Friday, September 18, 2009

It's worth it!

Once again, Heather Desuta has agreed to be my guest blogger. Read on as she shares her experience and expertise on cloth diapering. Thanks Heather!

I am by no means an expert on cloth diapering, but I can share with you what I use and what I do.

When I decided to try cloth diapering, I sought out all kinds of advice online (and from my ONE friend who uses cloth, your friend and mine, the Green Grandma). I quickly decided that if I was going to give cloth diapering a go, it needed to be with an all-in-one diaper.

What is an All-In-One (AIO) Diaper?
All-in-one diapers have an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable closures (either Velcro® or snaps). All-in-one diapers are just like disposable diapers except you wash them!


* Most convenient
* Easiest to use
* Most like disposables diapers (trimmest fit on baby's butt)


* One of the most expensive cloth diapering options
* Takes a long time to dry

Many online consumers recommended the brand bumGenius™, so that’s what I started with. Because I wasn’t sure if I could commit to cloth, I bought 10 used bumGenius™, diapers from a seller I found on my local craigslist (go to, choose the city nearest you). I paid $10 per diaper. New, they cost $16. Ten diapers allowed me to get nearly two days of usage between washings. (It is recommended that you wash cloth diapers every other day. The longer between washing, the more time for bacteria to multiply, and they’re smellier and harder to clean. I don’t let mine sit for more than two days before washing.)

Before starting to use cloth, I installed a diaper sprayer. Similar to the sprayer on your kitchen sink, this sprayer hooks up to your toilet plumbing and allows you to spray the poop into the toilet. No swishing it in the bowl. I’ve never swished. The diaper sprayer I use is manufactured by bumGenius™ and is available both online (,,
and in select retail stores across the country. The bumGenius™ diaper sprayer runs about $45 and I installed this myself without any trouble.

Some words of caution: spray carefully! The spray’s force is adjustable, and a very strong spray can ricochet off of the diaper. You don’t want a bathroom covered with poop-infused water spray. Seriously though, this is a great product that I would NOT be cloth diapering without.
So, I started with 10 used size small AIO BumGenius diapers, a diaper sprayer, a $10 diaper pail from WalMart, biokleen™ Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator ( and Allens Naturally liquid laundry detergent ( Allen’s is a bit expensive but is very concentrated. Truly, just 1 ounce per wash. I use a dry pail and spray Bac-Out on my diapers, then also put some Bac-Out in the washing machine.

Another note of caution: using too much detergent makes diapers smelly! You must use the right amount of detergent (will take some trial and error) and do an extra rinse. AIOs need to be rinsed completely of detergent, or they will have a very pungent odor. Every once in a while, I strip them with Dawn dishwashing liquid and once in a blue moon, I do a strip with some bleach. Then I wash those diapers again like normally, so there isn’t any bleach residue in the diapers. Usually, I line-dry the diapers. AIOs take a very long time to dry and are often not completely dry even after a full day in the sun. It seems like I always have to tumble dry for a while, too. But for me, the convenience of AIOs makes this negative trait tolerable.

Since I liked BumGenius, I bought a dozen size medium AIOs, new from the website. I got a mixed lot of colors and they’re actually very cute! Later, I ended up buying 6 “one-size” AIOs (again, from craigslist). I think that I actually like the one-size diapers better. You stuff the absorbent layer in the middle of these diapers, and it seems that since you take out the insert, it washes and dries easier. They are big, though. Snaps allow for size versatility, but I wouldn’t recommend one-size AIOs for babies smaller than 13 lbs. Teeny babies look so puffy in the one-size ones. I typically reserve the one-size AIOs for nighttime wear.

I got a lot of my info about how to launder cloth diapers from the following site:

bumGenius™ diapers can be purchased via the Internet or in some retail stores. Visit and click on the ‘locations’ tab.

Craig's list ( -- select your state and then nearest town/city) is a great place for used goods. I don’t recommend buying secondhand cloth diapers sight-unseen as you could end up with a stained or very worn product. With craigslist (or other face-to-face/in person exchanges) you can see what you’re buying, before you buy.

I estimate that I have about $450 invested in cloth diapers and products. When my daughter is potty trained, I should be able to resell some of my stuff and recoup a couple hundred dollars. So, if I stick with cloth, I will be able to pay less than $300 on diapering over the course of 2.5 to 3 years. Essentially, cloth diapering for 2.5 years the “expensive” way with all-in-one diapers should end up costing me about $2.30 PER WEEK. Disposable diapers cost, say, $0.25 per diaper. Multiply that by 7 diapers per day, and it ends up being about $12.25 per week for disposables. However, for me it’s not about the money (although the savings is a nice byproduct); it’s about producing less garbage and keeping our earth, and my daughter, healthier.

All around, the pros of using cloth really do outweigh the gross-out factor. It’s worth it.

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