T here are countless great resources for learning all about cloth diapering. I did tons of research before baby arrived, but instead of repeating a list of all those confusing terms, or telling you why cloth diapering is so great (well I might do that), or rewriting all the basic how tos, I just want to tell you about what I concluded after all that research. Here’s how to use cloth diapers to save money. It’s the simple system I’ve used to diaper two babies to save thousands!
Why I love My Cloth Diapers
- most importantly they work great for their intended use
- they don’t leak
- they come in cute colors and patterns
- we can change them just as quickly as disposables
- they’re unbleached cotton
- Baby never gets diaper rash or skin irritations
- I don’t have to feel guilty about throwing out big sacks of disposables
- …and best of all they are a great way to save money
How to Use Cloth Diapers to Save Money
With this system, there are only two sizes that will get baby from newborn to potty training because the wraps are adjustable. I spent under $300 all together, and I’ll be able to use them for the next babies to come along. By the time we’ve finished diapering our two kids, I’ll have saved around $3700. And that doesn’t count the savings from using cloth wipes, washable pail liners, and reusable travel wet bags. Since I’m staying home now every little bit helps!
(This post contains affiliate links to my favorite cloth diapers.)
The Cloth Diaper System that Saves Thousands
- Natural Prefolds – This is the absorbent part that goes against baby’s skin. I have about 24 diapers in the small size and 24 in the larger size.
- Snap Wrap Cover – This is the cute waterproof part that goes on the outside. We have about 6 in the small size and 7 in the larger size. I prefer snaps to Velcro because they last longer and they’re nearly impossible for a toddler to pull off.
- Cloth Wipes – Using cloth wipes instead of disposable also saves money. About 3 dozen is a good amount, and of course these are one size fits all.
- Diaper Liners – These are great for once baby starts solids and has poop that is, well, more substantial. Simply shake them out into the toilet and flush. They’re a very affordable option and something that tends to make dads more comfortable with the hold process of cloth diapering.
- Diaper Sprayer – An alternative to the diaper liners that many of my friends love is a diaper sprayer that conveniently attaches right to your water line to rinse off dirty diapers.
- Swim Diapers – We just have one swim diaper, and because of the way it worked out with the seasons and sizes of our babies, we only ever needed one size.
- Reusable Diaper Pail Liner – We compounded the savings by using a washable diaper pail liner. We have two, so I can use one and wash one at any given time.
- Small Wet Bags – We also keep a couple of smaller wet bags in the diaper bag to use when we’re on the go. These are also washable, and save us from using the disposable plastic bags.
I also use knitted wool wraps for nighttime.
Wool is amazing! It can be expensive if you purchase though.
Instead, I used two different patterns to knit mine. I think both were pretty easy. One of my dear co-workers also knitted several for me. Both are free to download on Ravelry.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers
As for washing, I carry my pail liner to the laundry room and turn the whole thing inside out in the washer. I never have to touch anything icky. First I do a cold wash without detergent. Then a hot wash with Charlie’s Soap Liquid (only certain detergents are ‘approved’ for use with certain cloth diaper brands).
Then I do an extra cold rinse. Wraps have to hang to dry, but I throw the prefold diapers in the dryer. It doesn’t take long, it’s just a matter of remembering to start the next cycle.
It seems like there are so many people who love to call you crazy for cloth diapering, but it’s really worked well for us. With all the benefits I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
If you’re interested in trying cloth diapers but are still overwhelmed by all the possibilities, check out The Ultimate Cloth Diaper How-to-Guide by Erin at the Humbled Homemaker.