Cloth Diapering 101: What I Learned After 5+ Years of Cloth Diapering [UPDATED 2019]

March 19, 2019·

It is official, for the first time in over 5 and a half years, I do not have a child in cloth diapers. We have cloth diapered both of our kids since birth and I’ve learned a lot along the way. My cloth diapering blog series that I wrote years ago is still one of my most popular series that people refer to time and time again. Since I wrote a lot of that series about 5 years ago, I thought it would be helpful to give you my ultimate cloth diapering 101 tips – sharing what I have learned after 5+ years of cloth diapering my kids.

I also asked you on Instagram what questions you had and so I hope this post answers most, if not all, of those commonly asked questions!

For reference, here are the links to the cloth diapering blog posts that I wrote – a lot of the information is still very relevant and super helpful if you’re just starting out and have no idea what to do when it comes to cloth diapering your little ones:

Our Favorite Diapers for Day Time: 

In my “types of cloth diapers and what we use” post, I shared about the difference between AIOs (all-in-ones), pockets, prefolds, etc. After 5.5 years, my favorite day time diapers are still the BumGenius Freetime All-In-Ones. BY FAR. I have tried MANY different brands, and I just love the BumGenius All-In-Ones. In my opinion, they are the easiest to use, they’re the least difficult to travel with, they’re easy to fold… they’re just… EASY.

They fit both my kids well. Lilly had chunk-a-munk thighs and they fit great on Lilly at all adjustments. Amos has been tiny tiny tiny with skinny legs since birth. I had to use newborn sized cloth diapers on Amos for the first month or two of his life, but once he was big enough for the BumGenius all-in-ones at the smallest setting, they were perfect. They were my preferred diaper for sure.

Our Favorite Diapers for Night Time:

Both of my kids needed lots of extra coverage at nighttime. (Full disclosure: A is still wearing diapers at nighttime / naptime. But we use a disposable night time diaper PLUS a cloth diaper for him because that what works best for him. L just needed cloth at night and she was fine until she was out of diapers completely.)

For nighttime, I had a small set of BumGenius 5.0 Pocket Diapers. I like pocket diapers for NIGHTTIME because you can adjust the absorbency depending upon your kid. I liked that I could add more or reduce the number of inserts. I only had about 6 pocket diapers in total… so you don’t need much since they’re only worn at night.

I do know some people like pocket diapers the best in general. For me, I hated taking pocket diapers out and about because I didn’t want to have to deal with inserts and all that.

How I Wash and Clean Our Diapers:

I’ve been pretty open since the beginning that this was the biggest struggle for me… finding the right wash cycle / system and what detergent to use. Read my old blog post about laundering cloth diapers here. SO many people have strong opinions about this and will recommend brands like Charlie’s Soap or Rockin’ Green… to be honest, I haaaaaaaaaated all the “cloth diaper specific” detergents. HATED them. They never worked. No matter what I did, they never got the diapers clean.

So, for the majority of the past 5+ years, I have used TIDE original powder to wash my diapers. I know, I’m the one that uses mostly non-toxic products. Yes, I know, TIDE is apparently the “enemy” and yes it has all kinds of chemicals in it and all the things… but, it worked. It was the ONLY thing that would kill the ammonia in the diapers, it was the ONLY thing that got out mold or mildew… and it was the ONLY thing that ultimately prevented ammonia, mold, and mildew from even happening. So, TIDE has been my go-to and I will stand by that. Whatever. When it comes to cleaning diapers… you need something that WORKS.


NOW, this year, I was introduced to MamaSuds and had the founder, Michelle Smith, on my podcast. We actually had a whole conversation about the science behind why TIDE works and also why MamaSuds works… you can listen to the episode to hear that!

I did a whole blog post on MamaSuds products here and I also tried their laundry detergent. I have to say, I was EXTREMELY impressed with the MamaSuds laundry detergent and it DID get my diapers clean. I only have been using it since about late August or September and only used it on our diapers for about six months, but it did an amazing job.

I did still use TIDE original powder periodically when I felt like the diapers might be getting a lot of build up or something, but had I known about MamaSuds from the beginning, I would have probably JUST used that. (You can use code SBM15 for 15% off if you wanna try it!)


I did diaper laundry about every 2-3 days when the kids were younger and they were both in diapers at the same time. As A got older, I only did diaper laundry about every 3-4 days. Some people do it more often, but that worked well for us.


We have LG HE top loader washer and front loading dryer.

Here is my favorite wash cycle:

  • One cold cycle NO detergent. This rinses the diapers.
  • One HOT cycle – HOTTEST water setting possible WITH detergent.
  • One final cold rinse cycle NO detergent. This rinses any detergent residue.

It is *best* to hang dry your diapers. But, I will admit that I put my diapers in the dryer… I hang dry them when I have time… but I have no shame in drying my diapers to save time.

Periodically I would run my diapers on the HOT cycle and SOAK them. If I felt like they weren’t as absorbent, I would soak them to really rinse them well.

MY FAVORITE WET BAG: Planet Wise. 100%. I have three of them and they’ve held up so well over the years.

ALSO: Invest in a diaper sprayer!! We installed one on our toilet and it has been a LIFESAVER. For real. GET ONE. You will not regret it. Makes pre-rinsing the poop off diapers so. much. easier.


Yes, the cost of cloth diapers can be more expensive up front, but honestly, the amount of money we have saved over the years… I can’t even begin to calculate it. We pretty much used all the same diapers for Lilly AND Amos. A lot of cloth diapers were gifted to us at baby showers and then we purchased a few more once we knew what we liked. We used gift cards to purchase a lot of them!

So, if cloth diapering is something you want to do, ask for them at your shower or ask for gift cards to use to purchase them yourself. I think in total, John and I personally spent less than $100 on cloth diapers. BUT, even if you chose to just spend the $200-$300-$500 up front for a full set (depending on what brand you buy, if you buy them used or new, etc.), think about how much money you are saving over time not buying disposable diapers. And that doesn’t even factor in the environmentally friendly factor!


For the most part, we stopped taking our cloth diapers when we traveled overnight. If we were going anywhere for longer than one night, we used disposable diapers. It’s just easier. Sometimes we would take the cloth, but a lot of times we just took disposables. It’s really up to you! With L, having just one kid, it was so much easier to travel with cloth. But adding another kid to the mix made it more difficult… so we stopped when we had A.

We also had to use disposable diapers for preschool and church… so, we always had some on hand.

OUT AND ABOUT (just daily errand running, etc.):

So for this we either did a “hybrid” method and just used disposables when we were out and about if we were going to be gone a long time, OR we just packed a couple extra in our diaper bag along with a wet bag. It really is just like changing a disposable! The only thing extra you bring is a wet bag to store the dirty diaper while you’re out and about until you get home. Super easy.


Like I mentioned above, church and preschool wouldn’t allow cloth diapers so we used disposables for those situations. Most babysitters were on board once they saw how easy it was. It was really just a matter of educating them on how to put the diapers on correctly, what to do with poop, and where the wet bags were!


I honestly am not sure at this point. We don’t know if we are done having kids, so we are going to hold onto them for now. Some of them do need some TLC… the elastic is going and the PUL is thinning, but I’m going to cross that bridge when I come to it. If anyone has suggestions or ideas on what to do with them (they can’t *all* be turned into swim diapers! haha!), let me know in the comments!

At the end of the day…

We LOVED cloth diapering. I would do it again in a heartbeat. If we are blessed with more kids, who knows, but if we are… we will definitely cloth diaper again.

It really is not as hard as some people think it is! We saved a lot of money, we kept lots of diapers out of landfills, and so much more!

Now what do you think? Is this helpful? What other questions do you have?

Cloth Diapering 101: What I Learned After 5+ Years of Cloth Diapering [UPDATED 2019]