our simple cloth diapering system

I admit, cloth diapering never came easy for me.  Before we had children we knew it was the right thing to do, but didn’t get around to putting the investment in before Poppy arrived.  And so it was; we were sucked into the convenience of disposables.  Once you’ve started down that path, no time seems like the right time to make the switch though our guilt grew with each diaper thrown into the trash.  We dabbled in it every once in a while, but we always went back to disposables feeling defeated and guilty.

Since we moved to the country we no longer have the luxury of weekly garbage pick up.  We are responsible for taking our own garbage to the local dump.  It is inconvenient to say the least, but it really makes you think about the waste we produce.  It is a rather insane practice when you think about it for any amount of time isn’t it?  We take any unwanted item from our home to a hole down the road where they cover it with dirt as though that does anything other than soothe our conscience and keep it from blowing away.  In reality, it sits in all its toxic glory beneath the surface while it takes forever to decompose and  leaches nasty chemicals into our land and ground water.  It is a most bizarre practice.

As I watched the mountain of diapers grow in our garbage cans, I knew something had to change.  With a little help and advice from friends and readers, you will be happy to hear that we have made the final switch.  I will share our cloth diapering system with you now  because I think it is a sustainable one.  I can’t ever see us going back to disposables.  I hope this helps or inspires you in some way.


Over the years we have been buying AIO style BumGenius Cloth diapers from places like ebay and Caterpillar Baby when we find a good deal.  We now have a collection of about 14.  I also recently invested in 5 handmade training pants for Poppy from this shop in hopes of her finding an interest in potty training.  I feel that the bum genius with velcro is worth the money as they are one adjustable size therefore you only need to buy them once.  Also they hold pee and poop just as well, if not better than, a disposable.  To start we were putting them in cloth all day and then disposables at night, but have since started putting them both in cloth through the night as well without leaks or night waking.


We have been using the sensitive store brand wipes since the beginning, but once we run out of our current stack we won’t be buying anymore.  Instead I bought 3 packs of 8 cheap washcloths which I keep in the bathroom cupboard with the diapers.  I simply wet them with water right before I change the diaper.

The Key Ingredient:

The key ingredient that I have often looked at, but didn’t buy until many friends sang its praises was this Diaper Sprayer from by nature.ca.  Call me a princess, but I cringed every time I had to find creative ways to remove sticky poop from the soft lining of a diaper.  When you have two kids pooping not so solid poops on an average of 2 or 3 times per day it was more than I could stand.  I am not generally a squeamish girl, but that was where I drew the line.  Many people recommended the flimsy liners, but found those would just end up balled up somewhere in the poop rather than acting as a barrier that would just peel off.  Also, we are on a septic system here and didn’t feel it was worth the risk.

Enter the diaper sprayer.  This thing  is awe-mazing.  I am sure the novelty will wear off, but I get a little excited when they poop just so I can use my sprayer again (it’s the little things in life, I mean really).  It is simple to install (NOTE: you need a flexible hose going from your water shut off valve to the toilet tank for this to work), and easy to use.  The key to not spraying poop everywhere is to turn it on before you apply the spray to the diaper.  I remove the insert before spraying so it doesn’t become too wet and it does all the nasty work.  Seriously, if you’re wondering if you need one of these, stop wondering and buy one.


I keep the soiled and rinsed diapers in a small tote beside the toilet (though I will be switching to a vintage enameled pot with a lid for aesthetic reasons) which holds about 10 to 12 diapers.  You need something with a lid to keep smells in and toddlers out.  I keep the clean diapers, inserts, and washcloths/wipes under the sink in the centrally located bathroom.  The bathroom is the best place to change diapers for so many reasons.

Washing + Drying

Our stash will last us about 2 to 3 days.  At that time, I do a small load with hot water using  about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of my homemade laundry detergent and they come out clean and fresh smelling every time.   I simply hang them to dry on our sturdy wooden drying rack and within a day they are ready to go again.  The outer shell is dry almost instantly; it is the inserts that take the longest to dry so I have a stack of extra inserts which can be used as the others dry.


We were nervous to travel with the kids in cloth, but have started putting them in cloth for outings as well.  I have been using and re-using large freezer zip lock bags to store soiled diapers in, but have my eye on some nice medium sized wet bags for our travel needs.  You can just take them out and spray them when you get home if need be.  I am thinking for a travel wipes I will just wet 3 or 4 cloths and place them in a small wet bag to keep them moist and toss it in the dirty wet bag after use.  The clean ones would also be handy for cleaning sticky fingers and faces on our outings.


go gently + be wonderful


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  1. Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm by Candace Flynn | Permalink

    Beautifully written; once again! :) For out and about I bought one of those huggies travel wipes containers and fill it wil damp facecloths. Also I use a wipes warmer at home and fill it with damp cloths, so they’re ready to go whenever I change a diaper. :) Works great! So glad you’re loving the experience along with the diaper sprayer! Love mine.

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:43 am by erin | Permalink

      Glad to see we’re not the only ones in the family who are “eco freaks” 😉
      Thanks for the recommendation for the by nature sprayer too.

  2. Posted January 18, 2012 at 12:46 am by Lynnette | Permalink

    Thankfully our daughter recently entered the world of no diapers! We tried several time to cloth diaper but she seemed to react to something..perhaps strong pee. I wish we were able to stick with it but I couldn’t keep it up if she always had to deal with rashes. I am happy things are going well for you guys and hope the sprayer continues to be exciting. =)

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:40 am by erin | Permalink

      We had one incidence of a slight rash, but it was because our schedule was off and they fell asleep before we could change them…
      I am sure my days of excitement are numbered, but I will stick to it 😉

  3. Posted January 18, 2012 at 7:10 am by Heather | Permalink

    We cloth diaper as well. We also use cloth wipes. And now we use the wipes instead of toilet paper. I figured I was using them with two babies, why not my husband and I as well. I never have to touch any of it though, I use a bucket that gets dumped right in the washing machine. Not to mention the cloth wipes work WAY better than the disposable stuff :-)

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:37 am by erin | Permalink

      I have often thought of doing that though there seems to be a stigma around family cloth…it is likely more hygienic and effective than toilet paper, but people get caught up on an ick factor for some reason.
      Do you have back up rolls for company? What is their reaction.
      Just curious. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Posted January 18, 2012 at 7:27 am by Jules | Permalink

    Love this Erin. I didnt do cloth until Eben was 1 or so, but I have loved doing it with Hayden. It’s great when you find a system that works for you. I just wrote a piece for ROTH on the system that Laura and I use for the Spring Issue.

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:34 am by erin | Permalink

      Glad I am not alone then :)
      Look forward to seeing the details of how someone else does it. It can be overwhelming.

  5. Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm by Ana | Permalink

    So glad to hear this is working so well! I will remember it when I have kids of my own.

    Unrelated, but have you ever come across/tried a recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent? I got all excited about making yours but before I went out and bought ingredients I realized our machines here don’t allow powdered detergents.

    • Posted January 19, 2012 at 8:57 am by erin | Permalink

      I have come across many, but didn’t went with this less involved one first and fell in love…I would check Pinterest!

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