I’ve been using cloth diapers for four years and three kids. My husband and I have gone through the trenches with our cloth, traveled overseas using only cloth diapers, learned how to launder our diapers quickly and effectively using an everyday detergent, and saved thousands of dollars on diapers. But that’s all news for another day.Today I want to show you how to get the longest possible life out of your cloth diapers. After all, we pay a good amount on our initial stash, even if you’re like me and get some free cloth diapers or buy secondhand. We want our diapers to LAST! Sure you may not plan to use those diapers on 2 or more babies like I have, but you can sell your used cloth diaper stash after baby’s through with them and recuperate a chunk of your investment.Here are my best tips for how to get more life out of your cloth diapers.
Before You Buy
- Choose one-size diapers that will fit from 9 lbs. to potty training
- Buy the velcro and elastic refresher kits WITH the diapers or buy Fuzzibunz One-Size diapers that come with extra leg elastic
- Choose prefold diapers. It’s less expensive to replace covers than pocket diapers.
- Purchase snap diapers. Velcro wears out faster.
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Laundry Best Practices
- Sun the inserts, shade the shells. Diaper inserts need sunlight to kill bacterias and whiten, but the covers or shells can easily break down in sunshine. Running your diapers through the dryer is rough on them and should only be done in a diaper emergency. The best way to dry your cloth diapers is to sun the inserts outdoors and dry the shells outdoors in the shade, protecting the waterproof lining and elastic from the harsh rays.
- Use the proper detergent. Here’s how I wash cloth diapers. I’ve also washed cloth diapers successfully using soap nuts.
- Use a only a small amount of detergent. 1-2 tablespoons depending on the size of your load should be sufficient.
- Strip only the inserts. Covers cannot handle the hot wash and tough cleaning that the inserts can. Strip only inserts.
- Use cold water to rinse and wash unless diapers keep coming out stinky.
- Fasten velcro tabs to the laundry tabs for washing to protect the other diapers and wipes in the wash
General Guidance to Prolong Cloth Diaper Life
- Replace your leg and back elastics and velcro tabs as necessary. As long as your covers and shells are waterproof, there’s no need to toss them when a quick replacement is all they need. I DIY’d the elastic replacement of my BumGenius diapers by hand and it took me 25 minutes per diaper and less than one dollar for elastic.
- Adjust snaps to fit your baby, don’t use them too tight or you’ll overtire elastic early on.
- No dryer. Always choose to air dry or sun dry whenever possible.
- Handle snaps gently. If you tug too hard on them, they’ll pull through the liner. My daughter, who loves to help out with her baby sister, has ruined a couple of our BumGenius diapers by ripping the snaps through in her effort to change baby.
One last thing… if your diapers do get worn out and leak, you can always use it as a swim diaper!
Do you have more tips to make your cloth diapers last longer? If so, please share in the comments below!
- Best Cloth Diapers for Newborns
- How to Use One Prefold Size from Birth through 6 Months
- How to Wash Cloth Diapers