I am New to Cloth Diapers! How does it all Work Exactly?

You’ve come to the right place!  Here we are going to describe a modern cloth diaper and show you how to put them on a baby and what needs to be done to wash them.

Here is a modern cloth diaper:  It has several important parts.

In most cloth diapers, the outside material is waterproof because it is laminated with polyurethane.  The polyurethane lamination makes cloth diapers breathable as well as waterproof unlike polypropylene and polyethylene used in the waterproofing of disposable diapers that does not allow the baby’s skin to breathe.

The lining is made generally from permeable polyester or bamboo viscose to keep the baby’s skin dry by wicking moisture away.

These are the size adjustments.  Some cloth diapers will grow with the baby from birth to potty training and some need to be bought in several sizes.  For one-size diapers, the diaper needs to be adjusted to the correct size before applying it to the baby.

Here is a video about how to put a modern cloth diaper on a baby:

Once the baby has soiled the diaper, or every 2-3 hours, you need to change the diaper.  If the baby has pooped in the diaper and they are not exclusively breastfed, you will need to remove the poop from the diaper.  Here is a great video about how to do this.  If it is a pee diaper or breastfed poop diaper or when the diaper has had the poop removed, place the soiled diaper in a dry diaper pail.  This means that you do not put any water or vinegar in the bottom of the pail.

Every 2-3 days, take all your diapers and wash them in the washing machine.  Turn the agitation to heavy duty and adjust the water level for the number of diapers you are washing.  Do a cold or warm rinse first with a small load amount of detergent to rinse urine out of diapers. When the pre-wash is complete, add a large or extra large load amount of detergent (if you have hard water please note that you need to also add either 1/4 cup Calgon, 1/2 cup borax or 3/4 cup washing soda to soften your water) and run a hot/cold wash.  When the diapers are clean, hang them to dry in the sun or machine dry.  Please see our Cloth Diapers Wash Routines article for more info on how to wash diapers.

In between these two layers, there is always an absorbent material such as microfiber, bamboo viscose or hemp that absorbs liquids.  This layer can be removable or fixed depending on the style of the diaper.