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Extending the Life of Your Cloth Diapers

When you have more than one child, it’s practically a given that you’ll hand down clothing from one kiddo to the next. One of the awesome things about cloth diapering is that you can do the exact same thing with your diaper stash, depending on how hard a baby is on them. The trick here is to master how to make your cloth go the distance. This is where we check in with our #ThirstiesLive Guru, Laura, with some great tips and tricks to extend your CD’s life. While, officially, Thirsties Cloth Diapers are designed to diaper babies from birth to potty (we’re hesitant to give a specific life expectancy for our cloth diapers because, like clothing hand-me-downs, each household’s diaper care and use is unique), we have a lot of customer feedback about their Thirsties diapers really going the distance. On Instagram, some of the Thirsties family weighed in with their experiences: @naturallythriftymom shared that her diapers are “On baby #4 now!” @kristinajura said, “Some of my covers are being used for baby 3 now. And the NAIO are on baby 2. It’s so sweet to see the little one wearing the same diapers her brothers did.” @crystamh shared that she’s “Currently using on my 2nd child. Many of my covers are hand me downs from my sister, who used them on both her kids! Some are a little worn, but still work!” That’s some staying power right there! There are a handful of things we can do to get the most out of our cloth diapers. Firstly, consider your stash size. If you’re able to rotate your diapers, it spreads the daily wear and tear across your whole stash, lengthening its life span on the whole. By using the Duo Wrap System, you’ll inherently spread out the use over two stashes of diapers, as well. The recommended stash size from outlines minimum stash numbers as the following:
  • Newborn: 20-24 diapers
  • 6-12 months: 14-18 diapers
  • 12-24 months: 12-16 diapers
  • Potty Learning: 4-8 diapers
The next thing to consider is each diaper’s components. Be aware of what will break down first and what can you do to preserve them. Remember that all is not lost when something breaks or wears down on a diaper! Elastics will most likely fail first. Storing diapers properly between babies will help prevent elastics from rotting. Also, do not stretch elastics when they are hot. Line dry heavy AIO diapers with the weight on the soaker and not the elastic. Avoid sanitize cycles and bleach as these are rough on elastics. And if it comes time to replace an elastic, know that Thirsties can recommend some repair shops. Current hook and loop fasteners should stay strong and sticky for the entire life of the diaper. However, Thirsties offers replacement Aplix tabs to customers if they ever want to replace them, and snaps can also be replaced by the company (although snaps should not break or weaken). Waterproof TPU may eventually break down, as well. Occasionally drying waterproof items on high for 10 minutes can help reseal TPU. Unfortunately, there is no fix for cracked TPU. Excellent overall care is the third thing to take into account. Follow a basic wash routine for the best care: do a prewash, a hot wash with detergent, and an extra rinse, always using a recommended detergent. Hard water can be rough on diapers and impedes your detergent from working well, so be sure to add a water softener if your water tests at or above 180ppm. Also, be sure your water heater does not exceed 130 °F. Use the laundry tabs with your hook & loop diapers, as well. The way you dry your diapers can also greatly affect their longevity. Just remember that heat wears down and can damage all of the components of your diapers (especially the elastics and PUL), so regular line drying or machine drying on low works best.
image of cloth diapers in a drawer with text about tips
Hopefully, these tips from Laura help you maintain a great stash for years to come. For more amazing CD tips and tricks, check out #ThirstiesLive every Friday at 1:00PM MST on Facebook and 1:45PM MST on Instagram! And we’d love to hear from you in the comments: is your stash brand new with Baby #1, holding strong for Baby #2, or beyond? (Ours is heading into #3, but being part-timers definitely helps with its longevity!)
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