Dog Days & Cloth Diapers

Here’s a little peek behind the scenes at our house (oh what glamorous and exciting lives we lead). Cloth diapers can be laying out in a sunny windowsill to dry, and a strange devil-may-care chihuahua might come prancing along…

… and decide to do a little birdwatching…

… followed by some leisurely lounging…

… right on top of the diapers. What a weirdo, right? But he’s our weirdo. (Cue the collective “aww.”)

And since one of the most common questions that we get has nothing to do with home improvement we figured we owed you guys an answer. It’s always some iteration of “How are you liking cloth diapers? Is it harder now that Clara’s on solid food? Do they show any wear and tear? Have you purchased more? Do you still like that they’re all in ones with snaps? Do they still fit since they’re one size fits all?” So we thought we’d share a quick little update on that front. Oh and if you have general cloth diaper questions please check out this post first (along with the comments) since it can answer any basic questions (and then some).

As for the cloth dipes, we still love them and use them pretty much all the time except when we’re traveling (since we don’t have access to a place to wash them). And we haven’t ordered a single additional cloth diaper or tried any other brand. Yup, for the last year we’ve stuck with the original 12 Bum Genius Elemental One Size All-In-Ones that we purchased over a year ago (more on them here). And they all still look mint and don’t have any smell issues or staining (thanks to our diaper sprayer – more on that here and here). And also thanks to laying them out in the sun to dry from time to time, which bleaches out any stains and keeps them as white as Ryan Seacrest’s teeth.

Since we still use the same diapers that we got about a year ago you can imagine how much loot we’ve saved (we did some how-much-will-we-save-math back in this original diaper post). And since we’re cheap-os, that alone should explain our downright obsession with the whole cloth diapering thing. And for those wondering if the cost of washing cloth diapers compares to buying disposables, our Energy Star front loaders are estimated to cost $15 a year to run (assuming you do eight loads of laundry per week). And we probably only do 5, (so perhaps they cost $12 or $13 to run for a whole year?!). Which puts our washing costs at about a dollar a month (and includes all the other laundry we do besides diapers). Pretty sweet.

For anyone who worries that it’s some sort of intense 1900’s hardship, cloth diapers have come a looong way since the safety pin days. We honestly expected them to be a lot harder (to take more time, to be more annoying to put on, to somehow be inferior to diposables, etc) but it’s a pretty simple process (detailed here) that’s completely second nature to us by now. We’ve even taught the grandparents how to do it. Plus it really seems to agree with Clara (she has far fewer blowouts and issues with diaper rash than she does when we travel with disposables). So that’s the icing on the cake. Well, that and the cute colors they come in (and the added softness thanks to fabric instead of plastic).

As for the whole solid food thing, we both agree that there’s a definite adjustment that occurs during that time, but it has much more to do with your nose than the whole act of cloth diapering (stuff actually gets stinky, but that happens no matter what kind of diapers you use). Just like any other parent of a kid who has started solids can attest, we had to work on the gag reflex and the whole hold-your-breath-while-you-change-them approach, but I think that’s pretty universal with disposables as well. And in some ways cloth got easier with solid stuff because as gross as this sounds, you can shake out the diaper into the toilet and the “stuff” rolls out instead of needing to be sprayed out (like the liquidy baby-poo that preceded solid foods, but that’s not too bad because it smells like buttered popcorn – at least Clara’s always did). Although we still give the diaper a shot of water even after we roll things off – just to be on the safe side (we think that’s why ours still look so good, we’re generous with the diaper sprayer and we love setting them out in the sun to bleach them back to spotlessness).

Hmm, maybe I need a little disclaimer not to eat while you read this post. Or not to read this post while you eat. Oh well, I hope you figured out where this might go when you read “cloth diaper update” so you don’t have a mouth full of oatmeal or something.

As for if we’re still loving the all-in-one with snaps choice (as opposed to cloth diapers with separate inserts or liners and velcro tabs) we’re very happy. We’ve heard that snaps tend to last longer than velcro tabs (which can wear out in the wash) and so far ours are all in great condition (not one bad snap of the bunch after lots and lots of washing). We also don’t have any issues with loss of elasticity or absorption. And as for the decision to go with all-in-ones over separate inserts, we just thought stuffing diapers sounded like an extra step, so we appreciate the simplicity of the all-in-one feature. About the fit, although Clara has gone from a tiny bean to a much bigger baby slash soon-to-be-toddler (sniffle) they still fit well and we don’t have any leaking issues. We just adjust the snaps from time to time to make the diaper larger to accommodate our growing girl.

As for detergent, we still use and love Charlie’s Soap (and Seventh Generation Free & Clear whenever we run out). Both work well for our front loaders (there’s a lot more on washing and caring for cloth diapers here in the original post by the way). And The Amazing Clara is now sleeping 12-13 hours straight in one diaper (we don’t wake her up to change her or use extra inserts and we don’t have any issues with leaks or rashes). I’m sure every baby is different, but the whole cloth diaper thing definitely works for us. And we know it’s one of those completely personal parent-how-you’d-like-to decisions, so we’re just sharing our experience when it comes to the whole thing. We’re not anti-disposable by any means (tons of our family and friends opted to go that route because it worked best for their household and we still rely on disposables whenever we travel). So consider yourselves updated. And let me know if you hear of any circus acts involving walking over a pile of diapers. Burger would be all over that.

Psst- Check out the original cloth diapering post here for tons (and tons) of info about how we chose/wash/care for/adjusted to cloth diapers.

Pssssst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.


  1. says

    Haha I have a pretty strong stomach, so I was happily reading this on my lunch break until the part about solid foods, then I paused. But no worries, I knew what I was in for from the title.

    Between you and Katie Bower I have pretty much decided to go cloth when the time comes, so thanks for the good advice!

  2. kristin says

    i’ve also heard that using cloth diapers can lend to an easier transition potty training. i have boys, so obviously another difference there, but still. something about the ability to “know” you’re wet or akin to that.

  3. Ashley says

    Just found out we’re expecting #2 and considering going the cloth diaper route. I’ll have to buckle down and do my research.

    I have to say I’m a little bummed that in a cloth diaper post there were no pictures of The Amazing Clara. Is she off beautifying herself for her big day?

  4. Lindsay P. says

    Thank you so so so much for the cloth diaper updates!! We’re not quite ready for a family yet but I save all the posts about baby related things for when that time comes. Did you ever have to deal with any family or friends who were not so nice about your decision to go with cloth diapers?

    • says

      Never! Once everyone sees how cute they are they’re totally on board. Which is funny and superficial, but the cute colors and easy snaps seem to win people over. I think there’s a stigma that they’re big pieces of cloth that you have to fold and pin, but they’re easier than snapping on a onesie- and every parent does that all the time!


    • Lauren says

      We are expecting our first baby in September and have decided to go the cloth diaper route. My mom was VERY skeptical at first because she remembered how cloth diapers were when I was little (with the pins and such). I’ve shown her what we’re planning on using and now she’s on board!

      I also wanted to thank you for all these posts. They definitely helped us make the decision to go cloth!

    • Amanda says

      I cloth diaper my 6 month old twins and when I first announced we were going to cloth diaper a lot of family and friends encouraged us not to. Every single one of them has changed their mind once they saw how easy, and cute cloth diapers have become.

      Cloth diapers to me are a bit like ceramic animals to Sherry though… I just can’t seem to stop buying cute ones. I think it is a sickness and I need a 12 step program. I just bought a Charlie Banana diaper that says “Goodbye Disposables Hello Cloth” in fun rainbow colored writing on the butt. Love!

    • says

      @Amanda, nice seeing someone who successfully uses cloth diapers with twins! We’re expecting twins in late August/early September and are planning on doing cloth diapers. All we from people is no way! you’re crazy! haha Everyone I know who does cloth diapers loves them though, so I’m very excited to see how things go with our little ones :)

    • tarynkay says

      My sister-in-law cloth-diapers her new twins. While she is sleep deprived and feeding them is a challenge (she is more or less feeding one or the other 24 hours a day), the diapering part does not seem to be overwhelming. It can definitely be done!

  5. laura says

    we started using those same ones only with inserts (boo) and we didn’t last very long but I’d like to give it another shot next time around. I have one question for you: so after you spray off the “stuff” do you put it in your diaper pail wet? and how long do you wait to wash it? Because mine were getting pretty stinky between washes and didn’t always come clean. I was using Country Save detergent.

    • says

      We have a Planet Wise wet bag that we put it into. Works like a charm! There’s more info on the original post about all that stuff (linked to at the bottom and throughout this one). Hope it helps!


  6. says

    My first baby was born just a few days after Clara, and we also use cloth. I have 6 of the diapers you guys have (plus other styles). We’re beyond happy with our decision to cloth, and it’s really amazing how easy it actually is!

    Maybe it’s because he’s a little boy, but we do have to do some extra stuffing for nighttime, & can’t use our BG AIOs at night, so you’re lucky in that department!

    Thanks for the update :)

  7. Stephanie says

    Thank you for the update! Your original post inspired us to go cloth and we love it so far. Our only regret is that we wasted so much money on disposables during those first 6 mo.

  8. says

    Although i dont have kids so this post was a bit pointless for me, i found it interesting, and i will deffo go down this route when i have kids in the future!

    However totally unrelated question, does Burger mault alot? or is he quite good at keeping his hairs attatched to him? lol

    My place looks like someone blew up a jack russell in it, there is dog fur everywhere! arfghh


    • says

      He seems to lose little hairs pretty regularly, but he’s short haired and very bald when it comes to his underbelly so it’s not a big deal. I definitely wouldn’t say he never sheds but I wouldn’t call him a “shedder” either. Haha.


  9. jessica says

    thanks for the update! I just ordered bumgenius with inserts (bc they had a good deal and were cheaper than sewn-ins). But def next time I’ll be ordering sewn-ins. They are super easy! And I totally could not eat butter, peanutbutter, or yogurt while my baby was only breastfed. I could not stand that overly sweet browned butter smell!

  10. says

    we use fuzzibunz one size on our finn (about two weeks older than Clara) and aren’t sure how the summer is going to go…the extreme heat days I have a feeling we’ll slide to disposable. what about you guys??

    • says

      She was in cloth last summer and it was great so we’re definitely planning to stick with it. I don’t think we could ever adjust to buying disposable diapers other than for travel since she goes through around 9 a day (it’s just so nice when they can just be washed and reworn!). She also seems to get less rashy in cloth so that might help in the middle of summer when it’s super hot.


  11. Rosemary M. says

    I know Burger is a house dog and I am pretty sure that he is kept clean by his mom and dad buttttt I have to ask.. do you feel ok with him laying on Clara’s diapers like that? It just seems like he has his own doggy germs that probably don’t belong on Clara’s diapers. Or maybe you washed them again and I’m assuming things here. Either way.. i’m somewhat of germaphobe so when I see a doggy in someone’s bed or laying on something like a baby’s blanket I feel a bit odd about it. So sorry if I sound rude in any way.. just curious about your outtake on this whole thing. :)

    • says

      Yup, he lays on the same rug that she plays on and she pets him and all that good stuff. Our doc said that trying to keep the dog from touching anything that touches a baby is an exercise in futility and we have learned that he’s totally right. In the end it’s just impossible to keep Clara from crawling on surfaces that Burger walks on (since they’re both very mobile these days). Haha. Our only rule is that he can’t lick her mouth. And thankfully Burger now gets that concept. Haha. So far Clara hasn’t had any issues with rashy diapers or UTIs or even had an ear infection, a cold, or the flu yet. She’s an amazingly healthy girl so far in general (now I’ll go knock on wood).

      I also think we try not to shelter Clara from any and all germs just because that can hurt immunity and stuff (our doc actually encouraged us to take public music classes and other things to expose her to germs to help her build immunity since we both work from home and don’t get as many “germs” in our house). Isn’t that funny?


    • says

      Meh – dogs aren’t as germy as day care and very rarely do dogs harbor any people-doggy diseases that would cause a person to get sick. They’re so vaccinated these days that dogs are really pretty clean creatures. Good call on keeping Burgsie away from her mouth though – good tip for the future :-)

    • Lara says

      Lindsey, I’m not sure…but, i think Rosmemary was talking about dog butt”germs”..not necessarily regular germs.

      My neighbor has a dog and she said she doesn’t like her dog’s butt to touch any of their pillows that they sleep on, somaybe that is what Rosemary meant.?

    • says

      Burger’s butt doesn’t touch those dipes! Gross! When he sits or lays down his little, um, hole (this is totally TMI) is completely not exposed (it’s closed up thanks to the top of his tail). I think the only way a dog can rub his butt germs on something is to sit down and drag his bum across it while pulling his tail back like a dog with worms. Which takes way more balance and room than he has on a windowsill (and Burger is waaay too much of a gentleman to do that anyway, haha). Not only is Clara a pretty healthy girl, Burger has never had worms or fleas or any of that stuff. Whew. Off to knock on more wood.


    • Rosemary M says

      Cool! Sounds like you have it covered! I did mean him sitting on the diapers bc he goes to the bathroom. I didn’t know if that could cause some kind of harm.

      I have heard that it’s good to have germs around children. Glad she’s super healthy!!

  12. says

    Oh! I forgot to add that I always thought our son’s poo smelled like popcorn, too! I’ve never heard anyone else say that before, but that’s exactly how it smelled before solids! Oh to have that smell again versus the sold-food-stench.

    • Erin says

      Our son’s smelled like popcorn too!! We thought we were crazy at first, but then other people said the same thing. Our daughter’s did not, so apparently it is not consistent from child to child…

    • Valerie says

      No one ever believes me when I say my kids nursed poop smelled like buttered popcorn! In fact, I couldn’t eat popcorn until they were about two…..flashbacks!

    • Emma says

      Ha!! I always thought that too, and people looked at me like I was crazy! Glad to know I’m not alone.

  13. Sarah says

    How quickly were you able to start using the cloth diapers on Clara? Do the one-size-ers really include infants?

    I love these baby-stuff updates! Keep them coming :)

    • says

      We started them when she was 9 weeks old (we used Seventh Generation Disposables before then so we didn’t have to buy “newborn” sized cloth diapers to use for just a few weeks). Hope it helps!


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