I feel lately like I've been answering a lot of questions about cloth diapers. I posted, long ago, our cloth diapering approach, but haven't reported back on how it's going for us.
In short, I love cloth diapers. I would never go any other route. How people can morally use disposable diapers boggles my mind. I understand needing to use them occasionally, but consistently? I don't get it. Disposable diapers are evil, I challenge you to convince me otherwise. Yes, I've read the studies that exist (and there aren't many) that compare the environmental impact of disposable and cloth diapers, and I've also followed the funding trail. I have yet to find a real study that wasn't funded by someone related to the disposable diaper industry. If you know of one, please do tell.
The only exception to this MAY be if you live in a drought prone area. But for those of you reading from Minnesota, this does not apply to you.
Here's our wash strategy (specifically designed to minimize environmental impact):
1) Separate liners from covers before placing in diaper pail. Spray off poopy diapers before putting in diaper pail (we only started doing this once MJ started solids. Prior to that we just tossed them in the pail.)
2) Have enough diapers to only wash every 3-4 days. (This is not only saves you time but reduced the environmental impact.)
3) Dump diapers and wet bag in washer. One full wash (cold water) with white vinegar.
4) One full wash (cold water) with 1 Tbs Charlie's soap.
5) One extra rinse cycle (cold water) to get the rest of the soap out. Haven't tried skipping this step, may not even need it.
6) Put inserts, prefolds and all-in-ones in drier. Line dry covers and wet bags (I just drape them over chairs in our living room. And my visitors look squeamish when they ask if all the diapers hanging on the chairs are clean. Wow, I must be a bad housekeeper if you have to ask that.) Now that it's getting nice out, line dry the inserts as well.
7) Clean diapers! Stuff pockets.
It's easy. We have recently started to have some rash issues, I suspect related to the poopy diapers, because it started once MJ started solids. I'm going to start spraying these with Bac-out to see if that fixes it. For diaper rash we use California Baby Diaper Rash Cream; it's spendy but it works well, is cloth diaper friendly, and our one tube is barely used at all, so it lasts forever.
How many diapers do we have to get through 4 days? Daycare requires that inserts and covers be changed at the same time, so we exclusively use all-in-ones and pockets at daycare.
We have ~ 10 BumGenius one-size pockets (got lots on sale and lots as gifts). We have ~ 6 small thirsties all-in-ones (which she has pretty much outgrown) and ~ 6 medium Thristies all-in ones. I love the thirsties, we got them on sale for ~$9 or $10 each (they tend to go on sale in December and January), but they're sized so they don't last as long. The Bumgenius work well, and if you don't put the covers in the dryer they will last longer.
Additionally, we have 4 FuzziBunz one size; these have snap closures, rather than velcro (like the bumgenius.) Many people prefer this style, because the velcro frays over time and catches on things in the drier. But I hate that you have to choose your size setting each time with the fuzzibunz. That annoys me. And the daycare staff seems to have a harder time with them.
We have 2 gro-baby shells and 6 inserts. I love these diapers, but only use them at home because otherwise I'd have to have a shell for each insert. They are the trimmest cloth diaper I have found, and since MJ is trying to crawl I think they're great for her right now. The inserts do take a long time to dry, and the diapers are spendy, but you can get "gently used" diapers from Jillian's drawers.
2 urban fluff all-in-ones, which are just awful. They contain nothing. I need to just get rid of them, because occasionally DH puts one on and it leaks everywhere, every time.
Some assortment of Thirstie's covers. I think maybe 2 small and 1 duo sized 2. These are my favorite covers, but we don't use them a ton because we only use them at home.
2 medium sun-seedllings fitteds. These are great night-time diapers. Very bulky, but the quick dry variety dries quickly (redundancy is redundant.)
6 premium infant prefolds, along with some snappis. Again, only for home use, when paired with a Thirsties cover. A standard, no frills combination. Not my favorite, but you can't argue with the price. Good to have a stash for when you waited too long to wash your diapers.
Target Circo baby wash cloths for cloth wipes. $3 for 6.
Honey chunks dissolved in water in spray bottle for a wipe solution.
2 Planet wise diaper pail liners.
1 cheapy flip top garbage can for a diaper pail.
A few Leslie's Boutique wet bags for day care (medium or large). We tend to just use plastic grocery bags in the diaper bag because we always forget the wet bags.
I think that's about it. We have phased out some smaller covers (Thirsties were the best), smaller fitteds (kissaluvs, primarily) and smaller prefolds. Other than replacing the 6 thirsties all-in-ones that MJ is about to outgrow, we won't need much else. Ever. All our diapering expenses have been made, and we only have to wash every 3-4 days.