Have you already read my post about disposables versus cloth diapers? Are you asking yourself, “Okay but what is everything I would need to start cloth diapering?” Here are the 5 things you need to start cloth diapering.
And remember, this is everything you need to start!
- Cloth Diapers (Duh.)
- A Diaper Sprayer (Yes!)
- A Cloth Diaper Pail & Liner (See notes.)
- Reusable Wipes (Maybe.)
- Enzyme-Based Stain Remover (You may already have this!)
Not too bad right? Now let’s go over each.
No kidding, right? I love my all-in-one (AIO) style cloth diapers, and I have a mixture of bumGenius, GroVia, and Smart Bottoms brands. But how many? That’s totally up to you, but you can use the following as a guideline for how many “changes” a day you can expect for babies:
Newborn: 8-12 a day.
3-6 months old: 6-8 a day.
6-12 months old: 4-6 a day.
18 months or older: 2-4 a day.
Basically, you’ll need more cloth diapers if you’re starting your cloth diapering at birth, compared to if you start with an older baby like I did.
Also note that there will be days that vary from this average! Some days your baby will go more times than other days. Many recommend not letting your soiled diapers sit for more than 3 days before washing, though some go longer.
I wanted enough diapers to cover 2 generous days worth of changes, plus an extra day’s worth to feel safe, or for emergencies. For me, I feel great with my set of 30 diapers. Some cloth diaper companies will suggest more, but I am just fine with 30 and honestly don’t need as many as I have. If I had to pick a number, I would suggest 25.
A Diaper Sprayer.
I am listing this as a “need” because I think it makes dealing with poo diapers much quicker, and because I don’t think they’re cost-prohibitive. Mine from Amazon was $30. So think of it this way—they are about the cost of one additional cloth diaper. And it was SO worth the money! Simply put, you use this to spray poo off the diaper and into your toilet, where you then flush it away forever.
Yes, there ARE other methods of dealing with poo without a sprayer—some dunk the diaper repeatedly into their *clean* bowl of toilet water. Granted, I did use that method for my first few days of cloth diapering (which I started at 6 months in) but only UNTIL my sprayer arrived from Amazon. 🙂
I would encourage new mamas to get the sprayer for around $30 and make things that much easier, if you can. They are pretty simple to install. They include a T-valve that hooks up to your water intake line on your toilet and allows you to then have both your normal “in” water line to the tank, plus your sprayer hose. Lost? I promise, it isn’t that hard. I watched a YouTube video of how to install mine, getting all “prepared” to set it up…but my husband ended up doing it and he didn’t need the video even a little bit.
One note though—if you are interested in a sprayer, go look at your toilet right now and see if the water line that hooks to the base of your toilet is a stretchy, bendy hose, or a solid metal pipe that doesn’t bend. Odds are it is stretchy and bendy. However, we live in an older house and it had a solid line. If yours has a solid pipe, that’s fine! You will just need to run to a hardware store and pick up a cool bendy one for about $5 to be able to hook up your sprayer. Knowing this ahead of time will help you have it on hand so you don’t have to wait to hook it up. I hate waiting!
A Cloth Diaper Pail & Liner (or wet bag).
Let me start by saying that there are a lot of options for things to hold your soiled diapies until you are ready to wash them.
There are wet bags, which are just large zippered bags where the inside is made of nylon, PUL or another waterproof fabric. You could choose to have one or more of these bags near your changing area. For me, I wanted something larger and something I didn’t have to unzip when I had a dripping diaper I had just sprayed off in my hand—because heaven forbid I ever remember to unzip it BEFORE I was holding said drippy diapy… To me, these are best to use for outings, and great for that! Planet-Wise is a popular brand for wet bags, though there are many others, and some crafty mamas DIY their own!
There are also pails/bins especially made for cloth diapers that come with reusable, washable liners that you throw in the wash along with the diapers.
Since I started with disposables, I already had a Dekor brand diaper pail, which I LOVE for its ease-of-use and ability to keep stinks INSIDE, where I want them to be. So, when I started clothing, I just swapped out the plastic liners for two of these Teamoy brand liner bags.
(Note that Dekor does sell their own liners for cloth diapers too, I just preferred the look and savings of these.) I loved the stripes (the most important thing, obvs!) and reviewers said they fit the Dekor Plus pails fine. And they do. And of course they come in lots of other prints too.
My daughter’s nursary is upstairs, but I also have a changing station downstairs, so I have two Dekor Plus pails with a liner each, plus I keep my Planet-Wise wet bag in the bathroom next to the toilet just for carrying the wet just-sprayed diapies to the changing area bin.
If you are/were on the fence about trying cloth diapers, you may now think to yourself, “Okay, now this is going too far for me!” Hear me out though. I was NOT thinking about using reusable wipes when I started doing cloth diapers, although I had heard of them. However, once I got into clothing I quickly ran into a little snag—I had my diaper pail converted to hold my soiled cloth diapies…so now where did I put the soiled disposable wipes? Hmm…another bin to sit there just for wipes? Nah. So I made a face and then started researching reusable wipes as well. I quickly found that they weren’t that difficult and really weren’t any different than cloth diapers as far as care.
You can buy them, but since I am not only thrifty but also a “doer” (so my husband calls me) who wanted the problem solved RIGHT THEN, I made my own. All you need is squares of cotton about the size of a normal baby wipe.
I had on hand several soft, 100% cotton receiving blankets that I wasn’t going to use, and honestly barely used when my daughter was a newborn anyway, so I cut them up using pinking shears into 16 squares each. [You can sew the edges to prevent any fraying if you want, but this was good enough for me. I mean they are for wiping bums.]
I also sacrificed a square Gladware plastic storage container that I already had on hand to the cause, and filled it with a mixture of water and a couple pumps of aloe, and mixed that up. Then in went my lovely half-floral and half-dot cotton squares. I mushed them around a little so that they all got damp but not soaked. THAT’S IT! I soon after made another set, and I keep the containers of the wipes at each changing area. For poos, spray them off just like a diaper using your sprayer. You can use this nifty spray-guard DIY to make that easier!
I used two 28” square receiving blankets and made 16, 7” square wipes from each one, so I ended up with 32 wipes. Since these are only usually for poos, I didn’t need any more than that.
Enzyme-Based Stain Remover.
The most popular stain remover is Biokleen Bac-Out Enzyme Stain Remover spray. I suggest spraying a little on any poo stains as soon as you have rinsed the solids off with your sprayer. So I keep that bottle in the bathroom where I’m gonna be spraying. Then I also use OxyClean, which I keep by my washer, to spot treat again right before I put the diapers in the machine.
I have not had any major issues with stains so far, but if you do, you can lay them in the sun (weather its warm outside or not) and the sun will work its magic and greatly lighten stains!
In full sun, you might need about 4-6 hours in the light to help stains. More is okay too if it’s not as bright. The rays will still do the work, it just might take longer. In fact, I dry my cloth diapers on my back porch railing most of the time, just to save energy. Maybe toss them in the dryer afterwards just for a few minutes to soften then up a bit—drying in the sun can make them a bit stiff.
That is all you really need to start cloth diapering!
You can get specialized-for-cloth-diapers detergent, specialized diaper cream that won’t get oils on your diapers, and some other paraphernalia if you choose to, but these are the essentials you need to get started, mama!