Cloth Diaper Advice, Confusion, and Conflict

There are times when everyone needs cloth diaper advice.  Heck, I’ve gotten it a time or two myself.  Sometimes there’s an issue that we just can’t wrap our heads around, regardless of how awesome we may be at giving cloth diaper advice ourselves.  There are, however, some universal truths to cloth diaper advice that should never, ever be forgotten.

Cloth Diaper Advice, Confusion and Conflict (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Cloth Diaper Advice Is Subject to Variables

There are so darned many variables to take into account when considering cloth diaper advice.  While my troubleshooting post for stripping diapers is great cloth diaper advice on the general level, there are times that one will have to go deeper.  Every single variable cannot be considered when giving general advice.

Cloth Diaper Advice Can Be Brand Specific

If I’m having problems with getting my diapers to fit, no one can help me unless I give details.  Things that will help me get a better fit with FuzziBunz diapers are not the same thing that will help me get a good fit with AppleCheeks.

Cloth Diaper Advice is Largely Anecdotal

There are some very educated women out there who use cloth diapers.  I have my university education, but by and large my education has come from independent research rather than classrooms.  Heather at The Parenting Patch has a master’s degree.  There’s a cloth diapering mom in my town who is also a doctor.  That being said, not a single one of us have access to the resources that will allow us to write peer-reviewed scientific studies on what detergent is the best for diapers.  All that we can do is share our own experiences… or, in the case of Padded Tush Stats, compile information based on the anecdotal feedback of others.

What this means is that while, yes, we do know how to research, there are simply some things that there are no scientific data compiled by people in lab coats.  We have to work together to educate through shared experiences.  Or, in the case of the effectiveness of Dawn as a degreaser for stripping cloth diapers, we rely on the data provided by other industries and then apply that information to the treatment of cloth diapers.

Scientifically Generated Cloth Diaper Advice Can Still Have Flaws

Whenever someone asks about a cheap bamboo insert option and Alva comes up, I always say that it sucks because of how poorly it fared in an insert absorbency test that I performed in my kitchen.  I did my best to make it scientifically done… but even still, I have to admit that I have one variable that I’ve yet to overcome, and that’s “the human factor.”  Even still, though, there are people out there who will love that particular brand of diaper until the end of all time, no matter what any experiment says.

What’s the Conflict?

Simply put, all of this anecdotal feedback can cause meltdowns that would make a toddler tantrum look tame.  People sometimes forget that the advice that they give works for them and all of their variables, but may not work for others.  The most popular detergents in one town for cloth diaper laundry may be the worst ever in another… all because of the variability in water conditions.

Have you ever found conflict arise over cloth diaper advice?  How did you deal with it?

Image credits: Supergail



About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. This is so true. What works for one may or may not work for another. It depends on so much, even down to what one childs pee is like compared to anothers. The best you can do is give advice as to what worked for you and hope that the mom can wade through everyones advice to find a solution that works for them.

  2. My advice for cloth diapers (and most other things in life): Figure out what works for you. Do a lot of research and then experiment. What works for one person might not work for you and vice versa.

  3. Krystal Rivera says:

    What works for one may or may not work for another. It depends on so much, even down to what one childs pee is like compared to anothers

  4. This is a great post, and perfect for those new to cloth diapering OR looking to begin. Just as all kiddos are different, so are the diapers that go on their bums, and the fit of the diapers on their bums, etc.

  5. careercollegemom says:

    Thank for the info. When we have another child we will be trying cloth diapers. This gives me a bit more insight as to what I will need to be prepared for. I actually thought I could just go by some lol. But it makes sense. It’s kidna like clothing.

  6. A very informative post!! Thank you so much for your advice! 🙂

  7. Melissa Vera says:

    I wish I had used cloth when my girls were little

  8. i love cloth and am so glad there are blogs and review sites out there like this to help other mamas (and even me)!!! thanks:D

  9. Thanks for the advice! I am going to do a cloth/disposable combo with my next baby. Currently 11 weeks preggo. I think it will make potty training easier too.

  10. My aunt would love this article. She is 34 weeks preggo and this will help a lot in future 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  11. Stefanie S. says:

    I think the thing I find the most conflict about is advice on stripping and laundry routines. Everyone has their own method that has worked for them, but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else too. There are so many variables that go into it, and every washing machine will be a bit different.

    • The biggest thing with stripping is that there are different reasons for stripping. Most advice for stripping given doesn’t take into account the reason for the strip to be done in the first place. What helps repelling will not help with ammonia stink, etc.

  12. So true! I believe a big part of the problem is that often times, people are vague when ASKING for advice (particularly with laundry trouble). There are a lot of variables that affect the cleaning process, and you need to fully describe everything that’s going into your routine in order to receive the best advice on how to fix it!

  13. Angelina Mendez says:

    I always find that when asking for advice, I need to give details, such as brand, type, size, situation, baby’s gender, time, weather, day of week, etc. It’s really helpful advice in the long run, but so weird how it is always detail-specific.

  14. Thanks for sharing all these cloth diapering 101’s. If I get a chance to try one, I’d love to know.

  15. Thanks for sharing! I’m still new to this so any advice helps, especially the advice that points me in the right direction to make a choice for myself! There is so much to know, but so much money to be saved, so it’s worth those extra pennies to get the right advice!

  16. Jennie Sherman says:

    It’s hard not to think my advice is right for everyone since it has worked so well for me but after helping a few friends try cloth I realized it isn’t a one sized fits all topic. I guess that’s why there are SO many options out there! Thanks for this.

  17. Because of all this confusion, it took me over 3 years into parenthood to decide to start cloth diapering. And I am starting with my youngest…who is 2! I never wanted to have to troubleshoot laundry processes or deal with poo. But thankfully I have discovered flushable liners! yay! And so far no horrible laundry issues.

  18. Rebecca T says:

    So true, but this makes it hard for a newbie. Really you have to try things yourself to know whether they will work for you. To me it seems to make the most sense to vary my stash and try a little bit of everything, at least until I figure out what I like best. But the upside is it’s nice having so many choices, instead of just one option like out parents had!

  19. I’m just tired of people only recommending the brands and systems. Lets not forget the tried and true, cheap and easy option of flat diapers and plastic pants… need to have complicated and monopolizing brands to diaper our little ones.

  20. Hmmmm….so true! I’ve seen a lot of arguing lately, and both sides probably need to realize they are being too firm with their recommendations for others.

  21. Rachel A. says:

    I totally agree. What works for us might not work for others. We don’t mind using Kawaii and velcro and others might have tried that route and it didn’t work for them. We also use All Free and Clear with no problems. might not work for others.

  22. So far I’ve only ever used Charlie Bananas and Alva diapers but im excited to try out some other brands when the second baby gets here

  23. I’ve done a lot of reading and listening….I just do what feels right and go with the flow. Never had any issues (a little night time leakage is all) and our laundry routine is going well. We’re content.

  24. I love helping other mommas decide to cloth diaper! I know two women who were teetering between cloth and disposable, and both are now cloth diaper mommas! Yay!

  25. No wonder cloth can seem intimidating to those new to cloth! It’s all about trouble shooting if you have issues, but don’t mess with things when they are working!

  26. I just dyarted cloth diapering cause of the cost. I find that her pants have issues going over the cloth diaper.

    • You’ll find that your best bet will either be to use trimmer diapers (like GroVia, Best Bottom, and TotsBots) or to upsize.

  27. abedabun dawn says:

    Great post! I took some advice from someone online. She told me to bleach my diaper liners on the stove in hot water. Yes, they came super clean, however, a few washings later, they started developing tiny little holes which developed into large holes. I had to trash them all. About a month ago, I seen someone telling others to bleach their liners. I commented that that wasnt a good idea and I knew that from experience. I was then thrown to the wolves as an idiot. I never commented again. lol. But I thank you for telling everyone that no one trick works for everyone.

  28. Rita O'Donovan says:

    so true. so much of it is trial and error

  29. I think the biggest controversy has got to be the detergent thing. You’ve got women praising one brand to the skies and a bunch of others saying it ruined their diapers.
    Anne Sweden recently posted…Mother’s Day Giveway: Starbucks, Chocolate, Spa Card and Baby Gift Card!My Profile

  30. Laurie P says:

    I’ve had so much info come thru my fb feed (as well as my email inbox) that reading advice, sometimes repeated over and over by others, was sometimes helpful, other times not so much. I am careful where to add my 2 cents, some folks are feisty. They’re just diapers people, calm down…
    Everything was a learning process for me at first, but we got our proper fitting diapers finally, we wash them with a great working routine, if I hear advice that makes me have a second thought (or really just sounds off, like the CLR bit), I just pass…
    And I don’t preach as I know my advice might not go well for others.

  31. Ariana Burandt says:

    I find that I hold back on giving advice. In the cloth diapering world we all have different techniques, habits, and systems. I like how you touched base on how brands can create this conflict. It gets confusing to me since I am now branching out into different brands.
    I will still keep my cleaning process as chemical free as possible, even when stripping.
    Thanks for the info!!!

  32. The biggest “conflict” I’ve come across is wash routine, and it really does depend on a LOT. Your kid, your washing machine, your diapers, the type of water you have…
    I just offer what works for me, but I know there is not one SINGLE way that works for everyone.
    Kiersten W recently posted…LOOKING FOR *NEW* PRODUCT TESTERS!My Profile

  33. There is so much information/advice out there now about using cloth that it can become overwhelming! I don’t think there is one “right” way or “right” brands, etc. It really just depends what works best for each individual and their family!

  34. Bianca Munoz says:

    There is TONS of advice out there.
    I always just kinda did my own thing and stuck to what worked for me.
    But some CD people just crazy with it! It’s insane!


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