It happens more often than not that parents and caregivers first come to our boutique with a long list of the problems they see with cloth diapers and the reasons they feel that they are just “too hard.”

We’ve seen moms and dads ready with notes on their phone or texts from friends and even a mother-in-law on FaceTime promising us that cloth diapers are such a headache.

What if my babysitter can’t figure out how to put it on?

They REALLY smell, don’t they?

And what happens when everything leaks everywhere and my baby turns into a tiny pee gushing volcano?

Here’s the good news: most ‘problems’ with cloth diapers are a total myth.

Here’s the better news: We’ve heard it all. All of it.

In this article, we’ll break down the six problems with cloth diapers and how you can fix almost every single one.

6 Everyday Problems with Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are not a perfect system. That seems like something you wouldn’t expect to hear from us, but there is no perfect system. There are a few common problems with cloth diapers:

  • Leaks
  • Fit
  • Washing
  • Expense
  • Complexity
  • Travel

  • Let’s start with leaks.


    “All cloth diapers leak.” This has to be the one our team hears at least five times a day, if not more. There is almost never a brand or style of cloth diaper associated with this assertion, and it’s one of the hardest cloth diaper ‘problems’ to explain.

    There are a few simple reasons for this:

    • Disposable diapers leak. Disposable diaper leaks are so common that caregivers automatically assume that cloth diapers must leak as well without much evidence or experience.

    • Poorly and cheaply made cloth diapers of low quality DO leak. Cloth diapers absolutely fall into the You Get What You Pay For category of life. If you feel like a retailer or a brand is selling cloth diapers for what seems like a completely unbelievable deal, it’s because those products will last you a few short days or weeks–if that,–and you will be back on the hunt for a leak free cloth diapering system.

    • The care you take to clean your diapers properly shows. If you are not cleaning your diapers thoroughly or with the correct tools, you will put more wear on your diapers than necessary and can do some damage in just a few short weeks.

    • Fit is everything. The best cloth diaper in the world is going to leak the recommended weight range is 16-22 lbs and you are choosing to use this for your newborn. The right size diaper is easy to find and easy to fit if you keep manufacturer guidelines and fit instructions in mind.

    • Not all absorbency is appropriate for all stages. If you have a newborn sized prefold on a 6-month-old baby, you are going to have a hard time preventing leaks. You need to choose the correct amount of absorbency for the age and developmental stage of your diapered little one.

    So, do some cloth diapers leak? Yes.

    Is this an easy fix? Yes.

    Our Fix: Choose high-quality cloth diapers that are recommended to properly fit the age and weight of your baby. Pair it with a great wash routine and the correct amount of absorbency for the developmental stage of your child.

    Quality + Fit + Wash Routine + Absorbency = The Answer to Your Leak Problems


    “Cloth diapers never fit right.” Fit isn’t just tricky, it can feel almost impossible if you don’t start with the right tools. This particular problem usually stems from a stash of cloth diapers being passed down from mom to mom with little instruction or information to accompany them.

    While that sounds wonderful, it can be frustrating to parents new to cloth diapering who need some tutorials before they really get started on their cloth diapering journey.

    Here are some common problems with fit:

    • The manufacturer recommended weight range is outside of your baby’s current weight. No, this is not a ‘make it work’ moment. A size large fitted diaper will not work for your 10 lb 2-month-old. At the same time, one size diapers have a beginning weight of 10 lbs. This is not the ideal choice for a newborn.

    • The rise snaps or waist snaps are improperly adjusted. Even when using a one size diaper, caregivers can get a poor fit if they are not choosing the proper rise snaps or waist snaps for their baby’s weight and body shape. Toddlers may need the rise let out all the way, while smaller one-year-olds could be on several different rise snaps, depending on their body shape.

    • Caregivers have not utilized all snaps available on the diaper. Most cloth diapers fit best when all waist snaps are utilized fully, when possible. Choosing just one can result in wing droop or leaks which just create more frustration.

    • You are using too much absorbency. That’s right, more is not better. Not in glitter, not in sugar and not in cloth diapering. Using too much absorbency can result in a bulky bum and not enough waterproof material to cover your absorbency and protect against leaks. Say no to overstuffing (and glitter…).

    Not every cloth diaper fits every baby perfectly.

    Is it easy to find a cloth diaper that DOES fit your baby perfectly? Yes.

    bumGenius NeilOur Fix: Choose a cloth diaper that is recommended for your baby’s weight, ensure you are choosing all the correct rise and waist snaps and choose the correct absorbency for your baby’s developmental stage. The easiest way to accomplish this? Attend one of our monthly Cloth 101 classes where you can see demonstrations first hand and get one on one advice about which diaper will properly fit your baby. Getting a great fit is so much easier than it seems and all it truly takes is a little bit of education.

    Choose the right diaper for your baby, learn to utilize it’s fit features correctly and choose the right absorbency.


    “Washing cloth diapers takes forever! It’s SO much laundry” There is a *small* bit of truth to this statement. And it’s this: you must do laundry to cloth diaper. The rest is only true if you plan to cloth diaper an entire gymboree class at once.

    Worrying about laundry is so common and an aspect of cloth diapering that cannot be avoided entirely. However, even in a large family, cloth diapering laundry doesn’t tie up any more time than your normal laundry chores and is easier than it seems.

    Here is the truth about the laundry issue:

  • You must do laundry to cloth diaper. Cloth diapers are a reusable diapering systems that require washing. There are many different options when it comes to your laundry routine (coin operated washers, in-home washers, economy washers and even the bucket and plunger method), but yes, you must do laundry.

  • You must choose a wash routine that caters to cloth diapering. Unfortunately, tossing your diapers thoughtlessly in the washer with whatever amount of detergent lands in the drum isn’t going to result in clean diapers. Selecting a great wash routine isn’t difficult, but you must get to know your washer and your water a bit before you start your cloth diapering journey.

  • You must choose a great detergent. All detergents are not created equal. There are absolutely recommended detergents and those that just won’t get the job done. Again, choosing a great detergent isn’t difficult and good detergents are readily available at any grocery store, but a good strong detergent will make your cloth diapering experience infinitely easier.

  • You're going to have to do a few extra loads of laundry to cloth diaper, but it’s much easier than it seems.

    Sloomb Wool CoverOur Fix: Consider the time and cost investment that disposable diapers require. (Running out of diapers means driving to the store, the constant expense for the length of the time your child is in diapers,  Then, consider how little time it actually takes to load your washer, add your detergent and press start. Choose a simple wash routine that appropriately cleans your diapers and add a great detergent to your routine. Your routine should be easy, effective, use enough detergent and mesh with the rest of your laundry chores seamlessly.

    An Easy and Effective Wash Routine + A Great Detergent = Cloth Diaper Success


    “Cloth diapering is expensive just to get started” Sometimes, it comes down to cost. Raising tiny humans costs money and diapers can be a substantial contributor to those costs. Researching your first cloth diaper purchase can feel overwhelming and it’s easy to feel like cloth diapering is expensive in the beginning.

    There are a few causes for this:

  • Comparatively, most parents purchase a small stash of cloth diapers vs. a few days’ supply of disposables. The short-term allure of disposables is that your cost is significantly lower to begin your diapering days. However, you will incur this cost repeatedly for years to come. Overall, disposable diapers can cost upwards of $3000 for a single child!

  • The cost of cloth diapering can vary depending on the style choices you make. There are absolutely budget friendly cloth diapering options. Prefolds and covers can cost a fraction of a larger all-in-one diaper collection, so the style you choose has a cost factor as well. No matter what style you choose, you will never come close to the cost of disposable diapers.

  • Cloth diapering is an investment into your parenting style long term. There are very few products that you will purchase in your child’s newborn days that you truly expect to continue to use well into the preschool years. Because of this, parents have an inherent sense of “we shouldn’t spend too much on XYZ because they will only use it for a few short months”. Cloth diapers are one of the few exceptions to this logic. You aren’t purchasing for the week or the paycheck, you are purchasing for the life of your child’s diapering days. It’s an investment into significant long-term savings.

  • It seems that you get so many more diapers when you purchase disposables. You do! That’s because you don’t need hundreds of cloth diapers to diaper your baby. Thirty cloth diapers is where most parents feel comfortable and where your cloth diaper stash is easy and effective. You would need thousands of disposable diapers to do the work of 30 cloth diapers in the same diapering years.

  • Is cloth diapering more expensive than using disposable diapers? Not even close. You would have to purchase an exorbitant amount of cloth diapers to even approach the cost of disposables. The honest remedy to this issue is to keep in mind that almost all of your cloth diapering purchases will last you through potty training and are a long-term investment.

    Sloomb Bamboo Fleece FittedOur Fix: If possible, use the full term of your pregnancy to purchase a few cloth diapers at a time. Many brands have package discounts that allow you to build your collection quickly while saving money. Many packages start at just 4 diapers and there are some styles that are more budget-friendly than others. And remember, your cloth diaper purchases are an investment and will prevent you from having to purchase diapers in the future.


    “Aren’t there SO many parts and pieces?” Even in 2018, there is so much misinformation out there, and you may feel overwhelmed by the choices. There are almost equal amounts of poor advice and great advice, which results in the assumption that if there are so many differing opinions, cloth diapering must be difficult. Cloth diapers get a bad reputation for being complicated.

    Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Washing machines and laundry detergent have improved significantly in the last few decades. Parents and grandparents may have had very different experiences regarding washers and detergents. NOT all detergents are ideal for cloth diapering and using the right detergent is so important. Many traditional methods for washing diapers didn’t involve machines at all and, while it’s possible to cloth diaper without a washing machine, it IS more time consuming and complicated.

  • Cloth diaper styles have been reinvented with the caregiver in mind. The more traditional style cloth diapers, (large pieces of cotton, muslin or flannel) involved folding and pinning. Washing them was slightly more complicated and rarely involved detergent at all. Modern cloth diapers have so few steps and are so easy to adjust, clean and use for several years.

  • Assumption before education.  Too many of the negative opinions about cloth diapering result from assumption rather than education. Stories from friends who may have struggled or grandparents who aren’t very familiar with the cloth diapering products currently on the market can leave parents assuming that cloth diapers are complicated.

  • So ARE cloth diapers complicated? With a few tutorials and a little education, absolutely not. While it’s true that there are lots of choices, there are many options that require little to zero steps or pieces! We have yet to have parents leave our Cloth 101 class and feel like cloth diapers are overwhelming or complicated.

    GroVia All In OneOur Fix: If the assumed complexity of cloth diapering is making you nervous, chose an All-In-One style diaper. All-In-Ones are the closest in concept to a disposable diaper in that the entire diaper goes on baby, the entire diaper comes off and then it just needs to be washed. That’s it! No pins, pieces or steps, just get a good fit and a good wash routine and you will be on your way to cloth diaper success.


    “There’s no way to travel with cloth diapers, so we would still have to use disposables” As if security, airport bathrooms, overpriced food and your toddler licking a seat at the gate weren’t enough? Traveling with cloth diapers can feel like uncharted waters and stressful for sure. So many parents just assume there is no way to successfully travel with cloth diapers.

    There are a few causes for this:

  • Travel in itself is notoriously frustrating for parents. Carseats and snacks and the fiftieth time the pacifier has hit the floor, tired parents and overwhelmed toddlers… traveling can be so frustrating. It seems that ‘adding’ anything more to this circus is just asking for you to lose your mind. The catch here, of course, is the assumption that disposable diapers aren’t ‘adding’ anything to the frustration. Imagine that same toddler’s reaction when you realize you are OUT of diapers and need to scour an entire terminal, wet baby in your arms, to figure out if anyone, anywhere, actually sells the brand of diaper your child uses in the size you need. #NOPE

  • Cloth diapers seem like an added element to travel. Packing a cloth diaper is the same amount of effort as packing a disposable diaper. You still need a diaper bag, an extra change of clothes and diapers. Try to remove your thinking that packing cloth diapers is somehow and ‘extra’ element to packing. Unless you plan to potty train your child before you leave, you will be packing diapers either way.

  • You may not always be certain what type of washing facilities will be available. This concern is completely valid and something that it’s also very possible to address. Some cloth diaper styles travel better than others! Try to research what type of facilities will be available to you ahead of time and if you discover there won’t be any facilities near you, don’t worry! You can still cloth diaper. Prefolds and covers are very easy to clean in a tub or sink and dry very quickly as well.

  • You may have friends or relatives who have a negative opinion of cloth diapers, and it seems like an added frustration to an already big undertaking. It seems that all parents have ‘that friend’ or ‘that relative’ that just HAS to tell you how the personally feel about every element of your parenting. The continuous comments can get frustrating and put a damper on your trip before it has even started. Assure your friends and family that cloth diapers are perfectly safe and healthy, more so than disposable diapers, and that you won’t be asking them to wash your cloth diapers anyway…

  • Is traveling possible with cloth diapers?

    Of course.

    Does it take a touch of planning?


    But that can pretty much be said about doing anything with a baby at any time.

    Is it possible to go to Target with a baby and a toddler?

    Of course.

    Does it take a touch of planning? (and a stupid amount of snacks, four trips to the potty, three meltdowns, two extra shots in your coffee, one iPad and a partridge in a pear tree)

    Without. An. Overly. Caffeinated. Doubt.

    GroVia PrefoldsOur Fix: Covers and prefolds are so easy to travel with and even easier to clean. These can be washed in a sink or bathtub very easily and, if hung overnight, will be dry and ready to use in the morning. They pack very flat, so they don’t take up much room at all, and they even leave you the option of pairing your covers with paper inserts if you must so that you still retain the leak free protection of your cloth covers. Covers take only seconds to rinse in the sink with detergent and hang dry, so they are our traveling go to!


    You’ll notice that many of the fears we discussed are based on outdated information, misinformation or lack of information. More often than not, the ‘problems’ with cloth diapering can be fixed quickly and easily by: seeking out a little education, choosing a high quality cloth diaper that is easy to use, seeing your cloth diaper purchase as an eco-friendly investment and utilizing an effective wash routine and detergent. Don’t over complicate it and don’t be afraid to stop in and ask questions.

    You can shop cloth diaper styles in our carefully curated collection of cloth diapers. For more cloth diapering tips and tricks, LIKE us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram at @ArcticBabyBottoms!
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