Cloth Diapering 101

Posted by TeddyCub 13/11/2014 0 Comment(s) Cloth Diapers,Cloth Diaper Care,

 

Why should I choose cloth diapers over disposable diapers?

  1. Savings of $1500-$2700 per child! Parents typically spend between $150-$300 on cloth diapering a baby from birth until they are potty trained. Savings are multiplied when the cloth diapers are used on more than one child. Parents will spend between $1500-$3000 on disposable diapers per child.
  2. Cloth diapers are better for the environment. Over 4,000,000 disposable diapers are discarded per day in Canada.
  3. Cloth diapers are much healthier. Disposable diapers contain chemicals, toxins, bleaches, etc.
  4. Pocket diapers with snaps are as easy to use as disposable diapers.
  5. Cloth diapers are more comfortable against baby's bottom than plastic disposable diapers.
  6. There is less instances of diaper rash because cloth diapers "breathe" whereas disposables do not.
  7. Cloth diapers often encourage earlier potty training.
  8. Last but not least….babies look super cute in our fun prints!

 

What is a Pocket Cloth Diaper?

A Pocket Cloth Diaper is made up of three main components. The first component is a waterproof outer barrier fabric that is sewn to the second component, an inner moisture-wicking suede cloth fabric. These two layers are sewn together in such a way that a pocket opening is left at the back of the diaper. You then insert component three, an absorbent insert, which can be made from microfiber or bamboo. The insert gets removed prior to washing. When your baby wets the diaper, the moisture is wicked through the inner cover layer to the insert. We also recommend using Biodegradable Flushable Liners sold on our website. These liners are placed down the middle of the diaper prior to putting it on baby. The liners are designed to "catch" the poop and then be flushed, making cleanup much easier and less staining!

 

How do I stuff my pocket diapers?

To place the insert in your pocket diaper, simply slide the insert into the pocket of the diaper. Align the front edge of the insert with the top edge of the diaper. While holding the front of the insert in place, stretch the diaper and smooth the insert as flat as possible.
 

What are cloth diapers made of?

TeddyCub's cloth diapers are made from either a polyester or minky outer material with PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate that is waterproof and breathable) applied to the back. Minky is best describe as soft and plush, much like fleece except softer and thicker. The inner material is made of suede cloth, which wicks moisture away from baby's bottom. The pee is designed to pass through the suede cloth and into the inner absorbent layers of the insert. The inserts are made of 3-layer ultra-absorbent microfiber or bamboo.
 

I want to start using cloth diapers. What do I need to begin?

    There are 6 basic components:
  1. Diapers and inserts
  2. Biodegradable liners (it is possible to get by without them, but we recommend them!)
  3. Pail to store the soiled diapers
  4. Cloth diaper-friendly detergent
  5. Washing machine
  6. Dryer or clothesline

 

How many diapers do I need?

Generally, we recommend 20-30 diapers. Newborns and infants use about 10 to 14 diapers per day while toddlers may need 6 to 10 diaper changes. This will allow you to do laundry every 2-3 days.
 

Do I need to pre-wash the cloth diapers?

The cloth diapers should be washed at least once before use. The inserts require 3-5 washes before use. Microfiber and bamboo inserts need to 'break down' through several washes for optimum absorbency. Wash using hot water and dry on low setting or hang to dry. Always use cloth diaper friendly detergent and use about ¼ of what you would use for normal washing of clothes. See our Guide for Washing Cloth Diapers.
 

How can I tell if I have the diaper fitted correctly for my baby's size?

The best way to tell if the diaper is fitted correctly on the baby is to observe how the diaper fits around the waist and the legs while holding your baby in an upright position. You want the diaper to be a snug fit. If you see "air" pockets then the diaper needs to be readjusted. Try a smaller snap setting. To achieve the smallest setting, snap on the bottom row. For the medium setting, snap on the second row of snaps. For the largest setting, do not use any of the snaps. Once this setting is correct, fasten the tabs as snug as possible. If the tabs on the front of the diaper are difficult to snap snug you will have to readjust the snap setting on the front to a larger setting. This will allow the diaper to rise and allow for easier snapping of the tabs.
 

How often do I need to change the diapers?

Cloth diapers need to be changed every 2 - 3 hours during the day. If your child is a heavy wetter, you may need to either change the diaper more frequently or an additional insert.
 

Can I use a cloth diaper overnight?

Yes you can use cloth diapers overnight; however, they may require additional inserts for extra absorbency. It is recommended that you also set the diaper to one size bigger to accommodate the extra inserts.
 

How often will I have to do laundry?

You will likely be doing laundry every 2 or 3 days depending on your cloth diaper supply. Any more than 3 days in between laundry is not advisable do to the build-up of bacteria.
 

What do I do with the poop in cloth diapers?

Newborn poop is not solid, so just rinse it out in the toilet or simply put it in the wash. Breastfed baby's poop is water soluble and comes right out in the wash. For babies that are eating solid foods the poop is going to start turning solid so you just drop the poop in the toilet! We highly recommend using Biodegradable Flushable Liners sold on our website. Flushable liners are designed to hold the poop so you just have to remove the liner and flush! Easier and less messy!
 

How do I store the dirty diapers?

There are two ways to store your cloth diapers after use; the dry pail method or the wet pail method. For storing your dirty diapers until laundry day we recommend using the dry pail method. Diapers should be washed every 2 - 3 days to avoid odour and bacterial build-up.
 

  • Dry Pail - Using a covered pail lined with a washable draw string pail bag (to avoid odours), simply remove poop, separate insert from pocket of diaper and place both parts in bag, draw string shut. If you choose not to use a pail bag you can simply remove waste, separate insert from pocket and place both parts in the dry pail and sprinkle baking soda in the pail to avoid odours.
  • Wet Pail - Using a covered pail filled with water, simply remove poop, separate insert from pocket of diaper and place both parts in the pail with water, drain water before washing. To avoid odours drain the water and rinse diapers every other day. This method is not recommended as it poses a drowning risk to small children and cause odour and bacterial build-up.

 

What do I do with the dirty diapers when I change my baby away from home?

Some parents choose to use disposable diapers while away from home but we recommend using a wet bag to store the dirty diapers until they are able to be washed. These bags are waterproof and machine washable.
 

 

What about diaper rash?

Studies have shown that the occurrence of diaper rash on babies that wear cloth diapers is much lower than those that wear disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are made of breathable materials which allow air to circulate. Disposables are designed to feel dry when in fact they are not, by trapping heat and moisture, potentially causing a diaper rash. Detergent build up in the cloth diapers may be cause for diaper rash and they may need to be stripped to remove detergent build-up. See our Guide to Stripping your Cloth Diapers. If your baby develops a rash and you have to use a diaper cream, use a disposable liner to act as a barrier between the cream and the diaper. Creams will leave a residue on the diapers that may cause absorbency issues and the diapers may start to leak. If you find that your baby does require some diaper cream, use a natural one that is zinc- and petroleum-free. To help prevent diaper rash it is important to change the diapers often as some babies develop rashes due to continuous exposure to moisture/wetness. We also recommend letting your baby "air dry" for a few minutes between diaper changes. It's important to note when a diaper rash occurs the diapers should be disinfected otherwise bacteria from the rash linger in the diapers and can ultimately re-infect the baby. See our Guide for Washing Cloth Diapers. If your baby develops a rash that you suspect may be an infection or fungus, you should consult with your health care provider.
 

How can I prevent my diapers from leaking?

The following is a list of suggestions to help prevent or stop leaking. You will have to experiment to find causes of leak.
 

  • Before the first use prewash all shells and inserts 3-5 times for optimum absorbency.
  • The diaper should be changed every 2-3 hours or it may become saturated and leak.
  • Make sure that the diaper is on the right size setting for your baby, otherwise it may leak.
  • Make sure that the insert is flat when you put on the diaper; if it becomes twisted or bunched up it may leak.
  • If using a liner, make sure that it is tucked into the shell or this may cause it to leak.
  • If the top edges of the diaper leaks make sure that the insert is about an inch below the top edge of the diaper.
  • Do not use additives such as fabric softener or diaper cream without a liner may also cause the diapers to leak.
  • Use of commercial detergents will cause a build-up of residues which may cause the diapers to leak. See our website for a listing of safe detergents for cloth diapers. If your diapers are leaking due to residue build-up then it may be time to strip your diapers. See our Guide to Stripping your Cloth Diapers.

 

How absorbent are the training pants?

As a child is being potty trained, they often forget to use the toilet until they have started to pee. Our training pants are designed to be more absorbent than underwear but will effectively only hold the dribbles. The waterproof outer layer is designed to protect clothes from getting wet.
 

How can I get stains out of my diapers?

In order to prevent stains we highly recommend using Biodegradable Flushable Liners sold on our website. These liners do a fantastic job of catching most of the poop which reduces the amount of staining. If you don't use liners then we recommend removing the poop from the diaper before washing. For messy poops you may want to use a diaper sprayer to clean the diaper off. Soaking the diapers is not recommended. If you do find your diapers are getting stained, the sun is the best stain remover. Simply hang the diaper to dry in the sun, adding a squirt of lemon juice if the stain is really stubborn. The sun is a natural whitener and will bleach and disinfect your diapers without chemicals. The use of a stain removal agent is not recommended as they are very harsh of cloth diapers.
 

Why can't I get the smell out of my cloth diapers?

When cloth diapers have a build-up of detergent residue, a strong odour can be created when the diapers become wet. To prevent odours from building up always follow recommended washing instructions. If you find your diapers are holding a bad odour, try the following:
 

  • Extra Rinse: Try doing an extra rinse cycle after washing to remove detergent build-up, which is often the cause of odours.
  • Baking Soda: Try adding ¼ cup baking soda in place of detergent in the initial wash, or substitute ½ of your detergent for baking soda in the initial wash and add an extra rinse cycle to your wash with ¼ cup vinegar. This will help restore the pH of the cloth diapers. Otherwise your baby may end up with diaper rash. The use of vinegar isn't generally recommended with the use of PUL diapers because vinegar is very harsh on PUL and may cause delamination if used regularly over time. We only recommend the use of vinegar in severe situations. The vinegar works by breaking down residues making them readily wash away. Use in the rinse cycle-either with a Downy Ball or in the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. A word of caution, if you continually add a lot of vinegar, the diapers will begin to hold the smell of the vinegar. So make sure that you do not add more than 1/4 cup in any given rinse cycle.
  • Bleach: Try using about 1-2 tablespoons. Bleaching isn't normally recommended, however, occasionally bleaching of the microfiber inserts is sometimes necessary to remove build-up and smell issues.

 

Hard water? Depending on your water type, you could be dealing with hard water or soft water so be sure to use the correct amount of detergent specific for each water type. If you have hard water, try and adding a water softener to your load. Calgon water softener is highly recommended and is safe for cloth diapers. As always, be sure to rinse thoroughly! If none of the above helps remove the smell, it may be time to strip the diapers. See our Guide to Stripping your Cloth Diapers.
 

How can I prevent detergent build-up?

If you have a good wash routine for your diapers then you should rarely get a detergent build-up on your cloth diapers. Six basic ways to prevent detergent build-up are:
 

  1. Use the correct amount of detergent in the wash. We recommend using ¼ of the detergent you would use with your normal wash.
  2. Use a laundry detergent that is safe for cloth diapers. See our list of safe detergents.
  3. Always run an extra rinse cycle after the wash is complete.
  4. Use the correct amount of water. HE front loading washers do not use enough water for cloth diapers to properly remove detergent. If you are using an HE front loader washer you will need to add extra water to your wash cycle. We recommend adding in a few extra towels. The machine will sense that that there is more weight on the drum and will increase the amount of water used.
  5. Do not wash more than 20 diapers at a time, allowing the room for the diapers to move around.
  6. If you live in an area with hard water you can try using ¼ cup baking soda in the wash cycle and ¼ cup vinegar in the rinse cycle. This will soften the water and allow the detergent to be effectively rinsed from the diapers. The use of vinegar isn't generally recommended with the use of PUL diapers because vinegar is very harsh on PUL and may cause delamination if used regularly over time. We only recommend the use of vinegar in severe situations. The vinegar works by breaking down residues making them readily wash away. Use in the rinse cycle-either with a Downy Ball or in the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. A word of caution, if you continually add a lot of vinegar, the diapers will begin to hold the smell of the vinegar. So make sure that you do not add more than 1/4 cup in any given rinse cycle.

 

How can I disinfect my diapers?

Hot Water After the initial cold rinse set your washer to the hottest setting. The hot water will help in killing the majority of the bacteria.

Vinegar In the main wash cycle you can use ¼ cup vinegar. The vinegar is acidic and works to kill most of the bacteria. The use of vinegar isn't generally recommended with the use of PUL diapers because vinegar is very harsh on PUL and may cause delamination if used regularly over time. We only recommend the use of vinegar in severe situations. The vinegar works by breaking down residues making them readily wash away. Use in the rinse cycle-either with a Downy Ball or in the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. A word of caution, if you continually add a lot of vinegar, the diapers will begin to hold the smell of the vinegar. So make sure that you do not add more than 1/4 cup in any given rinse cycle.

Sunshine Hanging your diapers outside to dry in the sun is the best way to naturally get rid of the bacteria. It's also helps whiten the diapers and remove stains.

Bleaching Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to a hot wash cycle and wash the inserts only…DO NOT BLEACH POCKET DIAPERS. We recommend bleaching the inserts once a month for maintenance to help reduce bacteria and odour build-up.

 

Tips to Remember:

  • When choosing a detergent avoid using detergents with dyes, perfumes, enzymes, fabric softeners, fabric enhancers, ultra-concentrated detergents, and optical brighteners.
  • When washing diapers, only use ¼- ½ the amount of detergent you would normally use for clothing.
  • Avoid fabric softeners and antistatic products, they make diapers less absorbent.
  • Do not iron the diapers, it decreases the absorption capacity.
  • Only use diaper creams if you are using Biodegradable Flushable Liners sold on our website. If used without a liner the creams will cause a residue build-up on the diaper causing it to lose absorbency.
  • Dry diaper covers on low heat or hang to dry.
  • Wash diapers every 2-3 days.

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