Aren’t cloth diapers gross?

Baby waiting for diaper change

We get asked if cloth diapers are gross, and we aren’t sure what to say, other than, “No.” That idea seems to be stuck in people’s minds, though, so let’s examine it and unstick it.

These are the issues I see:

  • any type of diaper leaves you with the same clean up,
  • except that you also wash cloth diapers;
  • accessories can make it easier;
  • a shift in perception can change everything; and
  • you can always give the job to someone else.

But isn’t it easier with a disposable diaper? No, think about it. Cloth or disposable diapers, it’s still a diaper change. No matter which type of diapers you choose, you still have the same clean up at diaper time: wipe the baby, switch the diaper, and dump the solids.

Even disposable diapers should be dumped because waste belongs in the wastewater treatment system, not in landfill. We know a lot of people don’t do it, but that doesn’t change the fact that they should. Think about the accumulation of that waste rather than the treatment of it. All of those babies and mountains and mountains of their poop. What a gift for their future.

No matter what diaper you use, dump the solids.

But isn’t cloth diaper laundry gross? It isn’t, especially if you don’t leave the diapers for a week to stew.

Just wash every couple of days, and the smell stays under control. You could use gloves at diaper washing time, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

If you meet someone who thinks that diapers are going to leave a washing machine stinky, help them think through the fact that the washing machine is cleaned over and over with hot water and cleaning chemicals. Washing machines do not hang on to residue of human waste. Clothes washed in a machine that has washed diapers will not come out smelling like diapers. Not even the diapers come out smelling like diapers. When you do diaper laundry right, cloth diapers are clean and fresh after washing.

Is there anything that makes it easier for me to clean up after a diaper change? There is, actually. We carry a bunch of clever cloth diaper accessories to make things easier for you.

With a reusable diaper liner, the poop just slides off into the toilet when you dump; with a disposable liner, you pick it up by the ends and dump it with the poop into the toilet.

If the smell from your pail bothers you, try a deoderizer. Don’t use a spray with odor-masking stronger odors. Try our volcanic mineral deodorizer. It absorbs odors without adding masking chemicals.

What is the most important thing I can do to keep diaper changes from being gross? Shift your own perception. It’s only gross if you think it is.

You don’t need to let yourself be controlled by the random thoughts your brain provides you. You can take conscious control and reprogram your thinking.

Try thinking this several times before each diaper change: someone I love so much I could burst needs me for these few short years to help with this job of cleaning up after elimination. This is easy. This is important. I do this with love.

Having done this not only for my babies but for my parent, I understand at a profound level that this kind of care is an act of compassion and love.

So, show it.

When you are changing a diaper, don’t scrunch up your nose and think how much you hate it. That’s the face your baby will see when s/he is completely focused on you. Go make that face in the mirror and ask if that’s what you want your baby to know about you.

In that moment of diaper changing, shift your focus to your baby. Focus on your love and compassion. Look at that little face and just let yourself smile. That genuine smile of love, the smile that reaches your whole face and warms your whole baby, that is what you want your baby to know about you.

What if I really can’t handle it? If you really can’t handle the mess, I have an easy cloth diaper solution for you: diaper service.

If the mess gets to you, you just let someone else handle it. Over two years you will pay more than you would buying and washing your own diapers, but you don’t have to wash them.

Think about the job of a diaper service. They take many, many dozens of wet, poopy diapers and they use their specialized knowledge of laundry science to get them so fresh and clean that you want to bury your face in them when they are delivered back to your doorstep.

Keep in mind, though: even if you let a diaper service clean your baby’s diapers, you still need to clean up your baby, and that’s going to be the same no matter what diaper solution you choose.

Honestly, it’s baby poop. It’s not that scary.

Cloth Diapering Basics

We’re offering our answers to common questions and comments that we get in the store about cloth diaper 101 basics, like “I can’t afford cloth diapers,” “Don’t cloth diapers leak?” and “I don’t have time for cloth diapers.”

Image ©  |

Cool Diapering in Hot Weather

Baby at the beach in summer

A sweaty baby bottom in the hot summer heat is more likely to get not just diaper rash but heat rash. Keep your baby’s bottom clear and dry by choosing cloth diapers carefully when it’s hot outside.

The main concern in extreme heat is air circulation. This should be a concern in all weather, but the consequences are more pronounced in the summer. Despite the wetness of a diaper, you need to keep your baby’s skin dry in order to avoid most diaper rash. When you read about cloth diapers and diaper covers and see claims of breathability, meaning that air can move through the fabric of the diaper, this is the time that matters most of all.

Choose cool diapers. When breathability is your main goal, don’t choose PUL covers, pocket diapers, or AIOs. These diapers and covers have a plastic layer laminated to the polyester fabric. Laminated fabrics keep moisture in, but they also keep your baby’s bottom hot in the summer. Some of these diapers might allow some air circulation, but your baby’s bottom needs the most air possible in the heat. Save these diapers for cooler weather. Use cotton fitted, flat, or prefold diapers for the coolest summer diapers.

Use wool diaper covers. That sounds counter-intuitive if you think of wool as a warm sweater, but wool actually absorbs moisture then evaporates it into the air around your baby. Wool diaper covers create a moisture and air insulator that won’t trap wetness and heat against your baby’s skin.

Change diapers often. When you need to keep your baby dry, change that wet diaper. You should be changing your baby’s diaper every time it is wet.

Go coverless. If you will be at home, you can allow a lot more air circulation by using no moisture barrier at all. Sure, you need to change the absorbent diaper more often to avoid wet furniture or floor, but you should be changing every time the diaper is wet anyway. If you aren’t using a cover, don’t put clothes over the diaper. That just begs for a wet mess.

Go diaperless. Especially if your baby is recovering from heat rash or diaper rash, the best air circulation comes from going completely bare. Be prepared to clean up. While your baby is diaperless, what better time to start infant pottying, if you aren’t using this method already.

Wear a swim diaper. When you want to cool off, stay home and swim. Hang out in the pool in the shade with your baby in a swim diaper. If you don’t have a pool, let your baby play with a bucket of water. It’s all fun and splashing.

Choose cool wool for a long car ride. If you will be going on a long car ride, you can still use wool to stay cool, but keep in mind that wool can leak when compressed for a long time. Think of squeezing a sponge. The moisture will wick toward the dry car seat. You can avoid that by putting a sheepie or sheepskin rug between your baby and the car seat.  The wool on the sheepskin will absorb the moisture and will not let it through to the carseat. If you don’t have a sheepskin rug, a wool changing pad will do a similar job, though it could leak if you wait too long to change a diaper. Just plan regular diaper change stops. If you use a sheepskin, make sure you understand how to adjust the carseat safely because the sheepskin will make the seat a bit tighter.

Summertime Bonus

Save energy by line drying your cloth diapers. This is especially helpful if you want to get rid of stains on cotton. Just leave them in the sun, and watch the stains fade. For diapers with stubborn stains, spray a little lemon juice on the stain before you hang the diaper on the line. Be sure to rewash that diaper so you don’t put lemon juice on your baby’s sensitive skin.

What do you do to keep summer diapering cool? Please share your tips.

Image © Markcarper |

Compare Cloth Diapers – Pocket Diapers

AMP pocket cloth diaper on a crawling baby

Continuing our comparison of the differences and advantages of major styles and brands of cloth diapers, today we’re comparing pocket diapers to other cloth diaper styles.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

With a pocket diaper, the diaper itself is made up of two layers. The outer layer is moisture resistant. This is the layer that shows on the outside when your baby is all diapered and ready to go. There is no extra cover to add as you must with fitted or prefold diapers. Another layer on the inside of a pocket diaper wicks moisture. Because there is an opening in the back seam, these two layers together are the pocket.

Moisture absorbency in a pocket diaper is provided by an insert that is stuffed into the back opening. Inserts can be made of any absorbent material, like cotton, hemp, bamboo, or even microfiber. In that way, you have a lot of material choices just like you do with fitted diapers.

Pocket diapers can be one-size, like the Happy Heiny One for All diaper, or sized, like the Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size diaper. In many ways, pocket diapers are quite similar to all-in-two and some all-in-one diapers that have a piece allowing customized absorbency.

Best of all, with pocket diapers, there are a lot of brands, styles, and closures to choose from. You don’t need to settle for what doesn’t work for you.

Happy Heiny pocket diaper open

Pocket Diaper Advantages

  • Easy to wash. You can separate inserts from most pocket diapers just by shaking them upside down. Just be sure to rinse adequately, and follow manufacturer washing instructions.
  • Easy to dry. Since the pieces separate, the water and air don’t need to be forced through many, many layers.
  • A lot of flexibility in amount of absorbency used, so you can make minor adjustments throughout the day.
  • You can pre-stuff the diapers and let other caregivers treat them almost like all-in-one diapers.
  • A lot of colors, prints, and styles to choose from.

For parents looking for an easy system that allows them to make some customization, pocket diapers have become a popular choice.

Pocket Diaper Disadvantages

  • You have to get the amount and placement of the inserts right or you will have leaks.
  • If your detergent leaves residue or you don’t rinse the detergent adequately, there can be build-up on the inner layer, which leads to odors and trouble with absorbency.
  • If you have many different kinds of pocket diapers, you might find that manufacturers recommend different washing routines for each. It can get confusing and difficult to get everything equally clean.
  • Must wash every part after every diaper change, creating more wash than with simpler systems.
  • The child doesn’t feel wetness of the diaper, which could delay the early potty training advantage found with cloth diapers.

The biggest issue to solve with pocket diapers is finding the washing routine that works with your diapers, your water quality, and your detergent. Sticking with all the same brand or very similar diapers for your whole collection can help solve that problem as well. Once you have that down, you can make pocket diapers work well for you and your baby

Later this week, we’ll share our customers’ opinions of pocket diapers. Make comments on Facebook or