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Friday, July 12, 2013

How to Be Awesome at Cloth Diapers: Part 3

I've already covered the basic reason to use cloth diapers and the supplies you will need in Part One of this series, and the step-by-step instructions for using and washing them in Part Two.  Now it's time for the frequently asked questions.

1)  What is stripping the diapers?

Stripping your diapers means washing them more intensely to get rid of any buildup, either from soaps and detergents, creams, or just normal use.  It is not something you do every day.

How often you do it depends on your washer, your detergent, your baby, and what creams you use.  If your diapers start to get a bad smell, if your baby has rashes, or if the diapers aren't absorbing well, it's time to strip them.

I have to strip them about every other month, probably because Cricket has to use Aquaphor for eczema.  It's not really cloth diaper safe, and the only reason I get away with it is because the plain cotton prefolds are a lot more forgiving than the microfiber or whatever else they use to make the nicer diapers.

There are lots of ways to strip diapers.  Some people boil them in water with lemon.  Some use Dawn dishwashing detergent.  I don't.  I use OxyClean in the washer.   It works really well, and it's not bad as using bleach, which can be really hard on your diapers.  Sunning them to dry also helps deep clean them, and we've also used vinegar and tea tree oil in the wash as an alternative.

2)  What happens if she gets a diaper rash?

The good news is, babies get far fewer rashes with cloth than with disposables because they aren't exposed to the chemicals, the diapers are more breathable, and they have to be changed more frequently.  However, most babies do get at least one rash.  How do you treat it when you use cloth diapers?

Well, depending on what kind of rash it is (and there are several different kinds) you can either use a cloth diaper-safe cream or you can put her in disposables for a few days so you can use another kind of cream.  You should also strip your diapers to make sure there isn't any buildup that is causing the rash.  When we switched to Tide, Cricket stopped having rashes.  Apparently, that was the problem.

3)  Will she still fit in her clothes?

Most baby and toddler clothing now is made with disposable diapers in mind.  They are much smaller than cloth diapers, so some people worry that their child's clothes won't fit anymore.

I haven't really had many problems with Cricket not fitting in her clothes because of her diapers, but she's not  a huge baby.  Some kids have more trouble with that than others.  I did notice for a while that I had to buy the next size up in pants before going up a size in anything else, but now, she is 15 months, and it's just starting to look like her 12 month clothes are getting too small.

There are a few companies that make clothing specifically designed for cloth diaper babies, but of course they are more expensive and you usually have to order them online.  I would say don't sweat it, and just buy the next size up.  Also, baby legwarmers are really popular with the cloth diaper community (for boys and girls) because it keeps the babies warm and you cut out the problem of pants fitting over the diaper.  Plus they are super cute.  Take a look at some of them!

4)  Where do I go for help?

When I mention "The Cloth Diaper Community," I'm not just saying things.  There is a large and very supportive community of people out there who are ALL ABOUT some cloth diapers.  If you have a friend who uses cloth, chances are they have already talked to you about it.  It's a weird kind of hobby that pulls you in until all of a sudden, you know all the color names of your favorite brand by heart and you can tell the difference between an Flip and a Fuzzibunz at a glance!  

There are some great Facebook groups full of people who will answer any and every question you could possibly imagine about cloth diapering.  They are a great resource. They can also be a good resource for buying, selling, or trading things related to cloth diapering.

There are also tons of great books and websites.  I read the book Changing Diapers when I first started, and it was such a great resource.  It made me feel like I finally understood the lingo and the terms that everyone kept throwing around.  It's a small book and it's not expensive.  Well worth it.

As far as websites with information, try this one and this one, just for starters.  There are lots more out there, but those are two of the biggest, and they are highly trusted.

5)  What happens when I'm finished?

One of the great things about cloth diapers is that they hold their value very well.  There are tons of people online waiting to snatch up any diapers that are in good condition and priced just a little below the retail price.  Consignment sales are great places to sell them, as well as cloth diaper forums and mommy swap forums online.  

If you use prefolds like I do, you have the added option of re-purposing your prefolds when you are finished with them.  They make great dust cloths, and they are great for washing or buffing the car, polishing cloths, burp cloths, or cleaning rags.

6)  I have lots more questions!

I know I can't possibly answer all of your questions in just a few posts, but I hope that I have helped make some sense of all the information out there.  You are welcome to leave comments and questions and I will respond as best I can.  It really is awesome, even fun, and once you get into it, it feels so easy you'll wonder why you ever hesitated.

Don't forget that if you are interested in ordering some Imagine diapers for a flat rate shipping fee of $4, contact my friend Lane Weichman on facebook.  She can help you figure out what you need.  Also, you can use the sidebar to see some helpful things on Amazon if you'd rather order from there.

I hope this has helped and I hope you enjoy cloth diapering.  It is a great way to save money, it's great for your baby, and it's great for the environment.  Awesome all around!

Click here for Part 1 of this series, which covers reasons for cloth diapering and basic supplies you will need.

Click here for Part 2 of this series, which covers basic daily routines, wash routines, and other "how" questions.


  1. This has been an awesome series! Totally going to bookmark it and add it to my list of 'go-to' CD information for newbies :)

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! That's a huge compliment coming from you! :o)

  2. Ugh, I think it's everything I've ever heard anybody mention about cloth diapers, in one place. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write this up. I've wanted to try cloth diapering since before Quinn was born, mostly for money reasons. I've chickened out with all three kids because of lack of support. Now that I have some friends who have gone through it and have answers (multiples!) about the biggest issues I get thrown up at me, I feel much better about trying it. I've even possibly figured out a plan for Brennan to use waterproof training pants and pre-folds, to handle her "Diapers are for taking off and throwing in the floor." issue. haha

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful, and I hope you do try it! We love it! Yeah, "Parenting with Crappy Pictures" talks about how the snaps on a cloth diaper are like tiny padlocks that keep her toddler from taking off his diapers! :o)

      And definitely, let me know about any questions you have. I'd be happy to help!