25 Weeks: Laundering, Stuffing, Folding

If you remember from this post, blog reader Stephanie passed on her collection of cloth diapers to me (she was finished using them) in a huge recycling effort. There were tons of them and I was totally overwhelmed! I ended up mailing part of the stash (the girliest part) with another blog reader who was hoping to give cloth a try, so I’m down a reasonable amount of diapers and brands to give a try when the time comes.


A few weeks ago, my friend Holly came over and gave me a wonderful hands-on tutorial on how to use them. I thought that they would be really technical – “this liner can ONLY go with this brand” but it turns out the whole process is easier than I thought. I think the worst part of the cloth diaper system is that you’re not supposed to put them in your dyer! Line drying does save energy though, but it takes human energy to manage and a lot of time to dry. Probably worth it though to prolong the diaper life and minimize drying cost.

[We also have a cloth diaper club that meets here in Cville, so I might head over to one of their monthly meet-ups and try to learn more!]

This weekend, I took the box out of my attic and washed them all in preparation for a nice organization event (you have no idea how much I was looking forward to lining these up in drawers!


Stephanie included this box of detergent when she sent them, and it’s approved for cloth diaper use. (I’ve heard Rockin’ Green also rocks!)

I put the entire box of diapers in my washer and pushed go. Since they were already technically clean, I don’t really have any feedback on settings since I just used normal. I need to figure out the best system for my washer…

Holly recommended I buy a drying rack at Target, so I found this collapsible one. Since it was warm out, outside they went!


I was surprised that the diapers themselves felt nearly dry upon coming out of the washer:


But the liners took much, much longer to dry. About a whole 24 hours.


Direct sun helped!


Once they were all dry and clean (too bad these eco detergents don’t get fun laundry smells : ( ), the fun part started. Here’s our changing table in progress:


And here are the diapers all ready to go! I used the whole top drawer to fill with diapers and left the bottom two drawers for clothes.


Clothes, especially newborn clothes, are on a shortage at the moment!


I decided to go ahead and fill the diapers with the liners because I want to get this system as realistic as possible and think that stuffing while I’m doing the laundry and putting them away, although annoying, makes more sense so you have less to do when there’s a wiggling baby on your table.

On the right there are two bins of pocket diapers (multiple brands) all stuffed with a single newborn snapped liner and diaper.

I called Matt into the room and gave him a tutorial. He is sometimes even more “earth dad” than I am, so he is all for using the cloth. I think he liked the tutorial Smile And I know I enjoyed showing him the system!


Stuffing each one was annoying! I think this is why people like all-in-ones. But I do like the versatility of the pockets – you can add more or less liners depending on time of day and they are adjustable in size from small baby to big.


To the left, you’ll find a smaller box with just the tinier diapers for newborns – or maybe a little older.


So little!

IMG_0953 IMG_0952

As well as a few prefolds tucked in the back. I don’t have any small covers for these, so I don’t know if we’ll go the prefold route (but if I were buying these all from scratch, I think I definitely would have considered it..)


And on the far left – the extra liners.


Back in the way back are a few non-adjustable diapers that are probably for closer to 1 year olds:


I hope to get a cloth diaper pail and put my wetbag inside to the right of the dresser. The bathroom is literally 3 feet away and we are planning to get a sprayer for the toilet for when that is necessary. Also going to try out elimination communication at transitional times during the day (like after naptime) since the bathroom is so close (Matt is on board for that too). I’m all for giving things a try. If they don’t work, at least I tried.


We’re going to use cloth wipes too – makes sense to wash everything rather than throw away the disposable and then wash the diaper in two places.

We ARE planning to use disposables for the first month or so – or until we feel we’re ready. I might throw some tiny cloth ones in in the first weeks or wait until 3-4 months. It all depends on how things are going and if the bulk of my diapers fit.

These boxes will probably hold the disposable newborn diapers and then whatever else we need at changing time (wipes, etc.)


Once I got a tutorial from a friend, all of the cloth diaper information made so much more sense to me!

Here are some good resources – and there are many, many more online!

Padded Tush Stats (all stats and reviews!)

All About Cloth Diapers

New Moms, New Babies Podcast (this was very helpful!)

Also lots of blogger posts on how the system works for them.

We shall see how it goes!



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55 thoughts on “25 Weeks: Laundering, Stuffing, Folding”

  1. Cloth diapers are so cute! Both my sisters used them for their 2 kids.

    I’m pretty sure you can put the liners and pre-folds in the dryer. You just want to line dry anything that has elastic or the waterproof stuff.

    1. Yep, liners and prefolds go in the dryer. Bum Genius Diapers can go in the dryer as well but only if you have a ‘gentle’ dryer cycle. I don’t, so I hang them up. Go to each brands specific website for further manufacturer instructions on care. CD is even easier than you think!:o)

    2. I dry mine most of the time and have for 3+ years (I’m “baby bunching” lol).. And have never had any breakdown issues at all. We use bumgenius though. I use a skinny simple human trash can and use wet bag liners to put the dirties in. It’s nice to have the foot pedal as my hands are usually carrying a newly sprayed diaper etc. I wash every other day.. being 33 weeks pregnant and having a two and three year old I don’t have time to line dry or stuff ( we use elementals. I DO use a few stuffables for nighttime to get the most absorbency..but I spent way too long stuffing diapers when that was our only style! I can think of a million things I’d rather be doing! I would definitely suggest drying microfiber inserts. They can very easily get stinky otherwise.

  2. That is an AMAZING stash!! You’re lucky to have gotten so many good brands and all at once!

    Though I air dry my covers I definitely dryer dry the inserts. They’re much sturdier, they don’t have any kind of sealer or elastic so I don’t mind drying them in the machine at all.

    I love that you’re setting such a great example of cloth diapering and I’m so glad you’re giving it a go! We did disposables for about two weeks before I felt comfortable using the cloth diapers. Basically until the cord stump fell off. I haven’t thought about it for the baby I’ll be having any day but I’ll probably not disposable at all unless the cloth do get in the way of the stump.

  3. You can dry the inserts. It’s just the covers that are best air dried to prevent wearing out too soon.

  4. I’ve been cloth diapering my son since he was born 2 years ago, and am about to start with another newborn as soon as it decides to grace us with it’s presence (today, tomorrow… next week).

    Just wanted to confirm what Diana said – the inserts on cloth diapers can definitely go in the dryer – if they couldn’t we’d be in a lot of trouble up here in snowy Canada. I also put my covers in the dryer, even though it is technically not recommended, but I haven’t had any trouble yet.

    Of course, once the sunny weather starts, we line dry because it bleaches out any nasty stains, and uses less energy. But it is good to know you don’t have to wait 24 hours for fresh diapers – especially when you’ve got a new baby being changed hourly!

  5. We’re definitely doing cloth too – I think my husband is more excited about it than I am! He’s sort of a freak about laundry (as in he loves doing it) and the thought of him outside hanging those cute little diapers on the line… oh, my heart! 🙂

    A friend of mine told me that cloth diapers actually get more absorbent the older they are/more they get washed, so hand-me-down diapers are even better that way! You lucked out with that haul!

  6. Bea is right, you can dry the liners in the dryer but sunning them gets stains out. I usually sun mine for an hour or so and then finish them in the dryer. Good luck! Also, where did you get the drawer organizers?

  7. You are definitely extremely lucky to have all these free diapers, wow! The rack is nice to keep things together but the inserts would probably dry much faster on a line where they weren’t touching each other and air could circulate on all sides. I’m due 4 months after you so hopefully you’ll be using cloth by then – I know you’ll have a detailed post when the time comes!

  8. Bea is correct, the inserts can go right in the dryer, while you line dry the covers…BUT beware, if you use dryer sheets or fabric softner on your regular laundry, you cannot use the dryer, as the inside of your dryer will have the film from those on the inside. We don’t even use fabric softner in the wash, as I worry that any left over film can get on the diapers, which will then cause absorbency issues. I just line dry everything because we only use cloth on the weekends so they have days to line dry. At first when we did cloth all the time we just used wool dryer balls (you can find these on etsy) with all of our laundry. Also, you can use regular old powdered Tide (what we use on all our laundry). I’ve started with Rockin’ Green, but they never really seemed clean (stinkies!). Just make sure you use the powder, not the liquid. Also, check out this blog…http://thecloththatcounts.wordpress.com/ . It’s a blog from a cloth diaper store owner in Manassas, VA…lots of good info on caring for your diapers. Good luck! 🙂

  9. I went shopping for cloth this weekend and was SO overwhelmed! -no one seems to have the answers to my questions!…. I’m also planning on using disposable for the first few weeks/month’ish and then transitioning to cloth- I’m just worried that the transition will be scary for me and then I’ll be half into it because I’m already into a routine. Guess we’ll see. Again, thanks for the info!!

  10. Like the previous commenter said that you can dry the inserts. We have only been cloth diapering fsince my daughter was born 3 months ago, but I knew I wanted to before I even got pregnant.
    Washing diapers can be daunting and different for everyone, I do a cold rinse, hot wash with Charlie’s soap and oxyclean, and another cold rinse. I dry all my inserts, cloth wipes, and all in ones in the dryer on a medium setting for 1 cycle and then throw my pockets in te dryer for 10 minutes. It’s not going to ruin to pockets to dry them every in a while and sometimes it’s necessary to seal the pul.
    Sorry if this is boring or long but one last thing about detergent. Cloth diaper safe doesn’t work for everyone, I have great and horrible things about rockin green, people get barnyard smell with it. It depends a lot on your water, if its hard or soft. A lot of people with hard water love tide and other main stream detergent.
    Hopefully everything goes well for you! Good luck.

  11. Looks like you have a good start on the cloth diapering thing!

    I intended to do all cloth from the very beginning, but we ended up using disposables for the first 2-3 weeks — more or less until the umbilical stump fell off, which coincided with when we ran out of the one small pack of gifted disposables + what we brought home from the hospital.

    Anyway, I totally understand using what you got as a gift to start (we did some of that too), but if you do end up purchasing more, or for other readers trying to decide what route to go . . .

    As far as drying quickly, that is an advantage of using a separate diaper (either prefold or fitted) with a basic cover. I like the Thirsties wrap covers. If there’s just a pee, you don’t even have to wash them every time, just wipe down and air dry. If you have a couple to rotate, the wiped-down one should be dry by the next diaper change.

  12. One of my friends who cloth-diapered kept pre-folds and rubber covers available for use for if/when her baby had to use diaper cremes, since those weren’t recommended with the brand of cloth she had. I loved the diaper pins :-).

  13. I throw it all in the dryer, even though it’s probably best not to. I use mostly Fuzzibunz and they say you can tumble dry on low or hang dry. I can’t believe how long the liners took to dry!

    And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. It’s harder to switch to cloth from disposable! It’s like learning to drive on an automatic and switching to stick. I’m really glad I started with prefolds/cover. I didn’t decide to do that until about 34 weeks, I thought they weren’t for me. I’m so glad I did. The investment is probably about the same as a month of newborn disposables and you can use prefolds for so many things (cleaning, burp cloths, mini changing pads).

      1. Yay! I know in the long run it doesn’t matter either way, I just LOVE my prefolds :-). Good luck! And it’s great that you are practicing and figuring out stuff now before you have a newborn to take care of. You’ll be a great mom.

  14. Agree with the other comments – almost all brands of inserts are okay to put in your normal dryer. It looks like you have a giant stash, so you might have the luxury of waiting for them to line-dry if you prefer to save energy. I used to line-dry my inserts, and they would take 2-3 days to get fully dry during the winter indoors!! Whereas the covers would typically line-dry in about 12 hours. I had 24 dipes in my stash, and once I was drying the inserts in my dryer, I could get away with doing a load about every other day of about 12-18 diapers. Stuffing them is the worst part of the process, but I became very adept at doing this while nursing (if baby was laying securely on the Boppy), or my husband and I would stuff them together while watching TV.

  15. I would recommend a clothesline. That little collapsible one you have is going to take longer to dry because they are so compacted. When I put my cloth diapers on the clothesline, they dry very quickly because they each are getting a ton of sun and wind.
    We use prefolds and love them because they dry very quickly on the clothesline, get a much better fit, and there is no time wasted stuffing diapers 🙂

  16. We only had one package of NB disposables, so after we ran out .. I started cloth. I figured since he was already nine pounds, with plenty of thigh chunk we wouldn’t have a leaking problem. Well we did, since his cord stump was still on, I couldn’t get the rise of the diaper high enough and the k
    Legs gapped. He finally lost his cord stump this week, so we are going to give it another go next week. I used to think the laundering/stuffing process was confusing, now I think it is finding the right fit. Also…I put the inserts in the dryer and just line dry the shells…. And bonus to living in a dry climate? Drying takes no time at all!

  17. It’s so fun to see all the cool prints & colors of cloth diapers these days! Due to an allergy to disposables, I was a cloth diaper baby back in the early ’80s before it was the ‘cool’ thing to do…when there were plain white only 😉

  18. Have you heard of or read “Beyond the Sling” by Mayim Bialik (Blossom, also in Big Bang Theory)? She is an attachment parenting advocate and I am about 1/3 through her book. I do everything opposite what she says, but I still find it interesting. I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, but I like to read how others do things. Thought you’d like it!

      1. It’s all about attachment parenting. Mayim is a neuroscientist (and actress) and writes about how parenting is evolutionary. She practices extended BF’ing, EC, co-sleeping, babywearing, and many more things that I wouldn’t do. Also had a natural homebirth. But I still find it really interesting!

          1. hey kath, you also might be interested to read her blogs (which she posts on kveller/raising kvell). she’s a bright mom with real “intention” around how she parents. like marci, i don’t do most of what she “does” (i.e. i don’t co-sleep nor do i plan to bf my son past 1 year) but i appreciate the science and thought behind her ideas. btw, marci – there is no way that doing the opposite of what she does it “bad”, just different. and i peek at your blog from time to time and it looks like you’re doing an amazing job. as for mayim’s book – she is basically giving a modern voice to all of dr. sears’ research and thinking (i posted a while ago in your comments about making sure to research carriers and outfacing vs. infacing in terms of attachment literature) and this is where a lot of that stuff comes from. you’re going to be such great parents. but like marci, i can really see you digging her info. she writes with a great voice.

  19. Oh man, I am (scarily) obsessed with the cloth diaper choices! We have a cloth diapering class schedule for Saturday and I can’t wait. 🙂

    It’s funny – obviously it’s awesome for you financially to have all these free CDs, but the other benefit is it takes away the big decision of which brand to invest in. I’m between Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz right now (I’m thinking that the extra step of stuffing the inserts is going to break my convenience-loving husband!). I *am* a little worried about drying time and the like, especially because we’re in an apartment and the communal dryers down the hall cost $$… but will drying them on a rack in our apartment take 15 years? So many questions… 😉

  20. My 1 year old has just started wearing cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. He loves staring at them because they’re so colorful, and I love that he scratches his groin area and butt less. Unlike when he was wearing disposables.

    1. He may potty train quicker too. We had a big discussion at my mom’s group recently about how the children who wear cloth diapers seem to potty train quicker. We came to the conclusion that disposables and pull-ups make things a little too comfortable, where as when the children toilet in the cloth diaper, they know it is there and it drives them to want to use the potty.

  21. You can definitely put the inserts in the dryer (just not with a dryer sheet) and then just hang the outer covers. Pocket diapers are nice because as your baby gets older you can double stuff the diaper for nighttime so there aren’t leaks.

  22. Just like a lot of people have said, I wanted to let you know that you can put the liners in the dryer. At least for the ones I use (bum genius 4.0). And yes, the stuffing gets annoying but I find it easier to do them all at once, instead of as she needs them. Squirming naked babies and stuffing diapers doesn’t go well 🙂

  23. You will get tons of advice and you just dont know how it will all work out til you have the baby in hand and in your life and you have your flow. But the dryer…use it! I CD’ed for a couple years and live urban don’t have lines to dry and 100% did the dryer and all was well. That’s like making your own nut butter; yes, you can. But sometimes you cut corners and just…buy it! The dryer is your friend 🙂

  24. Cloth diapers … I’m impressed. I try to live as green a lifestyle as possible, but if I had children, I’m just not sure I could stomach the, um, *sterilizing* process.

  25. i line dry my inserts and if you put them on a clothesline so that there is better air flow– it only takes about 4 hours in the sun. gets the poop stains out too.

  26. I have a few almost new newborn and small covers (Bummis) that I don’t need anymore. I’m in Canada, but if shipping isn’t too steep, I wouldn’t mind sending them to you. Send me an email if you’re interested… 🙂

  27. It’s awesome that you’re making the commitment to use cloth, good for you! Although you’ll probably find yourself going through almost that whole drawer some days. 🙂 I have to admit, I didn’t really think twice about disposables. I know they’re terrible for the environment, but when you’re throwing nappies onto two babies fifteen times a day, you pick your battles!

  28. Hi,

    I have the same kind of diapers you do and have been using them for 18 months now. I hope you won’t mind if I pass along a few tips. It’s a learning curve.

    -Do a cold rinse to get the urine/feces off, then a soak with Bac-Out, then a hot wash with Rockin Green or your detergent. Once a month after the detergent step, fill your washer with hot water, add 1/4 cup bleach and do a double rinse, to strip them of the buildup.
    -The reason your diapers took so long to dry was that that kind of rack isn’t great for airflow with the diapers stacked on top of each other so closely together. I have a rack from IKEA that has arms that pull out from the center like spokes from a wheel. Much better. We had problems with smells with the dryer.
    -Your drawer organization looks nice but it is far more convenient to stuff the diapers before you put them in the drawer. Its nearly impossible to stuff a liner when a squirmy baby is rolling around on the changing table.

    Good luck!

  29. I see others have already commented but you can definitely put the liners and prefolds in the dryer! In fact drying the prefolds helps fluff them up and become more absorbant. I line dried my covers but once a month I would put them in the dryer for about 10-15 mins to seal up the PUL again. They don’t have to go outside either. I would put mine on my rack (just like yours) in the house and they’d dry overnight. In the spring/summer/fall I would put them outside on the deck because the sun is the perfect stain remover! They probably won’t take as long to dry on the rack when you’re just doing a normal load size and not drying them all at once. Good luck! I loved cloth diapering!

  30. Fyi, prefolds make excellent burp cloths. 🙂

    Cloth diapering is super easy. We started at 4-5 weeks with my babe and I was surprised by how simple it is!

  31. i use multiple types of cloth diapers and all of the inserts and liners are able to be dried. the only thing i hang out to dry is the PUL covers and pocket covers (which are made of PUL). we didn’t use cloth until the cord fell off (around 2 weeks) and then we used thirsties duo covers with a prefold insert and flip covers with the stay-dry insert. they worked great and my baby only weighed around 7 or 8 lbs at the time. i think you are going to LOVE cloth diapers. i know i do 🙂

  32. So despite what some brands of diapers will say…I use the dryer. I have used bum genius 4.0, babykicks, kawaii, fuzzi bunz perfect size, evo ion, and others for approximately 16 months. They are in fine shape…minus a few poop stains on the insert here and there. I started out line drying like the recommendation, but they would not dry before I needed to use them. I have plenty of diapers and inserts…enough for two loads. Some our even second hand. I didn’t dry blindly, but was told by another cloth diapering mom of three kids that drying was acceptable…and very practical.

  33. I definitely dry the inserts in the dryer. And — really — I have been drying everything for the past couple months. the weather where we live is really cold/cloudy/rainy . . . and waiting for them to dry inside was too much planning-in-advance (You will likely find yourself with ONE diaper left and be like – CRAP I HAVE TO DO THE LAUNDRy! AHHH!). anyway, it’s no the end of the world to dry ’em. i am looking forward to having summer weather and drying outdoors. it helps with the stains more, that’s for sure!

  34. I wish I had the patience to do cloth diapers, but I do not think that I do. As much as I want to do it, I will probably end up using regular diapers. Good luck, though, Kath 🙂

    Once you have the baby, and post about your experience with cloth diapers… If you make it look easy and say that it is not so difficult, then maybe I will give it a try 🙂


    1. I’m hear to tell you that it’s NOT hard! I only used them with my third son and I wish I would have used them with my previous two boys (especially because the second and third sons would have been diapered for free!). When I had my third son, my other two boys were 5 and 3 and I homeschooled and taught childbirth classes so I was clearly pretty busy. If I could do cloth with all this going on and still love doing it, you can too 🙂 It’s really just as simple as throwing them in the wash (no pre-rinsing with breastfed babies!), throwing them in the dryer and then stuffing the inserts into the diaper (something my 3 and 5 year olds usually did for me 🙂 With cloth you never run out of diapers in the middle of the night and never have to go to the store to get more.
      Seriously, I lean a bit towards the lazy side so if I say it was easy, trust me, it was 🙂
      p.s. I used Fuzzi Bunz but I really like the Flips diapers too and would probably choose them if I cloth diapered again.

  35. I used Fuzzi Bunz with my third son (LOVED cloth diapering and wish I would have done it with my previous two boys!). I always put mine in the dryer and never had any problems. As a matter of fact, I still have my XL’s from 8 years ago that I need to donate or sell and even with using the dryer they are still in great condition. My two best friends also used Fuzzi Bunz and also put them in the dryer with no ill effects. Just don’t want you to feel like you can’t use the dryer because it certainly makes the whole process easier and quicker 🙂

  36. Hey Kath! I think you would LOVE this website – diaperswappers.com. You can sell/buy used diapers from other mommas. There are also message boards for all sorts of things… diapering, breast feeding, baby wearing, green living, etc. I’ve become addicted; and bought my whole beginning stash for less than $100! I love the community. You should check it out 🙂

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