The right tools help you be successful at cloth diapering.
Many cloth diapering families are minimalists. If you’re using cloth for environmental reasons, then you probably aren’t interested in buying any unnecessary gear. And if you’re using cloth to save money, then you’ll avoid buying any extra accessories. However, even the most minimalist cloth diapering families need at least a few accessories in addition to the cloth diapers themselves. If you’re interested in using cloth but aren’t sure what you need to buy besides diapers, here are some of the most useful accessories that no cloth diapering family should be without.
1. Wet bags. Ideally, you’ll get at least four of these: two large bags for laundry, and two small ones for storing wet and dirty diapers when you’re out. It is possible to use plastic bags instead. But even if doubling as wet bags gives you a chance to reuse plastic grocery bags, it’s still better for the environment to use cloth bags. Plus they’re cute, they don’t leak, and they have zippers.
2. Good cloth diaper detergent. You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy expensive detergent for washing your cloth diapers; there are lots of everyday detergents that are perfectly fine for cloth diapers. And some diapers (like pockets) are more sensitive to buildup than others (like prefolds). However, a good detergent can make the difference between loving and hating your cloth diaper stash. The wrong detergent, especially for more sensitive diapers, will cause leaks, rashes, staining, and all sorts of cloth diaper misery. Just make sure that you’re using a detergent that works well for your diapers and your baby. And if you do have a problem with rashes or leaks, start your troubleshooting by stripping your diapers and switching detergents.
3. Cloth wipes. Of course you don’t need cloth wipes–you can make do with disposable wipes. You’re already doing your part to save the planet, so why would you want to bother with cloth wipes as well? Because they’re so much better than disposable wipes. They’re softer and gentler on your baby’s skin. You can mix your own wipes solution, so it smells how you want it to–none of the chemical smell that many disposable wipes have. And they take up so little room in the wash, you won’t even have to do extra laundry.
4. A diaper sprayer. Once you’re past the liquid-only-water-soluble-poop stage, you’ll need something to help you get sticky poop off your cloth diapers before you throw them in the wash. Many families swear by a diaper sprayer, which allows you to pre-wash your diapers while putting poop where it belongs, in the toilet. However, some families have trouble with the water spraying everywhere. If you’re worried you’ll make a bigger mess with a sprayer, you can try the old-fashioned solution–a poop-scraping spatula. Just don’t mix it up with the kitchen spatula by mistake. A lot of families like to use flushable wipes as well as or instead of a sprayer.
5. Diaper rash cream that’s safe for cloth diapers. Many babies have fewer (or no) rashes with cloth diapers, so you may never need this. But if you do need to use rash cream, make sure you find one that won’t leave residue on your diapers. Rash creams that aren’t safe for cloth diapers can leave stains and cause repelling and leaks.
What accessories do you consider essential for your cloth diaper stash?
Lisa C. Baker is a full-time mom and part-time writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about green parenting topics at Organic Baby Atlanta andteaches workshops on cloth diapers and elimination communication. She’s been a mom since 2008 and has never bought a disposable diaper; she hopes she’ll never need to!