It is a common misconception that cloth diapers are not as easy to use as disposables. They are not at all more difficult. Cloth diapers are more convenient in many ways, in fact. You never run out and you never have to take a trip to the store early in the morning to pick up more. Cloth diapers are also so much cheaper and are usually less likely to leak. Cloth diapers contain no dangerous chemicals and also cause fewer diaper rashes. They are much better for the environment.
When choosing cloth diapers, you will notice that there are a lot of options out there. You can choose from flat diapers or prefolds, pocket diapers or all-in-ones which work just like a disposable. Some have snaps and some have aplix fasteners. Some need safety pins to keep them closed while others simply need a cover over them to hold them on.
When I was shopping for cloth diapers, I wanted something very specific. I needed a diaper that was very cheap and affordable. I also needed something that would dry quickly since I would need to dry them on the clothesline and we live in a very rainy area. I was directed toward prefolds, but even those were too thick for what I needed.
Then I discovered flat diapers. Flat diapers are large flat squares of cloth, like a small tablecloth. They are fairly thin, so they wash thoroughly and dry within a few minutes. You simply fold them down into a diaper shape so that the folded layers create the padded diaper area. These are then pinned-on or simply covered with a diaper cover. Best of all, they are the cheapest diapers on the market.
Cloth diapers are only half of the diapering system. You will also need a few covers to go over them. I also decided on cloth wipes. I did not want those chemical wipes touching my baby’s sensitive skin. Cloth wipes can be cut from old flannel cloth and soaked with a mixture of witchhazel extract and water.
If your baby is breastfed, you do not need to rinse the diapers before washing them. Only formula and food-fed babies have this problem. Instead of rinsing, you can buy soft disposable diaper liners which you simply flush down the toilet. Put the dirty diapers in a pail and just dump them in the washing machine when you are ready to do laundry.
Rinse the diapers in the wash first, then wash them with one or two cups white vinegar. The vinegar cleans and softens them and will also make them more absorbent, unlike laundry detergent. Your diapers will not come out smelling like vinegar. Line dry your diapers or toss them in the dryer for a few minutes for fresh, soft, clean-smelling diapers.