Photo: Five reasons I don't love my cloth diapers every day

Sometimes cloth diapers can be hard to love. (Credit: Brendon Purdy Photography)

I love cloth diapers — just not every day.

But cloth diapers have also been good to me, my son and — most importantly — the world I'll leave behind for him. That's why I'll see this relationship through.

They can leak

Early on this meant a full wardrobe change every two hours.

They can be complicated

Some Dad's (not to name names!), grandmas and caregivers find them user-unfriendly — multiple rows of snaps, two-step fitted options with covers or pocket inserts...

They're bulky

You'd be hard-pressed to find pants designed to fit. Your son or daughter will sport a severe case of BIF (Bum In Front).

I've travelled by plane with a suitcase full of cloth diapers — and that summer camping trip!

Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest

They can stink

Enough said.

They need care

They need to be soaked, rinsed, washed and dried. I launder mine every other day. And, I use my dryer more than I'd like—air drying indoors takes days!

Here's what I recommend:

Prevent leaks

Get a variety of sizes and styles, depending on your baby's age, shape, and mobility — napping versus toddling.

Always travel with a spare set of clothes. Have a clean, dry set of pj's and a sleep sack near the crib for nighttime mishaps. (I use eco-disposable options at night.)

Demystify for caregivers

I save the hard-to-screw-up, all-in-one cloth diapers for my husband, Mom or nanny. I also bought eco-friendlier disposables for my husband when I left my son overnight (to tape the Dr. Oz show).

Love big butts

My son wears the bulkiest styles for nap time or at home. Save the sleeker ones for going out. Look for wide-butt pants — some eco-friendlier clothing companies, like Parade, have caught on that parents who prefer organic, locally made clothing probably use cloth diapers, too!

I lighten my diaper bag and simplify travel and camping with gDiapers. They have a reusable cover with a compostable or flushable insert (or add a cloth prefold).

Take the stink out

Add oxygen bleach to the rinse cycle, wash in hot weekly, or add lavender essential oil to your wool dryer balls.

How do you fall in love with your cloth diapers, over and over again?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

January 27, 2014

Read more

Post a comment


Aug 20, 2015
10:49 PM

I made the decision to use cloth before I had my baby and this choice was even more solidified when we discovered my baby was allergic to disposables (we had some given to us as gifts). I don’t always love my cloth diapers but really that’s only when I have to wash out the poo from baby eating solid food.

We use the bum genius free time diapers which are more money up front but totally worth the cost in my opinion and still save you loads compared to disposables. There are no inserts required (our exception was using hemp inserts that I put in for the night time diaper when our baby got older and slept longer through the night). They are bulkier then disposables but less so then other cloth ones. They were perfect in my opinion until we started solid food. But then we got a diaper sprayer and a poo shield and this made things better. We have 29 diapers — I only have to wash them every 3 days this way and you don’t have to soak them. I use dry pails with wet bags. I wash them in an LG front loader that uses less water on a quick cold prewash and a hot sanitize load every time. I bleach once a month to strip them and they line dry better than in the dryer. My husband, grandparents friends and all family members could use these diapers with no problems. Seriously this is the easiest way to do cloth in my mind other then using a diaper service.

Jul 02, 2015
9:37 PM

My niece has had great success with the Baby Potty Training -Elimination Communication method. Wish I’d known about it when I had my kids. It would reduce the need for disposable diapers and fewer soiled cloth diapers.

Mar 30, 2015
2:59 PM

This makes cloth diapering sound ridiculous. My baby hardly ever leaks. It’s more the bulky issue and travelling.

Using prefolds and inserts our diapers dry indoors in less than a day. If we put on the dehumidifier even less time. And wash maybe every two days or more. But we have a lot of prefolds (bummis). If you do an extra rinse and follow bummis advice they don’t smell.

A liner makes poop easy to flush.

Velcro works for people who act silly or are intimidated by snaps.

Maybe you’re slightly exaggerating for effect?

Sep 19, 2014
12:21 AM

Well your points might be correct. I have been using cloth diapers from They have these charcoal diapers which helps in keeping the baby comfortable and also it avoid diaper rashes. Though they might stink but they are easy to wash it!

May 01, 2014
5:06 AM

When my sons were babies, (over 30 years ago!) we used cloth diapers / nappies. The only time we used disposable ones was when we went camping —- that was the only time he had nappy rash!

Feb 19, 2014
2:50 PM

I would genuinely be curious what kind of diapers you have and how you’re washing them if you’re experiencing frequent leaks. I’ve used cloth for 15 years and have spent over 10 years on internet bulletin boards helping others and overwhelmingly I’ve found that cloth leaks less (and especially has less ‘blowouts’) than disposables. Even those that don’t like cloth for other reasons will usually admit that they leak less than disposables (or that neither of them leak).

One thing just off the top of my head is that if you’re washing pocket diapers with your homemade detergent (that has true soap), that could indeed be causing the leaks…

Aug 10, 2014
3:13 PM

I have many brands of diapers. My son didn’t fill them out well at the start—from Apple Cheeks to BumGenius. After a year old, they leaked less. And I used to buy special diaper soap, Like Rockn’ Green but they still stunk.

Feb 12, 2014
8:58 PM

I love my cloth! You have to find what you love and what works for your babe. Don’t let it get complicated! I love cloth diapers so much I stated making some of my own. My favorite cover for night time is WOOL! Everything old is new again, my mom used wool on me. I haven’t bought disposables in over 2 years! I did use them at night until I found my wool. With a little tlc my diapers have lasted for 4years and are still going. Yay for saving money and the environment!!

Feb 06, 2014
6:25 PM

Shouldn’t the oxygen bleach be added to the wash cycle. Was that a typo?

Aug 10, 2014
3:15 PM

Nope. You read it right. Only vinegar or oxygen bleach in the rinse cycle. But it may have been too hard on some brands of diapers. If you added it with your soap you’d neutralize the soap. Queen of Green

Feb 05, 2014
2:39 PM

Reading the complaints from new Mommies regarding the use of cloth diapers, just makes me shake my head in wonder. I raised four children, first one arrived in 1978, next in 1981, next in 1985 and the last in 1988 and used clothed diapers with them all. That’s thirteen years with perhaps less than a year in between each baby due to the fact of toilet training with the eldest before the new baby came along. For goodness sake Ladies this is not a big deal. You love your baby, you want to do right by them, you want to give them a healthly life style and a world that will be there for them and their children, do the right thing and stop your moaning.

Feb 05, 2014
10:58 AM

I loved my fuzzy buns. My son used fuzzy buns and happy Heiny’s exclusively until he was potty trained at age 2 1/2. I never found them to be difficult to deal with. I had a routine set up that I followed and it prevented any problems. I had a garbage pail in the bathroom that had a plastic bucket insert that I could step on a pedal and it lifted open. I used flushable liners between the diaper and his skin once my son was older so that bowel movements could be shaken off into the toilet. I would then shake the insert out of the shell of the diaper into the garbage pail, drop The exterior in afterwords as well as the thin washcloth that I used for washing his skin. At the end of the day everything in the bucket was put into the frontload washing machine and given a prewash then the exterior shell part of the diapers would be sorted out and on top of the washing machine I would add a small amount of water and dish detergent to the fleece part of them and I would scrub them with a nail brush and everything was put back into the washing machine all together and washed. And then given an extra rinse. The diapers and inserts and cloths were then hung on gull wing dryer around the apartment. I found everything dried within 24 hours. I always had extra inserts so that I was not waiting for them to dry as the exterior part of the diaper could easily dry within a few hours.

I loved how snappy his diapers looked and he often went without pants in the summer to show off his colourful bottoms.

His daycare accommodated the cloth diapers using a portable plastic bucket with a snap lid. I brought it fresh every morning and toted it home every afternoon.

I was committed from the start and very proud to cloth diaper. It really saved me a lot of money, not to mention the cousin who used them after me, her friend and another friend after that who actually used them on a boat as she and her husband sailed around the world.

It really wasn’t much extra work. And if I had another child I definitely would have done it again!

Feb 05, 2014
10:35 AM

I loved using cloth diapers on my children! Yes, they are bulky to take around or travel with but I seen it as the norm and wasn’t bothered by it because I knew I was doing something good for the environment. I washed them everyday using regular homemade laundry detergent, vinegar in the rinse cycle, either line dried them outdoors or semi dried them in the dryer and hung up to dry which was dry by morning when washed in the evening. If I had more children yes I would use cloth diapers again :)

Feb 05, 2014
10:00 AM

We’re only 5 months into our cloth diapering but I’d have to say I’d choose cloth over a disposable every time at this point. We have had the odd leak but not nearly the number of leaks we experienced when we have tried a disposable diaper. We use AMP and I have to say I love an AMP night time insert for naps and overnight… Overnight that insert can take us 8 hours without needed to change our son’s diaper.

Jan 30, 2014
6:30 AM

Ps. On clothes. There was a good reason all children until age two wore short dresses. Just hit the knees. Our gma’s were smart!!!

Jan 30, 2014
6:28 AM

I remember them. You folded diapers diff for each sex. Girls had more in front. A piece of Kleenex to help remove poo. Put it under appro area. A friend put Velcro on hers. No pins. We rinsed diapers before pail. First wash was no soap. Vinegar rinse. White cheap vinegar. Then. Hottest water for soap. With bleach. Nothing in rinse but more hot water. We dried a lot in basement or in hot open sun. One friend bought the pads hospitals use for beds. They are washed not tossed. Made great more leak proof. The come in pink and blue. Wash easily. Made for poo to come off. Just some thoughts

Jan 28, 2014
6:09 PM

After three children and over seven years of using cloth diapers, I can tell you a few things. Cute and trendy All-In-One diapers are babysitter-friendly, but for avoiding leaks, a separate cloth diaper and cover is vital. Leaks suck. Also, there are more cute clothes for girls that are CD compatible…with boys, embrace sweatpants and rejoice when you find better-looking pants that have an elastic waist and stretch well over big, cloth bums! My final advice is to get some cute wet bags for dirty diapers. I didn’t know about them seven years ago, and they are so helpful!

Jan 27, 2014
8:08 PM

I loved my cloth diapers! They were the old fashion rectangle ones that you had to fold into a kite shape and pin. Later I sewed Velcro ones with removable liners. Every other day my clothes line was filled with fluttering white diapers. I used regular laundry soap, hot water with a vinegar rinse

Jan 27, 2014
6:22 PM

Plastic continent in the middle of the pacific Plastic tied to the rise of disorders such as diabetes Breast cancer is increased by a level of 400% with women who work in the manufacture of it. If it’s been advised not to microwave plastic or to even leave water in a clear bottle on the dash of your car for fear of cancer…. Why would I wrap my child’s butt in it and some manufacturer who adds chemicals to save my nose from a natural smell To promote product that advances the oil industry for the sake of convenience is something I try to avoid and with good reason. Fort MacMordor… errr… Fort MacMurray :-))

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »