Cloth Diaper Kids Blog

FuzziBunz cloth diapers and other green baby products

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I Hate Laundry. How Much Extra Laundry Will Cloth Diapers Make?

Lots of people get on the Cloth Diapering Wagon because they want to save money, keep diapers out of landfills and keep baby healthy, but when it comes to actually putting words into action the issue of laundry often gives them pause.  When cloth diapers are mentioned it’s not uncommon for me to hear the ‘I hate laundry’ excuse or the ‘Haha, I already do enough laundry’ comment.  But let’s consider how much ‘laundry’ is really involved in cloth diapering shall we?

Generally speaking we advise that you plan to wash your diapers every 2-3 days.  Why?  Because then you don’t need to store too many diapers, there are fewer odors and you get less staining.  Prompt washing also keeps the diaper fabrics in better shape over the long-term.

So, that gives you maybe 3 loads of laundry a week.  But you know what?  You’re going to be doing a lot more laundry with a new baby anyway and while clothing needs to be washed, dried, folded and put away, diapers just need washing and drying.  You only have to fold your diapers if you want to, it’s not mandatory at all.  In fact, I rarely do it.

Plus it’s nowhere near the effort required to haul smelly bags of disposable diapers to the curb, especially in a Canadian winter.  And just the thought of running out of disposable diapers and having to pack up baby and go to the store at an inconvenient time is more than I can handle.  Throw your cloth diapers in the washing machine.  30 seconds.  Done.

Conclusion?  Yes.  You will have a couple more loads of laundry.  But no.  It’s not a big deal.  You’ll probably find you like doing diaper laundry more than any other kind of laundry too.

Still not convinced?  Try cloth diapering part-time.  Discover the benefits and figure out first-hand, without a big investment, how little ‘work’ it really is.

Pick 6 Cloth Diapers Starter Kit + Free Gifts


My Cloth Diapers Smell – How Do I Fix Them?

When it comes to cloth diapers, there are different smells and different ways to deal with them.  But one thing that holds true in all situations is that your diapers are smelling because they aren’t getting clean enough in the wash.  Here’s how to fix them and how to tweak your wash routine so it doesn’t come back.

Diapers smell like a ‘barnyard’
If you have a smell that’s kinda like a barnyard (sorta poopy and gross) it generally means you need more detergent.  You are either using a detergent that isn’t strong enough to deal with dirty diapers or not enough of it.  Use the proper amount of detergent as recommended on the package for the size of the load you are doing (regardless of whether you’re using a mainstream commercially available brand or a cloth diaper specific brand).  Bigger load needs more detergent.  Have you added water to your load or increased the water level?  Then increase your detergent accordingly.  You need the proper ratio of detergent to water to clean properly.  Diluted detergent or incomplete rinsing = poop residue left on your diapers = barnyard smell.

Note: changing to a different detergent (Tide or Charlie’s Soap is great) or adding a water softener like Calgon (1/4 cup in with the detergent) to your wash can also help if you have harder water.  Remember, detergent that works well for one person won’t necessarily work well for you.  Water quality, type of washing machine, diaper fabrics and style (prefolds vs. pockets vs. all in ones) can all play a large part in finding a wash routine and detergent that work to achieve proper cleaning.

Diapers smell strongly of ammonia
If you have ammonia issues, see our post on how to deal with it here.

Still have questions?  Contact us or get in touch with the manufacturer of your diapers for more troubleshooting advice.


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Sized Diapers or One Size….Which Is Better?

When we do consultations with Moms-to-Be, we often get asked which are better, sized diapers, or one size so called ‘Birth to Potty’ diapers?

Well the answer depends on several things, so let’s go through some pros and cons of each to help you decide too…

Sized Diapers465208_10150672020690155_190282377_o
Examples: FuzziBunz Perfect Size, Applecheeks, Thirsties and Bummis prefolds with covers.

Sized diapers are diapers that come in more than one size to get baby diapered from birth to potty training.  They might come in Small, Medium, Large, or Size 1, Size 2 varieties.  They key with these is that they have snaps or velcro in the front and no other adjustability.  They are designed to fit specific weight ranges.  Size 1 Applecheeks, for example, fit from 7-20lbs which roughly corresponds as birth to about 9 months at which time you’d move into size 2 that would take you from that point until potty training.

Most people shy away from sized diapers when they hear that they’ll have to buy 2 sets of diapers, each in a different size, but in reality, you don’t really have to buy 2 full sets.  Newborns need 10-12 diapers per day, but once they get older (6+months or so) they only require 6-8 diaper changes, so once you move up to the bigger size, you need fewer diapers than you did in the smaller size.

Another benefit is that over time, sized diapers tend to hold up better because they see less overall use.  A sized diaper is only used while baby is in the weight range, while a one size diaper will be used the entire time baby is in diapers.  Less overall use = less washes and less wear and tear.  This is especially important if you intend to use your diapers for more than one baby or if you want to preserve better re-sale value on the used market for when you are done with diapers.

But what are the biggest benefits of size diapers?  Ease of use and trim fit.  Without extra elastics or a front full of snaps to fiddle with, sized diapers are more intuitive to use, are not as confusing to fasten.  This is nice for dads, daycares, babysitters or grandparents who may be lending a hand in the diapering department.  Sized diapers also tend to have a really great trim fit even on newborns.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a few one size diapers that fit newborns, but we’re talking bigger newborns (7-8+lbs) and yes they may function, but all the extra fabric makes them really bulky until baby grows into them.  If simple diapers and a trim fit are important to you, sized diapers are for you.

One Size Diapers
Rumparooz, Kawaiis, Lil Helpers, Tots Bots Easy Fits, Kawaii or FuzziBunz One Size

If on the other hand, a little extra bulk doesn’t bother you, then one size diapers might be better for you.  One size diapers are designed to fit babies from ‘birth to potty training’ or from about 7-35+lbs, to accomplish this, they have extra adjustment capabilities that allow the sizing to be scaled up or down to fit baby’s changing dimensions as they grow and gain weight. The 2 main ways to do these adjustments are:Fuzzi-Bunz-Cloth-Dia-9153

  • Internal elastics (like the FuzziBunz One Size) where there is buttonhole elastic for the legs and waist that you cinch in or let out.  The benefit here is that the adjustments are done on the inside of the diaper, there is nothing visible on the outside revealing it to be a one size diaper.  The drawback is that it can be time consuming to adjust the diapers.  Once they are adjusted you don’t have to change them all the time, but every couple of months or when baby has a growth spurt, you’ll need to spend the time adjusting elastics.  This is not all difficult to do for one baby, but on the occasion that you have 2 babies in diapers (say a toddler and a new baby or twins), it’s not feasible to be adjusting elastics all the time so that both kids can use the same diapers simultaneously.  On the plus size, the elastics can be fully replaced if they ever relax or snap, extending the life of your diapers.  After so many washes and hard use, elastic is usually the first thing that gives way on a cloth diaper, internal elastics on FuzziBunz One Size are super easy to replace without needing to know how to sew and you can get replacement elastics for free if you ever need them, which you probably won’t.
  • Snap down rise – The most common type of one size adjustment is a snap down rise. (like Rumparooz, Lil Helpers, Tots Bots Easy Fits and Kawaii).  On a snap down one size diaper, there is either snaps or velcro to close the diaper up on top and then a myriad of snaps below which are how you make the diaper smaller or larger.  Snap the top 4_Rumparooz_lazylime_snaprow of snaps to the middle or bottom row to create a small or medium diaper.  You can see the snaps on the outside of the diaper which some people don’t like, but it makes it super easy to adjust and once it’s snapped to the size that fits baby, it will stay snapped as you wash it until you re-adjust again.  Since the snaps are so easily accessible and quick to do up or down, snap down one size diapers are a great option if you have 2 babies in cloth at the same time.  They can both share the same set of diapers and changing the sizing is super quick.  Be warned that daddies and grandmas often get flustered when they see so many snaps, but a quick tutorial from you and they should be good to go.

So, the trade-off for one size diapers mean a very fluffy, bulky bum which may not accommodate pants, let alone skinny jeans, but you do get the convenience of only needing one set of diapers and not having to ‘size up’ when baby grows.

**One caveat with one size diapers though…most brands will claim that they fit newborns from about 7lbs.  This is largely false marketing.  We see a great many newborns – in fact I would say a majority of newborns, who are too small for one size diapers right after birth.  There is simply too much fabric.  One size diapers generally do not start fitting babies well until about 10lbs.  So, what does that mean practically?  It means that there is a gray area between birth and 10lbs when your stash of one size diapers may not fit baby.  So, what’s your solution?  You have a few:

  • Newborn diapers – You could purchase newborn specific diapers to bridge the gap.  Lil Joeys, for example are a great option (4-12lbs) and fit newborns perfectly, but are outgrown of very fast.  This option is pricey and defeats the cost savings of going with one size diapers.  It also sees you getting two different sets of diapers very similar to going with sized diapers in the first place.
  • Newborn rental kits – Another great option is to do exactly as above, but rent the newborn diapers instead of buy.  At Cloth Diaper Kids we have several kits available that provide a perfect solution to the one size fit dilemma.  Newborn rental kits are also a great option if you have or are expecting a preemie.  Our newborn kits start fitting at 4lbs.
  • Use up those gifts – Many moms find that they receive newborn disposable diapers as part of their gifts at baby showers etc. Some moms just choose to use those up before switching to their cloth diapers.  Depending on how many you have and how big your baby was at birth that may give you enough time for baby to grow into your one size diapers (depending on brand).  However, keep in mind that newborns need at least 10 diapers per day and babies often hit 10lbs at about 8 weeks so you’re looking at about 600 diaper changes during the newborn period 😉

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Why Can’t I Use Dryer Sheets With My Cloth Diapers?

So, if you’ve been using cloth diapers, you likely already know that you shouldn’t use commercial dryer sheets in the dryer.  But why?

Quite simply it’s because the chemical filled substance that makes the dryer sheet feel waxy is designed to melt with the dryer’s heat and disperse all over your clothing, thus reducing static and adding a long lasting scent.  When it comes to your diapers, that waxy stuff coats your diapers and causes a residue that will build up and make your diapers repell.  What does that mean?  LEAKS!

In fact, if you look at the back of a box of dryer sheets, this is what you’ll see…(click to enlarge)BounceDryerSheets

Comforting right?  Labels like this are one reason why our family doesn’t use dryer sheets for any of our laundry.  Diapers included.

So what to do?  Well, you can use nothing in your dryer if you wish, or consider re-useable dryer sheets or wool dryer balls.

purecofrontSONY DSC

PurEcoSheets for example (pictured above) are great at reducing static and you use them over and over again.  Just throw them in the dryer and you’re done.  They last for years.

Wool dryer balls on the other hand (pictured below) provide a couple of benefits that justify their higher cost. Variety_WOOLIES Aside from softening all your clothing, being all natural in materials and reducing some static, they also help reduce the drying time by circulating clothing so it’s more exposed to hot air all around and by absorbing some moisture themselves.  The more balls, the merrier, however to give you an idea, a 4 pack will reduce dry time by aprox. 25% and 8 will cut your dry time by about 40% for an average load.  How long do they last?  They last for years as well, the color doesn’t transfer onto clothing, not even whites and hey, they’re adorable are they not?

So, ditch the dryer sheets and consider an eco-friendly, baby friendly, cloth diaper friendly dryer solution instead.

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It’s Hot Outside…Are My Baby’s Cloth Diapers Too Hot?

We often get asked whether cloth diapers are too hot for babies and whether they will overheat, especially in hot weather or when a PUL or wool cover is used. The answer is quite simply that cloth diapers are in fact cooler than disposables, no matter what kind of cloth diapering system you choose. Here are the numbers…

Disposables: 39.2C / 102.5F
FuzziBunz or similar style (PUL outside with polyester inside): 38.6C / 101.5F
Fleece pocket:  37.7C / 100F
Fitted with fleece shorts as a cover:  36.9C / 98.5F
Pinned prefold with fleece shorts as a cover:  36.1C / 97F
Fitted with wool shorts as a cover:  35.6C / 96F
Pinned prefold with wool shorts as a cover:  35.3C / 95.5F
Just a fitted (no cover):  35C / 95F
Just a pinned prefold:  34.4C / 94F

So there you have it.  Cloth diaper with confidence, regardless of the weather 🙂

*Readings were taken after baby had worn each type of diaper outdoors for 15min. with an outside temperature of 32C / 90F.


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How Often Should I Change My Baby’s Diaper?

Every parent knows their baby best, but as a general rule of thumb, newborns need 10-12 diaper changes/day (aprox. every 2 hours) and older babies and toddlers require 6-8 changes/day (aprox. every 3-4 hours).  The easiest way to remember is to change baby every time they have a meal or a snack.  This roughly coincides with the number of diaper changes they will need. *Note this goes for any baby regardless of whether they are in disposables or cloth diapers*

Heavy wetting babies need more absorbency or more frequent changes.

Change baby as soon as possible whenever they have a dirty diaper (ie. poo).  Newborns tend to poo very frequently, 24 hours a day, so this means you will be changing them at night too.  Once baby gets older and begins solids, they tend not to poo at night anymore and can remain in the same diaper for as long as they sleep.  No need to wake a sleeping baby just to change them.  A second insert or booster can be added to the diaper to extend the time between changes for naps or nighttime with older babies.  We recommend fitted diapers with covers for naps and nights to provide the extra absorbency needed for longer stretches between changes, especially once baby starts sleeping for longer stretches through the night.