Extending The Life Of Cloth Diapers

I use cloth diapers.  I feel that using cloth diapers is the best decision for my children and the environment.  The initial investment of cloth diapers can be high but it truly pays off in the long run.  I have used many different cloth diapers and have found that Bum Genius one size with snaps are my favorite.
I have found a few things that will help to extend the life of cloth dipaers.  Many of my diapers are actually on their second child!
1.  Use the proper detergent.  I use homemade laundry detergent.  Make sure that your detergent is free of phosphates, enzymes and optical brighteners.  Do not use bleach.  Bleach can wear down the fibers in your diapers and can be harsh on your baby’s skin.  If your diapers are showing stains sunshine works wonders!
2.  If you use diaper creams or treatments place a barrier between the treatment and the diaper.  For diaper rashes I typically use coconut oil or neem salve.  If the rash is particularly bad I place some lansinoh lanolin on her bottom.  When I do use a treatment I place a flushable diaper insert, I do not flush them, between her bottom and the diaper.  The reason for this is because many diaper creams have ingredients that will break down the fibers of the diapers over time. The creams or treatments can cause issues with the absorbancy of the diapers.
3.  Line dry your diapers.  My husband installed a clothes line when we first bought cloth diapers.  I now use if for most of our laundry.  As I said before, the sun is great at removing stains!
image from Bakersfield Mom
If you do use the dryer. let the diapers cool before you stretch them.
4.  Buy the cloth diapers with snaps!  The first batch of diapers that I bought had the velcro hook and loop closure.  They wear out, even if you line dry.  I bought some with snaps and converted my velcro diapers to snaps.  The process was lengthy but very well worth it!
5.  Every few months I find it necessary to strip my cloth diapers.  You will know when this is necessary because of the yucky ammonia smell that is present even after washing. Stripping cloth diapers removes the buildup of detergent, oils, or mineral build up from the water.
To strip your diapers you will need: vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, hot water, and sunshine.   Soak the diapers in a bucket of really hot water, cup of white vinegar, cup of hydrogen peroxide, about 2 tablespoons of baking soda.  Soak your diapers for an hour.  Ring out your diapers and place them in your washing machine for an extended agitation cycle on hot with your safe detergent.  I always include a second rinse.  Hang out to dry in the sun.  You now have super fresh smelling diapers!
I am so glad that we made the decision to use cloth diapers.
If you have any more tips for extending the life of cloth diapers I would love to hear them!!
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5 thoughts on “Extending The Life Of Cloth Diapers

  1. My husband and I are tring to conceive again (this will be number 3), and I have been considering cloth diapers this time. I have been switching everything in my home lately to be more green as well, and I just can’t see using regular diapers this time! BUT, I tried cloth with my oldest was a baby… WHAT A MESS!!! Everything always got soaked! How do I keep cloth diapers from leaking so much??

    • Angela says:

      Congratulations Jessica!! You can use doublers to ‘double’ up the absorbancy with cloth diapers and make sure that they fit snug around the legs so they don’t leak. The type of detergents that you use can also cause your diapers to be much less absorbant due to build up. Good luck!!!

  2. Hello! We are starting the journey of cloth diapering. We have 2 daughters and are fed up with disposables. (not to mention cleaners, processed meats, etc etc) Our son is due in 4 weeks. I am in need of as much advice you can give! 🙂 We were blessed with an entire complete set of snap best bottom diapers and inserts. I know you have to pre wash the micro fiber and the hemp blend. Here are my questions:

    Do you prewash with the “stripping method” or the method with Dr Bronners soap?

    Have you ever had absorbency problems with Dr Bronners in your detergent recipe?

    Any advice on night time diapering?

    Can the original “tary” poo ruin the inserts?

    Thank you for any advice you can give!

    Diana Scott and Family
    Diana recently posted..Cashew & Chick Pea Quinoa With Ginger Peanut DressingMy Profile

  3. julie says:

    I have a question! Have you had any issues with mixing the peroxide and vinegar together? From what I understand you shouldn’t do it… Thank you for your article.

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