The Surprising Truth About Cloth Diapers

The moment I found out I was pregnant I knew cloth diapering would be our best method for our off grid lifestyle. Over the course of my pregnancy, I put in hours of research trying to figure out which cloth diaper system was going to work for us.

I quickly realized what an overwhelming market the cloth diapering world was.  It seemed that there’s truly a cloth diaper for any mama. 

When I was trying to figure out what system was going to work for me, I had two issues I needed to address;

1) Living off grid in the mountains, we are responsible for our own trash so I had to keep trash to a minimum.

2) Since our water supply comes from a 250 gallon storage container that we fill ourselves, I had to keep laundry to a minimum (to read about our off grid water setup click here)

The Hybrid System

With both of those to consider I stumbled upon the hybrid system. Which includes a waterproof cover and fabric inserts inside the diaper. Inserts can be mixed and matched based off of absorbency preference.

This system seemed like the best option for my baby because it required the minimal amount of steps and materials. Just needed about a dozen or so covers and about 40-50 inserts. Together, the materials fit into two small drawers or baskets.

Waterproof Covers

The waterproof covers are so easy because you can reuse them as long as they are not soiled. If baby just peed, you can swap out the insert and reuse the cover. These waterproof covers are adjustable and come in one size that fits baby from 6-35lbs. 

The diaper covers I really like are :

Newborn diapers 

My preferred diaper covers for 6-35lbs 

Reusable Inserts

As for inserts, I really like bamboo inserts. They are super absorbent ,soft, and breathable. I have tried microfiber and found that they are also super absorbent but do not breath. Leaving Babys bum soggy and sweaty.

Reusable Cloth Wipes

Since I was already making laundry with cloth diapers, it seemed like a no brainer to use cloth wipes as well. I realized it’s just as easy as cloth diapers! I got some reusable cloth wipes that I found on Amazon and also made some myself by just cutting up some old flannel shirts. I use a DIY cloth diaper wipe spray and throw the soiled wipes right in the same hamper as the diapers. Super simple.


When the diapers are soiled, I throw them into a trash can that has a good seal on it and a foot petal for hands free handling. I put a reusable diaper pale liner in the trash can. Having two liners is super helpful on laundry day. Simply swap out the bags and throw the soiled liner right in the laundry with the diapers. You don’t even have to touch the diapers. I try to wash my diapers and wipes about every 3-4 days.

Stains are inevitable. I find the best stain removal to be the sun! Not only is it free but also softens the diaper inserts. I do not use bleach or any other toxic chemicals to treat my stains. 

As for detergent, I’ve tried a couple laundry detergents and found that Molly suds unscented baby detergent works the best in removing odor and stains.

I do not have a dryer so I just hang them up inside in the winter, the wood stove dries them quickly and adds humidity to the air, and hang them outside in the summer.

Diaper Rash Creams

Something to note in diaper rash cream is not all are designed for cloth diapers. The primary ingredient in most creams is zinc. A very effective ingredient by creating a liquid barrier on baby’s bum. Unfortunately, when it gets on your cloth diapers, it creates a liquid barrier on the diaper and could affect the absorbency of the insert.

I like to use a cream that’s designed for cloth diapers or I make one myself. I found this diaper rash cream, by motherlove, to be the best for my cloth diapers.


I do the 80/40 method. Cloth diapers at home, and disposables when traveling on a play date, weekend trip, or running errands all day. If I’m running out real quick for something I’ll keep the cloth diaper on and keep a waterproof bag in the diaper bag. This way if I do need to change my baby, I can toss the cloth diaper in the bag and wash it when I get home.


I’ve really enjoyed cloth diapering. Not only can we all agree that it’s better for the planet , good for your baby, but it’s incredible for your wallet. When I see the diapers on the clothes line, I see dollar signs by all that we are saving by not constantly purchasing disposables diapers and wipes.

Sourcing diapers

Cloth diapering can be a large investment up front but I encourage you to buy second hand. Shop your local thrift stores, find a local mom community, or search marketplace. Once you find the system that works for you, take a look in your community or online. There’s always mamas trying to resell or get rid of their stash. The good news is most mamas take really good care of their cloth diapers so you typically can find diapers in really good shape. 

When it comes to babies, you don’t need much. Check out my minimalist baby essentials. But We can all agree you do need diapers. I hope this helps you as you’re navigating your cloth diapering journey. It’s super easy, it just takes a little extra elbow grease and time. But not much, I promise !

This post contains affiliate links which means I make a small commission on the items purchased at no additional cost to you. 

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