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Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started?
Pre-folds, how do I fasten them?
Pre-folds, how do I fold them?
What is the difference between wet and dry pail methods?
How do I wash my cloth diapers?
How do I wash cloth diapers in a coin operated machine?
Can you recommend a recipe for cloth wipes?
How do I get the urine smell out of my cloth diapers and covers?
Should I use vinegar in the wash?
Why aren't my new natural Chinese prefolds absorbent?
How do I care for my wool diaper covers?
Cloth Diapers at NIGHT? You MUST be crazy! (article)

Still have questions? Get answers at our forums.




GETTING STARTED
Ready to go with cloth diapers? Here is how many of each item you will need:

When considering the amounts to buy, take into account the age of your baby. Newborns and infants will need 10 to 12 changes a day. Toddlers will need 8 to 10. Most cloth diaperers wash diapers every 2 or 3 days.

If you decide to try fitted cloth diapers be sure to try a sampling before investing in a large number of any one brand. Fitted diapers vary quite a bit in size and fit from baby to baby.

Your cloth diapering system can be all one type of diaper or a combination of pre-folds, fitted, and even all-in-ones.

WASHING INSTRUCTIONS
Wash and dry new cloth diapers 5 to 10 times to remove chemicals. This will also increase the absorbancy of your cloth diapers. Do not worry if you notice that your cloth diapers "quilt up" during this process. This is normal.

To extend the life of our cloth diapers and covers, we hang them dry. It is especially important to do this with AIO's and diaper covers to preserve their waterproofing ability.

The washing instructions are for a full load of cloth diapers. You may include nylon and polyester diapers covers in this load. Handwash all wool covers.

Overnight Soak Method

  • Pre-Wash. (This step can be skipped if you use the wet pail method.) Place all cloth diapers in the washer, and run a prewash in cold water. This will remove most of the loose particles from the cloth diapers.
  • Overnight Soak. Refill the washer with cold water and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let it agitate for a minute or two, then turn off the machine and let the cloth diapers soak several hours or overnight. Drain the water (I run a pre-wash to do this.) Baking soda is a base and neutralizes the urine in the cloth diapers. This is very effective in whitening and removing the smell from the cloth diapers.
  • Hot Wash. Empty the bin and run the wash with hot water, detergent and 1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. Since my baby has sensitive skin, I use All HypoAllergen detergent.
  • Double Rinse. Add about 1/2 cup of vinegar during the first rinse. If you have a washer with a fabric softener compartment pour the vinegar there when starting the hot wash. Otherwise you can throw in a Downy ball filled with vinegar.

No Soak Method

If you prefer not to soak your diapers or if you only have access to a coin operated machine follow this method:
  • Cold Wash. Place all your soiled cloth diapers in the machine with baking soda for a cold water wash.
  • Hot Wash. Add your wet cloth diapers to load, add detergent and baking soda and wash in hot water.
  • Rinse. Rinse cloth diapers with cold water and vinegar.
  • 2nd Rinse. Rinse cloth diapers with cold water.

CAN YOU RECOMMEND A RECIPE FOR CLOTH WIPES?
There are several recipes you can use for cloth wipes. Here is Diaper Pin's favorite:

To hold your wipes you can use an empty disposable wipes container or a wipe warmer.

REMOVING URINE SMELL
Include baking soda when washing or soaking your cloth diapers.

If you use baking soda in the wash or soak, make sure to use vinegar in the rinse, This will help restore the pH of the cloth diapers. Otherwise your baby may end up with diaper rash.

According to Vicki Lansky author of Baking Soda : Over 500 Fabulous, Fun and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought of, baking soda works with liquid detergents to whiten and brighten laundry. It does not boost powder detergents.

VINEGAR IN THE WASH
Many parents have complained that using vinegar in the wash leaves their diapers remaining smelly. Actually it is more effective to use baking soda in the wash and add vinegar to the rinse. See our washing recommendations for more information.

Hint: Consider using vinegar in the rinse cycle of all your laundry, not just the diapers load. Also consider buying distilled white vinegar by the gallon for general household cleaning. Melodie Moore's book, Vim & Vinegar, is a wonderful resource for learning how to use vinegar to replace expensive cleaners for floors, refrigerators, furniture, laundry, copper and stubborn stains.

WET PAIL AND DRY PAIL METHODS
There are 3 basic methods for storing wet and soiled cloth diapers, wet pail, dry pail and wet/dry pail.

  • Dry pail. All cloth diapers are placed in a covered pail. Sprinkle baking soda to control the odors.
  • Wet pail. All cloth diapers are placed in a pail half filled with water. Make sure this pail is covered to prevent infant drowing.
The Diaper Pin preferred method is the dry pail method. We used to use the wet pail system (for dirty diapers only), but it was messy and unwieldy. Now we simply dunk dirty diapers (and swish if necessary) in the toilet bowl before tossing in the dry pail. We keep our diaper pail in the bathroom. Much easier!

FASTENING PRE-FOLD CLOTH DIAPERS
Fastening is the biggest challenge with pre-folds.

  • Pins are easy to use once you get the hang of them. Between uses stick opened pins in a bar of soap. Alternatively run the pins through your hair before pinning diapers. Both methods gives the pins a coating that allows them to glide through cloth the next time you diaper.
  • Afraid of using pins? Do not be discouraged. You can use Snappi Diaper Fasteners or Di-d Clips instead.
  • Another alternative is to simply fold the cloth diaper in thirds and enclose within a velcro or snap fastened diaper cover over the prefold and the baby.

FOLDING PRE-FOLD CLOTH DIAPERS
Here are two methods:

  • In thirds lay the cloth diaper flat with the length running up and down. Fold the right panel over the middle, then the left side over the right fold. Then flare out the top and bottom. If you are pinning, pin the corresponding front and back corners together.
  • Poop pouch lay the cloth diaper flat with the length running up and down. Place the baby in the middle of the cloth diaper straddling the diaper. Let the cloth diaper bunch between the baby's legs forming a little pouch.
For more folding methods and illustrations read folding techniques.

WHY AREN'T MY NEW NATURAL CHINESE PREFOLDS ABSORBENT?
Cotton has a naturally occuring wax in it. Since your natural Chinese prefolds are not bleached during manufacture, the wax is not removed. To remove the wax, you must wash your prefolds in VERY hot water. Here are some tips for those whose water may seem to be not quite hot enough. Try Tide. We do not recommend Tide for daily use because it is harsh, but it does seem to help remove this natural wax more quickly. Turn up your water heater for a few washes or add boiling water to your washer to raise the water temperature. We have also had some moms boil their diapers with great success! The number of washes needed to remove the wax will vary. If your water is very hot and you use Tide and you have city water which is chlorinated, you may only need to wash once. In other cases, you may need to wash a few more times. Rest assured, this natural wax will always come out! Contributed by Joyce of Katie's Kisses

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