Cloth Diapering: What Do You Do When … ?

As we have talked about cloth diapers, I have received a lot of questions. I thought I would take today and answer some of the most popular ones.

Why do you use Charlie’s Laundry Soap? How did you decide on using it, do you use it for all your clothes or just your diapers and where do you buy it?

Deciding on Charlie’s Soap was a combination of trial and error and research. It seems that cloth diapering folks are all over the board regarding the best laundry soap to use. I’ve tried a few different kinds – Ecos from Sams, Melaleuca unscented, and something else that I can’t remember now. However, I always go back to Charlie’s Soap .

I think Charlie’s Soap most consistently gets my diapers clean without worrying about build up. I had zero problem with strong urine smells until I started trying to fix what wasn’t broken (aka, using different detergents). Now, I’m dealing with smelly diapers because of detergent build-up.

Right now, I’m finishing up my Melaleuca detergent that I have on hand for my regular clothes, but will not be buying it again. I love it for my clothes, but I don’t enjoy buying two different detergents when I can just use Charlie’s Soap for all my washing needs.

I used Charlie’s Soap before we even started using cloth diapers and loved it. I also notice less static when I’m using Charlie’s Soap more consistently (I don’t use dryer sheets). It also requires MUCH less detergent per wash than any of the alternatives; therefore, I feel like it’s a frugal choice!

You can buy it on Amazon for relatively cheap, especially if you’re using Swagbucks. I’ve used my gift cards that I won using Swagbucks to purchase detergent once before. I also have seen it at Earthfare for about the same price.

Cloth wipes…have you always used them, do you ever use disposable wipes, where did you buy all the ingredients for the spray and what kind of cloth do you actually use for the wipes?

I have not always used cloth wipes, and I don’t always use them now.

I used disposable wipes at first, but found that I kept throwing them in the bucket with my diapers. This means I was washing what was meant to be thrown away. Then, I was drying them and finding shreds of paper in my dryer and stuck to my hook and loop tabs. It was a mess.

I found some cheap baby wash cloths at Target or Wal-Mart (don’t remember which), and use them as my diaper wipes. However, I have friends who have cut up receiving blankets into little squares. I didn’t have a surplus of receiving blankets so I didn’t have this option. Both ways work fabulously.

As for the ingredients in my baby wash … I purchased everything from Earthfare, but I’m sure there is a cheaper option. As a matter of fact, I learned a trick from Nikki at Christian Mommy Blogger that I plan on implementing when I run out of my baby wash. She did at wonderful video on cloth wipes in her blog post last week. Click here, and scroll down to her  cloth wipes video for some helpful tips.

Washing/drying the diapers…what is the benefit of doing the second rinse with cold water and no detergent, do you always dry them in the dryer when it’s not warm outside or do you ever use a drying rack?

The benefit for the second rinse is to ensure that you get all the detergent out of your diapers before drying them. This helps reduce the chances of detergent build up, which lessens the “stink.”

If I were better at planning my diaper washes, I would let my diapers dry over night on a drying rack in the house when it’s not warm enough to line dry my diapers. However, right now, I’m doing good to get them washed and dried at all. So I most always throw the diapers in the dryer.

What are you supposed to do as far as washing brand new diapers and inserts when you get them…are their special instructions?

This answer depends on the type of diaper you are using. Most pocket diapers just need to be washed and dried once, but prefolds will want to be run through several times to “fluff them up.”Hemp diapers might need a few washes to get them to a point of absorbancy.

Most diapers come with care instructions. If not, you can usually find what you need on their website. I would suggest looking there for this information since this answer varies with the diaper.

What do you do when you go on vacation? Do you use cloth diapers? How do you wash them?

Since beginning cloth diapers, we have been on a few week long trips. Depending on where we are going and what the purpose of our trip is answers what we do regarding diapers. Whew, that was a mouthful – not as full as five flu fighting foods, but I digress.

When we went to the beach for a week as a family, we decided to just use disposable diapers. Mark wanted me to be completely released from any unnecessary tasks and truly kick back and relax. For that, I’m grateful. It was a nice respite. It was hard buying a box of disposable diapers, but we did it. I have to admit. It really was a nice break! Give yourself grace, mama!

When we took a trip to Denver, CO a few weeks ago, Mark said we’re leaving the cloth diapers behind. He wanted me to kick back, relax, and enjoy my trip without worrying about finding a way to wash  my diapers or impose on the nice people putting us up for the week. {Update: Funny how that visit turned out to be the start of our life changing! We moved to Colorado less than a year later!}

This week I’m in Virginia visiting with my in-loves, and we brought our cloth diapers along. Since I have amazing help with Samuel while Mark is away, cloth diapers aren’t an added burden. It would be more burdensome to make an extra trip to the store for disposable diapers.

So the answer is we’ve done both. Sometimes the convenience of disposables far outweigh the benefits of cloth diapers. But that’s us. Not everyone can fathom putting chemically trodden disposables on their babies. I get that. However, we just haven’t lost sleep over it.

When we do bring along our cloth diapers, we wash them the same as if we were at home.

What do you do when you’re out running errands?

This was a hard transition for me. Mostly because I’m lazy. I really am. I’ve surprised myself that I’ve stuck with cloth diapers. Boy, am I prone to digress today…so sorry?! I’m sick. So bear with me, ok?

When I’m out running errands, I pack one or two diapers in my bag. I have it stuffed and ready to go. Lately, I’ve been using disposable baby wipes while I’m out. I rarely have a poopy diaper while out running errands (I plan it that way). So I really don’t bother with going through the trouble of making up a baggy of diaper wipes. Although admittedly, it would be rather simple to do. Just throw some baby wash in a baggy/container of some sort, drop a wipe down in it, and seal.

I also take along some plastic bags (leftover from grocery shopping .. yes, I often forget my reusable bags). I just drop my soiled diaper down into the plastic bag while I’m out. Then, I deal with the contents when I get home.

What do you do for overnight?

Samuel is a heavy wetter! I notice it especially when he’s up several times at night nursing, which makes sense due to the increase in fluid intake. We have done several different things regarding how to diaper our baby overnight.

We’ve settled on triple stuffing our diapers. It’s bulky, and he can’t crawl around with his diaper so stuffed. However, does he really need to if he’s supposed to be asleep? So, we resolved to triple stuff and call it a night.

I have heard of moms using wool diapers for overnight, and pretty much swear by them. I’m not looking to buy anymore diapers right now, and triple stuffing works without us having to purchase anything else. However, I will keep this in mind for the future!

Also, some moms say that they use disposables just at night. We did this for a while, but Samuel had so many leaks that it just wasn’t worth it. But for some this is a great option to consider. {Update: Toward the end of our cloth diapering with Sam we did revert back to using disposables at night.}

What about you? Do you have any cloth diapering tips?

Check out all of our cloth diaper posts below:

Cost of Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers

Cloth Diapering – What Do You Do When…?

My Cloth Diapering Routine

Cloth Diapers: 5 Tips to Get You Started

Trouble Shooting Cloth Diapers – 5 Real Life Cloth Diaper Problems and What I Do to Resolve Them

Confessions of a Cloth Diapering Mama

An eBook I recommend to those looking to cloth diaper:

Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert – Learn more here.


This post contains my referral link. Please see my disclosure policy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Great post, Leigh Ann! It answered so many commonly asked questions.

    We do pretty much the same as you for vacations. It depends on where we’re going and why we’re going. We’ve done both cloth and disposables for vacations for different reasons. If there isn’t a washer or dryer where we’re going we definitely do disposables.

  2. Disposables ARE handy. 🙂 I always kept them on hand. Better safe than sorry…..and what if the power goes out? Don’t be up poop creek without a paddle. Ahem.

    1. Stacy, the power went out on me once. I didn’t have disposables in the house! It was awful. By the time I went to the store and got home the electricity was back. Talk about being frustrated! haha! So we keep them on hand for the JIC moments. I do not like poop creeks!

  3. Great post! Nice to have some questions answered and know how others handle these situations! I think we are very similar! But we already knew that 🙂