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Cloth FAQ Cloth FAQ

There are so many different kinds of diapers and accessories, what are they all?

Prefolds – these are squares of absorbent material with a thicker panel down the middle. You fold and secure them yourself using pins or a snappi. Folding them may require a bit of learning and research. These require a cover and are one of the most cost effective forms of cloth diapering. Abbreviations include CPF – chinese prefold and IPF – indian prefold and they come bleached or unbleached.

Fitteds - These also require a cover. These are diapers with elastic in the legs, back and sometimes the front. Generally secured with snaps or velcro. May or may not have a stay-dry lining.

Covers – Go over prefolds and fitteds to keep your little ones clothes from getting wet. Come made of various materials including PUL, fleece and wool.

Pockets – Daddy and babysitter friendly! These diapers have a stay-dry lining and a waterproof outside so they do not require a cover. They have a pocket where you stuff an insert thus their absorbency is customizable. They are one of the more expensive cloth diapering options. You must change the entire diaper, shell and insert at each diaper change.

All-in-Ones – Just that, all in one. Nothing extra required, just like a disposable but made of cloth. These may not be enough for a heavy wetter as the absorbent material is sewn in which also means they take a longer amount of time to dry. Have a stay-dry lining to keep baby comfortable. One of the more expensive cloth diapering options.

Inserts – These are made of absorbent material such as microfiber, hemp or bamboo and are used to stuff pocket diapers.

Doublers – Use these for a little extra absorbency in prefolds or fitteds or add one to a pocket to make it leak-free overnight. Generally made of microfiber, hemp or bamboo.

Liners – There are two kinds. Fleece liners which are used in prefolds and fitteds that do not have a stay-dry lining to keep baby dry. And disposable/flushable liners which are placed in the diaper to catch solids and make diaper clean up easy. Diaper Sprayers or spatulas also serve a similar purpose.

Pail Liners – these go in the diaper pail to hold the dirty diapers until laundry day. They are washed and dried with the diapers.

Wet Bag – these hold the dirty diapers while you are out and about. Simply take off the dirty diaper and place it in the wet bag, add both to the diaper pail when you get home and wash as normal.

How many diapers do I need? What about everything else?

It depends on how often you want to wash and how old your baby is. Newborns go through more diapers in a day than an older child does so take that into consideration. A good starting point for a newborn is 24-36 diapers and 24 for an older child to allow you to wash every second day.

Additionally you will need 1-2 pail liners (so you can have one in the wash and one to use), a wetbag or two for going out and 12-36 cloth wipes.

What do you suggest for newborns?

Get a little bit of everything if you are just starting out. Try one or two of each thing you are interested in to see what you like (this is a good rule for older babies too). Since newborns grow so fast and go through so many diapers in those early weeks, prefolds and covers are an affordable option. I loved XS Thirsties products on my son as a newborn. The gussets keep the messes in SO well! You will find that one-size options are a little bulky at this age but they will grow into them quickly.

What do I do with the dirty diapers?

After taking the diaper off your child put a wet diaper straight into the diaper pail. Breastfed babies poop can be put directly into the pail, it is water soluble and will come out in the wash. A diaper sprayer or spatula will come in handy to remove poop of babies eating solids or formula. Simply remove the poop into the toilet and put the diaper into the pail. Easy!

How do I wash the diapers?

Put the diapers through a cold rinse first then wash on hot with ¼ the recommended amount of detergent followed by two cold rinses. You may dry them in the dryer on medium or on the line, in or outside. If using the dryer do not use dryer sheets.

What kind of detergent should I use?

Use a detergent free of enzymes, brighteners and perfumes to wash your diapers. These can cause your diapers to repell and leak. Clear and free detergents are generally OK to use. Dreft is NOT good for diapers. Do not use any fabric softeners. Pinstripes and Polka Dots has a comprehensive list of which detergents are OK to use:

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