Friday, January 21, 2011

Repairing Cloth Diapers

Have I told you that we are going to cloth diaper?  {Disclaimer: Naysayers, cloth diapers have come a LONG way and if you used them years ago, they look nothing like the ones we are planning on using, which are extremely user friendly! End disclaimer} 

:) With that said, ideally we will not start using cloth until about 6 weeks because we would like some time to get used to having an infant before we add washing diapers to the mix.  We are also planning on using disposables for trips, babysitters, church nursery, etc. so that we don't overwhelm anyone else who is caring for our little guy.  So, we will definitely be buying some disposables occasionally. While I would love to say that the our choice will really help the environment, I am not absolutely certain that that's true.  It's sort of a big debate right now. Yes, we will produce a LOT less trash to fill up the landfills, but we will consume a LOT more water washing these babies.  However, the economic benefits are AMAZING and being that J is full-time in dental school and I will be full-time at home, this is the biggest benefit for us.  Luckily, I have lots of great friends that use them and love them, so I have lots of good advice and teachers:) Oh, and have I mentioned how cute they are?  Here are some of the BumGenius diapers that we have collected.  They are the 4.0 one-size pocket diapers that adjust as the baby grows so that you don't have to constantly buy new sizes.
Adorable, right?  Just imagine those things on a little baby bum. So cute!  They come in all kinds of colors, but we tried to stick to gender neutral so we can use them with the next bambino. They are expensive to buy, but you only have to do it once!

Our stash is not yet complete, but we are slowly adding to it!
 My sweet friend, Shannon, is often my sounding board for cloth diapers because she has been using them for 14 months with her little girl.  She even bought a bunch of used Fuzzibunz (another brand- hers are not the one-size) diapers from a friend for a really good price because the elastic had worn out in them.  Much to my delight, she offered to let me use the diapers (since her little girl can't fit in the smalls), if I could figure out how to fix them.  Here's what they look like:
Same concept as the BumGenius but have NO elasticity left in the back and legs causing LOTS of leaks! YUCK!

Another view of the worn out elastic...
 Naturally, I went to work researching how to fix these babies, since her lending them to me would really help our stash (think: less frequent washing for me-at least while Thomas fits in smalls!). I found a few helpful sites, but not anything comprehensive.  So, I decided to take the plunge, get out the seam ripper and just see what happened! I opened the necessary seams, removed the elastic, sewed in new elastic and re-did the seams! Voila!  Unfortunately, ripping out the original seaming was the most annoying and time consuming part.  But, for free use of the diapers, I persevered!  I have enough elastic to fix 3-4 diapers and then I will have buy a bit more, which I told my friend I would gladly do for her generosity.  I think it will cost me about 30 cents a diaper because you barely need any elastic- they are so small!  So, I do some work and get free use of the diapers and Shannon ends up with having working diapers when I am done with them for her next child- win/win!  Here's how the diaper looked after I fixed the legs.  Nice and stretchy again! Yahoo!

And the back! Good as new!
If you want more info on the step by step of how to fix these, let me know.  I know this is common problem in a lot of cloth diapers after they have gone through a few children, so I am glad I now know how to remedy it.  I've fixed 2 so far...only about 14 more to go! I better get ripping...



  1. Hey Rebekah! Schub and I use cloth diapers too, also for the economic benefit :-) We use the Flip, which is made by BumGenius (they're one-size too... i think the snaps last longer than velcro ones). Adelaide (and probably most babies) don't fit into regular cloth diapers right away, so after buying newborn disposables for a month or so, we finally invested in some newborn size cloth ones. We went with Bummis SuperBrites (figured it was worth buying some extras for her and any future babes). Also, Planet Wise has really cute wet/dry bags - we got a big one for her room and a travel size one for the diaper bag. okay... i could go on and on... good luck with it!

  2. I think this is awesome! And water is a renewable resource, while there's nothing renewable about landfills. Plus, these diapers are WAY more comfortable for babies than disposables. Hip hip hooray! :)

  3. Hi, Rebekah!

    Congrats on the upcoming baby! I started reading your blog some off of your recent Fb links, as who can't resist a new mama getting ready for her first baby? Enjoy this time - it is magical! :)

    I had to comment, because we use CDs with our daughter and LOVE them. Glad to hear you have the BG 4.0s, as they are the best out there. My advice is to stick with the snaps; the Velcro wears out.

    We were also given those same FBs for free from a friend...and soon found out why: they weren't worth a hill of beans! We ended up not using them at all because the were not absorbant at all. Hope yours work better than ours did!

    We have also found that babysitters and church nurseries are fine with CDs, as so many babies are wearing them these days and because they are so easy to use. We also travel with ours; it's not too hard. I think you'll find you don't really need to buy many PDs.

    I could go on and on about CDs, but I'll stop! If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them. Also, here's a post I wrote about a year ago on our blog about our experience with CDs:

    Congrats again!

  4. Lindsey: Thanks for the comment! I love them:) I'm always glad to hear of more people that cloth diaper! Do you find that you can reuse the cover on the BG flip ones several times before washing? I hadn't really looked into those ones, but it looks like they could be even cheaper if you don't need as many covers! We only have a few velcro ones that were very on sale, but mostly snaps because i've heard the same thing! I might have to learn to replace the velcro too one day! The Bummis Superbrights are really cute too. We may end up buying some newborn ones if Thomas doesn't fit into his within a month or two too. I will definitely check out the planet wise bags-we are going to need a large one and i hadn't found one yet! Thanks for all the advice:) Oh, and I would love to know what your washing routine is? and how many diapers do you have?

    Beth: Thanks for the encouragement! Oh, and I am SOOOO glad about the recycling bin we have now!! NO more driving the the fire station to drop it off! YAY!

    Liz: Thanks for the advice and comment! We are getting SO excited about Thomas! I read your blog all about CDs and it was so informative! Awesome! Did you find that 15 or 16 diapers were enough? I feel like everyone varies so much on how many you need. Hopefully the FBs work out- I know my friend used some of them with her child and she seemed to love them minus the elastic problem, but we'll see! If not, at least they didn't cost much to fix:) I was also wondering if the Arm and Hammer sensitive detergent you use leaves any buildup on the diapers? I've heard that over time that it can make them less absorbent, but I always wonder if that's really true? I am trying to figure out the best and cheapest way to wash these babies and all the detergents made for them are expensive and harder to find:) Oh, and how much do you use in each load? Thanks so much! :)

  5. yeah, that's actually why we decided on the Flip. You can reuse the cover so it ends up being cheaper b/c you don't have to buy as many. We only got 10 covers and 30 prefold inserts (15 small ones that we're using now while the diaper is snapped up and 15 large ones that we'll use when she is bigger and we unsnap that bottom row) and only spent about $200. I think each cover was about $14 and each insert was like $1.50 (we didn't buy the Flip insert; we just got regular cotton pre-folds). If the cover gets poop on it we obviously wash it, but if it's just a pee diaper, we just take the insert out and wipe out the cover and reuse it. I do laundry every 2 or 3 days. Also, just saw that you were asking about detergent... we use Country Save detergent and I think we bought it on It was probably more expensive than normal, but we only use 1/4 or 1/2 cup in each load and we have only bought it once so far and we still have a lot left... I don't anticipate having to buy any more until she's 5 months old or so. Hope that helps! let me know if you have more Qs!

  6. I found that 15ish diapers were enough. Kids go through phases of how much they poop/pee -- newborns are constantly going through diapers, then babies go less and less, and toddlers even less. I also found that summer time heat plus DAU learning how to walk made her pee SO MUCH more than usual. So we went through so many more diapers a day in the summer than we did in the spring or fall. At most, she uses 7 diapers a day, at the least 4, and the norm is about 5. We currently have 15 diapers that fit DAU and I wash every 2-3 days.

    Do NOT waste your money on special detergent! I was really worried about that when we started out and did a lot of research. I settled on the Arm & Hammer because it was cheap and also high on the list for being good for CDs. We didn't have any trouble with AH, however, another friend who also does CDs said she used All Free & Clear, which is what we were already using to wash our clothes at the time. So I switched to using All and didn't have any trouble with that. Currently I am using a free and clear Whole Foods brand detergent (what we ended up with for our clothes the last time I went shopping), and it's working great too. We haven't had any absorbancy problems and haven't ever had to strip our diapers in the , so I'm beginning to think using special detergent is a scam.

    As far as the amount, we use 1/4 of the amount listed on the detergent bottle for both washes. So it's really just a little each time.