Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Common cloth diaper mistakes

I understand that there is an overwhelming amount of information on the web about cloth diaper use/misuse.  It was very difficult and overwhelming for me when I first started.  My suggestion is you learn as you go.  Buy some diapers and try it out.  As needed/wanted try different types/styles of diapers.

So, what have I learned in my couple of years using cloth?

  1. No diaper rash ointments.  The common A & D, Desitin, Vaseline, and the like are not good with cloth diapers.  This is because they can leave residue on the diapers that is hard to wash off and will prevent the diaper from absorbing moisture.  There are some cloth safe creams that can be used.  I personally love CJ's spray.  If you are still concerned you can use a diaper liner, these can be bought or you can make some yourself from an old receiving blanket or tshirt. 
  2. Washing-  Common washing issues include too much detergent, not enough detergent, not enough water, not rinsing... It took me a while to find a detergent and wash routine that worked for us.  You can refer to my post here and here. But, you will probably have to experiment to find what works best for you and your water. 
  3. Drying- Most diapers must be either air dried or dried on low heat in the dryer.  I have come across a couple of people on some forums confused as to why their diapers were falling apart or leaking.  A common mistake is drying the diapers on high heat.  The high heat is bad because it can cause delamination, holes, or melting.  
  4. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets- The use of fabric softener and dryer sheets leaves a residue on the diapers and prevent them from being absorbent.  In addition to cloth diapers, these should not be used on towels or anything else that is supposed to be absorbent.  
  5. Small Stash- I may be crazy for having a huge stash of diapers, but at least with a large stash the diapers are rotated more and not used over and over in a short period of time. The disadvantage to a small stash is that the diapers are being used more, washed, and dried more.  This can add wear and tear to the diapers shortening the amount of time you can use them.  
  6. Snaps vs Aplix (velcro, hook and loop) - Aplix may be more day care and dad "friendly" however they do not last as long as snaps.  They may curl, cause the diaper to be pilly, or not stick to itself well.  Snaps on the other hand last much longer without issue and when there is an issue, they are easily replaced with the proper tools.  
  7. Infrequent diaper changes-  I was trying to troubleshoot leak issue someone was having.  We stripped her diapers and she was still having issues.  At a loss I asked how often she does diaper changes, she stated "when his clothes get wet."  Well how do you know if they are leaking or he just pees a lot?  She started doing changes every hour and a half and realized the diapers were soaked.  Her diapers weren't leaking after all, she just was not changing often enough.  A doubler can be used for heavy wetters, but make sure you are changing frequently to prevent irritation and diaper rash. 


  1. I was guilty of #1 & #3 for sure! We used Desitin in some of our cloth because I knew I could strip it out. Then once I used A&D and it was a lot more work to get out. It's not the end of the world but it's hard work! But, I dry everything on low heat - my dryer settings never change, so I'm not too guilty of #3. Though, I know that line drying is better for them and when I'm not crazy-busy working I try to hang the covers.

  2. Thanks for all of the tips!

    I wish I could get more diapers so I don't have to wash my diapers so often.
    I have one Velcro diaper and it's already curling.