Cloth diapers questions from the mailbag

Since we made the switch from disposable diapers to cloth last year, I’ve received a lot of questions from other cloth newbies and mothers considering cloth.

Since the mothers who ask these questions thought my answers might be helpful, I’ve decided to share my answers here too.  Feel free to jump in if you have anything to add to my cloth diaper q&a.

Good drying rack for diapers?

I read that you don’t use an electric dryer.  I have one, but would like to air dry my diapers to make them last (for more children, hopefully!).  Do you have a suggestion for a sturdy/large-enough-to-hold-a-couple-day’s-worth-of-diapers drying rack? The one I had before was your run-of-the-mill Wal-Mart variety that ended up breaking on me and didn’t always hold my entire load of diapers at once.

answer:

For a drying rack, I love my 2 racks from IKEA.  One is nearly 6 feet tall and holds 2-3 loads of laundry – I can’t seem to find it on their website but it’s called the Antonius clothes dryer, and costs $37.99.

They also have a smaller drying rack that holds about as much as the walmart variety you mentioned but seems to hold up much better. It’s $6.99.  You can get one similar to the smaller model at The Container Store for about $20.  I know, that’s a huge price difference, but the quality is better and you’re more likely to have one nearby.  Even at $20, I think it’s well worth it – it’s a great, simple design that folds down flat in one second flat so you can store it behind the sofa, etc.

How to store dirty diapers?

What do you use to store your diapers in before you wash them.  Have you ever heard of/researched the type of bag I referred to above…Planet Wise Wet/dry bag?  It is 16.5 x 27 inches, which seems large, but maybe I am nuts for thinking this will work for everyday use at home??

answer:

We store our dirty diapers in one of those diaper genie buckets, found at a yard sale for $2.  🙂  I pulled out the insides, so it’s just a bucket with a flip-top lid.   A trash can with a flip top lid would do nicely too.

Many people are very happy with wetbags, so that’s certainly an option, though I’ve only used our wetbags in the diaper bag.  Make sure you get one that seals well to keep both wetness and odor inside.  Most can be turned inside out and tossed in the washer when you wash diapers.

My sister uses a standard 5 gallon bucket with the lid set loosely on top so it’s not a struggle every time.

Whatever you use, make sure it has plenty of room to hold all your diapers between washings.  You’ll probably find that you change a bit more often with cloth diapers than disposables, so it may take a little more room than you expect.  It’s also  important not to pack the diapers too firmly between washes.  Ventilation keeps them from developing extra stink that can be hard to remove.

How to keep the stink away?

I do not want to bleach my diapers this time around, but I am worried that the stink will eventually overtake them.  I can hang them out in the sun for the first few months (baby’s due in July), but even here in northern Georgia – it gets too cold in the winter to be hanging the diapers out all the time.  Does Charlie’s Soap truly keep the stink away? I thought I read that you had to seek out other ways to deter it.  What tricks have you learned?

answer:

I did (and do) have problems with stink, but I blame our extremely hard water and our washer, which is definitely having issues.  If we prewash with cold, then wash twice in hot with just a bit of detergent, and if we wash every 2 days and don’t let the bucket get packed too full, we do alright.

Best diaper cover?

What diaper cover have you been most satisfied with (please don’t tell me about any that you’ve sewn yourself… remember – I’m not there yet! 🙂

answer:

Regarding my favorite diaper cover, I think Proraps are probably the best buy and most people prefer velcro to snaps, which is exactly what Proraps offer.  But honestly – we have trouble with velcro in our house.  I prefer anything with snaps.  The fit isn’t so infinitely adjustable, but it’s good enough for us and far more durable.

We started out with prefolds, snappies and Prorap covers. They worked very well for us aside from the fuzzies in the velcro, but since I’m pregnant and we always wind up with 2 in diapers, I decided to switch to Coolababy all-in-one pocket diapers from ebay.  They fit newborn through toddler so we won’t need 2 separate diaper stashes. There are certainly other nicer choices, but these are very affordable (especially if you buy 24 at a time) and very easy to use.

Got questions?  I’m no expert, but I’ll try to answer them.

Cloth diapers: your input needed

I posted this question over at the Frugal Hacks Forum, but I’m betting you all have diapered a lot of bottoms so I want your input.  You could answer here or at the forum.  I’m watching both.

Here’s the question:

OK.  After trying my sister’s Kushies on our baby, I’m ready to take the plunge.  Kushies are $38/5 at WalMart.com.  I’m willing to pay that much if necessary, but does anyone know a better source or brand?

Here’s what I liked about Kushies and hope to find in a cloth diaper:

  • All-in-one, i.e. no need for plastic pants over top of the diaper
  • Velcro closures.  I would consider other types, but they have to be kid-friendly.  No pins, please.
  • Easy cleaning.  These Kushies have a handy sewn-in flap that dangles into the toilet so I can swirl and flush the dirtiest part to my heart’s content without ever dipping my hand or the rest of the diaper.  I like that feature!
  • Plenty of absorbency.  We didn’t have to change her twice as often just because she was in cloth.

I don’t like that they come in two sizes, so I can’t use the same incredibly expensive diapers for 2 1/2 years on the same child.

Is there a better option?  Is there a less expensive option that provides comparable features?