We decided to use cloth diapers purely for the cost-saving aspect. There are a few calculators that you can use out there in web-land that will tell you when you will break even using cloth. I used this one. Basically, we broke even in about 3.5 months. I bought my stash mostly used, or from deal websites, so I haven't paid full price for cloth diapers yet, which knocked down the initial investment cost for us.
I use mostly GroVia hybrid diapers (seen in the pics here), which means there is a snap-in cloth insert and a cute little cover. Because the cover and the insert are separate, I only have to change the cover if it gets dirty. So for most wet diapers, I only have to change the insert and can re-use the cover. This cuts down on the amount of covers (the expensive part!) I need to have on hand. So right now I have about 10 covers and 20 inserts. I also have a couple of Applecheeks diapers that I really like too, but they are sized, and Peanut has grown out of them. Boo!
First, a word about wetbags. A wetbag is a bag with a waterproof liner in it. That keeps everything wet (and stinky) on the inside, and it won't leak or soak through the bag. They seem to be pretty expensive items (in my opinion), so after saying to myself "I could make that for cheaper!", I actually did. It was a very easy thing to sew, and I could make it suit my situation. I found a tutorial online and then tweaked it a bit. Basically, my bag is large enough to fit my stash when dirty. It has a zipper so that I can keep it in the nursery and it doesn't smell. I just made a strap so I could tie it to the change table so it's easy for diaper changes. It cost about $5 in material. Which is considerably cheaper than the bags I was looking at purchasing.
So, what does using cloth look like? When Peanut wakes up in the morning, I change him into cloth. We use disposables overnight because he is a heavy wetter, and the cloth would leak.
[Although we seem to be having some issues lately with the disposables leaking as well, as he's started to sleep on his tummy (with his bum in the air!), so he leaks out the front of the diaper almost every night. :( Anyone have any suggestions for stopping this? ]
When it's time for a change, I check and see if the cover is clean. If so, I just snap out the insert and stick it into the wetbag. If it's dirty, I push the velcro tabs into the laundry slots so they don't form into a giant diaper ball in the washing machine, unsnap the insert and then stick the whole thing into the wetbag. Now that Peanut is eating solid foods as well as breastfeeding, I add a flushable liner into the diaper (it looks like a dryer sheet) so that I can just dump that (and any icky poops) into the toilet before I put it into the wetbag. On the second day, I unzip the wetbag, dump it and all the diapers in the washer, and start my cleaning routine.
How adorable is that bum?!
I have a high efficiency frontload washer and dryer set, so I use a routine I found specifically for my brand of washer online. So far it has been working, so I haven't switched it yet. I start with a rinse and spin cycle, with an extra rinse (no detergent). Then, I do a heavy-duty wash cycle with an extra rinse and use detergent. Then I usually do another rinse and spin cycle (no detergent). If the weather is nice, I hang them to dry in the sun. However, during these cold winter months I use the dryer.
I use Rockin' Green detergent. I find this one works best because we have really hard water, and their Hard Rock formula is designed for it. It's important to use detergent that is safe for cloth diaper use, as if you use regular detergent you can get a build-up on the diapers, which will make them less absorbent and they will start to repel liquid. Not good. This is why it's important to rinse them really well, and to not use any fabric softeners on them. Every once in a while you should apparently "strip" the diapers. I haven't had any issues with repelling and buildup yet, so I've only followed the directions on the Rockin' Green and soaked them a couple of times. So far it's been working, but I think I should probably look into this stripping thing a bit more...so that's my homework.
And there it is folks...my routine. Any questions, comments or concerns? What does your routine look like?
I'm Amy, and I'm a Mommy with nary a clue as to how to do this whole "parenting" thing. As a former traveler, I view this as another journey, although this time without a map, a plan or a clue! We call Canada home.