I knew I wanted to do cloth diapers- for environmental as well as financial reasons- but I was afraid of the mess, and I had a fuzzy understanding of how I could even get the damn things clean without significant personal suffering and commitment of time and energy.
But I finally figured out a system, and I’d love to share it and outline exactly how I handle my baby’s dirty business.
What you need:
- Cloth diapers. I use Gerber gauze cloth diapers. They come in packages of 10 for $19.99. I have 2 packages (20 total) and I do one load of laundry, twice a week.
- Cloth diaper covers. I use Dappi. This keeps the mess and the wetness inside. I bought two for $5. You might want to buy four.
- Painless diaper fasteners. I use Snappi. These keep the diaper on your baby like a belt keep your pants up, and there is no threat of her getting accidentally poked from safety pins.
- Cloth drying rack. This is to save money and energy on electric dryers.
For everything total it will cost you about $85. But then you’re done paying money for diapers- the only thing you’ll spend money on is washing them, but you throw them in with your regular laundry anyways.
- This tutorial helped me a lot. Wrap the diaper around baby. Fasten using Snappi. Cover using Dappi.
- When diaper is soiled, I dunk it in the toilet doing my best to get all the solids off- but you’ll never be able to rinse all of it. Unless you have a douche or mini shower sprayer, you’re going to get your hands a little dirty. Sorry, life is shitty sometimes. Wet diapers do not need to be dunked, they can go straight into the bucket:
- I have a bucket I keep in the bath tub filled with water- right next to the toilet. Drop all diapers into the bucket. You’ll rinse them all at the end of the day. Doing all of the diapers at the end of the day is more ergonomic for your back, and will save you time.
- At the end of the day, when your baby has gone to sleep, take all of the diapers in the bucket and rinse them. Fecal matter should be minimal because you took care of that through dunking. Pour the dirty water out of the bucket. Rinse the diapers with hot water in the bath tub. Ring the diapers out and gather them in the bucket. Take bucket to your drying station:
- Cloth drying racks are great because they’re good for the planet and save money. They also fold up and tuck away into closets and corners easily. At the end of the day, take out your cloth drying rack and air dry your cloth diapers over night. By the morning, they will definitely all be dry, and you can fold the rack up and hide it out of sight again.
- My baby usually uses about 8 diapers in a day. Take the dunked, rinsed and air-dried soiled diapers and immediately put them in your dirty laundry hamper. The diapers that were just wet however, you can fold up and re-use again. This will help you minimize laundry while keeping everything decent and sanitary.
FYI we keep a stash of disposable diapers for when we go out, because the absorption is better and the chance of leaks is less. But I estimate we will spend no more than $200 for the duration of our baby’s diaper-wearing period. Compare that with the average $3,000 per child other families spend on disposables. When I was waiting tables it took me nearly a whole month to make that kind of cash- that’s time you could be spending with your family.
Hope this inspires you.