10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Using Cloth Diapers

While I did do my research prior to using cloth diapering, I’ve learned a few things in over two years of cloth diapering. Here are the top ten things I wish I would have known before starting to cloth diaper.

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. I’ve only posted links to items I have personally used while cloth diapering my son.

1. Try before you buy.

I became slightly obsessed with buying cloth diapers during my pregnancy. After a few months of cloth diapering, I figured out what I liked. Unfortunately, that meant I was left with hundreds (don’t judge me) dollars worth of diapers that weren’t for us.  The moral of the story is…buy a few different types of diapers before you commit to buying a whole stash. You may be surprised what you end up liking most.

2. Know your cloth diaper deal holidays.

There are a few holidays that rock in terms of buying cloth diapers. I’ve found great deals on Earth Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and Christmas. Some diaper brands sell “seconds” for cheaper. Seconds diapers have small defects, but are still usable. Out of all the seconds diapers I have purchased, I have rarely been able to figure out what the actual “defect” was. Seconds diapers go fast so you will need to keep an eye on the brand’s website or sign up for their email to get to them before they run out.

3. It’s okay to buy used cloth diapers.

Many moms, myself included, overbought diapers only to sell them later. Cloth diapers can easily be disinfected by soaking in a solution of cold water and bleach. See more about bleaching your diapers here.

There are tons of cloth diaper buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. Most of the moms I bought from were honest in their descriptions. I also diapers I also bought some of my preloved diapers off websites such as this one.

To ensure I am getting preloved diapers that are going to last, I made sure to ask about the diaper’s pul. This is the waterproof lining that prevents the outside of the diaper from getting wet. Any cracks in the pul is a sure sign that the diaper will leak.

I have bought many diapers at a very reasonable price due to having “shadow stains” and loose elastics. I’ve been able to get most stains out of diapers by simply bleaching, washing, and sunning. Elastics are fairly easy to replace by watching youtube tutorials like this one. In my case, I paid a friend to replace the elastics in my diapers at a rate of about $3.50 per diaper.

4. Join some cloth diaper Facebook groups.

I learned so much through cloth diaper Facebook groups. Some were drama filled, yes, but the links and youtube tutorials were extremely helpful in overcoming the cloth diaper learning curve. I also appreciated the tons of feedback I received when posting newbie questions. You can find a few of my favorite groups here and here.

5. FSTs are awesome and cheap.

I often read about FSTs which is cloth diaper lingo for Flour Sack Towels, but did not buy them until about a year into cloth diapering my son. I wish I would have tried them sooner! The more I wash mine, the more absorbent they are. They hold true through my heavy wetter’s three hour nap which is quite an accomplishment.

6. Newborn diapers are overrated and underused.

My son was almost 10 pounds at birth so those of you with smaller babies may feel differently, but I found newborn diapers to be useless. He peed through them in under and hour which was a deal-breaker for me.
When we get pregnant again, I plan on cutting FSTs in half and using them in covers.

7. You can resell cloth diapers.

When I first started cloth diapering two years ago, the market was insane. I remember seeing certain limited edition prints selling for 70 to 80 dollars a diaper. There were diaper “flippers” who would buy up limited edition prints and then resell them at a profit. In order to combat this, some diaper brands begin reselling old prints to even the market out. Nowadays, you can still resell your diapers fairly easily, but don’t expect to make a net gain.

8. Don’t be frightened by the high price tag.

Cloth diapers are an investment. Yes, most are around $20 a diaper which seemed crazy to me at first. But I have been using the same 30 diapers for two years and plan on using them with my future children as well. There are also several cloth diaper lending programs for families that qualify. Three that come to mind are Cottonbabies Share the LoveThe Rebecca Foundation, and Giving Diapers Giving Hope.

9. A solid wash routine in a must.

Most diaper companies include wash instructions on their website. I have found that a regular, cold wash with a 1/2 scoop of Tide Powder and 1/2 cup of Borax followed by a heavy duty, hot cycle with full scoop of Tide Powder and 1/2 cup of Borax cleans even the dirtiest of diapers. I usually dry in the dryer on low for about 45 minutes. Once in a while I will take them straight from the washer and lay them in the sun to dry which helps to “bleach” out any poop stains. I mainly do this in the summer when my son tends to eat blueberries by the carton. Some cloth diaper retailers sell special cloth diaper laundry detergent, but I have found that Tide Powder works the best for our needs.

10. It’s okay to use disposables too.

For whatever reason, I thought that I had to be all or none when it came to cloth diapering. In the early days, I remember feeling guilty when I would resort to disposables because I was too tired to do the laundry. I’ve gotten better at my laundry routine and no longer feel guilt over using disposables. Sometimes, they are just more convenient. Other times, they fit better under a certain outfit. It’s okay to diaper your child how you want. Your child, your choice. Happy diapering!

So, tell me…what are some things you wish you would have known before starting on your cloth diaper journey?

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