I Suck at Cloth Diapering

Before Luna was born I made the decision to cloth diaper. It’s what all the cool Moms do now. It’s all over Pinterest, the blogs, the Mom groups and for good reasons too. It’s better for the baby’s skin, it saves money and is better for the environment. Plus, you get to buy all these adorable printed diaper covers. It was a no-brainer for me, but Husband had his doubts. He tried to argue that it would be difficult, time-consuming and expensive, but me and the many Internet articles I researched convinced him to let me go for it. And, go for it, is what I did.

Many moons ago, I wrote a cloth diaper review for a Thirsties brand diaper. In the review, I mentioned that I would soon write a blog about the do’s and don’t of cloth diapering. In case you’re wondering, that never happened. I kept waiting to “figure it out” and actually learn the “in’s and outs”. Along the way, I even made mental notes of what I learned, but mostly mostly I thought how much it all sucked. The changing, the rinsing, the washing, the stripping, the hanging, the drying, the folding, the smell and then repeat, repeat, repeat.

I have read so many of the “cloth diapering guru” blogs. I tried very hard to follow their tips and advice. I trusted all of their opinions and read all about their best brands, top detergents and must-follow rules. Now, I don’t want to say that any of these bloggers are liars. In fact, I’m sure they are not lying, but maybe, possibly, they are writing their cloth diapering experience through rose-colored glasses. Either that or I am just terrible at cloth diapering, which in all honestly is highly likely. Let me explain.

First of all, I suck at laundry. If you use cloth diapers you have to wash them all. the. time. It’s not just throwing them in the washer either. You have to separate the inserts before putting them in your expensive and lined diaper pail. If they’re poopy then you have to either dump them or spray them off in the toilet first. (Yes, we bought an attachment sprayer for our toilet.) In the washer, you must pre-wash, wash on hot, add an extra rinse cycle and use a special detergent. On top of that, if you have a high-efficiency washer, as I do, then plan to add a couple soaking wet towels and possibly a few more steps. Fun, eh? Oh, and because I suck at laundry and the diapers take over 2 hours to wash, I sometimes, almost always, forget them in the washer and then have to re-wash them. Wee!


Luna and I very often spend all day out of the house. The majority of days we are gone all day, which means I have to pack A LOT of diapers. The cloth diapers are giant, so they take up tons of room in the diaper bag, so I often end up taking two bags. When the diapers are dirty, and we are out, I have to put them in a “wet bag” to keep them nice and sealed until we are home, which means I must carry around giant clean diapers and heavy dirty diapers. The biggest problem, is planning to do enough laundry to have enough spare diapers when we are out all day. It’s exhausting.


Then, there is the smell. Because I am no good at stripping diapers and can never line-dry them because I always manage to wash them on a rainy day, my cloth diapers reek of ammonia. It is probably one of the worst smells ever. The worst is after Luna wakes up in the morning. I swear those night-time diapers could knock you off your feet. In fact, the smell is probably what’s waking her at 6am every morning.

The absolute worst part about my whole cloth diapering experience, is that I have had to admit that Husband is right. This so rarely happens, and it’s so painful. It’s true, though. He was right. Cloth diapering is not for us. We haven’t give up yet. And by we I mean he. If it were solely my decision I’d have Amazon Prime send me disposables ASAP, but Husband is determined to use the diapers I insisted we buy. I do not give up easily though… if I can convince him to use cloth, I can convince him otherwise. Let the “pro-disposable diaper research” begin!

BTW, I am fully aware that cloth diapering can work and be great for many families, and kudos to you who do it and do it well. I have much respect for you and your ability to do laundry well and in a timely manner. I think you deserve some sort of medal for pulling it all off. However, I also believe that maybe I should get some sort of reward for being so self-aware and willing to admit I was wrong. Right? That’s not easy. So, can we all just get a big pat-on-the-back* because no matter how you do it, diapers suck.


*By “pat-on-the-back” I definitely mean a big latte.

7 Replies to “I Suck at Cloth Diapering”

  1. inexpensive way to remove the smells 1-2cups of vinegar or my favorite is a whole cup of Borax. With that you can still dry in the dryer. BTW. I suck at it too. But I’m finally getting the hang of it. 🙂 I didn’t start till my son was almost 2.5 because I’m hoping it will encourage potty training. PS I also use disposable when going out of the house like church, play dates, shopping and etc. So that way I don’t have to use wet bags or worry about poop.

    1. thanks for the tips! I just tried vinegar today, and they seem to smell better, but she hasn’t worn those yet, so we will see how they hold up! Glad, I’m not the only one that sucks! haha

  2. Boy, this has brought back a lot of memories. I was fortunate that my mom made me shaped cloth diapers. Otherwise everything you talked about was right. Then. My firstborn was a girl. No main problems so by the time I had my second, I thought I was almost an expert. NO. My second was a little boy with no butt and his legs were so small that the diaper covers were all too big. So you know what happened, they leaked a lot. I had to buy extra small disposables till he got big enough for them to fit. loved your post

  3. Oh man. I too sucked at cloth diapering! If I could get back all the time I have spent researching it! On the bright side, Costco diapers are great and are cheaper than amazon prime. And about every other month they have a coupon for $5 off. That’s when I stock up. It did not take long for my husband to get over the money spent on cloth diapers. I cleaned everything up and sold it on Craigslist. So win win for all. Good luck.

    1. What!? I did not know costco was cheaper than amazon! Thank you, great tip! Also, good to know you could sell your diapers. I didnt know if they would sell or not. Although, it may be hard to sell my stinky diapers! Haha

  4. natalie.r.gamez@gmail.com says: Reply

    I loooooove Pampers Swaddlers!!! But everyone is different. I think Luvs suck but a friend of mine likes them. My friend Valerie (who just had her baby girl last night!) actually likes Target brand. I’d sample what you think you may like and you’ll find your favorite :). Adrian just got Amazon Prime so I’m excited to check that out.

  5. Oh my goodness. This is so refreshing to read, and it is brave of you to put out there, too. I also bought a ton of cloth diapers, and my husband said the same thing that yours did… and then we used them for a while but had back up disposables. Now they are used sporadically at best because Dorian is at the age where her poop is crazy… I mean, her favorite foods are chili beans and rice, bananas, and raw cabbage, so her diapers are made to go right outside. I recycle everything, and I care greatly about it… but we mostly gave up and are hoping for early toilet training now. 🙁 Thanks for posting, and you have a community I am sure that all suck at laundry and cloth diapering.

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