Cloth diapering essentials

This is our second round of cloth diapering, and we are still loving our BumGenius diapers. We primarily use cloth on Harper when we are at home, with the exception of using Pampers Baby Dry diapers for overnight. We also use disposable diapers when we are away from home for convenience.

Since I get a lot of questions on using cloth diapers from friends, I thought it would be nice to share more specifics. Here are the things we use:

cloth diapering essentials | must have items and tips for using cloth diapers

cloth diapers / bamboo diaper inserts / diaper sprayer / laundry detergent
wet bag / diaper pail liner /  diaper pail

Choosing a diaper

There were three main types of cloth diapers we considered: pocket, all-in-ones, and fitted.
Pockets are a waterproof outer layer with a pocket; an absorbent insert fits into the pocket.
All-in-ones have a built in insert that is not removable.
Fitted diapers are an absorbent (but not waterproof) diaper that requires putting on a separate waterproof cover.

We ultimately decided to to with the pocket design for a couple of reasons.
Reason #1: You can “customize” the absorbency by doubling up on the inserts or changing the type of insert. For example, our diapers came with microfiber inserts, but we switched to bamboo inserts to increase the absorbency. (We also double up on the bamboo inserts.)
Reason #2: They are easier to clean. Because you can pull the insert out and spray off the shell, the diaper doesn’t soak up a lot of water and get “soggy.” They dry faster than all-in-ones because they inserts can be removed and dried separately.

After doing some research, BumGenius 4.0 seemed to get the best reviews. They’re adjustable to fit babies size 8 lb – 35 lb with two different sized inserts – one for newborns and a larger one for bigger babies. As an added bonus they come in fun colors and cute prints. We used them for about a year with Noah and loved them, and have been loving them again this second go around with Harper.


This is the part that is most intimidating to people, but honestly it isn’t that bad. Investing in a waterproof diaper pail liner, the right detergent, and having a decent washing machine certainly makes things go more smoothly.

Wet diapers – we pull the insert out of the diaper cover, then toss both the insert and the diaper cover in the diaper pail. It’s as easy as that.

Dirty diapers – we still pull out the insert and toss it in the diaper pail. We then take the dirty diaper cover (the outer shell of the diaper) to the toilet and spray off the mess with the BumGenius diaper sprayer. After the diaper cover has been sprayed off, we put it in a wet bag (waterproof, zippered cloth bag) that we keep in the bathroom to avoid carrying a dripping wet diaper on back to the nursery.

We use this Dekor diaper pail, which does a great job at preventing any odors from escaping and has a nice large opening to allow the diapers to pass through. We also use a cloth diaper pail liner (we have two of these), which comes in handy since you can just toss them in the wash with the diapers.

To launder the diapers, we just take the diaper-filled liner out of the pail and empty it into our washing machine (as well as the wet bag with the dirty diapers from the bathroom). The diaper pail liner also gets tossed in with the rest of the load. We wash on sanitary cycle (extra hot water) with the soil level set to medium-high, and add in an extra rinse at the end of the cycle to get them extra clean. After trying a few different detergents, I can’t say enough good things about how well Rock N Green works. I only use a rounded tablespoon of this powdered detergent, and it does an amazing job of not only cleaning the diapers, but also maintaining their absorbency. I initially balked at the price, but one bag of it lasts us over five months since we only use it for diapers. Good stuff.

Once the wash cycle is done, we air dry the diaper covers by draping them over the side of the laundry basket (they usually dry within a few hours in our dry Colorado air). We throw the inserts in the dryer. The only downside to having super absorbent bamboo inserts is that they do take a bit longer to dry, but throwing a few towels in seems to help toss them around so they dry a little more quickly. After everything is dry, we stuff the inserts back into the pockets of the diaper covers. This is a little time consuming, but it only takes a few minutes to get them all done.

And that’s pretty much it! A little wordy, I know, but I hope this information can be useful to those considering cloth.