Frequently Asked Questions
We have let our opinions come through on this page. Know yourself. Diapering is a very personal experience with as many opinions as there are babies!
How do I wash the diapers?
It's easy! Wash on cold, then wash on hot, then extra rinse or run a short cycle with just water. Check out our Washing Suggestions page.
Do I really need cloth wipes?
Yes. Disposable wipes can cause just as many problems and irritations as disposable diapers. Not only that, cloth wipes are easier to use than disposable wipes when you use cloth diapers. Who wants to sort through the soiled items to throw away the disposable wipes? Just one pile put right into the diaper pail is really much easier. I've never toilet dunked a wipe! It's not necessary. The washing machine can clean them just fine. Cloth wipes that are the right size really are important!
How many wipes do I need?
Our standard recommendation is 48 wipes, needs vary. Newborns use a lot of wipes, older babies need fewer. If you are converting to cloth when the baby is age 1 or older, 40 is plenty and you might even get by with only 24 if your baby only poops once a day. Know yourself, your baby, and your style. If your baby isn't born yet and you are planning, and you tend to be a minimalist (for example, you diligently use every part of a tissue before taking another one) then 50 wipes might be enough for you. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, you may even want 90! Dads tend to use more wipes per change than moms, so if Dad will do a lot of the changing, get a few extra packs of wipes. They are not a big investment for 2.5 years of use. Do you keep extra wipes in other places? The car? The sitters house? The diaper bag? Add those in to your figures, too.
How many diapers do I need?
Tough question. Needs vary a lot. We think 2 dozen is just not enough, 3 dozen is right for most people, and 4 dozen will give you lots of extras. You don't need more than you can fit in your washing machine.
How many covers do I need?
Again, needs vary a lot. Most people start with 6 covers and come back and buy a few more. I think 8-10 covers per size is more common (from what I see people buying) than the traditionally recommended 6 covers per size. Yes, covers can be re-used several times without washing.
Why do you sell only (or moslty) cotton diapers?
Cotton has been proven to be a safe diapering fabric for many generations. It's easy to wash and doesn't hold stink like synthetics and stay-dry pocket diapers do. No repelling issues, either. It works. It's easy. More info and our opinions on cotton and other diapering fabrics.
Yikes! I'm so confused!!
The New to Cloth Info summary page is a good place to start.
It is nice to have a pail liner so that you don't have to scrub out the inside of the diaper pail. But if you use a small pail and have a diaper sprayer attached to your toilet, spraying out your pail using your diaper sprayer works fine.
I have a lot of diaper pail liners in my house. They are the best for car trips (road trips) for packing stuff and tossing them up in the Thule car-top storage. Unlike other things you can pack stuff in, these are easily machine washable. Perhaps that is my favorite part about them for travel, plus when empty they don't take up space like luggage does. They are the best thing ever for boating and camping. Pail liners keep moisture out and clothes dry when camping, and for boating - well, if you boat or camp you know about all the wet stuff, and diaper pail liners are the best. Who knew this stuff was so practical beyond diapering?
"I tried using cloth before and couldn't make it work, but I know cloth diapers are better for my baby."
Some common barriers to success with cloth are:
Social pressure to use disposables. This is sad but true. Be strong! This is your baby and it is your choice to use the diapers that you choose to use. Did you know that the average family income of cloth diaper users back in the late 1980's was over $95,000 per year? I don't know what it is now, but many people who use cloth are highly educated and are choosing cloth for environmental or health safety reasons. Cloth could be seen as a status symbol even though it's true that cloth diapers can be less expensive than disposables. Cloth can also be a fashion statement. Yet you can save a lot of money if you choose your selections carefully. You can also spend a lot if you choose high-end items. Set your budget and stay within it.
Resistance from spouse or caregiver. This one is usually cured by having some all-in-one diapers on hand which are just as easy to use as disposable diapers.
Buying worn out covers or all-in-ones second hand. The life of a diaper cover or all-in-one is typically 9 months of hard use, or perhaps up to 1 year. Old covers need to be replaced since elastics get old and waterproofing wears out. If you use only old covers, you might be led to think that cloth diapers are leaky, when actually it's the old covers that are leaky and need to be thrown away. Good covers do make a difference. Even the best diaper won't be good enough if you have lousy covers.
Not owning enough cloth diapers to make a load of laundry. Often people will buy a dozen diapers to give cloth a try. Some will give up because it's a pain to wash them. Well, doing a whole wash load for just one dozen diapers is definitely not efficient, and washing with your regular laundry isn't appealing, either. You need to own enough cloth diapering supplies, including cloth wipes, to make a load of laundry or it may very well feel like it is not working efficiently. It takes commitment to make the initial investment in diapering supplies, but just like anything worthwhile, it won't take long to realize that it is definitely worth it.
Buying lousy synthetic microfiber insert pocket diapers. Polyester and microfiber hold stink and are really hard to wash. Skip the washing groups that give crazy advice unsuitable to real cotton diapers. Cotton diapers wash easily, so they are so much better in so many ways. Cotton absorbs faster and doesn't hold stink. If you already own pockets, at least switch the inserts to real cotton inserts. Get Cloth-eez Inserts, Birdseye flats, or prefolds. Real cotton makes a big difference. Cotton absorbs fast = less leaks. Polyester microfiber is made from petroleum and may shed microplastics. Choose natural fibers.
Do bulky cloth diapers harm baby's hip development? I don't think so. I think it helps help development. Read more about baby hip development here.
So what do you recommend?
This is a very hard question, but I am asked it daily so I guess I need to post my answer. Diapering is SOOOO personal. What's right for me at this time in my life is certainly not right for everyone. That's why there are so many choices! The hardest part about cloth diapering is picking out what to buy!
But Karen, what would YOU choose?
At this point in my life, if God were to bless our family with a newborn baby, and I've thought about this a lot, I would get 5 packs of Two-Sided Wipes, 2 Pail Liners (probably GroVia Perfect Pails), 3 empty spray bottles, 24 Newborn orange edge prefolds and 24 yellow edge prefolds, 1 6-pack of Birdseye size Half Flats, 3 packs of Birdseye Flats size one-size, 2 Cloth-eez size zero covers because those really work to stay below the cord stump during that first week, 1 Lana wool pull-on small, 1 Disana Wool Pull-on newborn and 1 small to grow into as an extra, 1 of each of the Babee Greens wool covers (I love wool ), 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap size 1 snap cover since it is not outgrown in 2 seconds for when I when I do use PUL. Mostly I use wool full time (remember everyone likes different things, these are just my favorites). That's 8 covers. And I'd have a wool sleepsack, but I can count that as clothing, not part of the "diaper budget". For accessories: 1 Snappi and 4 pairs of pins, 1 Lansinoh Lanolin tube and 1 Eucalan Woolwash, 1 wet bag for out and about. I don't expect to need any rash cream at all until teething time. Frequent changing along with complete cleaning up after poops using a gentle cleansing spray, slow and playful time at diaper changes gives baby's bottom plenty of "air time" and helps baby enjoy changes, plus clean well-washed cotton diapers means no rashes (assuming no food allergies or other issues). If I do need a rash cream I use Lansinoh Lanolin.
I would add 6 newborn and 6 small Workhorse diapers for my husband or other children to use when they diaper the baby. But since I feed the baby and feeding and pooping go hand in hand, I expect to do most of the changing, so 6 of the fitteds are enough for our household. I love to pin! Later, I'd add a variety of wool covers and wool longies, plus keep 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap covers when I prefer something trim or as a backup to my beautiful, breathable wools. I'm very happy Snappi fastening or pinning prefolds, so I'd always have 2 or 3 dozen prefolds and a bunch of flat diapers on hand. Prefolds and wool would be the backbone of my stash, with fitteds for sometimes and the diaper bag. In bigger sizes I'd have a few Workhorse diapers and AIO's on hand for my husband, teenager or grandparents to use on the baby, but deep down I am a wool lover. The softness and breathability can't be matched by the synthetics. I'd have no polyester content diapers at all, no stay-dry and no pocket diapers. I think stay-dry fabrics are unnecessary except for possibly the overnight once baby sleeps for a very long stretch of time. If you change in a reasonable time (2 hours or so usually) and the diapers are properly washed, then wetness next to baby is not a problem at all and cotton is safer in my opinion. Only cotton goes next to my baby's bottom. I'm a bit of a purist. I'd wash in a fragrance-free laundry detergent, adding plain oxygen cleaner, such as BioKleen Oxygen Bleach, as needed to disinfect. As needed once in a while I might add a little bit of pre-diluted bleach to really clean them. I always add vinegar to the rinse because I need to do that with my unique well water. Also I can't live without a good sprayer with the bucket (Potty Pail) for my rather nutty and obsessive desire to have zero stains on my beautiful diapers. To each his own! There is no best or right way to diaper a baby, just a whole lot of personal preferences. As much as I love organic fabrics, there is something nice about clean, white diapers. I think I might enjoy white cotton this time around, should a baby happen again. But I'm not sure. It might just depend on my mood at the time. Both kinds are nice.
Ok, so diapering is personal. How do I figure out what is right for me and my baby?
Figuring out what to buy is the hardest part about cloth diapering. But don't fret too much. Whatever you choose will work just fine (we only carry the good stuff!!). First, think about your budget. What can you afford, and of that what do you choose to spend? Then decide on snaps or hook and loop closures, (Velcro™ and Aplix™ are brand names of hook and loop closures) or some of both. Chubby babies do better in snap closures, while trim do better in hook and loop closures. Average babies can use either very well. Snaps are more fidgety to use, but hook and loop makes that "hrrrinchk" sound and can stick together in the wash, if you forget to close the fold-back tabs. Unbleached, organic or white? Totally your personal preference. Sigh.... This common question is really too hard for me to answer fully... Only you can figure out your own answer. Remember that figuring out what to buy is the hardest part about cloth diapering! Using cloth is actually very easy.
After a whole page of reading, perhaps your eyes hurt and you are even more confused about what to buy, or perhaps you are narrowing it down by now. Just make a decision, and go for it. Trust your instinct and it will be wonderful. The diapers you choose will work very well and then you won't really think about it anymore. Your focus is (or will be if you are still pregnant) on the baby, not the diaper, so it's really no big deal after all. As long as the diapers work, and everything here does, then you are all set.
Don't miss the New Moms Page for newborn cloth diapering ideas.
To add to the information overload, consider fabric choices for more information on the wording used in diapering and all the different fabrics and our opinions about all that.
A 16 page Green Mountain How To Wash Cloth Diapers Booklet is available with your order when you add it to your cart. All of your questions about using the diapers and covers and washing and such are answered there. Tip - Customers often say "I'm glad I ordered from Green Mountain Diapers. The How-To Booklet is fantastic and my order really did arrive quickly!" We've been in business for 24 years, established and reliable, yet still a caring small business.