Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 90

How to Cloth Diaper

Welcome to a new series: Cloth 101 an introduction to cloth diapering for beginners. Every other week for the next few months we’ll go through the basics of cloth diapering via short podcast episodes to help you learn about cloth, see if it’s right for you, and find inspiration to switch to reusables.

Today’s conversation is about how to cloth diaper, and its as simple as grabbing an absorbent blanket and wrapping it around baby and washing it, or as complex as buying luxury all in one diapers from your favourite retailer and doing three day wash routine.

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Show Transcription

Bailey Bouwman  00:00

This is show 90 of the cloth diaper podcast and this is the episode how to cloth diaper are part of our cloth 101 series


Bailey Bouwman  00:17

Hi, my name is Bailey. I’m a coffee brewer, educator, consultant and podcaster. For over five, six years this podcast has been around for three to four. But I have been in this industry and space for a long time learning, sharing, and most importantly listening to the stories being told.


Bailey Bouwman  00:33

In 2020. I wrote a book cloth diapers The Ultimate Guide to textiles washing or more to support you and answering those FAQs and basic questions. It’s a no rules approach to cloth a brand to help you understand the basics and make a decision that really works for you. I don’t believe in rules, and it probably goes against a lot of what other industry niches say. That’s because over the years, I’ve learned that cloth diapering works differently for different people and that a lot of times rules stress us out. Rules can be a great way to learn. But they can also be a great way to overwhelm and make parents want to abandon ship when they don’t know what else to do. I truly believe at the bottom of my heart that you are capable of problem solving. And that if you are given the knowledge, to make choices and feel empowered and informed that you can do it. I don’t think we need to treat adults with baby white gloves. I think that we can tell you what needs to be told and you are capable of making an informed decision when engaged with and you know the whole story. Anyways, that was a little bit of a tangent. I hope that you check out my book if you’re looking for more ways to cloth diaper.


Bailey Bouwman  01:49

A lot of these cloth 101 episodes have a 102 version available that provides some more further in depth. The cloth diaper podcast has a limited membership option that allows you to access additional resources and continue to support the podcast and the space. If you’re looking for that information and more visit the cloth diaper And you can find me on almost all social medias, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


Bailey Bouwman  02:17

Alright, today’s conversation is how to cloth diaper and this is like a vague or even start kind of question. First of all, there is no right or wrong way to cloth diaper. If your child is happy and healthy and doesn’t have a sore tush, you’re doing it right. If cloth diapering is sustainable for your family, meaning that it doesn’t overwhelm you, it doesn’t make you hate life and you found a routine that really works for you, then you are doing it right. There is no right or wrong way to cloth diaper. There is just a lot of diverse different ways to approach it. cloth diapering can look like a part time it can look like full time it can look like only when I’m camping only when this situation or it could be just part of your everyday life. There’s no right or wrong way to call saber.


Bailey Bouwman  03:10

So that’s the first groundwork that we really need to lay down. The second one is I mean, what are where are we talking about what this are we talking about? Like how do you put the diaper on? How do we assemble the diaper? Are we talking about how you wash it? And maybe for a lot of you joining us today you want answers to all of those questions.


Bailey Bouwman  03:31

So to start off with, I mean, you can listen to cloth one on one, what is a cloth diaper. And when it comes to putting that diaper on baby it is as simple and straightforward as a disposable diaper. You got a little finicky thing, like we want to make sure that the diapers it’s gonna lay creases, we want to make sure that it is sized accordingly. And I definitely would recommend that you watch some Fit Tip videos on YouTube. You reach out to your brand or you find some I have some fit tips on Instagram as well. And it will really kind of show you some best practices for making sure that you get the best possible fit possible.


Bailey Bouwman  04:10

 But at the end of the day, what my best advice about fit is is that it really comes down to practice makes perfect. You know what I had a lot of leaky diapers during my cloth diaper days and it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It just means that you’re in this learning process. It really does take trial and error as you practice. I mean, you motherhood parenting is all a bunch of learning new things and you’re not going to do it perfectly the first time. And that doesn’t mean cloth diapering is bad and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. It just means that you’re learning we stumbled before we learn and I think I will.


Bailey Bouwman  04:49

 I mean you’ll probably learn a lot of that through the next couple of years as you learn to parent. cloth diapering is only as complicated as you make it and I like to really press emphasis. Let’s keep it simple approach to diapering. So keep it simple continue to practice, and treat yourself with a lot of grace and kindness. Reach out to people for support cloth, diaper brands, cloth, diaper manufacturers, and brand ambassadors, content and creators. We all want you to really succeed at cloth diapering. And if you come into our DMS, we’ll try to find a way to make it work. The next thing I thought maybe you guys would want to know about when it comes to the how of cloth diapering really comes down to this how to wash it.


Bailey Bouwman  05:40

I didn’t want this to be a full on wash routine video, but I thought that we could talk about the super simple, nitty gritty basics of washing cloth diapers. Because first of all, we’re nobody’s putting poop in the washing machine. And second of all, if we start with a basic foundation of it, I think that we can really kind of amplify and grow it. So the thing about wash routines is that everybody has their own take on it because everybody’s had their own experience.


Bailey Bouwman  06:11

Every cloth diaper science base group or laundry routine group exists, because that’s been their experience. My experience has been over the last five or six years I have chatted with parents around the world. And I know that there isn’t really a rhyme or reason to what’s going on out there. But not everybody has a lot of people start out there wash routines because they got overwhelmed and kind of figure it out. And so they made a worksheet they made a guideline, they made some rules. And then the problem lies is when they start enforcing those rules for everybody. Not all wash routine rules work for everybody.


Bailey Bouwman  06:50

Because at its core laundry is influenced by multiple different factors, some of which are incredibly hard to control for laundry science for decades has shown us that it is that our neighbor could have a completely different experience, then we do laundry is influenced by the agitation the textiles, type of textile, or putting synthetic or natural fibers, the soil quantity or So what type of soil we’re putting in there, the type of detergent, our water quality, these things all kind of intermingle in the washing machine and decide on the outcome. And so you and your neighbor can have the same machine, but you have different soil because you have different babies, or you have a slightly different water quality.


Bailey Bouwman  07:38

And so I would recommend that you start simple and you add steps because when you start simple, you can understand which element is going wrong. And we can take a look and we can go maybe we need more agitation, maybe we need more detergent, maybe we need something else.


Bailey Bouwman  07:55

And one of the most empowered, awful, impactful decisions you can make when trying to figure out your wash routine is to understand some of this foundational information, which I’ll go more in depth into in the 102 and maybe on YouTube as well.


Bailey Bouwman  08:10

 But also finding one person to trust and walk you through things. When we ask questions in big groups, we can get a lot of big answers. And you have to find the one that works for you. And sometimes the first step is to sit down with somebody and try to understand what the problem is, and be like I’m having this problem and pick their brain. I get a lot of problems in my DMs and I don’t always know the answer because I didn’t have that problem.


Bailey Bouwman  08:36

So I am troubleshooting just as much as you are. And we are working on building a resource on the podcast on the guest stories about how to kind of navigate that troubleshooting. But really everybody is troubleshooting together at the same time. And the only way you’re going to learn to wash your cloth diapers is just by doing it. And we will, you might have a problem. And we can just adjust.


Bailey Bouwman  09:03

We can adjust the amount of detergent we can adjust the amount of agitation we can adjust the water temperature, we can adjust the agitation length, we can adjust things. It’s easy to adjust as we go as we see our divers getting cleaning or not getting clean. Sure, some people will try to set us up for success with all these worksheets or all these guidelines of water testing. And I just I just want to demystify that it’s just laundry and that you can trust yourself to do it. Anyways, that was a longer rambled and I wanted to so I kind of believe in a three step wash routine process.


Bailey Bouwman  09:40

The first step is that you’re going to remove the poop we do not put poop in washing machines. There is one caveat and one exception. Breastfed poop is most likely water soluble. And if you listen to the episode on poop, we do talk a lot about the different types of poop. But most poop needs to be removed from The diaper in some way. Also heavy peas are best rinsed out. So overnight peas toddler peas, rinse that out. Most poop is removed we’re not putting poop in the diaper, breastfed poop kind of an exception you can toss it in. But we’re just we’re removing a lot of the poop from the diaper. And in this step, you can also rinse your diapers. So you can either rinse by hand or you can do a quick rinse cycle in the machine. There’s a few different cat three different beliefs on the pre wash cycle. So you can either consider the, the poop removal process, you pre wash or you can do another pre wash and a pre wash is like a quick 15 minute cycle with a small amount of detergent.


Bailey Bouwman  10:48

Once our diapers are kind of this baseline clean, they’re free of poop and they’re free of a little bit of the urine. We’re gonna do that main wash. That’s that second step. So step one is removing the poop and the pee and that’s either doing it by hand or it’s pre wash cycle. And then step two is tossing your diapers in the machine and doing a heavy agitation cycle with a good amount of detergent. I don’t have a lot of detergent rules. The only detergent rule I have is don’t use a detergent with added fabric softener. But follow the package on your detergent. What does it say for the amount of load size and soil that you’re doing? Add that to your machine and go from there. Of course, if you are already making tweaks to your detergent levels, because of water hardness, make those tweaks as needed. A lot of times people with hard water will need to add a little bit more detergent and people with soft water will need to use a little bit less, you’ll likely have already made those adaptations you know that if you use the full amount of detergent in your machine, when washing clothes, your machine gets angry. So follow and make those adjustments or if you know that if you add what you need to add, and your machine and your diapers get like way not clean, add a little bit more. Most detergent brands that I work with and talk to they don’t advocate for additives like water softeners, they advocate for adjusting the amount of detergent. So starting on the package is a good place to start and then making tweaks based on how that experience can happen. And you might be able to make the Tweak already because you are a strong confident laundry doing person.


Bailey Bouwman  12:32

And then the third step after your diapers have gone through this wash cycle with detergent and rinse is the type of dry though, you can simply toss them in the dryer if you want. Or if you’re looking to prolong the life of your dryer diapers, then hang them dry.The diaper is not in the dryer is not inherently evil. The dryer just will break down fibers elastics a little bit longer. And this is one of those things where you go okay, what’s what’s more important to me? Is this long lasting length of my like dry diapers more important to me, do I want my diapers to last forever and ever and always be perfect? Or do I need to just dry them. Find something that works for you. You don’t have to be scared of the dryer. The dryer is like most of our clothes not recommended because a high heat environment can be hard on textiles. But find something that works for you. And when in doubt reach out to your brand.


Bailey Bouwman  13:29

Your brand will have best practices based on the particular fibers and diapers that they have. This quick and easy wash routine where I talked about removing the poop. rinsing out the diapers washing the diapers and then drying the diapers is essentially what most brands are recommending, but they may have steps to help further clean their diapers and don’t be scared to talk to them one on one.


Bailey Bouwman  13:50

They can help you troubleshoot they have seen so many different scenarios. And most cloth diaper brands most cloth diaper retailers are here to support you and ensure that you have a successful cloth diapering experience. I don’t want you to avoid warranties and I don’t want you to get on their bad side and I don’t want to get on their bad side. So reach out to them for support check with them.


Bailey Bouwman  14:13

But in essence, the how to wash a cloth diaper is as simple as removing the poop, rinsing out the Yak, washing the diaper and then drying it. It is simple if you keep it simple. Embrace the simplicity of it and add steps if you need to.


Bailey Bouwman  14:33

These additional steps are really going to vary from person to person. And they are hard to predict. And I we are all just parents doing the best that we can with the resources that we have in the site and what we know. And so I don’t like putting a lot of pressure on a group of people because any group of people It’s just I feel like it’s just a popularity contest. But nonetheless, if this whole entire process of washing diapers intimidates you, and you are like, Do I really have to do that? Is that really how you cloth diaper?


Bailey Bouwman  15:15

I’ll let you know that there is one more secret the cloth diaper community is hiding. And we need to talk about more. And that is the diaper service. That is right diaper services are making a comeback. They are coming back in your small towns, your big cities, they are coming back. In the 90s, we saw the disappearance of the diaper service. But in the 20s. Right now, diaper services are coming back. And they want you to succeed. And yes, the price tag can be scary. But I think that that’s only because they are not popular enough yet. They’re trying to make it work with what they’ve got. Diaper services can be a fantastic way to cloth diaper without doing the diaper laundry yourself.


Bailey Bouwman  15:57

 Diaper services have so much potential. And you might have a diaper service in your area that you don’t even know about. It’s hard to market guys marketing in this day and age era is so difficult. That’s why I’m always saying Google it as somebody in your local group first because you never know who you might have near you that you don’t know about. I work for a local majority boutique.


Bailey Bouwman  16:21

And she’s been in business for like five years now. And people still walk through our doors and they go I didn’t know you existed. I wish that this existed when I was prior to a smile and nod. And then I think she’s been in business for five years. And she has an advertisement on the radio. But there is so much noise out there. And it’s so hard to find things. So if you are looking for a brand, if you are looking for a diaper service, start asking around, put it in in Google, put it on your low Hmong group on Facebook and see what people know. Because there is always somebody surprising you. And if Yeah, I think that’s all I got right now.


Bailey Bouwman  17:02

All right, the best way to cloth diaper is just to keep it simple. And I want you to know that you can do it, you can keep it simple and you got this. The cloth diaper podcast one on one series will continue next week when we talk about when to start cloth diapering. If you haven’t noticed already, I thought this one on one would be great. We could go through the what who, where when how why all those leg was up five W’s. So we’ll talk about when to start cloth diapering next and then a couple little ones here is kind of expand into some more detailed conversations.


Bailey Bouwman  17:32

I had this big course written out that I was going to do and I have a few other written out. Things you can find like the written blogs for these on simply mom That is my personal blog where I write reviews. And I also have the transcriptions of these on the cloth diaper podcast. Show notes but we are going to talk about the different types of diapers we are going to talk about more in depth about how many diapers you need wash routines making sense of the cloth, diaper market, cloth diaper banks and libraries and we’re going to talk about prepping diapers troubleshooting, overnight cloth diaper and newborn health I brain potty learning and becoming a cloth diaper influencer. This content just takes a while for me to continue to create if you’re looking for an easier way to consume it.


Bailey Bouwman  18:21

Pick up my book cloth diapers The Ultimate Guide to textiles washing and more is available I have it self published on Ingram Spark so you can pick it up through Amazon Barnes and Noble world depository and if you’re local to me in Prince George British Columbia, I have a big case of them as well. And the cloth diaper podcast calm is a wealth of information. And check out brand groups for great one on one support. I really like a lot of the cloth diaper brands are doing some incredible things creating their own communities that are safe, welcoming and supportive. So until next time, bye

Professional Cloth Diaper Educator

Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.

Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.

Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.

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