Road Test: Cloth Diapers

Em in her Charlie Banana's.

So, cloth diapers aren’t really my thing. And they aren’t Chelsea’s either. In fact, when she came home from the ABC show ten months ago and told me she was going to do a story on cloth diapers, I thought she was just trying to make me laugh. But no, she was going to do it. And here we are, ten months later, and you dedicated readers probably know that you’ve never seen a story on cloth diapers. Chelsea came to her senses, realized she wasn’t a cloth diaper person, and asked me to do it. I laughed. A few weeks would go by and she’d ask me to do it, I would laugh. This continued for some time until I finally said, “Oh the heck with it” and grabbed her big diaper pail bag of samples. And, then, it has sat in my office (otherwise known as my bedroom) until a few weeks ago, when I reached into my daughter’s changing table and realized I was out of diapers. “No time like the present!” I thought to myself, and thus, the story came to fruition. –Alex

This was the first diaper I tried on Emily. It went on first because it was the first one that was dry. (Small fib earlier—when I realized I was out of diapers, I threw the samples in the wash and went to my car to get a diaper from my emergency stash.) First thing I realized going into this is that the diapers take forever to get dry. I put them on low, so after two 60 minute cycles of that, I finally cranked the dryer up to high and they were done. But I digress. . .

Emily was going down for her nap and I put the FuzziBunz on. It had a non-disposable insert that went down, inside the crotch, and the entire thing snapped up to fit her perfectly (one thing I was worried about—not so great a fit = leaks).  As she fell asleep and I started working, I realized, “Hmm, what do I do when it’s wet? Throw the whole thing in the wash?” So I emailed the CEO, Tereson Dupuy, who got back to me right away (great customer service) telling me that the entire “set” needs to be changed. Silly me, but of course.

Emily woke up a couple of hours later and the FuzziBunz was going strong. I decided to really put this diaper to the test and kept it on for a total of five hours. No, I’m not a bad mom; this is a road test for goodness sake! Well, in doing that, I got to experience a poop in a cloth diaper. Hmmm. The tag on the diaper said to “Shake solids into the toilet.” So, in my panic, I took Emily in the bathroom, with a tub of wipes, and gingerly took it off. This is where it got exciting. I was filling the bath, which Emily loves, so she kept moving toward the tub, as I took the diaper off, shook it out, and then was trying to wipe poop off of her. In all that movement, poop fell on the bathroom rug. I was trying to hold her still, she wasn’t listening, and yes, she then stepped in it. Meanwhile, my son is trying to make her laugh, so he gets a robotic stuffed kitty and puts it out in the hall. She moves toward it and thus, steps in more poop. I give Kieran the evil eye, he comes in and asks what’s going on, and then he steps in it. After I yell, he backs out of the bathroom, smearing more poop. The dog hears the commotion, and decides to help by licking the rug. Meanwhile, I still have this poopy cloth diaper in my hand.

Hmmmmm, next time, I think I will change Emily on the changing table, clean her, and then carry the neatly wrapped up diaper to the toilet and shake it out. I guess the panic of poop + cloth wasn’t making me think straight.

As for the FuzziBunz diaper itself—I give it an A. Easy to use, absorbent, and a perfect fit. Tereson says, “The FuzziBunz is a unit – so the insert and the pocket is a full set.  Every time you change the diaper which is typically 6-8 in a day you change the whole set and replace with a fresh one.  We typically recommend for full time FuzziBunz users that 12 is typically enough – moms usually wash every day to day and a half.  They can really start to smell after about 2 days so washing is recommended to keep the stink away.  If there is poop that is solid just plop in the toilet and wash as directed.”

Their diaper pail bag is great as well—it has a zipper on the bottom so all you have to do is hold it over the washer, unzip, and PLOP! It all goes does down in. Fantastic.

Prices vary depending on what package you get–click here to preview.

To visit the FuzziBunz site, click here.

Happy Heinys
Now I didn’t have any literature on this diaper, so I had to go with God and trust my instincts. What’s scary about that is that I put it on before Emily went to bed at night. And she sleeps for 12 straight hours. But, it snapped up and around the sides ensuring the perfect fit (so I hoped!). Fast forward to the next morning. Emily seemed dry, no saturation, no wet sheets. I held her on my lap as she drank her milk, then I got up to fix breakfast. Uh-oh, I had been leaked on. But considering she had been in the diaper for 13 hours at this point, and had just finished a big glass of milk, I think any diaper may have had some leakage.

I actually have two different sample of the Happy Heinys—one with snap closures and one with Velcro. I’ve used them both at night, and she wakes up dry—though that 13th hour of having it on is the straw that breaks this diapers back. So, if you’re not lazy like I am, you could change it when your child wakes up and you wouldn’t have that problem.

I give Happy Heinys an A.

Prices range from $17.95 – $18.95–click here to preview.

To visit the Happy Heinys site, click here.

Put this on after switching her out of the Happy Heineys. First diaper of the day, which means we could find ourselves testing it with a poop. It’s definitely a cute diaper, and like the other two has the snaps to ensure a perfect fit. The diaper did well. Tested it again for night time, and boy did it exceed all expectations. Put it on at 7:00PM and didn’t take it off until 8:30AM (it was a hectic morning) the next day!

Rumparooz has a system where you can snap two inserts together for nighttime saturation protection. The cool thing about this is that it customizes to boys or girls. So, if you have a boy, the insert is snapped so there is extra padding in the front. I used this system for nighttime, and it obviously worked.

I give Rumparooz an A+.

To visit the Rumparooz site and for purchasing info, click here.

Dry Bees
This diaper comes with an absorbent pad built into the diaper, so there’s no need to add your own. It has Velcro tabs, no snaps, so you put it on just as if you were using a disposable. But here’s my problem—it lasts about 3 hours and then it leaks. I don’t know, maybe I’m not changing my baby’s diaper enough, but that seems like too short of a time. So, I emailed customer service to see what was going on, but never got a reply.

I give Dry Bees a C.

What I do like is the Wahmies Wet Bag that Dry Bees makes. You take it out and about with you, so when you have to change a cloth diaper on the go, you just stick it in this bag that’s lined with waterproof material. Super easy.  A great buy.

Prices vary–click here to preview.

To visit the Dry Bees site, click here.

Most of the other diapers I tested have a fleece lining—this is more like flannel, which is also nice. The crotch is nice and thick, with an absorbent pad sewn in, and then another pad is sewn on by one edge on top. Unfortunately, I put it on Em and she pooped about 5 minutes later. Next time, she put it on and wore it about five hours, not a leak in sight. It was time for the ultimate test—nighttime. And it passed with flying colors, although I needed to change it right as she woke up.

Kushies also makes disposable liners that you can insert in the diaper. It comes in a toilet paper roll like package, and is easy to tear off and use. When you child poops, it makes it that much easier to “shake the solids in the toilet.” (Side note—you’ll catch yourself singing, “Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”)

I give Kushies an A.

$13.99–click here to preview.

To visit the Kushies site, click here.

Charlie Banana
By the time I got to this diaper, I was feeling like a pro at this whole non-disposable thing. I put it on Emily and the first thing I noticed about this diaper was the fit—it was perfect. With some of the cloth diapers, once you get it on, you still need to adjust it—pull the diaper up in the back so it covers the liner, pull the sides up so it’s line with the snaps. With Charlie Banana, you snap it in place and are ready to go. The other cool thing about this diaper is there’s a disposable liner option—it looks like one of those mega maxi pads you get after giving birth. It tucks in neatly in the built in flap, and voila—guaranteed protection making it easy for when you’re on the go, or you know a poop will be coming soon. All around, a fantastic diaper–I give it an A.

To visit the Charlie Banana site, and for more info on purchasing, click here.

So, all in all, here are things that I noticed during the road test, not necessarily good or bad, just observations:
1) The poop stains. When I washed the diapers, I threw in some OxiClean (as I always do) as well as detergent, but the diapers still came out stained. The whole poop in cloth is pretty gross to be perfectly honest, but you get over it.
2) You need a lot of diapers. I started with seven, and needed to wash them after a day and a half.
3) As a result of #2—you need to be on it with the wash. All of a sudden, I realized I was out of diapers, yet I still needed to wash and dry an entire load. Pay attention when you’re putting on the last one of your stash.
4) My daughter gets diaper rash very easily. She NEVER got it while we were doing this Road Test. In fact, I had to use disposables while the laundry was finishing (see #3) and in that time, she developed a rash.
5) You need to think this through—I still use disposable wipes, which means that I need the pail liner for the diapers (love, love, the FuzziBunz one) but I also need a trashcan for wipes. Charlie Banana sent me some non-disposable wipes and they are so nice and soft. You dip them in water and then wipe your baby clean. These are great to use because you’re not putting chemicals on your child’s sensitive areas. Chemicals, which as Dr. Conti told me, are absorbed by the liver—not something we want. The other great thing about non-disposable wipes is that they make the whole cloth diaper thing easier—you throw them into the same pail as the diapers, so the extra trashcan is not needed.

Now that the road test is over, do I still use the cloth diapers? Yes. They’re very easy, especially with the options of inserting disposable liners—great when you’re child is a scheduled pooper. I still use disposable diapers—I don’t have enough cloth to last very long, so I go back and forth between the two. If my daughter wasn’t so close to potty-training age, I think I would invest the money to make my household a cloth one. So don’t be afraid to try the cloth thing—it’s easy to do and will save you a good chunk of change.

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  1. “The dog hears the commotion, and decides to help by licking the rug.” I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! As always, thanks for an interesting read!

  2. brenda s says

    Oh the joys! I found that to be very entertaining (and informative, but mostly entertaining)!!I sure wish it had been so easy when my oldest was in diapers! He couldnt wear any disposable, the early years, and we still had to fold our own and use pins, much to his dismay! I got the Fuzzybuns for Leesi when she was born and loved them though her mother refused to use them… what is amazing is when they first came out they had enough rows to go thru several sizes and we can still use them FOR POTTY TRAINING instead of the little panties which are horrible for accidents. Thanks again for a great adventure!

  3. I have used cloth since the day we brought our daughter home and really love them. The poop stain is easy to fix…one find a great detergent, after trying a few I use Rockin’ Green and two the sun works wonders. I thought it was a joke when I read people saying just put it in the sun, but I tried it and it get the stains out every time 🙂
    I did a lot of research before I purchased them and even more after she was born. If you know what you are getting into it is really easy to do. There are great websites out there to help with any questions you have.
    Thanks for the review, there where a few I haven’t used and was wondering if they worked well or not 🙂

  4. As you were describing your adventure I could just picture the whole thing. Once I dog came in I had tears.

    I did cloth for both of my kids. It really is not as bad as you think it is going to be. I think I had 2 doz diapers…but your right Alex, you do have to keep up on the wash.

    Thanks for the great information.

  5. Alex, good for you for testing this out with Emily! I have to confess….if I still had a kid in diapers I STILL don’t think I could do cloth. I would really have to be swayed. But the diapers were adorable. THANK GOODNESS I never have to change another poopy diaper(until I have grandkids, of course!)!

  6. Wow, I about died laughing over the poop story. LOL

    Thanks for your honest assessment. I’m in a similar situation because my daughter is almost potty trained but not yet out of diapers. I ended up using Grobaby/Grovia cloth diapers. What I find great about them is that you only have to remove the insert and replace it with a new one. You can reuse the cover over and over again (until it is wet or soiled).

    This great because it means I use on a good day 1 cover for daytime and 1 cover for nighttime, then as many inserts as she needs. They also sell disposable inserts, disposable poop liners and actual disposable diapers that are bleach/SAP free!

    Just thought I would share because I love that cloth diapering is even more efficient with less laundry lol!

  7. Thank you for all the info on the different diapers…we have used Bum Genius on my daughter for 2 years, and love them, however the velcro closures have not held up well after so many washings. I think for our next we will be switching to snaps…I will be saving this article! Thank you!

  8. I’ve been using cloth diapers for over three years now. When I first started out CDing, I put all the diapers in the dryer as well. Eventually I gained enough of a stash to be able to either put them outside to dry or set up a drying rack inside and letting them dry about 24 hours. Then just put them in the dryer for about 10-15 minutes to take any of the stiffness out.

    This is especially important for the covers, over time the elastic can become brittle from over drying them. I keep them completely out of the dryer, and have some covers that are two plus years old and are still in perfect condition!

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks for this great information. I have really been considering trying cloth diapers and this is great information!

  10. In fact you’re actually supposed to shake the poop out of a disposable diaper too but nobody ever mentions that. I use disposable liners from ImseVimse (like the Kushies ones you mentioned), if they’re just wet I throw them in the wash and reuse, if soiled, they get flushed. So I’m not touching any more poop than I would have with a disposable. It also keeps it out of my laundry.

  11. I cloth diapered my second child from birth. I absolutely loved knowing that she didn’t have chemicals next to her skin constantly. Plus cloth is cheaper, better for the environment, and so darn cute! She potty trained at 24m and I miss it!
    Lay your wet, stained diapers in the sun for a few hours and the stains will be gone.
    You can add different inserts into pocket diapers. I never liked microfiber as it got stinky. We used hemp and bamboo inserts.
    Make sure you’re using a diaper friendly detergent. You also only need to use about 1/4 of the amount you’d use on your regular clothing.
    Another thing you mentioned was how a diaper leaked after 3 hours. Diapers are meant to be changed often! Would you like to walk around with pee sitting between your legs for hours on end?

    There are plenty of wonderful cloth diaper websites/forums to help. I love diaperswappers and was an active member for a couple years.

  12. You can throw the disposable wipes in the wetbag with the dipes, and after they come out of the washer/dryer, just throw them away. Just make sure velcro laundry tabs are fastened so they don’t get stuck in the velcro. Cloth wipes are so much easier and cheaper though. I keep water in a peri bottle to wet the wipes, one in the diaper bag and one on the changing table. Glad cloth diapering is working out for you!

  13. Love this. Had I to do over again, I’d use cloth diapers. Alas, hindsight is 20/20. I could *so* imagine the poop story. Everybody — even those using Pampers — has at least one story like that one!

  14. I love cloth diapering, even when it gets super messy I sometimes think am I crazy but no!
    You have to try Eco Nuts, they are amazing for cloth diapers!
    After a big blow out(sorry) and he ate blueberries, only moms know this, LOL! It cleaned and I have no stains on my diapers. These are the best for my cloth diapers in my opinion and no stains!
    Check ’em out 🙂

  15. Thanks for everyone’s advice. And yes, I know a girl needs to be changed more often, LOL. I do notice that with cloth, you’re not worried about “changing too often” because you don’t want to waste a quarter on the diaper you bought. Ridiculous thinking, isn’t it?

  16. We’re a Bum Genius-using family and have 2 kids in them right now. One piece of advice I’ll offer to everyone who either does, or is thinking about, cloth diapering: get a sprayer that attaches to the toilet. You spray the poop right off and flush it. No need to put poop in the wash, where it just circulates around when you want really clean diapers! We do 2 wash cycles (first cold, then hot), the second gets an extra rinse.

  17. Niki: I have to agree with you about the sprayer. Our pediatrician told me about it, and yesterday, after trying to shake out an especially sticky poo, I was wishing we had one.

  18. I wanted to let you know that Fuzzi Bunz actually stole this design from a company called Evolution Diapers, this company was almost put out of business by Fuzzi Bunz. They, not fuzzi bunz, hold the patent pending on this design, I actually spoke with the mama who makes them and she told me that they are being issued the patent shortly and that Fuzzi Bunz dose not have permission to use their design. Just so you know the whole truth around this. ;0)

  19. 1st. As i am informed Charlie Banana stole design from Fuzzi Bunz company, why you don’t put that information in here ME ? Charlie Banana owner have been in a business with Fuzzi Bunz. After She ( Owner of CB) organized a manufacture for Fuzzi Bunz brand, she started to put her own label on Fuzzi Bunz diapers. Messy and horrible acting.
    2nd. Evolution Diapers started company in 2001. But Fuzzi Bunz in 1999 how could they steel design???
    3rd. E. Diapers even are not aviable on their original home site.

  20. Actually, the information posted above about Charlie Banana is not true at all. Many of you have probably heard the rumors about Fuzzibunz and Charlie Banana and it’s all untrue. You can see for yourself here – a retraction letter from the FB owner. She originally sent an untrue, basically illegal! letter to tons of people…. so here you can see for yourself. – scroll down in the link to see the letter.

  21. To clear some things up about the Fuzzi Bunz, Charlie Banana and Evolution diaper issue:

    Fuzzi Bunz does NOT have the patent for the adjustable elastic in the one sized diapers. They keep throwing it around that they do, when in reality it is Evolution diapers who is being granted the patent first. I hope they hire a lawyer once they are granted the patent so Fuzzi Bunz can stop stealing ideas from small WAHMS. They think they can trample over other people’s ideas and “beat them” to the patent for the pocket diapers since they are a million dollar company but they cannot. They have no ethics and their diapers are garbage compared to what they used to be since they switched to china for all of their manufacturing and gave up on the “made in the usa” stance they had once took. They favor their larger retailers over the smaller ones by helping to boost their business (letting them price their diapers under msrp, giving trips, incentives, exclusive deals) when they should be fair across the board. I can go on and on about this company..

    As for Charlie Banana, i am happy they ripped off Fuzzi Bunz. From what i hear they are WAY BETTER then fuzzi bunz in every way such as the design the fit etc. Tereson had it coming to her by stealing other WAHMS ideas, this is Karma in my opinion.

  22. Love this posting. Good for you to test drive these diapers… it will really help mamas who are trying to decide which diapers to buy.

    I love being a cloth diaper mama!

  23. I am a former teacher/environmental scientist who now proudly wears the career tag “Mom.” I did a LOT of research on cloth diapers before settling on Charlie Banana. I LOVE these diapers. My husband’s job takes us on the road, living in hotel rooms for 6 months out of the year. I carry a drying rack with us and hand-wash our diapers in the hotel sink and then dry them on the rack in the sunlight. NO ONE can tell me the excuse of cloth diapers being inconvenient or too much trouble as I wash ours in the sink of a hotel! THUMBS UP to all the savvy green moms out there!


  24. I am glad someone pointed out the patent debate. I was having a hard time figuring out what about a pocket diaper Fuzzibunz thought they patented.

    As for dealing with poo, try a Cloth Diaper Butler, paired with a diaper shower. 🙂


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