TGI Friday Open Thread: Are You Guys Seriously Washing Cloth Diapers?

1shutterstock_70042510__1374247918_74.134.205.46Confession! I never used cloth diapers because I’m a terrible person and I probably pretty much destroyed the planet and if I could go into the Wayback™ machine I would use cloth and also a lovely service who would launder the diapers for me. Maybe we need an open thread on what we would do differently if we could all go into the Wayback™ (I’m looking at you third vodka tonic I had last week.) SO anyway, what are all of your babies defectating in? Cloth or disposable? Got any favorite brands? Did you also only buy Pampers like me because that commercial with the baby animals and Rod Stewart‘s cover of Forever Young made you cry?

How old were your kids when you busted out the potty chair for them? I seriously bought a stupid potty chair that played MUSIC. My kids never used it. I have shame about this. So let’s discuss diapers and techniques and also, do you hate the Diaper Genie as much as I do because I was too stupid to figure out how to change it? I’m sure it technically rocks but I did not graduate from MIT so I had no clue how to change that shizz.

Diapers and diapering: GO GO GO!

(Photo: Michael Pettigrew/shutterstock)

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  • Rachelle

    Because I’m a sucker for great branding and design, I wish Honest Company delivered their biodegradable, ridiculously adorable printed diapers to Canada. But they don’t. So I’ll stick to Pampers because they have an iPhone app that lets me collect stupid codes for points. The points I haven’t entered in their damn app in months because I just don’t have time anymore. Ugh.

    • Eve Vawter

      I never enter points. for anything, which means. I suck.

    • Rachelle

      Listen, I tried pretending I totally wanted to become an extreme couponer for a hot minute. And then I got bored.

    • Véronique Houde

      you know, by the time she’s three you’ll probably be able to buy a book with those points.

    • MoD

      The diaper points are a joke. And I am a couponer, because after having a kid I don’t really do my time-consuming hobbies anymore, but my husband leaves me alone to coupon because it saves a bunch of money and I get him candy and chocolate with coupons. Anyway, yeah, the diaper points are a joke. I save them for both Huggies and Pampers and you would think after boxes upon boxes of diapers and wipes you’d get something, but no. And WHY in the hell are the codes so ridiculously long and complicated?

  • SDA

    No on cloth diapers. My husband wasn’t feelin’ it and I be damned if I’m going to work 40 hours a week and be the only one washing diapers. Plus, I have heard from various sources (former cloth diaper users) that your washing machine can kinda smell like poop after a while. We could have probably gone the diaper service route, but with once a week pickup it still seems that there would have to be some poop washing somewhere, so it just seemed an extra step to deal with to still be elbow deep in it. I’m just going to try and potty train early (haha) and that will be my part to save the environment.

    We use SAM’s brand diapers. Cheap(er), work as good, and have cute zoo animals on them and not Disney branded characters, all pluses.

    And a big NO on the diaper genie. Another gross object that stores poop. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want the poop far away as soon as it exits. Fortunately our house is one level and the outside can easily accessible.

  • Véronique Houde

    Guilty as charged. My progeny sits her ass into cloth diapers and I personally don’t mind it. Your washer doesn’t smell like poop because you don’t actually put the poop in the wash (you flush the liners with said poop on them in toilet).

    We did it mainly for the financial reasons. Saving approximately 2000$ because my mom bought them was probably not necessary but super helpful on our monthly budget. And the diapers are adorable.

    And washing them takes 5 minutes of my time every 4 days. So it’s not that big of a deal really.

  • LadyClodia

    Breastfeeding my first son took up so much of my sanity that I was not willing to give up any more of it dealing with cloth diapers. We used Pampers for him probably for the first year because they fit his roundness better than the other brands, then we switched to Kirkland or Huggies. He didn’t potty train until he was 3 1/2 which was way too late, but oh well. I had considered cloth diapering our younger son, but at that point hubby was working away from home all week, and I just didn’t want to deal with something else. We usually use Huggies for him now; we had used Kirkland too, but they changed the diapers this year and now they suck.

    We use the Munchkin diaper pail with the disposable bags, and that thing is great.

    We have not started to potty train our younger son yet (he’s 20 months) and I imagine we’ve still got about 6 months until we do. At his 18 month well visit the pediatrician said that it would be good to start potty training him this summer. I managed not to laugh in her face. I did tell her that we would at least be waiting to start until after we go to Europe in September. There is no way I would want to deal with a small, recently potty-trained child in Europe.

  • allisonjayne

    We try to use cloth as much as possible. We used disposable until the umbilical cord fell off. We also started using a disposable at night at around…6 months maybe because she was waking up really wet. At around 18 months, daycare started giving us hell about using cloth (they’d said they were fine with it, but when she switched into the senior room, the teacher there started making up these excuses about how she wasn’t moving as well, was wet all the time, etc)….finally it wasn’t worth the hassle so now she’s in disposable at daycare as well.

    So now she’s mostly only in cloth on the weekends, but oh well…we did still save a lot of money using exclusively cloth for the first 6 months, and then almost exclusively cloth for the next 6 months save for that one night diaper. We did it mostly for the money, to be honest. Also the cuteness and the environment.

    I like bummis prefolds and covers, or these really nice pockets an internet friend of mine makes and I really wish I could remember the name of her company.

    • Véronique Houde

      Did you use extra liners for the nights? Since we’ve been adding an extra layer of bamboo cloth, she’s been waking up fine.

    • allisonjayne

      Yeah, we tried that….it didn’t seem to help. She sleeps on her stomach, and it seemed like no matter which style we tried, she’d get leaking from her legs and her pajamas/bed would be wet.

    • DrStephanieDVM

      My girls sleep on their stomachs too,mother solution for us was a fitted diaper(with a couple extra layers) and wool covers for bedtime.

  • Rachel Sea

    I like cloth. You can get a sprayer attachment for your toilet tank that lets you rinse the dirty diaper with clean water so that most of the waste goes into the toilet bowl. Then you just need a waterproof bin to hold the diapers before you throw them in the wash in the evening. If they go in the dryer before bed, you have a load of fresh clean diapers waiting for you. If you follow the diaper wash with a load of laundry that can be washed hot, or with bleach, then you know for sure your washer is always clean. If you live somewhere inside a diaper service area, you never even have to do that.

    None of the kids I potty-trained had a kid potty. We put a step up to the regular toilet, and installed a child sized seat over the adult seat so they couldn’t fall in.

    • SDA

      I’ve been curious about how the child-sized seats work, are they easy to pop off or use if an adult needs to run into the bathroom in an emergency? I’d like to avoid using the little potty if at all possible.

    • Justme

      We don’t use the child-sized seat at all. My daughter just sits way back and spreads her legs out while I tell her to “aim down.”

  • TngldBlue

    We used Walmart brand cause they seemed to work ok and at least we saved some money. If I could go back though I think I’d give cloth ones a try-I didn’t realize back then they are not the same as the cloth ones of yore. As for the Diaper Genie up until two days ago I would’ve exclaimed over how much I loved it. When we did a house clean out I found a dirty diaper that some asshat (wasn’t me, couldn’t have been me) had put in there and then never disposed of before storing the Genie in our extremely hot attic. After I threw up, I tossed the whole thing.

  • Anika

    I do cloth, I never thought it was a big deal to do an extra load of laundry every 3 days. Its really not very hard.

  • Blueathena623

    Walmart brand. Props to moms who use cloth, but not for me.

    • Melanie Makin

      Wal Mart now sells cloth in some locations :D

  • alice

    i would love to use cloth when we have a baby. but i’m not sure i’m up to doing laundry that often.

    we do laundry once a week, sometimes less. :) maybe having a baby will make me want to do laundry more. but i doubt it.

    • Véronique Houde

      I clean them every four days. It’s a lot easier than you might imagine since there’s no pre-soaking, no bleaching, no extra steps at all. If you take them apart every time you change the diaper, then all you have to do when you need to do a load is toss them in the washer, put the soap in, and then drier. There isn’t really any folding involved (I just put them together when i’m changing the diaper). If you can spare 10 minutes every four days, you’re basically a big winner at the end of the three years of diapering (more if you have more children).

  • mmw814

    Before I had my son, I was adamant that I wanted to use cloth diapers–I hated the thought of filling up landfills with diapers and I had read several blog posts that romanticized the use of cloth diapers. However, my husband was just as adamant that we NOT use cloth diapers. World War III ensued (no kidding). Eventually he won out, mainly because he said he was going to use disposables when we changed diapers, regardless of what I used. Now that my son is three months old, I am glad that we don’t use cloth diapers. Laundry has always been my Achilles heel and we don’t have a diaper service where we live. Plus, now that I see how much my son poops in a day, there is no way I could keep up, especially since I work full time. We only recently had to buy diapers (most were given to us at my shower) and we like Pampers the best. We do have a diaper genie and I make my husband chagne it because I broke teh first one we bought by trying to put int the bags.

  • sallyjone

    I’ve heard that cloth diapers actually have a larger carbon footprint, what with the company driving around to pick up/drop off, and the electricity and water used to wash them. Maybe that’s a myth though… I use disposables but, in my defence, they go into the compost bin in my city! So, maybe I’m saving the planet after all?

    • Véronique Houde

      i think that’s debatable – and depends on where in the world you live. You’re supposed to wash them in cold water so that already saves a lot of electricity, and if you live in an area where it’s hydroelectricity, then it doesn’t have that much of a footprint (like here in Quebec). At the end of the day, the carbon footprint is a lot lower than for disposable diapers, which take an eternity to disintegrate…

    • ratiomom

      How on earth are you going to get them anywhere near clean and hygienic in cold water? I have trouble getting poo stains out of onesies on a hot setting! Moreover, bacteria aren`t killed by temperatures under 140 degrees. Anything less and they actually thrive! Sanitising cloth diapers in cold water would require harsh chemical detergents with their own ecological impact. I`m very worried about the hygienic aspect of the whole cloth diapering thing if you aren`t using either heat or chemicals.

      I think the best thing for the environment are those biodegradable disposables they have nowadays. Unfortinately they`re double the price of huggies…

    • Véronique Houde

      Here are care instructions for diapers. It might help you understand.

      Always remember that the way that the diapers are made, poop doesn’t really touch the diaper itself. It goes on a biodegradable liner that is flushed away in the toilet.

      It isn’t the point when cleaning diapers to get all the stains out. It’s the point to get them clean. Stains FYI are best bleached out by exposure to the sun (on a clothes line) if you’re wondering. And on onesies, your best bet is oxy clean or resolve.

      Choosing the right detergent
      It is essential that you use a detergent suitable for cloth diapers so that they remain absorbant.
      The ideal detergent should not contain:
      Optical brighteners
      Without or with very few essential oilsIt is also important to follow the maximum quantities recommended for cloth diapers. Diapers that loose absorption or smell bad even after a wash most likely have detergent residue. If that is your case, please follow the Shock Treatment instructions.
      Many detergent brands are available in store. You can also use soap nuts or magnets.

      Washing the diapers
      It is recommended to do a pre wash (if your washer has this option) in cold water to remove any stool remaining. A dirty diaper washed immediately in hot water will more easily stain.
      You can then wash the diapers::
      In the washer (top or frontal load)
      Using warm or hot water
      At maximum water levelNever use softener or bleach with your diapers. Softener leaves major deposits that can impact aborption and cause diaper rash, and bleach will damage the elastics and cause premature wear. If you use liquid softener for regular load in between diaper washes, you might get a residue problem as well.
      It is recommended to wash your diapers every 2 days, 3 maximum, to avoid odors. Do not wash more than 20 diapers at a time. You can perform an extra rince to make sure that all the detergent is rinced out. If you have a front load washer, you can add two soaked towels to your wash to add more weight. this will ensure that the washer uses more water.
      Never wash your diapers using the sanitize mode or any mode that uses extremely hot water.

    • Melanie Makin

      There is some crazy talk going on here. Not every cloth-diapering parent uses liners; poop DOES go on the diaper. You dump/spray it off into the toilet, but then that soiled diaper goes into the wash. Cloth diapers are meant to be washed in hot water (per the care instructions), otherwise you’re setting yourself up for a mess of detergent residue or ammonia buildup, all resulting in rash and stink.

    • Ashley L Reece

      Very true. I prewash my diapers in cold & wash in hot with detergent and a second rinse. You should most defintely wash in HOT water!!

  • lilacorchid

    Disposables. I tried cloth for a while (friends gave me a bunch of different kinds from their giant stacks of cloth diapers) and they were okay, but not great. I didn’t really care for any of them, I had to change then twice as often, and then wash them too?
    I smacked the Easy Button and never looked back.

    • Véronique Houde

      really? maybe it’s the type of diaper you used, by the absorbancy in the brands I use is pretty on par with disposables (which we use when we go out for an extended period of time)

  • Kate

    Just pulled a batch of cloth diapers off the clothesline while barefoot and nursing my 10 week old. I don’t care what kind of person that makes me. I’ll take that scenario over schlepping to Target for disposables any day.

    • Myriam

      Your comment reminds me that I never ran out of diapers! I always had extra diapers from my “not-prefered” stach if I ever got lazy or forgot to put my diapers in the wash or in the dryer. If I realized I was about to run out, I’d start the wash and in less than 3 hours, I would have clean diapers! I sometimes even put “whites” or really dirty clothes in the washer with the diapers. Honest question for the people who are afraid of “dirtying’ the washer : where do you wash your underwear, or poopy clothes after accidents?

    • Leigha7

      A lot of people dealing with diapers haven’t gotten to that point yet–that’s something that really only affects kids who are no longer in diapers. And even if they have an older kid who sometimes has accidents, it’s likely far, far less often than the baby needs a diaper change. A couple times a month (or however often) isn’t going to have the same affect as several times a day.

  • WantonWhimsy

    We cloth diapered. I read up on all the different information and even with the extra washing and etc, it was better for the environment and way cheaper (even with a service). We used the service probably longer than we should have because even with both of us working 40+ hours a week and an older special needs child, cloth diapering was never that much of a hassle. We used 7th Gen as back up/traveling (if we weren’t going to have access to a washer for a couple days) and never had a problem with daycare (all in-home, though). The sprayer attachment is so necessary and I still find it useful for when our now 3 yr old has the rare accident. Never had an issue with my washing machine smelling, and that’s not an issue I’ve ever heard before… wonder if it has to do with type of water / soap used? I was surprised by how many judgy comments I got while cloth diapering and felt pressured to downgrade how great and easy modern cloth diapers are to use.

  • Myriam

    We used cloth diapers (bumgenius 4.0 with snaps) with my 1st, and they are ready to go when the 2nd one is big enough for them (around 1 month old generally). My husband was hesitant, but after a couple of off-kilter diapers, he now has more problems putting on a disposable than cloth! We got luck with a local-governement subsidy and our whole stack of diapers cost us under $300, and that was all we used for 11 months. After, we started using 1 disposable diaper per night (buying at WalMart or Costco). My daughter was day-trained by 26 months. The daycare didn’t mind the all-in-one diapers we used. I don’t mind the two extra loads of laundry a week. By the way. the machine doesn’t get dirty : if the diapers come out clean, so is the machine!). Being in Québec, our electricity (water-heater included) is from a renewable ressource and our carbon footprint is much smaller than if you get your electricity from coal-burning plants.

    • Myriam

      Also, I never had a poop blow-out in cloths! I’ll take a pee-leak anyway over a poop-up-the-back-up-to-your-hair accident!

  • AlexMMR

    I had such good intentions. I bought a variety of cloth diapers. Some all in ones that go up to potty training, some properly sized that you put a pre-fold into. I think I have 2 of just about every style of cloth diaper imaginable. My grandmother got me 6 months of diaper service before she passed. That ended up being a billion burp cloths being picked up by a truck every week.

    Then I had twins that were both under 5lbs. Even the preemie sized ones were huge on them. Their diapered bums were twice the size of their heads!

    I gave it a valiant effort. We would do one cloth diaper a day for each of the girls to see if we could convince ourselves to use them more often. Then one of my girls went into a Pavlik harness making diapering 10x more difficult. And that was the end of our cloth diaper experiment. I still have them available and when the girls go up to the next size diapers and they get that much more expensive, maybe we’ll give it another go.

    We get the Comfort Baby brand diapers. They’re around 17 cents per diaper and one of the very few brands that doesn’t give my sensitive girl a rash. If a store brand is on sale for cheaper, I’ll pick up a supply of those and use them up on the one that isn’t sensitive.

  • EmmsMom

    We use bumgenius 4.0 cloth diapers–they are awesome. Our daughter prefers them to disposable, and in the long run we’re saving a ton of money. We paid about $500 for our diapers upfront, but they will last through potty training and we could use them for our next kid. The average cost for using disposable diapers is $1200 a year!

  • Kristina FamilyWorkLife

    With my son I never even contemplated cloth. Keeping my sanity upon entering motherhood was hard enough. Around 18 months he had a wicked diaper rash and we let him run around naked and soon realized he wasn’t leaving puddles, so we started potty training. He did fairly well, but it wasn’t until 2 1/2 that he was fully trained.

    Four years later came baby #2, and I used cloth for the first time at 4 days old. I fell in love. I have fewer blowouts and it’s not that much extra work, really. I am now back at work FT so she’s in disposables at daycare, but cloth in the evenings and weekends. We also put her in a disposable overnight because she doesn’t feel the wetness of the diaper so she sleeps longer. I think we can all agree that we’d diaper our babies in paper money if it meant they would sleep through the night, am I right?

  • Jem

    Not only do I cloth diaper, but I hand wash them every night! Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but honestly it is not as bad as I thought it would be! I got Charlie Banana All In One which makes it super convenient.

    I will say though that I am by no means perfect and just started cloth diapering when my son turned 16 months….WAY late, but I am just now staying at home with him. I don’t think I could have done it when I was working 40+ hours a week….

    Like a previous poster said, I would just get sick thinking of landfills full of disposable diapers that don’t go away for 1,000 years….ewwww

    buuut I guess I do try to time his regular poop of the day by sticking a disposable (target brand) on him…soooo one a day is better than 8? :)

  • MoD

    I really thought about cloth diapering but it just hasn’t happened. This is my first baby and my priority going in was/is breastfeeding and I just didn’t want to overwhelm myself. And although I spent a lot of time researching cloth diapering I’m still very confused about the different kinds. I use coupons and sales to buy Pampers and Huggies. We usually have better luck with Pampers because our baby is quite rotund. I recently bought a box of the Target store brand to try them out and they’re not bad. Now that I’m working/commuting 50 hours a week I’m glad I’m doing disposables, although it sounds like the time commitment with cloth isn’t horrible. I’m pumping at work, and that’s enough time commitment for me – breaks at work and prepping in the morning and washing bottles at night!

    We use a Diaper Genie, and my husband changes it and sometimes mocks me for not knowing how to change it. But I love that thing and I never, ever smell dirty diapers in my baby’s room.

  • Wendy

    Sadly, we used disposables. I wanted to get cloth diapers and even looked into it, but it just didn’t happen. I felt pretty guilty, but a wise/smart-ass friend of mine laughingly told me that someday they’d figure out how to turn old disposable diapers into fuel and I’d be depriving the world of a future energy source….basically….I didn’t need to feel so guilty about it–it’s not like I had 15 kids in disposables and I do my best to be earth friendly in every other possible way.
    We had a Diaper Genie for the first kid and you had to buy those stupid refills that get expensive, and then made it look like a disgusting cartoon-looking-sausage chain of diapers….. (I’m not sure if Diaper Genie brand still does that….the kid’s like 9). 2nd kid—Diaper Champ…which seals away the awful smell but you can use regular trash bags. Awesome!

  • Hilary MacNeal

    We did cloth & washed them ourselves in cold water. 2 loads a week, dried on the clothesline, so we didn’t feel it made a larger carbon footprint. I loved cloth – they never, ever, ever leaked. The only times I had blowouts were when we used disposables (& we found a great compostable brand that we were able to compost ourselves). And my son has super-sensitive skin, so they were really gentle on him. Luckily, his daycare was willing to do cloth as long as I supplied a wetbag to put the dirty diapers in.
    We bought a potty when he was 1, but he didn’t start training until 2 1/2. I’m too lazy to clean up pee & poop off my floor every day, so we let him train himself when he was ready. Took a couple of months, but we barely had any accidents. He’s just 3 now & day-trained.

  • pontificatrix

    Washing diapers is way less annoying than dealing with huge trash bags IMO. We did cloth for both kids until 18 months when they went to daycare and I couldn’t handle the thought of having to dig through a big bag of dirty diapers to find the day-old poop and dispose of it. But as long as they were home full time, cloth was great and no harder than disposables.

  • Looby

    I’ve been using cloth diapers since my little girl came out of hospital at 3 days old. We just spent 3 weeks in disposables because we were in a hotel while my husband was on a business trip. She had more blowouts, leaks, red bum in those 3 weeks than the previous 4 months. I swear she had the biggest smile when we got home and she snuggled down into clean prefold.
    I used a diaper laundry service for the first 3 months of her life but once we got settled washing 10-15 nappies a day was not a huge inconvenience

  • Melanie Makin

    I’ve used cloth diapers since day 6. Baby is 17 months now and has been potty training for a month, so now only wears diapers at night. We don’t use a diaper service; they go right into our washing machine in the basement. It’s really not that big a deal, and they’re way cuter and more affordable this way (cloth diaper services get PRICEY, and there isn’t one in my state anyway). I love Thirsties, BumGenius and Chelory, but I’ll admit that the bulk of my stash is Sunbaby.