Cloth Diapering for Beginners

A friend of mine who is planning on CDing her second baby asked me about washing detergents & routines.  Well, no pun intended, but this is a “loaded” question!  There’s so many informational resources, the Internet can be overwhelming with information and some people dont have time to research.  I’ve decided to share a few resources with you that have been helpful to me in my cloth journey.
Just as a preface, I started using cloth with very hard, mineralized water before our recent move and my washing machine was and still is a  regular (non HE) top loader (as opposed to front loading).

Here’s a few acronyms commonly used in this post and in the cloth diaper community as well:

  • CD = cloth diaper
  • TL = top loader
  • FL = front loader
  • HE = high efficiency

First topic: detergents

Generally, you will find it is recommended to use a detergent that is free of enzymes, soaps and scents.  All of these things can “build-up” on the fibers over time leading the fibers to repel liquid instead of absorbing.  End result: leaky diapers.

Here are a few great links to common detergents on the market in comparison to others and their relativity to cd’s.  I also encourage you to click around on these pages to further your CD knowledge! This is also good info for regular laundry too and not just limited to CDing.

http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html

http://pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.html

 
One of the reasons I decided to start cloth diapering was to save money.

Here is a great link to an article about how CDing makes cents combared to using fisposable diapers.
http://diaperdecisions.com/pages/cost_of_cloth_diapers.php

My view is that my husband works very hard for me to be able to stay home with our daughter (I work a part-time retail job) so I feel like it’s my responsibility to do my part in saving as much money as possible.  CD detergents can be very pricey and expensive so in order stretch our dollar a bit further, I decided to make my own detergent.
Here is the link to the recipe that I’ve used.  I have one canister for CD laundry and another for regular laundry.  The difference?  The regular laundry one has a bar or two of grated soap.  Remember how soap can build-up on fibers leading to repellency?  So I can’t use the one with bar soap with my Cd laundry.

http://theecofriendlyfamily.com/2009/08/cloth-diaper-detergent/

To combat our hard water, I also added two tablespoons of baking soda to every wash.  I’ve also heard of using vinegar too but I’ve never tried it.

Here is a list of brands that I have tried out on my CD’s and I have found my homemade version to be comparable every time.  I’ve only ever used powders.

-Charlie’s Soap
-Rock N Green (RNG)
-Eco Sprout

Tide is generally not recommended due to it containing dioxins that have been proven to lead to cancer.  You can read about it here:

Jessica over at Parenting and Living Our Way has shared her blog’s post about getting started with cloth diapering.  You can view her post by clicking here.

She also has a great post explaining the different types of cloth diapers which can be viewed by clicking here.

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7 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering for Beginners

  1. I really liked the idea of cloth diapers but wasn’t sure if in the end I would be able to commit. I found a diaper service for prefolds and we really love cloth diapers way better than disposables. Our daughter sleeps in disposables but the rest of the time is in cloth diapers. I really like that fresh clean diapers magically appear every week but with our next kid I will probably just take the plunge and do it myself because its really no big deal. We started with G brand covers for the prefolds and when she out grew those we switched to flip covers, the snap ones wear much better to lots of laundry time vs the velcro ones.

  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Weather your budget is $100 or $500, don’t drop it all on one style or brand of diaper, even if you “think” you’ve done your research and will like that diaper best. Buy several different options and try them out before you go all in.

    • Great advice and I couldn’t agree more! I tried out quite a few types of diapers and the ones I thought I would love, my daughter hated! (I never thought newborns could have such an opinion!)

  3. Get a variety of diaps to start with. Then you will be able to experiment to find the type that works for you. Cd hold their resell value really well, so it’s not too hard of a hit if you hate any of them. Also, look into rental services-many stores will loan you a variety. Lastly-don’t get overwhelmed. There is a lot to learn in the cd world and it (for me) has been a constant learning experience-in a good way! Good luck!!!!!

  4. Don’t dive in head first. Buy just 2 or 3 diapers to start and try them out for a few weeks. Then add more to your stash if you like them. That way you won’t be out much time or money.

  5. Don’t buy all of one brand. You never know what will work for your baby or what you will like. As my daughter gets older I have sold off 90% of her original stash and replaced them with diapers I made and from a few other WAHM’s. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a great stash. Newborn cloth diapers are a need if you don’t expect to have a large baby since most OS don’t start to fit until 10 + pounds. Keep in mind that you will be changing your newborn 15-20 times a day and your infant 12-15. Cloth should be changed every 2 hours to stop leaks and ward off rashes.

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