Some great links for washing issues:


What supplies do I need to start cloth diapering my baby?

Recommended Supplies

18-36 diapers depending on baby's age, how frequently and heavily baby wets and messes, how frequently you plan on changing and how frequently you will wash (every 2-4 days is ideal). I believe that fewer diapers leads to more frequent washing, which helps diapers last longer since they spend less time sitting around soiled. Sell the ones you do not use anymore!
Newborn babies poo a lot and therefore require frequent changes. But wetting patterns can be very variable from baby to baby and really has little correlation with age. Some babies wet small amounts very frequently, other babies wet much less frequently but let out a flood when they do go. They will probably need fewer diapers that are much more absorbent to catch the flood. How often you change is a personal decision. But if you change as soon as you know your babe wets then he or she is less likely to wet as soon as they get a new diaper on and therefore get to spend more time in a nice dry diaper.

Three to five (or more) diaper covers, depending on type of diapers and covers used. Fitted diapers and fastened prefolds require fewer covers than prefolds or contours just laid in the wraps. Most covers can be reused throughout the day and only need to be washed when they get soiled
Two to three dozen cloth wipes
Diaper pail liner I no longer use a diaper pail. The liner takes up less space and works great!
Laundry detergent, preferably with no bleach, dyes or additives that will irritate delicate skin, and preferably something that will rinse clean. Detergent residues are the most complicated part of washing diapers. Soap residue will decrease absorbency.


Optional Supplies

Stay-dry fleece liners to keep baby dry when you cannot change as soon as they wet. They are nice for outings, naps and overnights.
Disposable liners to aid in cleanup of messies, nice for the pasty transitional poo stage when they start solids, not necessary for bf poo.
Doublers for added absorbency (for heavy wetters and naptime/overnight.) Most babies need to use doublers by the time they are 8 months old, depending on which type of diapers you use. Adding layers like a doubler to your diaper will always be better then looking for a super thick diaper that is impossible to clean.
Vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove detergent residues, neutralize pH and soften diapers. Use a small amount in the first rinse. Do not use if you have lots of minerals in your water. I only use a small amount of vinegar if I have a detergent buildup problem.

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Do I really need all this stuff?

Actually I am working hard on simplifying my life and I have done lots to simplify my cloth diapering supplies as well. For starters I do not have tons of diapers. The fewer the better works well for me. I do not like to leave dirty diapers too long, so I wash every other day or so and have found that I always need fewer then the standard 36 for a newborn and 24 for an older babe that most people recommend. I recommend buying a modest diapering supply and then buying more as you need it.
I do not use a bazillion covers. Using a Snappi on my prefolds and fitted diapers means the covers rarely get soiled. I wash every other day, so I find three or four day covers and two night covers to be plenty. If you are using wool, you may find that you need even fewer.
Anything can be used as a diaper doubler. It just needs to be absorbent enough to hold what you need it to and small enough to fit in the diaper. Anything can be used as a pocket insert too, although absorbency and filling the pocket properly is critical with PUL pockets. But for hemp pockets, you can use wipes or doublers, etc. to fill them.
You can make thick cotton or hemp wipes do double duty by using them as doublers for newborn diaper and wipes when sturdier wipes are needed on food eating toddlers.
You don't need a ton of wipes. You can cut up old flannel blankets, cotton clothes even holey diapers to make wipes. I do not worry about serging them because I do not sew, so when they get too frayed I toss them and cut up another garment that I was going to throw out anyway. I call it recycling, taking something you are going to get rid of and using it longer until it is really used up. I have found that many fabrics fray much more slowly then I thought they would and I get quite a lot of use out of some things.
I have no plastic diaper pail. I prefer a hanging pail liner without a pail as they take up less space and have better airflow, which is essential to avoid nasty fermentation stink. Dirty diapers stored with good airflow are much less stinky and probably last longer too.
Start simple. Cloth diapering can be as easy as you want it to be!

So why buy the fancy stuff?

Because it is fun! Something done as frequently as diaper changing should be as fun as possible. If you have fun diapers in your diaper stash, then you are more likely to enjoy and stick with cloth diapering. And buying a modest amount of fancy diapers will still save you lots of money in the long run compared to what you would have spent on disposables, especially if you resell them when you are done with them. So do not worry about how much stuff you have, but do have enough fun stuff in your stash to make cloth diapering fun!

How do you measure rise, thigh and waist?

Measurements are a much more accurate predictor of fit then weight. Waist is around the waist where the top of the diaper will be. Thigh is around the leg where the diaper will be. Rise is from belly button, thru the crotch to the back.

How do I fold prefold and flat diapers?

Whereas I really want to have more information on folding right here, until I get the time to create that try some of these wonderful links....

The Diaper Hyena- Folding 101
Diaper Jungle
Born To Love
My Origami Fold Page


What works for Nighttime Diapering?

Nighttime diapering is considered the most challenging thing to figure out in cloth diapering. Trying to find a diaper that will hold an entire night's worth of wetness without being so bulky that it is uncomfortable is the key. People are always asking for product recommendations for nighttime. I think that any style product (prefold, fitted, pocket) will work. The important factor is how absorbent it is. As long as the absorbency is great enough to hold the nighttime wetness, it will work fine. Bonuses are a stay-dry liner, because you will not be changing when the baby wets, and a breathable cover to keep things cooler. So check out the absorbency charts to see what products will work best for your little one. Try to find a product with maximal absorbency and reasonable bulk, add a stay-dry liner or doubler, put it under a breathable cover like wool or double layer fleece, or stuff it into a pocket big enough to hold your stuffers, and you will be good to go. If using pockets be sure you have excellent leg fit, no buildup in your microfleece, and a pocket properly stuffed with something that absorbs fast enough for your baby. So try a hemp prefold under a fleece cover or a hemp fitted with a doubler under a wool cover or a micro- and a hemp-stuffed pocket. Just be sure whatever you try has the absorbency your babe needs. If the overnight diaper is wicking wetness because it is getting too soggy, then try some more absorbency. What works best for your babe?

What works for Newborn Diapering?

Diapering newborns can be tricky because they are so tiny and it is hard to put enough absorbency into a diaper that is small enough not to overwhelm the tiny babe. Luckily they wet and poo so frequently that more frequent diaper changes means less absorbency is needed. Just remember, the smaller the diaper usually mean the lower the absorbency. Some babes do fine in the teeny diapers and others really do better if you add some tiny doublers to bulk up the absorbency. You will find out quickly if yours is one of these
The other tricky part about diapering newborns is how explosive their poo is. Containment is a big factor. Many folks really like fitted diapers during this period for this reason, as fitteds are undoubtedly the best at containing poo. Anything that gets past the fitted is sure to be caught in the cover. But I find a well-fastened prefold can be almost as good. (Love my Snappis!) And the great thing about diapering a newborn is that generally they love the attention involved in the whole process and do not do much to get away. So you have plenty of time to get your diaper on just the way you like!

What works for diapering an older baby?

At my house babies get too busy to be bothered with diapering. So we get into the stage I call "Gator Wrestling!" My solution to this stage is to diaper standing up most of the time (except for messy diapers.) So I like fitteds, AIOs or pockets (preferably with snaps), which can all be easily put on a standing (or running) child. Even if you diaper your child laying down, you will still want something that is easy to quickly put on your little squirmer. Active babies also need a well fastened diaper to prevent shifting. And remember that even though you can put velcro-like closures on a squirming toddler faster then snaps, most toddlers learn to remove them just as fast, so they can only be used when well hidden by pants!

What works best for hot weather diapering?

For coolness in diapering what you want is breathability!
So for covers no PUL or waterproof layer, instead go for a breathable fleece or wool cover. They will be much cooler then a waterproof cover or a disposable diaper. Lots of products say they are breathable, but not all breathability is the same. Having a product not be airtight can still be very hard to breath thru. I always use the "hold it up to my face and breath test" to judge breathability. There is lots of variation in breathability in fleece or wool covers as well. In fleece it depends on what the fabric is treated with for waterproofness. In wool it depends on the tightness of the weave.
But most of the time I let my boy go coverless around the house. (In a fitted diaper or Snappied prefold.) I just change him as soon as he wets. (And of course no clothes over a coverless diaper.) For coolness in the diaper it is the same breathability factor. And again it is the tightness of the weave that effects breathability. The tighter the weave the less breathable and the slower to absorb the material will be. But it will be trimmer. The looser the weave the more breathable and the faster it will absorb. But it will be bulkier. So decide how much bulk versus speed of absorbency and breathability you want and go from there.

Can you recommend a starter sampler pack for someone new to cloth diapers? I am thinking AIOs would be easiest.

Actually I do not think that AIOs are the easiest. If they take more effort in the laundryroom running them thru lots of rinses and such like, then your life is not easier. And other styles of diapering are much easier then most people think!
Everyone should have at least one or two prefolds to try. Folding is much easier then you would think, washing them is a snap, and they are very affordable. If you decide you do not want to use them as diapers they make great changing pads, burp cloths and general goo catchers! Add a Snappi diaper fastener to make using prefolds even easier!
Fitted diapers are great because you can do standing diaper changes, leave diapers coverless when you want for airing out time (but no clothing over a coverless diaper or they will get wet!) and work great with lots of great breathable fleece and wool covers! They are my diaper of choice. I do find the extra step of adding a cover to be effortless and much easier then adding any other article of clothing.
Add a cover to use with your prefolds, like a wrap cover to hold them in place, easy peasy. And a wool or fleece cover to use with your fitted diapers and fastened prefold, they work great and are so cool and comfortable. They are the only type of cover I use for my baby.
Pocket diapers are the most popular type of diaper around, everyone should try one to see if that is the style for them. There are lots of choices now: snaps or hook and loop fasteners, front or side snaps, wide or narrow crotch (narrow is more trim and comfortable but wider holds more stuffers and wetness), polyester versus cotton (prettier but can lead to wicking because cotton absorbs wetness). Since fit is critical for the function of pockets (as well as having a residue free inner layer) you should try to find the brand that fits and works best for your babe. Pick one that seems likely and give it a try!
And everyone wants to have at least one AIO (All-In-One) to have around for babysitters, grandmothers and other cloth diapering newbies. But I recommend you do not but a true AIO where the absorbent part is sealed between a waterproof layer and a water resistant layer. It is very difficult to get these diapers cleaned and dried, not at all convenient if your AIOs all stink! But a AIO with a layered design would work. A good selection of shell and soaker types of AIOs are available as well as other layered designs. Some shell and soaker AIOs snap out so you can use a number of soakers with one shell, making it a more cost effective system then other AIO designs.

So what you want is:
One-two prefolds
A fitted diaper or two (hemp or cotton or bamboo, lots of options!)
A wrap cover for you prefolds and a wool or fleece cover too.
A pocket diaper
An AIO diaper
Pick out 6-8 things that look interesting to you in the various types and start using cloth part time right away!

Then after you figure out what type of diapers work best for you then you can decide on some wipes, pail liner and other extra details!.



Can you recommend a starter sampler pack for an natural fibers Organic Cotton lover?

There are quite a few lovely organic cotton choices like the Tiny Birds, Swaddlebees Organic Velour and FunOrganics. And I do recommend you try at least one prefold, they really are not very complicated at all. Placed in one of those Imse Vimse Organic Velour or Wool covers makes them actually very easy (although using a Snappi and any other cover is really a snap as well!) I recommend you pick a half dozen likely products and give it a try.
An Organic emphasis sampler order might be:
An organic prefold or two
A Wool Wrap Cover
An organic velour fitted diaper or
An organic cotton/hemp Fitted
An AIO with natural fiber inner
Another Wool cover to use with your fitted diapers (and Snappied prefolds!)
Pick out 6-8 things that look interesting to you in the various types and start using cloth part time right away!
Remember natural fibers need lots of washings to remove the natural oils before use.

Where are the true AIOs?

There are lots of "true" AIOs on the market that I could sell here and mamas are always looking to buy them. But I do not want to sell you problems. I feel that AIOs that are thick enough to hold wetness adequately and waterproof on the outside are never going to be easy to clean properly and will take forever to dry. Add a stay-dry liner to the AIO and you only compound this problem. If you cannot properly wash it or even more likely cannot properly rinse the detergent out of it you will end up battling the stinkies. See Stinkies.

How do I wash my new Fluff (cloth diapers)?

New diapers and doublers made of unbleached cotton or hemp need to be washed at least 4-5 times before use to become absorbent. Tightly- woven products like Unbleached Chinese Prefolds or hemp BabyKicks Joey Bunz may need up to 10 washes or more in very hot water to become absorbent. Hemp and cotton products will free hemp oil and produce a lot of lint during this period so do not include covers or pocket diapers in these washes. Boiling will accelerate the breaking-in of new diapers, but do NOT boil any diapers with plastic snaps or elastic. Absorbency will continue to improve with subsequent washing. Wash all dyed products separately in hot water until you are sure they will not bleed.


How do I wash cloth diapers?

There are as many ways to wash diapers as there are babies in cloth diapers! Here are some suggestions, please feel free to find the method that works best for YOU.

The Basics

Cold prewash
Long warm or hot wash with maximum water level and agitation
One or two rinse cycles
Line or machine dry

Helpful Hints

Most people recommend dry pail storage, because wet pail can pose a drowning hazard to curious toddlers, and dry pail extends the life of your diapers.
Wet diapers and breastfed messies can go straight into the pail liner. Shake solid messies or disposable liners into toilet and then store diaper in pail liner.
If you use separate pail liners for wets and messies, you can add messies to machine first to wash the stinky stuff away. I only prewash my messy diapers, which gives them the plenty of swish room they need.
If using wet pail, ALWAYS use a child-safe system. Soak in water only, change water daily to prevent odor buildup in diapers. Wet pails are not necessary and, if you do not change the water frequently enough, will cause stink problems. Soaking ages diapers faster.
Some people use the washing machine as a "wet pail" and add diapers as they go. I recommend doing a rinse and spin, rather than soaking.
Wash every 2-4 days. The more frequently you wash, the easier diapers are to clean and the less damage done to your diapers from sitting in urine.
Add up to 1/8 cup baking soda to cold presoak and main wash only if needed to prevent odors and stains.
Add up to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the first rinse in the fabric softener dispenser or a Downy ball only if needed to help remove detergent residue.
Do NOT use bleach on diapers. It is harmful to fabric and will prematurely wear the diapers. Use sun for stain removal.(Many brands of commercial detergent contain bleach.)
Do not use fabric softeners on diapers, it will decrease absorbency and affect the performance of your diapers.

How does Inge wash diapers?

I store poopy diapers separate from my wet diapers in a smaller Ditty Bag, which I store in the diaper bag. On wash day I prerinse the small load of poopy diapers separately so they get plenty of swish room in the machine without getting poopy residue on all the diapers. If they are real nasty I will add some baking soda to the prerinse. Then I add all the rest of my diapering stuff, including washable covers and pail liner (inside out). No wool in the washing machine! Then I run a hot wash with a small amount of detergent and a cold rinse followed by either an extra cold rinse or another water-only wash and rinse cycle if I am concerned about detergent buildup and want them extra clean.
I line dry everything after a quick 5 minutes of fluffing in the dryer. But if I machine dry (on rainy weeks) I will not put the covers or bags in the dryer as they dry quickly enough clipped to the handles of the cabinets or just on top of the dryer.
When my third was born, I simplified how I handle dirty diapers. I do not dunk or swish or spray poopy diapers. I shake over the toilet and anything pasted to the diaper gets removed by my poopy prerinse. I find it much quicker and less yucky to wipe the corn and stuff out of the machine after the prewash then to hang around a toilet spraying or swishing! Don't use your toilet as a washing location, use your machine for that! I wash diapers every other day shortly after my little one has done his pooping for the day. So dirty diapers never sit much more then 24 hours. This is very helpful in keeping the stink away and not letting stains to set. The few that come out yellow, sun right out, of course.
My best recommendation for washing is to keep things simple, choose your detergent wisely and use plenty of water!

Washing is still confusing! All the diapers and diaper sites have different washing instructions, what are the brief general instructions?

To get diapers preped, just remember synthetic fibers only need to be washed once. That include all PUL, microterry and poly fleece.
Natural fibers need to be washed repeatedly until they are absorbent as tested by a drip test (dribble water on them and see it rapidly absorbed instead of running off the ducks back.) Natural fibers may lint a lot during these washes so keep synthetic fleece away from these washes. Natural fibers include anything hemp or cotton or bamboo. The denser the weave the more washes will be required.
Once everything is prepped wash it all together when soiled! Prerinse anything poopy in cold water. Add extra rinses after wash to be sure all detergent residues are removed.

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Why do my new prefolds look so flat and stiff?

New unbleached cotton prefolds look very flat and stiff before you wash them because the diaper retains a lot of natural waxes found in cotton. They will not absorb anything in this state! You need to pre-wash them before use to remove these waxes. Any unbleached cotton or hemp diapering product needs to be repeatedly washed in the hottest water you have until the natural waxes and oils have been removed. I do not find drying to be necessary during break-in washing. Some people will boil their prefolds to accelerate this process but never boil any diaper with snaps or elastic. Snaps will melt and fall off your diaper!

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How will I know when my diapers are ready to use?

Use the "drip test." Dribble some water on the dry diaper. If it is quickly absorbed then you can start using the product, although full absorbency may not be achieved for several more washes. If water just sits on the diaper or runs off or is absorbed slowly, then it needs more washing. Hemp products usually need more washing then unbleached cotton. Densely woven products like Chinese prefolds usually need more washing then other products. How many washings needed will vary based on the temperature and hardness of your water and the harshness of your detergent.

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Why use wool for cloth diapering?

Wool is a natural fiber- that is great for babies. For centuries, mothers have chosen to swaddle their infants in wool because of its magical properties. It is suitable for all seasons and climates because it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Natural wool will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture so it wicks moisture away from your baby’s skin insuring that it stays dry. And wool also has amazing antibacterial properties. Wool doesn't need to be washed after each use, even when worn as a cloth diaper cover! Its natural moisture content makes wool naturally fire-resistant. It is indeed a magical fiber!

What is hemp fleece?

Fleece is a confusing word. It refers to texture, soft and fuzzy. You can have a fleecey material made of cotton, polyester, hemp or anything. But those fabrics will be very different. Most people in cloth diapering think of polyester fleece when they hear the word fleece. Polyester is a non absorbent material so is used in covers and stay dry layers next to baby. Hemp or cotton fleece is just soft fluffy texture to absorbent material. A very confusing word.

Which is more absorbent one layer of hemp fleece or two layers of hemp jersey?

And layers are confusing too. Because not all layers are of equal thickness. And it is the amount of material which dictates absorbency not number of layers. One thick fleece layer will hold more then two or three thin jersey layers.

What is the difference between lanolin liquid and lanolin balm?

According to wool expert Meg of Sudz N Dudz, "The balm contains complete solid lanolin and a percentage of wool conditioning oils. That's what makes it smooth and "spreadable". The liquid lanolin has been centrifuged to have the solid wax particles removed from the lanolin. That's why it is clear. Both are just fine for lanolizing. The solid can be scented, the liquid cannot. The liquid is more economical but over looooong term use, because it lacks the wax portion of the lanolin molecule, a user might find they need a traditional lanolizing treatment every once in a while. Most of the time, children grow out of the covers before anyone could possibly notice the difference. The bar soap and the liquid to lesser degree, contains solid lanolin so if you're using that, you certainly wouldn't' ever have a problem anyway. "

What about Training Pants?

I do have some here, but do not sell more types because I do not really believe in them. I am a simple gal and do not see the need for special stuff that is useful for such a short period of time. For all my boys I just used fitted diapers as pull-ups (most types work fine this way) snapped a little looser under a stretchy snapped cover (again, not too tight). (For added motivation, no stay dry liners and not too absorbent so they would be soggy when wet!) When they really wanted, they got to wear one pair of character underwear a day. The undies did not last long the first couple of days, but stayed dry all day within 2 weeks. The undie thing was totally the request of my second who was really into them (I wanted him to stay a diaper tester!) You could also try the double undie trick. To make regular undies into thicker panel training undies just put two undies on your babe with a doubler between them. A fleece-topped doubler with fleece facing the clothes will not stop clothes from getting wet but will help if your babe is just dribbling on the way to the potty. In my experience, if your babe is truly ready for toilet learning, this is an extremely short period of time. If it is not a short period of time, then your babe is probably not really ready! Let me know if you find some nice WAHM made Trainers I should add, I would love some feedback on this!

What do I do to keep my diapers from getting poop stains?

The best thing for poopie stains is to expose them to the sun. It is amazing what the sunshine can do for diapers. Just like you put a yellow baby in the window to treat jaundice, the sun magically conjugates the bilirubin in the poop and the stain will magically vanish. You have to see it work to believe it!
And poop stains is something that just happens to some diapers. To decrease the staining a couple of factors are very important I think. Most important is time. The longer the poo sits and the more it dries out the more the stains set. So try washing more frequently. This alone keeps all the stains away for me. The second thing is to try to avoid heat setting them. That is why we prerinse with cold, to get most of the poop out before we add the heat (which cooks the stains, setting them.) Any diaper that has a stain can be hung out to sun. You can even sun stains out thru a sunny window although the glass makes it take longer then when they are outdoors. If it is very important to avoid stains you can try a wet bucket for the poopie diapers so they do not dry out. But this is usually far more work then necessary as you must change the water extremely frequently (a couple of times a day) so you are not soaking in poop soup making smell problems and creates a drowning hazard risk. But lots of moms just do not worry about stains. After all, they are diapers!


Why are my covers and diapers stinky?
Why is my hemp stiff?

Both are caused by the same thing! Cloth diapering should never be stinky or stiff. If your diapers and covers are stiffer then when your first bought them or smell bad as soon as they get used, then you have a problem. Usually the problem is detergent buildup. Occasionally the problem is that they are not getting clean enough. Smell them when they are wet out of the washer and warm out of the dryer. If they are stinky, then they are not getting cleaned enough. If they smell fine but stink as soon as they are used, then they have detergent buildup. The first suggestion which will work for both problems is to make sure you have enough water in your machine and enough swish room for your diapers. Some front-loading washing machines do not add enough water to thoroughly soak thick diapers and will not do a good job in getting them clean. Adding water to the machine can remedy this problem. Do not overload your machine with diapers or they will not get clean. They need their swish room! I recommend you get a diaper pail that only holds one comfortable load’s worth to help avoid the temptation to put too many diapers in. Get rid of the mega-pail use a hanging pail liner instead!
If you have detergent buildup, then it is time to strip wash them. The simplest way is to put them through hot washes with no detergent until all the sudsing is gone and the stinky problem goes away. You can try to accelerate the removal of detergent by adding a little vinegar or baking soda to the water. Avoid using vinegar when your water has lots of minerals, because this can make stinky problems worse. I recommend always doing a pure water rinse after using vinegar because you do not want vinegar residue in your diapers either. Vinegar works to make your diapers softer because it will help remove the scratchy detergent residue. Baking Soda and its harsh cousin, Washing Soda, do a great job of neutralizing these odors. But watch out for the holes that overuse of Washing Soda will cause. Use it only when necessary. It is still much gentler on diapers then bleach would be. Do not use bleach as most diapers will disappear pretty quickly when bleached. Another useful approach to stinky diapers is to line dry them. It is amazing what a little fresh air and UV radiation can do to help freshen them up!
But the best way to approach stinky diapers is to try to avoid them in the first place. I keep careful watch on my fleece covers and thickest hemp diapers because the stink always shows up in polyester and then super absorbent hemp first. Use a very small amount of a clean rinsing detergent to prevent the stinkies. Also peek into your rinse cycle from time to time to check for the amount of suds. Whenever the stinkies start, I add an extra rinse, decrease the amount of detergent I use and occasionally add vinegar to the first rinse. This usually fixes things right up for me. I also avoid letting diapers sit too long between washes. Washing diapers frequently not only makes it easier to get them clean but also increases the life span of the diaper. Urine can be a powerful enemy of elastic and diaper fibers so the shorter it sits in your diapers, the longer they will last. I wash diapers every other day for this reason.

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Will fleece covers wick pee away from the babe's diaper to the onesie outside of the cover? Will everything will get soaked?

This is a common misperception. Polyester fleece is a non absorbent material. Wetness always needs to have somewhere to go. So if you have a thin nonabsorbent material next to your babe with an absorbent material on the other side then the wetness will wick thru to the absorbent material. But if the wetness is being held by an absorbent material and is next to a non absorbent material then there is no reason why it will go thru unless the absorbent material is not holding the wetness adequately (soggy diaper) or is force thru by a forceful wetter.
So that is the complicated way of saying as long as you have an adequately absorbent diaper that is thick enough to stop the stream of urine your little on makes and is not squeezed too tight by a sling or car seat then the fleece cover will work great. The biggest reason for fleece cover failure is not having enough diaper on the baby to hold what your babe is wetting. The other reason for failure is when you have detergent or other residues in the cover that the wetness can travel thru on (which also stinks terribly when wet with urine!).
Also the thicker the fleece the less likely any wetness can be squeezed thru soggy spots, so for overnights and other times when the diaper will get soggy, a thicker (and bulkier) doubler layer cover is recommended.

Why don't my fleece covers work?

Polar fleece does not stink! It is great stuff for diapering. It is used for great breathable covers and for stay-dry liners. Polar fleece works because it does not absorb water. So it makes a great dry layer as a cover or as a liner. But because it does not absorb water it is most prone to detergent buildup. Water with detergent penetrates the fleece but plain water does not so it is hard to rinse the detergent out of the fleece. If you get detergent in your fleece it will stink and it won't work. The residue will wick wetness thru covers where you do not want it and interfere with the wicking needed to make stay-dry liners work. And the residue will smell terrible when they come into contact with urine. Clean fleece does not stink. You can reuse fleece covers as frequently as you can non-fleece covers as long as they do not have any residue in them. When your overnight fleece covers and hemp diapers smell bad in the morning, don't replace them with something else, start stripping them. See the paragraph above for more info on stripping detergent residue!

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I know I have residues to strip, what will work best?

It depends on what is built up in the diapers as to what would work the best. The generic fits all buildups is more hot water rinses and time on the line soaking up some UV rays. But if that is not working then you need to think about what might be in them. Choices are:
Minerals (and different minerals act differently in differing water pH)- for minerals some folks have luck with Calgon and other water softening agents.
Cationic or Anionic detergent residues- whatever pH you have stuck in your dipes dictates whether the treatment is vinegar the acid to treat basic buildup or baking soda the base to treat acidic buildups. Knowing the pH of your water may help you decide which you have.
Detergent additives like optical whiteners- hopefully you do not have this because you have made a wise detergent choice in the first place, but if you do, find a detergent that does not have whiteners or stain fighters and use it to.
Excess washing soda from Charlies Soap-It is a base so try vinegar rinses.
Oils from natural detergent or soaps- Dawn dish detergent, but then you need to rinse well to get the Dawn out.

What about compression wicking with fleece covers?

The secret to preventing compression wicking with fleece covers is what you have under the fleece cover. If you have enough layers in the wetzone then the diaper under the fleece will stop the flow of the urine and not be squeezably soggy right under the cover. I have a boy who occasionally hoses (pees so forcefully that he can pee right thru a fleece cover) so I need to have enough layers of material in the wet zone to stop the force of the urine as fleece covers to do not stop the flow of forceful urine. If your diaper is not doing the job at stopping compression leaking you might want to try this. Take a fleece topped doubler and put it fleece side facing the fleece cover between the diaper and the cover so that you have a less compressible doubler layer fleece cover in the wet zone (or use a fleece liner and put it next to the cover but I like the idea of adding some absorbency in the right spot as well, Polar Babies are still currently my thinnest and therefore trimmest doubler I prefer for this use). Or to make a cover uncompressible would be to find a scrap of PUL or something waterproof and put it right in the wet zone.

Why don't my pocket diapers work?

Pocket diapers require several important factors to work properly. If these requirements are not met, they will leak and sometimes they will not hold anything if you do not follow these very important rules:

1 Buy the correct size! Fit is critical to function! If legs and waists gap then wetness will run right out before being absorbed!
2 Be sure inserts are properly primed (see Washing New Diapers)and adequately absorbent for your baby's output! If you do not have enough stuffed into the pocket to hold the wetness, then it will leak. Heavier wetters and overnights need larger pocket width so you can stuff more in. Lighter wetters can use trimmer pockets.
3. Be sure the insert you are using fits the pocket properly. Inserts that are too narrow or too wide for the pocket will cause problems.
4. Make sure the speed of absorbency of the inserts match what you need of it. some babies pee more forcefully then others and require inserts that have faster absorbency like microterry. Be sure your absorbency you are using with your pocket matches what you need of it. Forceful heavy wetting babes often require the use of both a mircroterry insert next to the babe paired with a hemp insert to hold the volume.
5. Use detergent that does not clog the fleece. If your fleece is clogged and not wicking correctly then strip them (see above).

One thing to help you determine where the problem lies is how wet your inserts are when the leak happens. If the insert are not very wet then look to fit of the pocket, function of the fleece and speed of absorbency. If the inserts are soggy then you need more absorbency.


How do I stop my diaper pail from stinking?

I recommend you store your diapers with as much airflow as possible to decrease stinkiness. Most pail stink problems come from fermentation in your diaper pail. If you can stop fermentation by making sure your diapers have adequate air flow then you will have much less pail stink! So skip the lid on that pail, or better yet skip the pail altogether and just use a hanging pail liner!

What detergents do you recommend?

Well it is easier to tell you what not to use:
don't use bleach – it causes holes
don't use fabric softener – it interferes with absorbency
don't use products with Stain fighters - these ingredient will coat fibers just like fabric softeners and make your diapers less absorbent and your covers leak
try not to use detergent with additives like brighteners, optical whiteners, fluorescent dyes – these chemicals (found in most brands of "free" detergent are designed to be residues left behind in clothes and are a very common source of build-up stink and repelling and stiff scratchiness in diapers. They can also be very difficult to remove when you have them in your diapers!!
avoid fragrance& dyes – they can irritate babies skin and lead to residue stink and repelling problem
avoid detergent with enzymes – if not rinsed out properly, it can cause burns on baby's bottoms when wet
avoid non-chlorine or oxygen bleach – sometimes it will lead to holes especially in hemp, especially if bleach has ever been used and might damage waterproof covers
avoid natural soap-based detergent if you are using pocket diapers or stay-dry fleece liners – it may leave a soap scum film that will clog the fleece, and make pocket diapers leak
avoid natural oil-based detergent if you are using pocket diapers or stay-dry fleece liners –
it will leave an oil film that will clog the fleece, this includes grapefruit seed oil (Bio-Kleen), hemp oil (Dr. Bronners) and others

Some detergent recommended by pocket makers as clean rinsing safe for diapers are:
Allen's Naturally, EcoVer
Sunlight, Tide, Cheer, Era, and Clout (these would all cause immediate rash for my sensitive boy)
Fuzzi Bunz recommends Seventh Generation (it has non-chlorine bleach), Happy Heinys says not to use it
Lots of sites recommend BioKleen as a good choice , but it’s not recommended by Fuzzi Bunz and Happy Heinys. I found it to cause detergent buildup problems because of the Grapefruit Seed Oil.

I still have the most success with Sensi-Clean but you can still get detergent build-up from this detergent and have heard stories of babies that got nasty burns from residues in their diapers with this detergent.

Charlie's Soaps in a new detergent (not soap like then name suggests) which uses Washing Soda to boost its cleaning. While Washing Soda (stronger cousin to Baking Soda) can be harsh (like oxygen bleach) it is better then a detergent with other additives (stain guard, optical whiteners, etc) that leave residues. You could add Washing Soda on your own to milder detergents like Sensi-Clean as needed for the same effect.

As you see, everyone seems to have their own opinion on this. I recommend you use whatever seems to work best for your baby, preferably with the least amount of the above additives!

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How do I use cloth wipes?

Keep wipes in either a wet or dry container or wipes warmer.
If storing wet, change solution frequently to avoid mold.
If storing dry, use spray bottle or Peri bottle to moisten wipes before use.
Wash wipes with diapers.
The best wipes solution is plain water. But a good wipes solution is water (regular or distilled) with a very small amount of pure baby wash and/or a nice oil (like apricot or jojoba oil) for added cleansing. Add a drop or two of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to kill bacteria and mold and to add a pleasing fragrance.

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How do I wash diaper covers?

Store soiled covers separately from diapers when possible.
Line dry to extend useful life of cover.
Dry PUL covers and pockets on hot occasionally to "recharge" the PUL and restore its waterproofing
Follow cover care recommendations. Improper care can cause waterproof covers to lose waterproofing.
Avoid excessive heat, like overstuffed dryer hot spot, fleece can melt if it gets too hot.
Most covers do not need to be laundered after each use. Simply hang to dry if damp and launder when messies occur or as often as needed.


How do I wash cloth menstrual pads?

Rinse or soak pads in cold water before laundering.
Wash with the next load of similar colored laundry or wash in a small cycle with other pads or wash with cloth diapers.
If soaking change water at least every day until laundering.

What do I do for a stinky diaper pail?

But the best pail destinker in my opinion is no lid. Pail stink is due to fermentation in low airflow conditions. If you can stop fermentation by providing plenty of oxygen you will stop the stink. It seems counter intuitive, but for your next load keep the lid open until they stink so much you need to close it. You may find that if you can get enough air flow to the diapers that you never need to close it, that they do not smell bad until the lid is closed and then they start to stink. A perk is that if you can stop the fermentation your diapers will last longer!
If just airflow is not enough to keep the stink away, try sprinkling baking soda in the pail or adding essential oils on a cloth. If using essential oils do not use too much, or you may not want to wash the oiled cloth with the diapers to prevent the oils from getting into your diapers.

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How do I decide which size to pick if my babe is between sizes on the size chart?

That depends: is your babe a chunky monkey or a skinny minnie? Usually chunky monkeys need to size up sooner then skinnier babes. Do you want the diaper to fit great now or do you want it to be a bit bulky now but fit well for a long time? If you want a diaper to be as trim as possible you will probably be happier using the smaller diaper as long as possible. But if you want the diaper to fit for a long time and do not mind some bulkiness until your babe grows into it then you may prefer the larger diaper.You may also want to size up if you are looking for the most absorbency because the bigger diaper will hold a little more wetness then the smaller diaper. But remember shapes change as babies grow. How old is your baby? Older babies are not always bigger babies. My babes were all chunky monkeys up until they started to walk at which point they thinned out considerably. The diaper was always much looser on my two year old then when the same child was 8 months old. So it is not unusual for babies to not need to size up into a bigger size then when they start walking at all. In my house, just before walking was the largest diaper size.

How do I find a diaper which fits my skinny minnie or my chunky monkey?

This is always a tough one. In general skinnier children need to stay in the smaller sizes for longer and chunksters need to size up sooner. But this means that skinny childern in the smaller sizes will end up having too short rise and length problems and chunksters sizing up sooner will need to be rolling things up and having dipaers go up to their armpits because everything is way to long. You need to decide which way you are most comfortable in going with the fit of things (too short but do not fall down or long enough but do not stay up on a skinny child, not much choice on this for a chunkster) or find a diaper maker who is designing diapers based on her own skinny or chunky children. So when looking for a diaper if you have a skinny child stay away from diapers that claim to be low rise and if you have a chunkster look for a low rise diaper.

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How do I decide what is right for my baby?

There are undoubtedly a mind-boggling array of cloth diapering products available these days. One can easily get bewildered without even leaving DiaperWare. I thought I would ask you a few questions to help you figure out what is right for you!

Which is more important to you?

A trim diaper or an absorbent diaper?
A soft diaper or an absorbent diaper?
A diaper that absorbs quickly or a diaper that holds the most?
Easy to use or easy to clean?
Ease of use or low cost?
Natural or synthetic fibers?
Breathable or waterproof?

Of course everyone wants the trimmest, most absorbent diaper that is soft, absorbs quickly, holds the most, is easy to use and clean, and is low cost. But if that were found in one diaper, all the other diapers would not exist. So think about these questions and what is most important to you when deciding what is best for you!

Trimness versus Absorbency: Everyone wants a trim diaper but unfortunately you do need a certain amount of material to be absorbent. Tiny diapers hold less wetness then bigger diapers. Hemp can hold more then cotton for the amount of material involved so it can be a good option for those looking to decrease bulkiness. But be careful about trimness because there is no getting around the basic physics that you need to have enough material to hold the wetness.

Softness versus Absorbency or Cotton versus Hemp: Hemp is the wonder fabric for cloth diapering. It holds 50% more wetness for a similar amount of material (I hear, but have not figured out a good test for this yet.) So if you are looking for a diaper that holds more wetness without more bulk, look for a hemp diaper. It is also naturally microbial resistant and more durable then plain cotton. However even with the hemp/cotton blends used in all of DiaperWare's products, hemp is not as soft as cotton especially if you have scratchy detergent residues in your hemp. Hemp is more absorbent and therefore more likely to get detergent buildup, which causes stinky diapers (when peed on.) But I find that if you are careful about detergent residue hemp will still be quite soft and not stinky at all.

Flooders versus Hosers: Some babies will let a large amount of wetness out very quickly at one time. I call them Flooders. You need a diaper that will hold a large volume for Flooders. But you also need a diaper that will absorb quickly with flooders to prevent overflow problems, especially with pocket diapers or microfleece lined systems. Other babes will let it out with great force. I call those babes Hosers. For them you need enough density of layers to stop the force of the stream. Flooders may do better with a two layer system (like fitted and cover) so wetness hits an absorbent layer before it hits the cover. Hosers need to be sure there is enough material to stop the flow of wetness before it hits the cover if they want to use breathable fleece or wool covers or they will wet right thru the cover.

Speed of absorbency versus Amount of absorbency: For babies that need high volume of absorbency you need a lot of material. Volume of absorbency can be roughly correlated to weight of material. The heavier the diaper the more it probably holds. But speed of absorbency is controlled by the density of the fabric. Denser fabrics will take up less space and are trimmer, but they also are slower to absorb. Looser weaves will absorb more quickly but take up more space. There are lots of theories as to what is the ideal diaper fabric. You want something with enough weight and material to hold the desired volume. And you want it to be not too bulky, but also not so tight that it does not absorb quickly enough to work well. Fleece and french terry like materials tend to be a happy medium in the density department.

Number of layers versus Thickness of layers: Just counting the layers a diaper is made of can be a deceptive way to judge comparative absorbencies because in most cases the layers may not be of equal thickness. I think weight is a better way to judge how much absorbent material is there. So when comparing absorbency volume I recommend looking for weights of equal types of materials (compare hemp blend to hemp blend and cotton to cotton and cotton blend to cotton blend.) Then try to determine which material is more dense so you can judge speed of absorbency versus trimness. See Absorbency for weights of DiaperWare products.

Ease of Use versus Ease of Cleaning: Thick diapers that are all sewn into one layer are very difficult to get clean, are prone to detergent residue and take forever to dry. True AIOs may be less durable since the cover part of the diaper cannot be washed separately from the diaper part. You are much better off getting a diapering system with layers of some type. Pockets and shell and soaker AIOs are convenient in that they hold the layers together while you are putting them on your babe but separate for easy washing. But prefolds, doublers, snap-in soakers and many other layered systems are just as easy in my opinion.

Cost versus Ease of Use: Some people think that the less expensive options like prefolds require a tiny bit more effort to put on. But I think that given a little practice you can easily become an expert and use all systems with ease. Some like to have easy-to-understand options like AIOs and pre-stuffed pockets available for fathers, other family members, babysitters and daycare. I like to have a variety of diapers in my collection to use in a variety of situations.

Natural Fibers versus Synthetic Fiber: Natural fibers are less likely to bother sensitive skin and less impact on the environment (generally), they can be less prone to detergent residues unless they are sewn too thickly. But they will definitely not last as long as synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers will last longer and can be made waterproof. The newer pocket diapers and their microterry inserts are all durable synthetic materials. Generally the thing that wears out with these diapers is the elastic or the waterproofing layer. If a Natural Fiber is PUL coated then it will still get holes in it with use. Addition of polyester to a cotton diaper will mean that as the cotton wears away you will still have a useable (but much less absorbent) diaper because poly framework prevents the holes that develop in natural fibers. So are you looking for the softness and purity of natural fibers or the durability of high tech synthetic fabrics.

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How do I decide which cover is right for my baby?

See Covers for more info on this topic including a comparison on breathability versus bulk on various fleece covers!

What do I recommend?

I recommend that you do not buy a whole set of something before you try them out. Just buy a little of this and a little of that to use until you figure out what you like. You will not know until you try if you are a prefold or a fitted and cover or a pocket and insert or an AIO kind of diaperer until you try them. If your wee one is a light or heavy wetter or skinny or chunky babe makes a big difference in what will work best. So my recommendation….
Buy a couple of prefolds and wrap covers, a contour, a fitted or two and cover, a pocket and insert, an AIO. Maybe throw some wipes and bags into the mix. Diaper in cloth part-time for the first couple of days or wash frequently. When you have used them long enough to know what you like and dislike, then buy more so you do not have to do wash so frequently. If you do buy a bunch of something only wash and use one or two diapers until you are sure they are the right diaper! If you have any questions while you are figuring it out let me know! It really is easy once you get the hang of it, much easier then constantly buying more and disposing of those nasty disposables. Make sense?

What do I use?

I use mostly hemp fitted diapers and fleece covers. If I can get my busy boy to lay down, I use a Snappied prefold, but that only usually happens for messy changes. The rest of the time I do diaper changes standing up. We battle enough every day, avoiding diaper change battles just makes my life a little easier. But I have all sorts of diapers and use different dipes for different circumstances. What do you use?

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What do I do when I am done with these diapers? (DiaperWare Resale Program!)

Save them for the next baby or sell them! (Can't sell used disposables, LOL)

Some places that might be good places for selling used products:
Diaperpin For Sale or Trade Cloth Diapers
WAHMchicks Auctions
Buzz Shops Auctions
Kitty Bids Auctions
E-Bay Auctions

There are lots more places too. Send me your favorite trading spot so I can add it to this list!


Do you have anything you think I should add to this page? If so please drop me a line!

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