June 15, 2015

Things I've Learned about Cloth Diapering Six Months In

In January, I made a post about what cloth diapering looks like for us. I've learned A LOT since then. Cloth diapering is still easier than most people think, but it's not as easy as I was making it. I feel like I need to correct some of the things I THOUGHT I knew back then, by explaining what I've learned.

1. Using half of the recommended amount of detergent is just stupid.
I honestly don't know why most cloth diaper companies recommend this, but it doesn't make any sense. I can call it stupid because I believed it for a long time. Many websites and blogs will tell you that you may experience detergent build up, but that's not true. If you think about it, why would you wash your DIRTIEST laundry with LESS detergent.

2. Hard water is what really causes build up.
It's no the detergent that causes build up but rather minerals in your water. I have pretty hard well water, so I was dealing with ammonia smell because of mineral and bacterial build up. I now use Calgon water softener and add it to my prewash and main wash.

3. Extra rinses aren't necessary and can be harmful if you have hard water.
If you washed your diapers properly, there is no need for an extra rinse. Your washer already does a rinse at the end of a wash cycle and an extra rinse can deposit more minerals.

4. Not all detergents are created equal.
So, apparently a lot of the "cloth diaper safe" detergents are not even really detergents, but rather soap based and do not get diapers clean. Also, free and clear and plant based detergents (which I use exclusively) require more detergent because they aren't as strong. This is an area where I won't bend though. I feel very strongly about using fewer chemicals and perfumes on all of us, but particularly Cai, especially on such a sensitive area.

5. Adding wet towels to your load is not necessary.
HE washing machines use the amount of water needed to wash. As long as you have enough diapers in there to agitate against each other, your load will be fine. In addition, adding a large bath towel can actually keep your diapers from getting clean because the diapers can get wrapped up inside the towel and not agitate well. It is okay though to add small items to your main wash, after your prewash to increase agitation and do fewer loads.

6. Cloth diapering gets harder when baby starts eating solids. 
We're getting to the point now where I'm going to need to start rinsing poop off diapers, and I am not looking forward to it. So far we've gotten away with just liners and tossing what they catch, but that's not going to cut it much longer as Cai starts actually swallowing more of what he chews up.

7. Cloth diapering is a lot of trial and error. 
You learn as you go. This diaper fits better than that one. This one is good for over night. Oh, wait, he pees more now, so that doesn't work anymore. I only like pocket diapers, oh wait, flats and covers are pretty nice too.

So in my last post about cloth, I shared my wash routine, and, since I've found that it doesn't work anymore, I thought I'd share my new one. I actually had to do a strip and a bleach soak because of our ammonia problems due to our bad routine, but now things are going pretty well, although I think I need to find a cheaper natural detergent because Seventh Generation is pretty pricey right now.

I wash every 1.5-2 days (that's how many diapers my wet bag will fit).

  • Cold quick wash (30 minutes) with a capful of Calgon and line 3 of Seventh Generation detergent
  • Main wash (1hr 30 min.) on hot with a capful of Calgon and a full cap of Seventh Generation detergent.
  • Hang to dry (except my natural fibers which dry stiff on the clothes line) or toss in dryer on medium.
For more help with your wash routine try these links from Fluffloveuniversity.com

Do you cloth diaper? What have you learned? Is it easier or harder than you thought?


  1. Thanks for this! I've got my stash all ready to start cloth diapering as soon as Ivy is born, and I'm glad I got a variety of different kinds, just in case one works better than another at particular times. I'm sure I'll refer back to this as we get going!

    1. Hi Megan! I'm so glad you found this post! I'm glad it helped, but I am by no means an expert. I HIGHLY recommend checking out those Fluff Love University links and their troubleshooting Facebook group. Since making this post, I got help with some stink issues I was having by asking questions in the Facebook group. Enjoy your fluff!



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