I'm due around the Xmas holidays with our third child. I've decided to try cloth diapers this time around to save money but also for environmental reasons. I have bought about 3 dozen second hand (in various sizes). Is this enough? Also, how should I wash them the first time? I've heard the term "stripping" referred to in cloth diapering forums but not quite sure what it means & how to do it.


asked 16 Sep '09, 17:45

MinJSD's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%

edited 29 Mar '10, 14:24

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

We cloth diapered our son from about 8 weeks (I had bought size small Kushies all-in-one diapers second-hand, and they were just too big until he was about 8 weeks old.). Like the previous poster I had about 20-25 diapers, and I did laundry each day, as I found it took a long time for the all-in-ones to get dry.

The process I used to clean them was:

1) dry pail, scrape/shake any solids into the toilet (didn't really apply until the little guy was eating real food) 2) cold soak/rinse in washing machine, no detergent (to get most of the waste off) 3) hot wash with Tide Free detergent (no fragrance, color). No fabric softener! 4) cold rinse 5) 2 trips through the dryer to get them dry, no fabric softener sheets as this would limit diaper absorbency! This wasn't such a good idea with the all-in-ones though, as the PUL layer started to disintegrate after a while.

If I had to do it over, I would have gotten cloth diapers without the integrated PUL layer, and had PUL covers which could be washed separately and line/hang dried. That way it wouldn't be a problem to throw the diapers in the dryer.

Stripping is a process that removes any build-up from the diapers. This could be build-up from diaper creams, or build-up from detergents. (See here for more details on why stripping is sometimes needed, and tips how to do it... http://www.litegreenliving.com/stripping-cloth-diapers) The best practice is not to use diaper creams when you are cloth diapering (they shouldn't be needed anyhow, if you are changing baby often enough). On the odd occasions where we had to use diaper creams, we used the Kushies flushable liners which kept much of the creamy stuff from getting into the cloth.

Hope this helps!


answered 17 Sep '09, 12:50

Melanie's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Thanks so much Melanie for that link and all your other useful info! Since you bought 2nd hand as well did you "strip" your diapers before using them?

(17 Sep '09, 13:10) MinJSD

Hi MinJSD, I had never heard of stripping diapers when I started cloth diapering, but I did give all the diapers I got a run through a hot wash cycle, just to make sure they were clean before I started using them. Some of the "used" diapers I bought were actually ones that people received as shower gifts, they got washed once, and never used...so they were in like-new condition and didn't need stripping. The others had been used but were in clean condition and didn't smell at all, so they also just got the hot-wash treatment. Nothing special.

(18 Sep '09, 13:53) Melanie

Hi MinJSD,

We used cloth diapers in the beginning with our daughter. The number of diapers you have will depend on how often you want to do laundry. In the beginning most babies can use about 10-12 diapers a day. So if you use the newborn size and are thinking that you will do the laundry every couple of days, then you may need about 20 diapers. I believe we had about 16. However, we chose to not start using cloth diapers until the umbilical cord fell off and started with small size diapers. Also remember that when they are in cloth diapers you need to change them more frequently as the diapers don't soak up the moisture as well.

As for the larger sizes, at this point my dauther who is 12 months probably goes through 4-5 diapers on a typical day, and this has been the case for several months.

I have also not never heard the term "stripping" so hopefully someone else can help. I found the following website helpful in answering a lot of my specific questions, especially related to washing and detergent use. http://www.forbabywithlove.ca/en/information/wash_care_instructions/index.html


answered 16 Sep '09, 20:19

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

Thanks Tammy - that link has lots of useful washing info. Did you use cloth at night and on outings as well?

(17 Sep '09, 13:15) MinJSD

We used cloth diapers at night. I used the pocket style diapers and we found that after the baby slept for more then 4 hours in a row we had to use two inserts per diaper. We used disposables for outings.

(18 Sep '09, 00:08) Tammy ♦♦

I didn't start cloth diapering until my son was a year old. Right now he only uses 5-6 diapers a day but in the beginning he went through a lot of diapers. You are probably going to want to wash diapers every other day, otherwise the smell starts to get ripe and the risk of bacteria is higher.

I noticed that you were asking about nighttime diapering and for outings. I use pockets as well during the day and for outings. I just take a wet-bag (waterproof bag) to put the dirty diapers in. At night we use a fitted diaper with a cover. The pockets leaked for us but our son also sleeps 12 hours at night now. You probably won't need to do that in the beginning.

I didn't find that I needed to change my son more often in cloth. When he is at daycare they change them every two hours which is recommended for cloth so we didn't feel that needed to change when he was at home. Also when he was an infant we changed him every two-three hours before we fed him.

You might also want to invest in a diaper sprayer. It is crucial for getting poop off of diapers before you put them in your diaper pail.

Also another link to keep in mind is http://www.diaperpin.com/home.asp. There are lots of diaper reviews and links to cloth diapering information. I loved this site when it came to finding the right diapers for my son.


answered 18 Sep '09, 13:50

superstarBJR's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

Or for your own sanity, you could also use a diaper service. For $20 a week, all the diapers you can use. Put the dirty ones out on your porch, and clean ones magically take their place! Although it is getting expensive now that my daughter is only going through 40 a week, but well worth it initially!


answered 17 Sep '09, 18:18

FishDad's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

We're using cloth for our son (now 8 months old). We started with cotton prefolds and covers, but we weren't very happy with them, so when he outgrew the small covers, we switched to bumGenius pocket diapers (currently we have 18 and can do laundry every 2 or 2 1/2 days), and we're quite happy with them.

Our process goes like this: Solids are first removed in the toilet with a diaper sprayer. Then, we toss the soiled diapers into a plastic-lined cloth diaper bag (not a pail). The bag gets emptied out into the washing machine, and we toss the bag right in on top, so no stinky pail to deal with. The diaper sprayer is definitely a must-have item. We purchased the bumGenius-branded version, but as long as you buy one with a pushbutton trigger on the handle and a shutoff valve where it attaches to the toilet it will work just fine.

Diapers are first washed in cold using Nellie's Laundry Soda, then again in hot, followed by a cold rinse. Then it's into the dryer on regular heat, for about 70 minutes. Line drying is better -- both for the environment, and for the bleaching/sanitizing effect of solar UV rays -- but if you end up doing most of your laundry at night like we do, it ends up not being a viable option most of the time.

At night, we use the same diapers, but with an additional insert. On top of the regular bumGenius insert, we use a bamboo cloth insert (no-name, purchased from Extraordinary Baby Shoppe in Ottawa, but I'm sure similar products exist). It's bulkier than the standard insert, but it's much more absorbent. The only leaks we have are caused by "user error" on the part of daddy.


answered 18 Sep '09, 21:36

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


  1. Get a diaper bag, and avoid things like diaper pails. You'll probably want one with a zipper, as the diapers will smell after they have been used. You can buy them at places like GoodMamma or any number of other places. Actually get two....you'll need another one when you are washing the first one.
  2. Avoid detergents with surfactants in them. This will reduce the effectiveness of the cloth diaper. My wife and children have sensitive skin, so we use Ecover. You can also use a combination of Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Dawn Dish soap. After having done this for a while, buying the ecover is a lot easier if you can get it. They sell it at Costco, Target etc.
  3. Stripping refers to removing chemical build up from detergents that makes them less effective. we use borax to do so.
  4. Buy a variety of diapers. There are different diapers for different purposes. Some fit different babies better than others. You'll thank yourself if you have different brands for different times. We use good mammas around the house (we bought them before she was e-famous, so they were a lot cheaper back then, now you can find ones with "similar" construction patterns), and bum genius and fuzzi bunz. Do not buy all the ones you'll need at the same time. You'll regret it as you don't know what is going to work the best.
  5. Learn how to knit (I'm not joking, my wife does most of it, but yes I can). You can make wool soakers (think wool shorts) for night time pants which work really well. Making them costs about 10-30 dollars (depending on the type of wool), buying them costs a lot more (like 100+ at times). There are patterns on line (check ravelry).

If you need to go cheap for replacements in a hurry, buy pre-folds and cover them in a PUL wrapper. You can use them without diaper pins then. You can use snappys too.

Since you have bought them second hand, check the construction. They are probably a little worn. that's ok, but cloth diapers have a limited life span. Plan on eventually replacing them or repairing them down the line. This may or may not be worth it depending on what you have.


answered 25 Sep '09, 19:01

Kevin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 22 Feb '10, 01:21

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 16 Sep '09, 17:45

Seen: 7,434 times

Last updated: 29 Mar '10, 14:24