I started cloth diapering before the pandemic hit; it just made sense for our family. The environmental impact of disposables was upsetting and the math made sense. We could save a ton of money cloth diapering. If you haven’t considered using cloth diapers before, now the perfect time to switch! Here are 5 reasons why cloth is the best option during a pandemic.
- Money is tighter than usual and cloth diapering can save you hundreds of dollars per year (especially if you use cloth wipes)!
- You spend more time at home, so finding time to throw a load of diapers in the wash is easier than ever. I’ll admit; multi-day trips with cloth diapers are a pain. We did a few of them before the pandemic began. Since we’re not doing any of those right now, we never find ourselves in need of throw away convenience.
- Babies in cloth tend to get less diaper rash, which means a happier baby + happier you. With everything going on, the last thing you want to deal with is diaper rash. We use cloth diapers + Earth Mama Baby Balm, and our son’s bum has been rash free.
- You don’t have to worry about running out of diapers, which could incur a run to the grocery store where you’ll have to wear a mask and possibly get sick. Who wants that? Not me.
- You’re probably generating more waste than usual, ordering things by mail, buying packed foods instead of bulk, ordering take out vs dine in. This is an easy way for you to make a huge environmental impact to offset some of the seemingly necessary evils of feeding yourself during a pandemic.
Okay, okay…but what about the poo (the most asked question of all time about cloth diapers)? If your baby is 100% breastfed, it’s easy. Breastfed baby poo is water soluble and washes out easily. If your baby is eating solid foods, it takes a bit more work but it’s not that bad. We get about 2 poo diapers on average per day; we use a spatula to scrape the poo into the toilet, pop them in a bucket and fill it with water. Then we remove any solids that were stuck on, dump the water in the toilet, and put the diapers in the pail. It’s really not that hard.
Sound doable? Now how to get started? Here is what we use at our house, doing laundry ever other day (which is all that our diaper pail will allow for and it’s not recommended to go any longer in between washes):
- 14 Grovia Hybrid Cloth Diapers
- 28 Grovia Organic Cotton Soaker Pads
- 60 Organic Cotton Wipes
- 2 reusable diaper pail liners
- 1 Ubbi Diaper Pail
- Wet Bags (for on the go)
- Spray Bottle (a big one for your changing table and a small one for your diaper bag)
- Nellie’s Laundry Soda – yes, we really have a 5-gallon bucket of this in our garage to ensure it’ll be years before we had to buy laundry detergent again.
Our system is simple; when it is time to change our son, we take off his old diaper, spray him down with water, then use the cloth wipe to remove the water and urine residue. We remove the previous soaker pad and toss it in the diaper pail, then inspect the diaper shell; two out of three times, it is clean and dry, so snap in a clean soaker pad and reuse it. If it is not, then we toss it in the diaper pail and get a fresh one out. It’s not rocket science. If our son has pooped, we spray the wipe, remove the poo, and then spray him down once the solids are removed (as spraying them directly will cause them to run onto your changing pad…made that mistake once and never again). I find the flannel wipes do a better job than regular cloth at removing it because they are a bit more textured than disposable wipes and catch the solids better. We then apply Earth Mama Baby Balm, which is cloth diaper friendly (FYI, not all diaper balms are so check yours before using with cloth). When we are out and about, we bring a small spray bottle full of water, a few inserts, an extra shell and a small stack of cloth wipes. The dirty diapers and wipes go into a small wet bag and are put into the pail once we get home. The wet bags do a great job of containing smells in the meanwhile so fear not, your diaper bag will stay smelling fresh. If you’re like us and staying in a lot these days, you may rarely have to deal with this.
Then, every other day we do laundry. We run a pre-wash, sanitize cycle, then extra rinse (since detergent build up can decrease the absorbency of your diapers). This combo has helped us to avoid ammonia build up, which is a common problem with high efficiency washing machines. To remove poo stains, we put the diapers out in the sun for a few hours on a drying rack and they magically turn bright white again thanks to the bleaching power of the sun. We do find that to get the Grovia soaker pads dry, you have to flip them inside out halfway through drying them or they’ll take forever because they are so thick and absorbent.
This is what has worked well for our family, but there are tons of different cloth diapering options out there and tons of blogs and YouTube videos on how other people cloth diaper. Once our son grows out of his diapers, likely at 2.5 years old based upon his current growth trajectory, we’ll sell the diapers on Poshmark (which is how we bought them for a killer deal in the first place) and probably buy the Grovia Training Pants, unless he’s toilet trained by then, because we’ve had such good luck with their diapers. So, what are you waiting for? Save money, avoid diaper rash and keep the planet cleaner while staying home by switching to cloth diapers!