Parent Perspective: How to store your dirty and clean modern cloth diapers
Storing your dirty modern cloth diapers between washes
If you just started your cloth diaper journey, you probably wonder what to do with the dirty diapers between washes. Obviously, you may think it’s a burdensome activity, but though it may seem complicated at a first glance, it’s actually very simple.
The first step you have to take is to remove any waste, if you have any. You don’t have to rinse off pee diapers (unless you want to) and the same goes for exclusively breastfed or chestfed (EBF) poop diapers, because EBF poop is actually water soluble. But any poop diapers of formula fed babies or babies who have started eating solids must be rinsed off before you wash them. Diaper liners may be a big help here, but you can also use your diaper sprayer or a spoon/knife.
Secondly, make sure you take the inserts out, if you are using pocket or all-in-two diapers. By doing this, when it’s washing day, all you have to do is throw them in your washing machine. Your nose will thank you, trust me.
Thirdly, unsnap your diapers or secure the velcro. Unsnapping will keep your snaps from ruining the PUL in the long run (although this rarely happens) and securing the velcro will prevent any hook and loop from catching the other diapers during the wash.
Finally, throw them in your diaper container. This can be either a diaper pail or a wet bag. For the diaper pail you will also need a pail liner. Both the pail liner and the wet bag contain PUL material and can be washed with the diapers. If you want to save space, the wet bag will be more helpful for you, since you can just hang it on a door knob or a bathroom towel bar, but wet bags generally come in smaller sizes than a pail liner, so if you are looking to use just one container until wash day, the diaper pail with a pail liner may be the better choice for you. The diaper pail also has the advantage of keeping the smell away better than a wet bag. Of course, when you choose your diaper container, you have to take into consideration the number of diapers you have and how far apart you want your washes to be.
The most important thing about storing dirty diapers, however, is to keep your diaper container away from direct sunlight or heat. You may also want to keep them open and let air circulate, otherwise the smell will be much stronger and the risk of mold will be higher.
Storing clean diapers
Storing clean cloth diapers might seem just as burdensome as storing the dirty ones. For new parents, space organization proves to be one big challenge. A baby comes with so many things that any new item must fit perfectly along with the others. Cloth diapers take more space than disposables, there is no doubt about it, but there are a few things you can do that will save you space and be handy at the same time.
Firstly, what you have to think about is where are you going to change your baby's diaper most of the time. Wherever that is, i.e. the nursery, the bathroom, your bedroom, you might want to think about how you can integrate your diapers, so that they are easily reachable. Don’t forget that along with the diapers, you may need a changing mat, wipes and bum cream, so these items need to be integrated as well.
Once you have chosen your space, you need to think what type of storage is most convenient to you. Here you can inspire yourself from different cloth diapers groups or you may come up with a great idea. Because you know the best what is most helpful to you. There are parents who set up shelves near the changing table and just put everything they need there. There are others who prefer the classical linen cabinet. The disadvantage here might be that once your baby is old enough to reach it, and if the cabinet does not have secured doors, you will probably have your diapers on the floor a few times a day until your baby understands they are not actually toys. The same thing might happen if you repurpose bookshelves, shoe racks or toy cubbies. A more practical item is the bar cart, since you can take it everywhere around the house and get it out of your baby’s sight once you are done changing him or her.
Thirdly, you have to decide whether you will stuff beforehand or stuff on the spot (for those using diapers that require inserts) or whether you will fold beforehand or on the spot (for those using folds or preflats). Doing them beforehand is more handy, obviously, because you just take it and use it, but it also takes time when you do it for more diapers. You can try both ways and see which is best for you. Some parents like to see them arranged neatly, and maybe even have line ups done for each day, but others just prefer to pick a random one, stuff/fold it and use it.
Finally, remember that nothing is fixed and you can change whatever you want anytime you want. Once you use your modern cloth diapers for a while, you will figure out what is most helpful and convenient to you. Of course, community is very important as well, and you may find amazing storage ideas, for dirty or clean diapers, among other cloth parents without trying everything by yourself.