World or Rockridge Kids and take it out of the package to test the flexibility. You will know exactly what I mean if they have not changed it.

Aristocrats wool soaker and also the ones made of fleece- This is the most expensive wrap ($22) and not necessary in my opinion. I tried one as my baby tends to be a heavy nightime wetter and this seemed like a perfect solution. But the upkeep on the wool is quite extensive, and again, I had enough to do just getting the poop off of the daytime wraps. Plus, the smell of wet wool and pee was very strong, and it just became too much to be hit with first thing in the morning. Diaper insert- I ended up using a fleece/flannel diaper insert at night with 1 regular prefold diaper and the litewrap wrap. At first I used the fleece side of the liner directly next to his skin, but I got tired of rinsing and spotting all of the poop off the liner when some mornings he would wake with a poop. I found that it worked just as well to place the liner under the diaper, right next to the wrap where it could catch extra pee but not get soiled by poo. I washed the liners out once a week in a pre-wash then hot wash in my washing machine and they laundered beautifully.

I can't remember the other brands that I tried, I guess I got kinda obssessive about finding the perfect wrap! But it was worth it, now he is almost potty-trained and the cotton really helped him know when he was wet or poopy. I tried so many places to buy the wraps, both locally and on-line, used and new. But my all-time favorite site for buying the wraps and liners is:

Katie's Kisses, they were great and had wonderful prices. I even bought a few of their unbleached Chinese cotton prefolds to have around for accidents and clean-ups and those are some of the thickest, nicest diapers I have ever seen. Best of wishes to you and thanks for thinking of the environment and your baby's comfort by going to the extra work of using cloth! Another cloth baby and mommy

You know way more about diapering than I have ever imagined knowing - or probably cared to know. Anyway, I use ABC service, their diapers and wraps and they've been fine. I have typically used disposables when we are out and about for longer periods of time. I do think that the only way to ''know'' is to take your best guess and then adjust as need be. Good luck. diapering mom

Kushies: Use the flushable liners to remove the mess, won't plug the sewer. Don't rinse or stick in a pail of water, just put em in a container with a tight lid and kitchen garbage bag to toss with each load. Use disposables at night so your child doesn't wake you up. You'll save tons of money.

I'm a typical diaper aversive guy, but changed and laundered thousands this way, no problems. but glad it's overwith

I'll second the opinion that Fuzzi Bunz are a really good product but very pricey. Unfortunately there's no way to know ahead of time what diapers will work for you and your baby. We've used a number of different types, including diaper service, over the last year since our baby was born. Sometimes she outgrew certain items, like the wool diaper wraps that were really nice for the first 4-5 months but eventually were too tight around her thighs.

The difficulty of washing diapers depends a lot on the setup of your home. If you have to, say, climb two flights of stairs and go outside to get to your washer and dryer, you'll be a lot less happy about doing laundry every 1-2 days than if they are right next to your bedroom. Also note that cotton and hemp prefolds take a very long time to dry, while polyester fleece diapers like Fuzzi Bunz dry much more quickly. Wool covers generally should be washed with special detergent and line-dried, but you shouldn't need to wash these too often.

Another nice way to reduce diapering costs and hassles, no matter what type of diapers you use, is to practice Elimination Communication, where you start teaching your baby to eliminate in the toilet (or somewhere besides his diaper) as early as a few days old. This system is practiced in much of the developing world and was even common the US until 60 or 80 years ago. You can read about it on the internet or get a book about it (it is also called Natural Infant Hygiene, Infant Potty Training, and other things). One East Bay group that meets weekly and exchanges emails is at EC has worked for us so far--with a moderate level of effort, our 14-month old now averages fewer than 6 diapers a day. A Dad

2003 - 2004 Recommendations

Mending cloth diapers

March 2003

I have two questions regarding cloth diapers and am hoping for some wisdom from others out there who have purchased and wash their own diapers (I know you're there; I just don't know anyone else who is doing this!). First: My son's Snugglebottoms diapers, after almost 2 years of use, are showing their age. Has anyone ever successfully repaired their diapers? I know this may be difficult without an overlock sewing machine, but I want to hear any tips, things to avoid, whether to avoid the whole idea, etc. I found that the otherwise wonderful Diaper Duck has added to the shred factor, due to the plastic flashing from the mold. (We've since filed down the rough edges, and wish we'd known to do this from the start.) Second: (I suppose this falls under the Recommendations category, but I don't want to split the questions.) Though this is lessening, night time leakage has been a problem. I know there are special night time cloth diapers available which are supposedly super absorbant, but I'd like to hear any ideas on names of cloth diapers that are good for night time use. Thanks! jen

It's hard to know how to advise you about mending the diapers without knowing more about the specific problem. If the seams or stitching are unravelling, you can certainly stitch it back up again. Even without an overlock machine, you can use a zigzag stitch on a regular machine to keep edges from fraying. However, if the fabric itself is deteriorating, there is really nothing you can do. Make sure you are not using bleach, or detergent with bleach included. It sounds like you have already solved the diaper duck problem.

As far as nighttime goes, have you tried Fuzzi Bunz diapers? You can customize the absorbency and the fleece lining keeps baby's skin dry all night. However, they are pricy and, in the large size at least, can leak on a skinnier child. I am currently using Little Dumpling diapers at night, lined with polarfleece. I'm not sure what the web site was, but if you search on ''little dumpling diapers'', you will find it.

I hope this helps! Catherine

I have used a regular straight stick to repair my prefold diapers and although it does lead to some fraying, I just snip the frayed ends off. In terms of the leakage, when the diaper leaks, is the cloth part super-saturated? If so, then you need more layers (maybe a diaper liner which is usually a few layers of flannel or a newborn or regular size prefold folded in thirds. If the diaper is only damp or has some dry areas, your covers may either not be on tight enough or they are likely too small. It is also possible that the waterproofing on the cover has worn out - test it by putting a wet washcloth inside and seeing if you feel dampness soak thru).

For day and night time, I have loved the Bummi SUper Whisper Wraps (velcro style for a tighter fit). THey last forever, as long as you don't wash them on hot. JenH

Potty training and cloth diapers

March 2003

Our 2 1/2 year old twins (boy and girl) are expressing interest in the toilet. We put a potty chair in the bathroom and one likes to sit on it, and the other likes the ''big'' one. A couple of times, they have occasionally used each successfully. Here's my question: how do we transition from cloth diapers? Is there any alternative to disposable pull-ups? If I go that route, how long am I in for? We have used a diaper service since their birth; should I keep those for night times? At this point, my daughter is very unhappy about putting a diaper back on immediately after the potty experience. Thanks for any suggestions! Debbie

Two words: Get naked!
If your kids have been in cloth, they're probably very aware of when they have to urinate. If they're naked and have a potty available, they'll quickly learn to control the flow because they can see and feel what's happening. Naturally, you have to expect a few accidents on the carpet! But it's a lot easier to get a naked kid on the potty for a successful attempt then to try to whip off the diaper in time, or else adhere to an artificial (and time- consuming) sit-on-the-potty-every-half-hour kind of thing. good luck! VM

My son moved from cloth to being trained at just about that same age. We talked a lot about how exciting it was to use the potty and wearing big boy underwear, etc. We used cloth training pants, which are basically like a pair of underwear with thicker material in the crotch. They're available most places you can get cloth diapers, and you often see them in thrift stores too. As soon as we started using the trainers, I cancelled the diaper service and bought a pack of Tushies for night time use. I had about 6 pair of training pants, and every time I left the house I was sure to have an extra pair with me as well as an extra pair of pants. I offered him the opportunity to sit on the potty a lot, like every two hours. Most of the time he didn't pee, but some of the time he did. I think it mostly helped him get the idea that getting on the toilet several times a day is normal. He had occasional accidents, but was fully trained after a month. He was more likely to have an accident on the days he was with his babysitter, but I think that she didn't sit him on the potty as much as I did. I personally think that keeping himself in dry cotton versus being in a wet cotton diaper was pretty motivating in itself (which is why I think cloth kids tend to potty train earlier). Good luck with it all! Tara

We tried paper pull-ups for a short while after having used cloth diapers almost entirely. My daughter found the paper pull- ups too difficult to pull down or up by herself. So we just used those for nighttime. For daytime we used cloth training pants (a panty made by Gerber available at Target). The panty has several extra layers in the middle and is about half as thick as a cloth diaper. We used a nylon cover that pulls up like a panty for about a month. (Also available at Target.) River

Although we're having problems with pooping in underwear (I just sent in a long post about this!), my daughter ''pee'' trained in thick cotton underpants in about 2 days. We had used pull-ups for six months after ending cotton diapers, but she just used them like diapers. During this time we were doing ''casual'' potty training with limited results. I waited until I had a good long stretch of time at home (2 weeks for the winter holidays). We talked about it (e.g., ''You're getting to be so big now, you don't need to wear diapers or pull-ups. You get to wear real underwear and use the potty now!''), and she went into underwear cold turkey. She had two days of accidents and then figured it out. I personally don't think pull-ups are a good TRAINING option. You can get thick Gerber training pants at Target. I seriously suggest buying 9-12 pairs/kid--they come in 3-packs, unless you want to do laundry several times a day! I saved on laundry loads by not putting her in regular pants on top of the underwear--this made it easier for her to get her pants off, too. Also, stock up on a special set of sponges to clean up the accidents and extra bottles of laundry stain remover! Good luck.
Cotton training pants is the way to go!

Switching to cloth diapers - cost and logistics

March 2003

I am sick of using and feeling horrible about filling up the landfills using disposable diapers for my 5 month old and want to switch to cloth. We can't afford a diaper service and so I will be washing them at home in the washing machine. I don't know where to start. Please tell me where to buy cloth diapers, wraps and clips, the best kind to buy (easiest to use), how to wash them (preferrably using no bleach) and approximately how much the start-up cost will be. Thank you for your help!

Are you sure you can't afford a diaper service? I used a service for both of my kids, and it was $11/week!!! That's got to be less than disposable diapers. This was for 80 cloth diapers (washed and folded) each week delivered to my door step. I was worried about it, but it was so simple with the diaper wraps. I used ABC Diaper Service, and they were wonderful. It was easy and neither one of my babies ever had diaper rashes with cloth. Good luck! Been there, Done that

Congratulations on making the cloth diaper switch. I've used both, and I love using cloth.

On the web, either Born to Love or BabyBunz & Co are great places for diapers and covers. I use wool Nikky covers with china prefolds, but I think if I had it to do again, I think I'd use the featherlight nylon taffeta covers with snaps and pins or these neat sliding plastic clips.

Or you can go whole-hog and get the wonderful Mother-Ease velcro diapers and use any covers you want.

You're past the ''pees constantly and cries every time'' age that all three of mine went through for a few months.

Washing them was no problem for me. I don't rinse or keep a wet bucket any more: just shake off any solids, toss them in the diaper pail ''dry,'' then wash once a week. Air drying it any available sun once in a while helps bleach them, but then you have to air fluff them so you're not trying to press a cardboard- like cloth around your baby!

And don't forget what neat crafts you can make with cotton diaper dryer lint! stefani

I used motherease diapers and really liked them. They are pre-shaped and have snaps so you don't need to use pins or the snappi clip, and you don't have to deal with deteriorating velcro on the covers.

Some people can get darned fanatic about it, let me tell you. Here's a story about cloth diapering by

Here is also a group devoted to cloth diapering:

I am sure you will have all your questions answered (and more!) by them. I got my diapers online at and more information at Have fun, and good luck! Laurel

Have you considering sewing them yourself? Buy diaper flannel and cut it to a similar size as store-bought ones, or for a shaped diaper, Elizabeth Lee Designs has a great pattern: She also has patterns for nursing clothes, a sling, and children's clothes. A hint on the diapers: the thicker you sew it (more layers, that is) the longer it will take to dry. You might prefer that the layers be separate to decrease drying time. Just make an extra ''pad'' to lay in the full-sized diaper to add absorbancy. Also, buy quality fabric the first time, and the diapers will last for several children. Here are some sites with tips:

A couple of sources of information for you.....there are SO many choices! You do want to order the diapers since the stores themselves rarely carry quality diapers.

I recommend that you check out the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of Mothering Magazine (, an article called 'Crazy for Cloth: The Benefits of Cotton Diapers' on page 36. It gives you a run down of what is available, discusses the cost, and gives you lots of places to look.

Some of the links recommended in the article are:
I like They provide detail information about washing diapers as part of theit website - I found this to be very helpful. Plus I have purchased unbleached flannel diapers, diaper liners, and diaper doublers from them and they have been great.

You can even purchase good quality second hand diapers off Ebay.

To make your own diapers check out Good Luck! Siana

There is a lot of great information out there to help you start. I have bought all my cloth diapering supplies from which has a great introduction/instructions/cost assessment for cloth diapering. Also, the most recent issue of Mothering Magazine was all about cloth diapering and has a great discussion of the whats and how to's.

Basically there are the cloth diapers themselves and then the covers which go on with snaps or velcro. I bought 2 dozen high quality cloth ''prefolds'' and 10 covers to start (5 each of two styles to see which ones I liked) When my daughter was young we were doing diaper washing about every third day. As she got older and poops were less of a blow-out we soiled fewer covers and did less frequent washes as well as buying fewer covers as she grew.

start with the website and the magazine and feel free to email with further questions Nicole

Good for you! We used a diaper service for a long time and when we discovered how easy it was to wash at home we switched. I don't know the cheapest place to get diapers, but there are tons of places! It will seem like a lot to pay at first, but don't forget that then the prices are minimal. My experience is that the best kind of diapers are chinese prefolds with wool wraps. The all-in-ones never seem to get clean enough. With the prefolds you can tell! The wool wraps by lambkin are great, but I recommend getting undyed wool--it seems to last longer without treating. You only need three because you can use them over and over with out having to wash. In terms of washing: My son is eating solids, so first we dump the poop in the toilet, then we throw it in the diaper pail. We have 30 diapers so we wash about once every 5 days. First we soak the diapers in hot water for an hour or even overnight--in the washer. Then we drain the water, add a mild detergent, and wash in hot. We don't use bleach and most of the websites say that it is not necessary. If you want a little antibacterial action you can use a few drops of lavander oil. In the summer and spring we hang the diapers outside. The sun bleaches them, during the winter they end up a little on the dingy side of white! Good luck! And check the market place because there are often lots of diapers for cheap or free! anon

I'm now washing cloth diapers at home for my second child, and I highly recommend it. I have a lot of thoughts on the best practices, and if you want more detail, you can e-mail me.

Here are some basic answers:

The quality and cost of diapers and wraps is quite variable and everybody has their favorites. To my mind, the most important variable is the quality of the wrap (how leakproof and how soft and flexible so it doesn't scratch baby). My favorite wrap brands are the Japanese kinds--Nikky and Niji--and Biobottoms, which is now out of business (but you can find them secondhand). These are very expensive--$15 to $20 new, but so worth it, especially if you plan to have a second child. I sometimes find them for a few bucks secondhand. Another great source is for new and used diapers and covers.

The quality of diapers is also key--the kind you can buy at Target and Toys R Us from Gerber are worthless, being insufficiently absorbent. Try to find ''Chinese prefolds'' on the Internet or look for the fitted kind (Indisposables makes a great fitted diaper).

Depending on whether you manage to get secondhand or not, I would say startup costs for getting a child from newbornhood to potty training are about $400-$500. If you have a second child, your additional cost is $0.

My system for washing is:

Have a big 5 gallon bucket with a strong sealing lid (like a paint bucket) filled with warm water and Borax (follow instructions on the box). Wet diapers go directly in the bucket. Poopy diapers get rinsed in the toilet to remove solids. You can use a disposable liner to make it easier to flush; I've never bothered. Covers only get washed if they're poopy or have gotten very wet and smelly. Otherwise they are hung on a towel rack to dry in the bathroom. They go in the bucket to soak when dirty. Make sure to close all Velcro.

Every 3 days, I empty out the bucket water into the toilet, then dump the sopping diapers into the washing machine. I run a rinse and spin cycle first, then add soap and do a hot wash and rinse. I used to add vinegar for neutralising urine but no longer bother. No bleach ever. Then I dry on hot; when I lived where I had a clothesline, I dried them on the line (great for bleaching out yellow stains when baby is tiny!) and finished them in the dryer.

For wipes, I started out using cloth rags which I washed along with the diapers. This was convenient for washing, but inconvenient for taking along with the diaper bag. Now I use commercial wipes, and have to dispose of them separately. For traveling outside of the house, I bring a supply of plastic bags (courtesy of the Chronicle) to wrap wet diapers.

Good luck! My first kid potty trained before age 2, and I'm sure the cloth diapers helped. vm

When my son was about 8 weeks old, we started using ''Kooshie's'' diapers and wash them ourselves at home. They're great! THey're all-in-one, that is, the cover is sewn to the actual diaper, so you launder the whole piece as one. They're about $10 each, and we've found that we can get by with 15 diapers washing them every other day. There are instructions in the package, and the process is really very simple. We soak them in water and baking soda in a tall garbage can in the bathroom until we're ready to do a load.

I really like the fact that there's only one piece to launder and for my son to wear.

The initial investment may seem high, but it's worth it. anon

Cloth Diapering for two

June 2003

I am expecting my second child anyday now and am wondering how best to handle cloth diapering for two. Specifically, do you recommend soaking the cloth diapers separately for each child (i.e. each child has their own diaper pail and the diapers get washed separately) or is it fine to mix them and wash them together? For some reason I am stumped over this! How do other moms handle this? cloth diapering for two

Is it financially feasable for you to use a diaper service? It was essential when I had my twins. I cannot imagine soaking and cleaning the sheer volume of diapers for two at a time. As I recall, it wasn't that expensive, and the relief I enjoyed by giving that task over to others when I had so much to do was beyond monetary consideration. I know that doesn't exactly answer your question, but, heck, if contemplating how to do this is weighing on you, why not circumvent the entire dilemma and give yourself a break! Tobie

2002 & Earlier

Cloth diapers preshaped or flat?

April 2002

Hi, we've been using a diaper service but have decided to buy and wash our own. I see that there are preshaped fabric diapers on the market that cost more than the regular ones. They look like they'd fit better and be less bulky. Has any one tried these? What do you think of them? Were they worth the extra money? Do you have to keep buying different sizes? Also I found some regular diapers lined with terry cloth. Would these be more absorbant and perhaps be a good night time diaper? Do those diaper doublers actually work? Actually any washing your own diapers or buying your own diapers advice would be welcome, it seems like no one does this anymore... Thanks so much, Natalie

We have our own cloth diapers and we wash them--you're not alone! I ended up buying flat diapers, because the fitted ones were so expensive. But they didn't work well at night, because the baby soaked through them. So I invested in five fitted cloth diapers with terry cloth liners (extra little pieces of cloth that you fit inside the diaper for extra absorbency). I bought the diapers from my son's childcare provider, who sells her own pattern for them (but she sewed them for me; I have no time for sewing diapers!) But I know there are quite a few out there that look like they fit well. Susan

I washed my last diaper a dozen years ago and I've forgotten the specifics, but I wanted to cheer you on. It wasn't such a big deal. I used good-quality, thick diapers, which were somewhat hard to find. Then I probably soaked, then washed them with detergent or laundry soap (and maybe added bleach). The diapers came out fresh and clean. It adds to your laundry, but you'll save some money and gain the perverse satisfaction of doing a dirty job yourself. dore

You have many more choices than those two, but I must warn you - diapers can get ''addictive''. Many talented moms make diapers. Here is a link to a discussion and review of many of those diapers. There are elists dedicated to sewing/reviewing and discussing diapers.

Hi Natalie, I use cloth and wash my own, and I know it sounds strange, but I really love it. We used the service until our son was 4 months and then switched to our own fitted diapers (the shaped ones that fit on with elastic and velcro or snaps). I absolutely love these diapers and think they are completely worth the substantial increase in cost. My son is so squirmy that I'm really afraid to pin on him anymore.

There are some one-size diapers available, supposed to fit the baby from birth through potty training. Some people love these, but I found them insufficiently absorbant and my husband found them frustratingly complicated. So yes, I do keep buying bigger sizes, but I am STILL spending less than I would on disposables.

My best advice is for you to check out the diapering board at Those great ladies are cloth-diapering addicts and will give you more info than you ever wanted. Other websites for buying diapers (don't buy anything you find in a store; they are terrible):;;; There is also a great sewing pattern available at

If cost is an issue, you can find diapers used at ebay or

My advice with the wash routine is to keep it simple. I do a cold pre-soak in Biz, then a long hot wash with Tide, then throw everything into the dryer. I do this about twice a week and really find it to be no hassle at all.

Good luck! Catherine

I also canceled the diaper service and washed our own for a few years. I found a bunch of the preshaped at a garage sale and really liked them. I can't remember the brand name but they were made in Canada. They fastened with velcro and we used the plastic diaper pants with them. The preshaped were easier than the flat b/c we didn't need diaper pins or that rubber clip the diaper service gives you, and the diapers held in the poop pretty well. They came with an extra pad for nighttime wear. We didn't have enought of the preshaped ones so I bought the flat ones at target. It takes a while for them to get soft like the diaper service ones. We mostly used the plastic clip to fasten the flat ones. I'd do two cycles for the wash, the first with no soap to rinse, and then one with soap. I found hanging them to dry on a rack in the sun helped bleach out stains. Overall I got used to incorporating them with the rest of the laundry, (there;s so much laundry that one or two extra loads didn't seem to make a difference!) but I always did the diapers separately. Our water bill was probably higher but I figured it was still less than disposibles/diaper service. We did use disposibles for going out during the day and traveling. good luck! just an addition to my message: the preshaped I bought were probably a 1 to 2 year size but seemed to fit her for about nine months to three years b/c the velcro made them pretty adjustable. I plan to use them for my second child, they held up really well. Terry cloth would probably be pretty absorbant but for night wear I think you need something extra like a pad or double diapering the flats. Andrea

This is what we found helpful doing our own cloth diapers with our child:

-We found the preshaped ones to be less substantial and be more likeley to leak.

-We found diaper doublers VERY effective and handy.

-We found some roll of flushable liners that we used on outings when our child's poop became more solid. This was helpful because it meant less poop to take home when out and about.

-A diaper duck was an inexpensive plastic device that allowed us to dunk diapers in the toliet and flush and minimized hand contact.

-A diaper pail liner (reuseable and washable) was great. We just turned the whole thing upsidedown over the washer.

-Wool soakers were expensive but worth it. They don't need to be washed very often. Air drying really did remove smells. We only washed them if they had poop on them or if we had gone a long long time without washing them. We got two per size. You need to get velcro or snap diapers (or deal with pins) to go under these.

We did our own diapers for a little over two years and are preparing to do so again with our next soon to be born child. I'd be happy to discuss cloth diapers further if you want to email me. Doing your own diapers is easier than lots of people think. Hurray for you! Susan

I recently potty trained my 2-year-old, who was in cloth diapers since birth. We never had a diaper service, so I have ample experience in all the things you're asking about! Here are several tips from my experience; if you want more advice, e-mail me privately.

1) Buy diapers and covers used, but get good brands. Better a quality used cover than a cheapo new cover. You can get used diapers and covers on the Marketplace list here, and at, and at children's resale shops around the Bay Area. My favorite types of cover, out of maybe 15 or so I tried, were Nikky and Biobottoms. Nikkys cost $18-20 new, and Biobottoms is out of business. If you can find them used, grab them! Avoid the cheapy brands, especially Dappi.

2) Flat vs. shaped--I found it depended on the shape. The hourglass kind never seemed to give thorough coverage, but we used them as liners. Shaped ones that had elastic at the leg were super--very leakproof. Another possibility is all-in-ones--a shaped diaper and cover that you take off the baby and throw in the wash, all in one. They're expensive but very nice to have, especially for babysitters, grandma, daycare, etc. Indisposables is a good brand of all-in-one. For flat diapers, don't get those Gerber birdseye weave ones they sell at chain stores; useless. Get a good quality ''Chinese prefold,'' used or off the Internet; there are several sizes, but I got through newborn-toddlerhood with just 2 sizes. You want thick, soft cotton that just gets softer with washings. I've had good luck with diaper doublers; however, by the time my kid was 18 months old, we couldn't find any combination that got him through the night, so we switched to disposables for nighttime only. We also used disposables occasionally when we traveled.

3) Washing. My system was to have a pigtail bucket--a 5 gallon paint bucket with a lid that clamps down hard--next to the toilet. Fill it 2/3 full with water and Borax according to directions on the Borax box. Rinse any poopy diapers in the toilet, wring, and put them in the bucket. Wet diapers go directly in the bucket. You can re-use wet covers several times, but if they get poopy, toss them in the bucket. The Borax cuts down odors tremendously and the tight lid keeps them out of the bathroom air. Every 3 days or so, when the bucket is full, do a load of laundry and thoroughly clean the bucket, toilet, and bathroom floor. Dump the bucket water in the toilet and the diapers in the washing machine. To avoid having to wring out the diapers, I would run a rinse and spin cycle before I put soap in for the load. Hot water, detergent, and--if there's a lot of urine, maybe 1/2 c of vinegar in the rinse water--and that should do it. Dry in the dryer, or--while your baby is small and the stains quite yellow--dry on a clothesline to sun-bleach the stains. If you use a clothesline, it's nice to fluff them in the dryer for 10 minutes before you fold them.

4) Wipes. My kid was allergic to the chemicals in wipes, so we cut up old T-shirts for wipes and washed them right along with the diapers. My feeling is that if you do this, you will have less smell even than people who use disposables, because you're not throwing poopy disposables and wipes in your trash.

Final note: I'm a huge fan of this do-it-yourself method. Not only did we save gobs of money, but my son toilet-trained just before age 2. I'm sure that's due to him having lifelong awareness of his urinary and bowel movements. Also, if you plan to have a second child, your cost is basically zero for #2. I have to admit that sometimes it was a real hassle--especially when we had a newborn--but it just gets easier and easier. If you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail. Vam

Shaped is definitely easier and less bulky. My friend liked ''Rainbow Diapers'' from Natural Baby. She used one set of diapers from birth to age 3. I tried to order some, but three months later the diapers still hadn't arrived, and Natural Baby had nothing but excuses, so I cancelled the order.

I went with ''Snugglebottoms'' which are a shaped diaper with velcro closures (very convenient when your baby is squirming!) I bought them from a very nice company called Baby Bunz ( They ship promptly at very reasonable prices. Baby Bunz has lots of options. Heather is the woman I usually talk to. She's very helpful and knows all the options.

To keep costs down, I bought 2 dozen Snugglebottoms and 1 dozen ''diaper service flats'' (also from Baby Bunz). I use the flats as backups when I run out of Snugglebottoms. I run a load through the wash every 3 days.

For night diapering, I use a Snugglebottom with a doubler and a knit wool cover called an ''Aristocrat.'' The wool seems to keep his dipaer warm even when it's damp, and it never leaks.

Baby Bunz also has the full range of Nikky diaper covers, which are softer than Diaperaps or Gerber.

I love using our own diapers. They are softer and thicker than diaper service diapers, I can wash them frequently instead of having a weeks worth in a pail, and they wash up beautifully in the machine with a little soap and vinegar. Elisa

We use diaper sevice diapers, but did some research a while back on finding/buying new wraps and came across a very helpful and comprehensive site on cloth diapering. Its It will tell you everything and more that you ever wanted to know about cloth diapering and then some. It will also lead you to several WAHM (work at home mom) online companies where you can purchase any and all kinds of cloth daiper styles out there. Good luck!! Jamie

I use the motherease system. The diapers are shaped, with snaps that allow you to adjust depending on your baby's size. I had used tiny tots previously but I found buying my own was far more economical. You can find more information at: I bought the complete package plus the cover special and find that's more than sufficient. I have accumulated a bunch of different ways to wash diapers and I can e-mail the file for you. But basically I have two different pails for the diapers: soiled and wet. Wet ones go directly in the wet pail. I use biodegradable liners, so when there's poop I remove the liner+poop and flush it down the toilet and throw the soiled diaper into a pail with water and vinegar in it. I pour out the water and refill it after each entry of new diaper. Then when I need to launder I dump the soiled diapers into the washing machine and put it on the rinse cycle. After that's done, I put in the wet diapers and wash with very little ArmnHammer Free on ''heavy wash,'' plus extra rinse. I use vinegar in the rinse cycle and the dipes come out smelling nice and fresh. Every once in a while I do a baking soda rinse -- that plus the vinegar helps balance the pH. Also every once in a while I use Bac Out to help maintain pH and get rid of odors. Now that the weather is starting to get nice I look forward to drying my dipes on the clothes line. For some reason I feel extra maternal when drying dipes on the clothesline. :) The sun also is a great bleacher. Feel free to e-mail if you have any more questions. Laurel

We use the Mother Ease (ME) one-size fitted diapers and I'm very happy with them. The diapers claim to fit babies from 8 to 35 pounds but we didn't begin using them on our daughter until she was 12 pounds because they were just enormous on a newborn. They snap on and are obviously very adjustable. We used prefold diapers for a time as well but stopped because they would occasionally leak or we'd have ''blow-out'' and that never happened with the ME diapers.

We own 30 diapers and 6 covers. They're not cheap - I think they cost $8 each. I now wash them 15 at a time (about twice a week). My daughter gets outside care 3 mornings a week and we use paper diapers for her during that time. We also use some prefolds made from a gauze fabric as night-time doublers - just fold the short way to make a long ''pad'' in the diaper.

Washing: I use a flushable diaper liner strip every time I diaper and when there's poop I peel that strip (plus a few tissues I've used for clean up) into the toilet and flush it down. I've been washing my own cloth diapers for 20 months and I've never stuck my hand in the toilet (I like that)! If it's just a wet diaper it goes liner and all into the pail. I keep two dry pails, 1 for poopy, 1 for wet. On wash day I put all the diapers into the washer and do a cold prewash (if the poopy diapers are really a mess I'll put them through a seperate heavy wash cycle on cold), and then I wash the diapers twice more on heavy wash with hot water. I don't use bleach or any wash additives except occasionally vinegar in the final rinse. You may object to so much washing and I'll tell you ''in my defense'' that I use an energy-star low-water front-load machine, a top-loader uses three times as much water and may not require so many washings, I don't dunk (and then flush) or soak, and also that I am persnickity about my diapers - they are completely stain-free after 20 months of constant use. The diaper liners which were washed are reused until they disintigrate. I use flannel squares and water for final poopy clean up rather than disposable wipes and these are also washed with the poopy diapers. Diaper covers (I alternate between one on her bottom and the other hanging on a hook to air out) are washed with the regular laundry in cold water.

I think washing your own cloth diapers is one of the best kept secrets of parenting. I'm saving a couple thousand dollars per child this way - more than enough to pay for my fancy washer and dryer (which I love and work the bejeezus out of). With that said - it's a lot of laundry! If you dislike doing laundry, I don't recommend it. I started because I was thinking of environmental impact and costs. And personally, I don't mind laundry and I get what can only be called a bizarre satisfaction out of my tidy stacks of clean, fluffy diapers. Cheers Cheryl

It is sad that in America cloth diapers and products are hard to find and only really thru catalogs. (I like Cloth Diapers are really great and I find washing my own was a very rewarding experience and not at all difficult. With my son I bought some of the ''all-in-one'' cloth diapers with built in cover. I found that I was always washing the covers anyway thanks to my son's ability to poop 5 times a day! I really enjoyed these however they were poorly made and I had to return them because the stitching was unraveling. I noticed that they redesigned them and I would highly recommend you try a few to see if you like them. I missed them a lot when I had to return them! Hadley

Making your own cloth diapers

August 2002

Has anyone had experience sewing their own cloth diapers' If so, I'd love to hear specifics (where to buy fabric, good patterns, etc.). Also, I'm considering using the ''snappi'' clips, but also would like pattern ideas for velcro covers. Thanks! Nina

My son's daycare provider runs a company called New Conceptions, which has a great pattern for a cloth diaper called the PooPocket.She made a few of them for my son. They have fit him now for ten months (8 months to 18 months); they fit beautifully and have some kind of padding for extra absorbency. She swears they're extremely easy to make, but lordy! I have no time to sew! The website is Susan

I have made some fitted cloth diapers, using the HB-home pattern. This pattern is meant for fleece all-in-one diapers (not needing a cover), but I leave off the fleece and use a separate cover. I have also used the ''Better Baby Diaper Pattern'', which I did not like at all. You can buy everything you need: fabrics, notions, patterns and more at I have ordered from them and was very pleased with the merchandise and customer service. I am not completely convinced that making fitted diapers is cheaper than buying them, but you can choose exactly the fabrics and features you want. Catherine

Cloth diaper logistics

April 2003

We are planning to use cloth diapers for our soon-to-be-born baby (with a diaper service), but are realizing that we have several logistical questions that I couldn't find the answers to in the archives. First of all, is it necessary to use snappy clips or pins with the diapers, or does it suffice to put the diaper wrap on snugly over the diaper? Second, it seems like we need 3 diaper pails- one for the dirty cotton diapers, one for the dirty wipes, and one for dirty diaper covers. Am I missing something here, or do we need all of this? Has anyone figured out a good system for dealing with all of this in a relatively easy, non-smelly manner? Also, we have a dog who likes smelly things, so a secure top is an important consideration. Thanks! Martha

So glad you are choosing cloth! I know you'll get lots of suggestions on this one, since everyone has a favorite ''system'', but just a few ideas: If you use velcro wraps, you won't need pins or clips. However, have a few on hand just in case you sometimes want to go without a cover, or if you sometimes use the pull-on covers. If you are washing your own - not using a service - (and depending on the type of wraps you choose), you might be able to use one pail for everything (including wiping washcloths - much nicer than ''wipes''). We never soaked things. If you use a service and are washing only wraps, we found they could be washed with the regular laundry (except the super poopy ones; these were hand-rinsed first). I just hung them on the side of the laundry hamper until wash day. Be sure the velcro is closed before washing. R.K.

We washed our own diapers with this method:

dirty diapers/covers were deposited in a plastic container up high (out of dog/kid reach)until there were at least 3 and/or until i had time to deal with them.

then, wearing dishwashing rubber gloves, i'd rinse the diapers or covers very briefly in the toilet -- pee diapers first, and then poop diapers. you can do about 3-4 diapers per toilet bowl of water/flush.

rinsed diapers were deposited in plastic filing bins with snap on lids (available at target) filled with water and about 1/4 cup of clorox 2.

twice a week (sundays and thursdays) we'd do a load of diapers with an additional 1/4 cup regular chlorine bleach.

we purchased about 3 dozen diapers and about 4-6 covers -- in general, you can use a cover for at least a day if not more. camille

First question: you do not need pins or snappy-clips if you're using a velcro diaper cover, though some parents I know like the tidiness of snappy-clips under the velcro diaper covers. Second question: we have 3 bins, a large one for dirty diapers, one for paper trash including wipes, and one for soiled diaper covers, clothes, changing table covers, etc. If you don't have space for 3, you could certainly use a sturdy plastic bag for the dirty clothes, since you won't have a very high volume of them, and you'll wash them frequently. Judith

We've been using a diaper service and self-purchased cloth wipes with our 15-month-old son since birth. The service gave us a snappi-clip to try out, but we never got the hang of it. So we just use a diaper and a wrap, which works fine for us. The wraps did get messed up almost every time he pooped (before things ... er, firmed up), but we just bought six more wraps from the diaper service so we wouldn't have to do laundry so often. I'm curious to hear if people who use the snappi-clips have better luck with the diaper keeping in the mushy stuff.

We use only two containers -- the plastic, lidded hamper that the diaper service provides for the dirty diapers and a lidded ''hamper'' we bought for the dirty wipes and wraps. (We also use some el cheapo washcloths to dry his clean bum before putting on the new diaper; after we use them, the washcloths go into the container with the dirty wipes and wraps). The ''hamper'' we bought is actually a round, lidded garbage can from Target (~$20). It has a plastic insert with a handle that you can take out and carry to the washing machine -- then just rinse it out. The garbage can also has a foot-operated opening mechanism so you don't have to open the lid with a possibly poopy hand. The lid has a good seal and we wash the stuff every few days, so smell hasn't been a problem. Tori

We use solely the pail provided by our diaper service, Tiny Tots, for both pee and poop diapers in their entirety. For breast milk alone we were able to keep the pail in the baby's room. Once she moved onto a majority solids we keep it just outside her room and change the deodorizing disk more often. There is a slight odor from the disk, but not of the diapers. For wipes, once she started on solids, we keep multiple plastic bags in a regular bedroom trash can, tie and knot the bag w/ poopy wipes immediately and usually get them at least into the main household garbage or out the door soon after the change. Essentially the garbage bag in her room is replaced at least daily. We use velcro wraps, no other closure has been necessary. Our snappy clasps are just sitting in drawers somewhere and they made early diaper changes considerably more awkward before we discovered they weren't necessary! Jessica

For poopy wraps, we rinse them out immediately, and they drain in the shower stall until the next wash. As babies get older this happens less and less, and we use fewer diaper covers/day provided we are vigilant about changing. The squirt bottle they send you home from the hospital with is great for removing poop from wraps. I've heard fels-neptha soap is good for the stains. anon.

We used the ''snappy clip'' (or whatever it's called) at first w/ our first child and then found it is faster to just use the diaper cover to hold the diaper in place and that worked just fine. We have 2 containers to deal with our cloth diapering. One large bin for the dirty diapers (we use a service) and one small well-lidded container for poopy stuff we launder (wipes and dirty covers). Un- poopy diaper stuff just goes with the regular laundry. Good luck 'n' happy diapering! Molly G

Snappi clips aren't neccesary, but I would strongly recommend them- they really help keep the poop in! They are inexpensive & easy to use once you get the hang of them. No one really uses pins anymore.

As for all the diaper pails, you can definitely get away with the one from the service for dirtys (although the dog can get probably get into it...) & a diaper genie/champ for wipes (we actually just use a small trash can & empty it every night- less plastic waste). In the beginning you'll burn through covers like they are going out of style- a bucket with bleach & H2O in the tub at all times works like a charm. Later on, the covers will last longer, as the blowouts will be few & far between.

One of my friends put all the diaper stuff in the baby's closet to avoid dog mishaps & later baby mishaps.

This will definitely be a smellier endeavor than using disposables, but Mother Earth thanks you! virginia

We use cloth diapers (the diaper serivce kind) and snapi-wrap diaper covers with our 6 month old. By the way, washing them yourself is VERY EASY. Only a couple of extra loads of laundry per week. We also use cloth baby wipes (which I soak in a homemade wipe solution). I put the used diapers and wipes in one ''dry'' diaper pail with a lid with a little baking soda so they don't smell. I then wash them altogether. I put the diaper covers in a plastic bag and wash them along with my other laundry or with the diapers. If you use the diaper service kind of diapers, you don't need any clips, pins or snaps. You just fold them up into the diapers. Works like a charm! Cloth Diapering Mommy

With our first child we had a diaper service for 2 years. With the second, we had a service for only 3 months and we washed them ourselves after that. I have found washing them to be BY FAR the least stinky alternative, and the easiest too. You rinse them out before putting them in the diaper pail, and wash every few days. I was amazed how easy it is. Also, I can highly recommend Motherease fitted diapers. They are a little pricey, but are head and shoulders above the old fashioned kind. They fit so well (and are adjustable newborn to toddler) that I have almost never had ANY leaks, and that includes poop on diaper covers. This has made cloth diapering a breeze. These are available at mack

Put a piece of toilet paper in the big toilet first, then carefully dump the poop on top of it. This works for avoiding splashing when sitting on the big toilet as well (for children and adults!). Mom taught me well.

Use snappi clips OR diaper pins - we find snappi clips easier to use and that they do a good job. The cover itself will not hold the diaper in place well enough to control leakage. We have a diaper pail for the diapers themselves. We toss used wipes in a small box (about the size of a wipes container) and empty it every few days. We rinse out diaper covers at the end of the day (just to rinse off any urine residue) and hang them in the bathroom to dry overnight. We launder them about once a week or so. Any that are dirty (poop) get cleaned with water and hand soap immediately and then put in the bathroom to dry - but then tossed directly into the laundry hamper rather than back in the rotation. Hope that helps. Sarah

We EC (use Elimination Communication) but did do cloth diapers with the first 2 with a service. I simply placed all diapers in the service bag and left them with the service. If you're doing diapers at home (we use cloth wipes and pads instead of TP and Kotex) what I find/found (with diapers) to be the least amount of work was to use the 5 gallon buckets that Costco detergent comes in for wipes/diapers, wash once in cold with detergent and again in cold with Dr. Bronners peppermint soap, then hang to dry.

I never used snappi clips, but simply brought the diaper (prefold) around the baby's bum to the front and kept in place with a velcro cover.

Since you're not yet doing diapers, why not check out EC? I did it with my last two and would never go back to diapers.

http// http// Kathy

We have been using exclusively cloth diapers, with a service, and are very happy and committed to continuing (our baby is now 8 mos.). Things do not need to be so complex. We have one big pail, which was provided by the service; it's basically a white plastic garbage can with a flap-type lid (I would ask the service if they have experience with dogs, or if they can recommend a pail with a special closure). This is the only thing we use you could call a pail. We then have a small garbage can, which sits next to it, into which we toss the cotton balls we use instead of wipes (cheaper and easier on the baby's skin, plus no chemicals or perfumey smells; we dampen them with water from a squirt bottle). As for covers, we rented newborn covers for the first 6 mos. and are now using our own. Ours are synthetic, with velcro closures; we just fold the diaper and set it inside (no pins). My sense is that this is how most of them work these days, even the fancier ones (wool, organic cotton, etc.). We haven't needed a pail for covers because if the diaper is only wet, we reuse the cover; if it's poopy and it gets on the cover, we take it straight into the bathroom and rinse it in the sink and, if it is necessary (if there's poop on the elastic) apply spot remover, and leave it to wash whenever.

Covers are where you will have the most variation. We rented 8 covers for the first 6 mos. and are now using only 4. Consider these variables If a natural material (wool, cotton), they are going to take longer to dry, and you may want more; If you have a washing machine and are willing to let them accumulate (which we don't, and so haven't been), you may want more; Age (if you have a newborn, he or she is going to poop 10-12 times a day for the first 6 wks.; so, with a younger baby, you may want more; by 3 mos., our baby was only pooping once a week; we felt silly even with 8 covers on hand during this period. If you were to find the smell a problem (which we really haven't; perhaps with the dog...), Ecobaby sells some natural deodorizers which sound convincing. At the risk of sounding overzealous, I have found cloth diapering to be much, much easier than I had expected. Obviously the dog is a special consideration. But if/as long as the baby is breastfed, no human being would ever know there were dirty diapers in the house (and ours is not a house, but a very small apt.). jb

There is a welath of information available from cloth diapering users (in-the-trenches experts) on the diapering message board of mothering magazine. go to and click on discuss, then go to the ''Diapering'' section. There are literally tens of thousands of posts about people's favorite diapers, diaper washing ideas and strategies, best places to buy, company reviews, etc. Its an amazing resource! Cloth Diaper Beginner

We have used cloth diapers (and a diaper service) for our twins (boy and girl) for 2 1/2 years now. When they were newborns, folding the cloth diaper in thirds horizontally and putting the diaper inside a diaper cover was sufficient. As they got bigger, we switched to larger diapers and a different technique. We twist the diaper over the crotch as we bring it up through the legs, and attach it with a snappy clip. Then put a cover over it. This was recommended by our diaper service newsletter, and it really works. Makes a little ''pocket'' to catch pee or our son's anatomy. I highly recommend Motherease diaper wraps (Rikki style). Available on the web at More expensive, but worth it.

We only use two containers. One diaper pail, which is provided by the diaper service and has replaceable plastic bags and a mini-deoderizer sticker. When you take off the diaper, it goes immediately into the pail, without rinsing. After a week (or with twins, after 3-4 days) the pail is full and you replace the plastic bag (put the full one outside, tied and ready for service pickup). Wipes go in a covered trash can, also with a plastic liner so you can dump it fairly often. Slightly wet diaper wraps can air-dry and be used again. Really wet ones go into the laundry hamper (OK, I guess that's three containers). Poopy diaper covers go immediately into the bathroom sink where they are rinsed off, and then hung in the shower until added to the laundry. Hope this is helpful... It really isn't as daunting as it sounds. Debbie

Which Brand?

July 2002

hi - I'm looking for recommendations for brands of cloth diapers - there's a bewildering variety of them. Bummis, Kooshies, Nikki's, Babykins, Indisposables, Cuddlers, Kissaluvs, Motherease - just a few of the names I've seen on the internet. Also, are there any places to buy these brands, or are they just available through the internet? I've checked the website too, but wanted more product comparison type feedback. I've had a diaper service in the past, but am thinking of doing the wash myself this time around. thanks. Karen

Hi there, I also use home-washed cloth diapers on my 13-month- old and love it. The wash routine is no trouble -- about twice a week I dump my diaper champs into the wash, do a cold soak/prewash with Biz, run a hot wash with detergent, then everything goes into the dryer.

You will quickly sort out your own preferences, but here are mine: fitted diapers during the day (I greatly prefer Kissaluvs over Motherease) covered with Alexis Featherlight pullon covers; FuzziBunz stuffed with Joey Bunz at night, and Bumkins all-in-ones for the sitter and the diaper bag.

For more information than you could ever want, check out the diapering board at Other sites for you:;;; You can't buy the best diapering products in stores; you have to go online.

I think you'll find that the wash is no trouble at all, and washing your own allows you to choose something more convenient than a prefold and saves the $16/week for the service. Catherine Scholar

Hi, I'm glad you're thinking of using and cleaning cloth diapers for your child! I do not have a diaper service, and disagree with the previous responder who questioned why you would want to do this! It's not that hard to take care of the diapers and this way, you have the comfort of knowing what exactly was used to clean them!

We have used chinese prefolds (the kind of diaper that diaper services use) and Nikky polyester wraps since my son's birth 15 months ago. I find the chinese prefolds (which I got online) the most absorbant- we use a double diaper at night and have never had leaks. The Nikky polyester wraps are breatheable (important for boys!) and very stretchy and keeps messes in. As for All-In-Ones, we have used Kushies all-in-ones with little pleasure. They do not seem to hold that much, and leak often. We only use these when we run out of clean or dry prefolds (rarely!). I have, in a pinch, used them with a Nikky cover over them, and this seems to help lots!

Good luck with your search and email me with any questions if you'd like. Laura

Hi, I missed the original posting, but wanted to add my two cents. We just switched to washing our own. On the advice of several people here, I purchased some Sandy's mother ease diapers. They are totally great, they don't leak and they fit well. I also got some kissaluv fitted diapers and they also work really well. We had a little trouble at night as it takes several washes for these diapers to work up to full absorbancy. I just used the prefolds for the first month or so at night..

I did a test last week and found that the Kissaluvs and the prefolds will hold about the same amount of liquid, the Sandy's, not quite as much, so now at night I either use a fuzzi bunz cover and a prefold or a kissaluv and a piece of polyester fleece (Like the fuzzibunz, but I bought it and cut it myself) and this works really well to keep the moisture away from my baby's skin. Sometimes I also use a doubler at night.

Be forewarned, not all your covers will fit over the fitted diapers. The mother ease covers do, but the are poofy and look lumpy and I won't buy more when I need the next size up. The Bumpy imse vimse is my favorite right now, The prowrap classic worked fairly well at first but I'm having more trouble getting total coverage now even tho it should work for another 5 lbs of baby, some part of the diaper sneaks out around the leg unless I have it centered just right which is not so easy with an eleven month old! Good luck! Washing your own diapers is not too much work and it is satisfying to use something well made. ps I also tried a fitted diaper without snaps and don't bother. natalie October 2001

There is a huge selection of cloth diapers, covers, and all-in-ones at I have bought twice from the site in the last two months and been pleased with the results. The diapers are inexpensive and the descriptions (written and jpeg photos) are accurate. Some are new, but most are used. The selection is weighted toward newborn and small sizes, as usual--people seem to give up after a few months--but I've found what I've needed in large and toddler sizes, too. V. M.

Two other sources for used cloth diapers online are and WAHMall is a site devoted to selling the creations of work-at-home-mothers. There are new and used diapers and covers available, and some of the moms have on-line instock stores attached to the site with new items. I have never bid there, but I know a lot of people who have. Feedback seems to be generally great, keeping in mind that it is an auction site and you need to check the feedback of the seller before bidding. Catherine

July 1999

We are expecting another baby in a few weeks. After growing tired of paying excessive sums for disposable diapers, with the last child we decided to try cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are definitely a negligible improvement over cloth and primarily play on the squeamish factor present in many new parents.

Unfortunately, we went shopping for cloth diapers last weekend, but could not find any in the appropriate size. Wal Mart (we tried three different Wal Mart stores) had a scant few in 14x20 and 27x27, but none in newborn sizes. Can anyone recommend a retailer that carries cloth diapers? We also tried Long's and Walgreen's. Thanks for your help.

I don't know about local retailers, but I know that The Natural Baby Catalog carries a number of different styles of diapers, diaperwraps, and combination styles, in a wide variety of sizes. My OLD catalog lists their phone number as 800-388-BABY. Good luck! (July 1999)

We bought cloth diapers from ABC Diaper Service in Berkeley. They have a variety of sizes, from newborn to toddler. I think they were $1.50-$2. each. We bought 30 when our son was in his 2nd year of diapers (after a whole year of regular diaper service) and that held us over quite well until he potty trained at around 3 years old.

From: Susan (3/99)

Here are the names and numbers of some great companies w/ soft diapers. We ordered our son's through babyworks but they are prefold. they have various kinds though. It's a great, small personable company. call for a catalog. some of the places listed have inexpensive samples so you can try diapers out before buying by the dozen.

Babyworks : environmentally kind baby products: 1800-422-2910 (they list one diaper called unbleached flannel no-folds)
Simple alternatives : simple things for special babies: 1800-735-2083 (carries barefoot baby diapers that i believe are non fold.)
Hindercovers : organic products for mom and baby, that nurture the body and soul:1888-hinders
Snugglebundle : bundle, bootom and layette products for the environmentally responsible baby: 1-413-525-1972

From: Kristi (3/99)

Regarding the very soft diapers. I bought some very soft flannel diapers to use as burp rags. They were quite large and not pre-folded. If this is what you're looking for you can buy them at Cotton & Co. on College Avenue. I think they come in bags of 6 and feel like a well worn flannel shirt.