We currently have three littles in diapers, a 20-month-old and 6-month-old twins. If we used disposable diapers every day we would use approximately 18-24 diapers a day. Diapers cost about 36 cents each. At that rate we would spend a little over $8 a day on diapers.
We try to offset the cost by using cloth diapers. We don’t use cloth exclusively. We still use disposables at night and anytime we are out of the house for more than an hour. It’s just easier for us this way right now. We know quite a few families that cloth diaper exclusively and it works well for them.
There is a wide variety of cloth diaper styles to choose from: all-in-ones, pocket diapers, wool, inserts with covers, old-school folds. We’ve tried several different cloth diapers and our favorites are Diaper Circus diapers. Cute, easy to use, and affordable – we just love these cloth diapers. Hand-crafted by our friend Addie. She’s a wonderful, creative, smart, talented, sweet Christian wife and mother. Visit her site: diapercircus.com to see her diapers, prices as well as read her articles and tips for cloth diapering.
Now, there really are hundreds of ways to handle cloth diapering in your home. Everyone has tips and tricks. This is what works for us.
We have 18 bamboo prefold inserts and 10 different covers along with about 15 cloth wipes. You can buy cloth wipes, we use the little baby washclothes. They work well for the job at hand. This is not an ideal number of diapers, inserts and wipes for three babies. This is simply what we’re working with at the time. We hope to add at least 6 more inserts and a few more diaper covers along with 10 more wipes soon.
We make “wipe water” using this recipe: boil 2 cups of water with a teaspoon of baby oil and a tablespoon of baby wash. Cool and then pour into a squirt bottle. When a wet wipe is needed we just throw a couple of baby washclothes into a small plastic container, squirt with wipe water until just damp and go from there. In the past we’ve wet the whole batch of wipes at once. We’ve had problems with mildew growing on our wipes when we do that so now we just wet a few at a time.
Wet diapers are simple. If the cover is not wet, just switch out the insert. If baby hosed it all down, we switch out the cover and insert for fresh ones. Generally if we change our babies every two hours we don’t have too many overly soaked covers.
We keep wet inserts in a separate basket in our laundry room. We do a diaper load almost every day so they do not stay in the basket long. We don’t notice any overly-strong smells. Some families keep their diapers in a bin with a cover. We’ve found the open air and frequent washing keeps the smells to a minimum. Yes, it’s a basket of pee-pee diapers, so it won’t smell like roses. But it doesn’t smell like the men’s room at Yankee Stadium either.
What about the poopy diapers?
Let’s face it, if you cloth diaper, you’re going to have to deal with poop. It’s just life. Kids eat and then they poop. Some more than others. My girls have an every-other-day type schedule. Little David has made it his mission in life to wreck our cute little diapers every single day.
We use a diaper sprayer and bucket system. You can find custom sprayers and buckets online. There’s a nice one here: http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/other.htm We simply installed a doggie shower sprayer from Home Depot in our bathroom.
We use this to hose off the poop into the toilet (it’s just as glamorous as it sounds) and drop the wet diaper into a bucket. That bucket is carried into the laundry room and we generally start a diaper load when we have a dirty one. No one wants a poopy diaper just hanging around in the house. If we need to wait for a few more wet diapers to make a decent load, the poopy diaper in the bucket usually hangs out on the back porch until we’re ready to wash.
Our buckets and baskets get wiped out with disinfecting cloths regularly to keep bacteria growth and smells to a minimum. We also wash our hands after every diaper change.
Some families use special detergents for their diapers. We use the same detergent we use for our regular laundry. It’s a cheap store brand. Our family does not have any sensitive skin issues or allergies, so it works for us. The diaper inserts are washed together with warm water, detergent and a splash of bleach. They are thrown into the dryer with a dryer sheet for freshness. Simple. The diaper covers (if not poopy) are washed with our regular laundry loads. We keep the velcro tabs secured so they don’t snag on clothing during the wash. The diaper covers are air-dried.
This keeps the special inner cover from wearing out over a long period of time and heavy use.
Again, this is what works for us in our house. Many people diaper many different ways. Our main goal in sharing our method is to show that cloth diapering can be easy and efficient. Cloth diapers have come a long way since your grandmother’s day. Give them a try! You’ll save some money and help the planet.