School of Cloth is a month long cloth diaper education event put on by the Real Diaper Association! The RDA is a non profit organization that passionately advocates for the usage of reusable cloth diapers. I joined the RDA as a business member in 2011 and also as an individual member this year when I became an accredited Real Diaper Circle Leader or cloth diaper educator. The RDA also started The Great Cloth Diaper Change, a Guinness World Record event held annually that has gained major popularity since it’s first year in 2011. The topic of discussion for week 1 of the School of Cloth is about how to get started with cloth diapers as well as how to wash them.
When one considers using cloth diapers and begins to research them the options can be incredibly overwhelming. With so many different options for style and brand it can be so frustrating that some might scrap the whole idea before they even try any. There is however, a much easier way to test out several different types and brands of cloth without hurting your wallet. Cloth diaper trial packages are available from several companies like Jillian’s Drawers or Diaper Junction. (Check out this HUGE list of trials offered by a bunch of companies here!) These trial packages allow you to either select which diapers you’d like to try or pick from a few different packages so you can try the brands and styles that appeal most to you. In most cases a deposit is required but if you return them the deposit is refunded minus a small fee, typically about $10 + shipping. That means you can try a bunch of diapers for less than $20 risk free! Once you find a style/brand you love you’ll be ready to invest in a “stash” for your baby.
So how many diapers will you need? Well let’s figure that the typical infant uses 8-10 diapers a day. Now ask yourself, “How often do I want to wash diapers?”. I never recommend going more than 3 days between washes so a good sized stash would consist of 20-30 diapers with the average stash being 24. That will have you doing a load every other day. Now if you’d feel more comfortable starting with part time cloth diapering I’d say 10-12 is a decent starting point. Many prefer to jump right in and leave disposables behind forever, while others choose to test the waters before hopping in. Either way it’s a positive step towards a better environment and a healthier option for your baby!
Now how about washing those dirties? What do you do with the poop??? Never fear folks! It’s so much easier than you might think! Starting with a newborn. If your newborn is exclusively breastfed you don’t have to do anything to remove poop. It’s 100% organic and water soluble! Think of a bit of spilled yogurt on your shirt. Just toss it in and let the washer do the work. It washes out clean and nothing is left in your machine. Now if your baby has any amount of formula or solids then you will need to remove as much poop as possible using any number of solutions. Here’s a detailed list and video from Dirty Diaper Laundry to help you find the best option for you.
Once solids are removed the most common wash routine would be to do a cold rinse to remove additional urine and waste followed by a hot wash with a cloth safe detergent and 1-2 cold rinses. I always go for the extra rinse on the end just to be sure my diapers are as clean as possible. Before you place them in a dryer on medium heat or hang them out to dry, give them a sniff. You shouldn’t smell urine or feces on the fabric. If it smells like either, wash again. Make sure you use enough detergent to clean. On average, 1-2 TBLS depending on the machine. You also need enough water. Too little will not properly clean your diapers. Imagine a stew and aim for that. Many HE washers won’t let you increase the water setting so see if you can manually add it into the detergent spot or into the drum itself. This will help ensure nice clean fluff for your baby! Most importantly remember that not all wash routines or washing machines are equal. What works for me may not work for you. Utilize forums and social pages or groups to gain advice and find what works for you!
Here’s a Cloth Diaper Guide I put together to explain everything you need to know about cloth and assist further in getting you started on your cloth diapering journey.
Feel free to contact me with any questions and make sure to visit the other blogs in the School of Cloth Blog Hop at the bottom of this post to gain additional info on getting started!