When my cousin Brittany and her partner Michael announced they were only going to use cloth diapers once their son was born, I was excited, proud, and mostly intrigued. Though I've had friends with kids who have gone the non-traditional route for with their diapering choices, I was still a bit clueless as to how it all worked. If you're a bit curious, too, or are thinking about going green, then you're probably wondering what kind of cloth diaper hacks are out there to help make parenthood run more smoothly.
If you're not familiar with the difference between disposable and cloth diapers, there are just a few essentials to know. The most obvious difference is that disposable diapers are typically made of synthetic material and are good for only one use. On the other hand, how cloth diapers work is that you can reuse them multiple times (after washing or replacing an insert) so you can go easy on your wallet and the environment.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to selecting which cloth diaper method will work best for you, but regardless of which style you choose, there are plenty of great cloth diaper hacks to save you time and effort.
1. Avoid Plants
In the effort to go green, you might be surprised that using plant-based detergents could be doing your cloth diapers a disservice. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, "stay away from detergents that contain plant oils; they cause your cloth diapers to leak." So if you've noticed your cloth diapers aren't as absorbent as they used to be, switch to a plant oil-free detergent for a quick solution.
2. Size Down
Some cloth diaper brands offer a "one size fits all" style. If you have found that the smallest setting is still too loose, We Are The Strange has a brilliant cloth diaper hack for newborns or smaller infants.
3. Try Wet & Dry
Many parents wonder if they should let soiled cloth diapers soak or if they should leave them be until it's time to do a load of laundry. Beth Eckert, founder of The Cloth Diaper Connection, told Parents, to "rinse the cloth diapers off after changing your baby, then throw them into the dry pail." This way they get a bit of a mini-soak without the mess of a wet diaper or the smell of a bunch of un-rinsed, dry diapers.
4. Catch Some Rays
Do you have some stains that just won't seem to go away? Rather than using bleach and risking damage to the material, try a surprisingly simple (and free) alternative. The folks at Think Green Parenting recommended sun bleaching to get cloth diapers clean, remove stains and brighten whites.
5. Spray Away
Let's get honest for a second. You will, at some point, encounter a really gross diaper after your child has had a bowel movement. A quick and easy way to dispose of the contents and clean the cloth diaper would be super helpful. According to the popular cloth diaper company, Glow Bug, "diaper sprayers attach to the plumbing behind your toilet and have a little hose and sprayer on the end." This way you can get rid of the bowel movement in the toilet, spray the diaper clean over the bowl, then flush away and toss your cloth diaper into the laundry.
6. Create Liners
If you've chosen cloth diapers which use removable inserts or liners, you might be wondering if there is a cheaper alternative. Dr. Nissa Mollema, a medical and clinical data analyst, told Cloth Diaper Guru that you can make DIY cloth diaper liners with fleece by simply purchasing some at a local craft store and cutting them to size.
7. Get Rid Of Build-Up
Some stains and oily build-up just don't want to give up easily when it comes to cloth diapers. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, "five to six washes with hot water and no detergent will remove residue and restore your cloth diapers' absorbency."
8. Have A Back-Up
One hack my friend introduced me to was a lifesaver during diaper disasters. If you're going out and don't want to pack a whole, big baby bag, carry a few maxi-pads for cloth diaper emergencies. Pads are absorbent and can tide you over til you get home.
9. Hang Out
Remember when people used to have clothes line to hang their wet laundry from? Or maybe your grandma told you about it back in the day. Well, if you don't have one, no need to worry. Glow Bug's hack for drying is, "if your diapers have snaps on them, you can snap them to each other to create a long chain that needs no clothes line."