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Here's my wash routine for all pocket diapers, with a mix of hemp and microfiber stuffers (Fuzzi Bunz and Wonderoos, with one bumGenius that I LOVE LOVE LOVE). This is also the result of lots of trial and error, because we have REALLY hard water. I wash about every three days (my son is 21 months).

To start, I put some baking soda in the bottom of the washer. Not a whole lot, maybe 1/4-1/2 cup (I don't measure). Then I add the diapers and the nylon bag I use as a pail liner. I use half of the smallest amount of Tide Free and half to 2/3 the recommended amount of Calgon Water Softener. If I have some staining, I'll add about half a scoop of Oxyclean (not very often, mind you). I do a hot wash with two cold rinses, because that's the only rinse temperature my washer allows, and the stuffers go in the dryer and the outers and the bag get hung to dry. If there's a lot of poop residue (I knock the solids that I can off, but I'm not real picky about it), I'll do a cold prewash with just a little baking soda. If the diapers start to smell a little, I'll run them through an extra rinse or two, adding a big pot of boiling water to raise the temperature.

Of course, we're getting ready to move 400 miles and I'm not looking forward to having to figure this all out again (it took a very long time to get it right). Not to mention I'm expecting again, and I'm sure I'll be washing more frequently with newborn and toddler diapers to take care of.

Jen (yup, another one)

Related question - I hope someone can help! We have some FuzziBunz and hemp inserts, which I washed according to the instructions for brand new hemp (something like wash 5 times on hot to get the hemp oil out). And you're not supposed to wash other things in the same cycle or you'll just transfer the oils to those things. Then recently a friend gave us one more diaper with a brand new hemp insert. There's no way I am running the washer 5 times for one little piece of hemp. Is there some other way I can get the oil out?


I would boil the insert on the stove in a big pot of water for 10-15 minutes. Dump the water, rinse, then boil again. That ought to do it. I'd always cheat by boiling my unbleached prefolds once before running through the washer, and it cut down the number of cycles I needed to run by at least half.


I use pocket diapers with a mix of microfiber and hemp inserts.

1. soak on cold
2. wash long cycle on hot w/ a bit of detergent
3. wash shorter cycle on cold w/ no detergent

Sometimes I'll run the inserts through an extra cycle if they are particularly stinky. I have a 2 yr. old in diapers and a 4 mo. old exclusively breastfed baby and wash every 3rd day.

I use Fuzzi Bunz, which was a costly investment, but I love them. I'm currently using plastic liners in my pails, which is wasteful - your suggestion has me thinking about about a reusable bag. I didn't know you could wash the bags with the diapers (it makes sense, but I had some mental block, I guess) so I'll have to order one for each pail.

Rayne of Terror

We mix cloth and disposable but what I have are Happy Heinies that I buy locally from Sarah who owns Pinstripes and Polkadots. We are so lucky to have a cloth diaper showroom in town, otherwise I never would have started. I mostly use hemp inserts but have 2 microterry inserts. I use those with a hemp for extra exorbancy overnight without too much extra bulk. I don't have that many diapers to make a load so I wash mine with towels since they don't get a fabric sheet in the dryer. Cold rinse to start, hot cold cycle w/ a small amount of Tide Free like pretty much everyone else.


I wash every other day, and am working on building my stash so I can wash every third day. I do a cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse, and use tide. I have to do an extra cold rinse every other week or so. Not sure why, because I don't use that much detergent. I use this hanging diaper pail:

And I wash it with the dipes about once a week or so. We use pockets with microfiber inserts during the day, doubled with hemp at night (we use happy heineys at night). We also use prefolds with covers. My faves are happy heineys, bumgenius (colors coming this month, and they've fixed the two very minor design flaws, from what I've read), and and prefolds with a snappi and a bummis wrap. Never thought I'd say that!

We have two fuzzibunz that finally fit ok, but mr. skinny legs does much better with a velcro-type fastener. I had a wonderoo that I hated and finally got rid of.


I'm brand new to this (just started after reading the first cloth diapering post!), and my wash routine for our Happy Heiny's/FuzziBunz with hemp/microterry inserts is similar to everyone else's - cold rinse, hot wash, extra hot/cold rinse. We use Allen's Naturally detergent, and I just the other day starting using a couple of drops of lavender oil in the final rinse on the advice of a friend, and they seem so clean! when they come out of the dryer. I just ordered some SwaddleBees organic cotton velour fitteds and an Aristocrats wool cover for nighttime. I'm looking forward to giving those a try. I can how people get obsessive about this! :)

Jen (yup, another one)

Thanks, Moxie!


Cannot remember what we used (until j was in day care), but I wasn't thrilled at the end -- they leaked even with doublers and a Bummikins wrap. (They were hourglass-shaped, with two rows of snaps, size 0.) We had to use disposables at night or I'd be changing three or four diapers -- not fun.

We washed every other day on hot -- he ate every two hours back then, and we had to change him immediately after peeing, or we'd be changing the outfit too. The diapers would sit in a 5 gallon paint bucket in the bath tub. Let me just say: THE BABY WASN'T CLOSE TO CRAWLING. This would be very dangerous once he started pulling himself up, but by then we'd switched to plastic, er, disposable diapers because the day care would only use disposable.



I used to add a generous splash of vinegar to the wash with the detergent. I don't really know if it made much of a difference, but the diapers used to come out pretty clean.

After my daughter was about 2, I started using 7th generation disposables (we call them 'funny diapers'), because I could no longer find clothes that fit over the bulkiness of cloth. We were using Fuzzi Bunz, which I didn't even find particularly big, but her pants were straining to hold 'em in. I was pretty disappointed with this turn of events, as I was a devoted cloth diaperer, even on long road trips. Sometimes the dirty diaper bag got pretty stinky by the time we got to a washing machine, but we survived it.

Amy F

(This is the same Amy F on againstthegrain.typepad.com, but I took you up on your pimping suggestion).

My washing routine--cold rinse, hot wash with some Allen's Naturally detergent, once through the dryer on a fairly hot setting. I buy the detergent online from Allen's and get 2 boxes of 75 loads each for $35. Except I probably get 100+ loads because I don't use a full scoop. I started washing my clothes using it too, recently.

I have wet bags and pail liners from HappyTushies.com and love them. I'm one of those diaperers who got hooked on the cuteness factor, though, so having PUL-lined bags with fun outer fabrics appealed to me. She wholesales now, so they should be findable.

At the moment, I'm washing diapers every day because I have a 3 week old and a 2 year old. We're changing both of them every time they pee because the elder is sort of potty training and I'm trying to convince him that he doesn't want to feel wet. I have plans to use elimination communication with the wee one, at least at some level, and he yells whenever his diaper's dirty for long, so we're filling the diaper pail very quickly these days. It's inspiring me to get the 2 year old potty trained ASAP (or at least convince him that he should tell us when he's going to pee).

I knit and sell wool diaper covers. My site says that I'm not taking orders right now because of the new baby, but I plan to start taking custom orders again as soon as I can update my site, so feel free to email if you're interested.

I find that with wool covers (knit or otherwise), my kids' bums are much less red and irritated. Also, wool is the only way we can get through nighttime without waking up soaked.

My diapering dilemma of the moment is that I can't find fitteds that fit large newborns well. I have a big pile of newborn fitteds and even more that claim to fit 10-20 lb kids, but there seems to be a gap between them. I have Loveybums, KindheartedWomen, and GirlWomanGoddess diapers on the way, all of which are more of the newborn-small variety, but I'd love to hear suggestions of fitteds that would be ideal for the 8-13 lb stage. I don't care if they don't fit long, so long as they fill that gap. I'm starting to prefer prefolds to the ill-fitting fitteds, and it's weird.


Just adding my $.02 - we use Trader Joe's Cleanliness is next to Godliness detergent, which is very inexpensive ($6 for a HUGE box) and has worked tremendously well on our diapers and clothes. I have chemical and fragrance senstivities, and it is natural, totally unscented, etc. If you have a TJ's near you, check it out. We boost it with some Oxiclean occasionally and swear by white vinegar, too.

You're totally right about the drawstring PUL bags! We got ours (2, one down in the laundry room w clean diapers while the other is in use) at Target, I think it's just a basic laundry bag. Avoid canvas or natural fiber bags, because they wick wetness from the diapers which can be unpleasant for all involved :)


We use Allen's Naturaly as well. It's local! And we use something like a quarter of an ounce per (smallish) load. Cold soak, hot wash, cold rinse. An extra cold rinse if the laundry tub still seems foamy. Bio-Kleen didn't work nearly as well. A couple of hours in the sun (through the window) will get out any staining.

We don't use a liner in our pail. I've sprayed it out a couple of times but so far, we are okay. We wash every other day or so.

We use kisaluv fitteds when we are out or when I'm lazy. They are super easy and contain poop like nothing else, but they aren't super absorbant. We use prefolds with a fleece/hemp doubler over night or Crickets.

Our biggest problem is that her legs are so skinny. We have a bunch of (borrowed) Niki wool covers, but they have the largest leg openings ever, so they won't work. Bummi wraps are okay.

I love, love cloth diapering. I also love showing people (like my fam) all the diaper stuff and having them say how if they had this stuff when their kids were young, they would have used cloth.

Lisa C.

I use all Fuzzi Bunz with microfiber and hemp inserts. I love Fuzzi Bunz, but if I ever have another kiddo, I may switch to the Bum Genius because of the velcro and the one size factor.

I use Allen's Naturally. I bought it from the company directly, I think it was $17 for a 5 lb box. I bought it about 8 months ago and I'm still using the same box. A little goes a long way when washing diapers!

My wash routine:

cold rinse
hot wash with 1/4 scoop of Allen's
2 cold rinses

This is all done automatically by the washer. I just have to remember to add the soap at the beginning of the hot wash.

The only thing I don't like about Fuzzi Bunz is the stripping. Even using minimum detergent with each wash I still end up stripping about ever 2 months.

I use a regular kitchen trash can for my diaper pail, and I have 2 PUL bags for liners. We keep the trash can in the garage, so there's no chance of kids getting into the diaper pail.

I've been using disposables during this overseas trip and I can't wait to get home and get the Moosh back into cloth.


I am a devoted Mother-Ease fan. I've used the Sandy's fitted diapers and Air-flow snap covers for three kids now, with a few Fuzzi Bunz, Kissaluvs, prefolds, and other odds and ends thrown in. We have very soft water which means it can take several extra rinse cycles to get all the detergent residue out, even using only 1/2 or 1/3 of the usual amount. My routine seems like overkill compared to what I'm reading, but if I shorten it, the diapers don't smell clean. I rinse poopy diapers in the toilet (ds is 19 mos so, you know -- toddler poop). I keep them in a dry pail with a step-on lid opener (LOVE that feature) and no liner. I wash about every 3-4 days. I dump the diapers in the washer for one full cycle in cold water, using a small amount of detergent. Meanwhile I rinse the pail with hot water and let it air out. It really stays pretty clean with just that maintenance. The diapers go through another whole wash cycle on hot, again with a small amount of detergent. Then I do an extra rinse with a good splash of white vinegar (probably about 1/2 to 3/4 cup). This is followed by one more rinse cycle. Yep, that's two wash cycles plus two extra rinses. Weather permitting, I hang the diapers out to dry in the sun *but not the covers* -- they air-dry inside. I have a theory that sunlight degrades the cover material over time.

My anti-stiffness secret is to put the line-dried scratchy diapers in the dryer with a small load of heavy fabrics (like towels or jeans). The wet things soften up the diapers, while the dry diapers help the whole load to dry quickly.

I wanted to mention that I used some velcro diapers and covers in the early weeks, and soon discovered that the rrrriiipp sound can be very alarming to babies! When you are still changing diapers during the night, and trying not to wake the baby all the way up, you want something quiet.


Most of my stash is pockets (FB & HH) but we are venturing into fitteds with wool (some covers). I usually wash every other day, but sometimes every 2 days. I start with a cold soak/rinse with a bit of oxyclean sometimes, then its hot wash with about 1/4-1/2 recommended detergent (depends what I am using). I have a few different kinds i use & I like to vary it by load (weird I know). So I have Sport Wash, Washing Soda & Simple Green, and Sun detergent. Occasionally to strip dipes I'll put in a squirt of original dawn. Anyway, hot wash with detergent of choice. My washer has a Power CYcle that auto soaks for 30 min (agitates every 15min), then does and extra heavy 15min wash, then power rinses, (it sprays water while it spins out), then rinses again by filling the tub. Sometimes I do an extra rinse, sometimes not. I've had no staining or smell problems yet.


We use the bumgenius and I don't have any other diapers so I can't compare but they are great and one size really means one size. My 2 year old daughter who is 30 pounds wears the same diaper as her brother who was 4 months old and 14 pounds when we got the diapers.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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