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Ask The Expert

Diaper Jungle can answers your diapering questions here! Have a question? Ask it here!

Why do so many sites show a 3-dimensional description, like 4x8x4, on their prefold diapers?

Good question! You are right to wonder, "Does this mean they are 4 inches wide and 8 inches long and 4 inches thick???"

Nope. That would be one poofy diaper, wouldn't it?

Instead, this numbering system describes how many layers there are in the outer and inner sections: 4 layers in both outer sections and 8 layers in the inner / middle section, where most of the absorption occurs. Read more about prefolds here.

Can I use essential oils, like Tea Tree and Lavender, in my wash?

Yes, but sparingly.

Essential oils ARE oils and can make some diapers, like pockets, repel liquid. This is not exactly what you're looking for in a cloth diaper! Some people use these oils in their wipe recipes, some put them on the the little tag of cloth inside their diaper pail liners to help with stink issues, and some even put a few drops in their laundry water while washing their diapers for a bit of antibacterial/disinfecting action.

My advice is: "Use them carefully!" I would also advise you to check with your diaper's manufacturer to be sure that using essential oils does not invalidate their warranty. Personally, we use the oils in all the ways listed above and have never had any repelling issues with our pockets. However, if you start to use them and then notice leaking, suspect the oils! Read more about essential oils here.


I use BumGenius 4.0 one-size pocket diapers for my 12 month old and was wondering if it would be okay to use them without the insert as swim diapers for a visit to Florida this summer. Would salt or chlorine for a week ruin them? I would assume that I would need to strip them immediately after.

It is my opinion, based on the design of the bumGenius 4.0 one-size pocket, that it would function just fine as a swim diaper for your 12 month old. Once you remove the insert, the diaper will no longer absorb, however, it would contain any messes that might occur in the water for about as long as any other specialty swim diaper.

My concerns are for maintaining the quality of the diaper and its functionality after you return from the vacation. The salt residue may either dissolve upon washing and/or be easily removed with the stripping process you already decided to perform after their use in the ocean. The chlorine the diapers will be exposed to in the pool water has the potential to be a damaging substance with anything it comes into contact. (Think of your skin after a long swim or the color changes in your bathing suit after several uses.) My fear is that the guarantee on your bumGenius diapers would be null after using them in the pool. The warranty on their diapers is, understandably, void when any caustic substance has been used in conjunction with their products. I would have to assume that any break down in the PUL or elastic your diapers might show could surely be attributed to their exposure to the salt and chlorine from your trip.

That being said, it is also worthy to note that other cloth swim diaper manufacturers use the same or very similar materials to make their swim diapers as bumGenius uses to make their pocket diapers.

My conclusion: I think your bumGenius 4.0's would work to your satisfaction on your swimming trip, just accept before you go, the possibilities of a shortened life expectancy for their use as a diaper for your baby and the fact that the warranty would no longer be valid.

Other options instead of using your preferred bumGenius diapers:

In conclusion, although I cannot pinpoint a period of time for you, I can leave you with a bit of my own, personal, mommy experience. I am currently using pocket diapers on my third child. The diaper covers are starting to get runs in the PUL, the elastic is not as stretchy as it once was and the inserts are beginning to roll up in the center BUT.....they're still going! That's music to this mama's purse!

Happy swimming!


How long can I expect my cloth diapers to last?

Great question - with no simple answer! You are wise to consider the future of your cloth diapers - after all, it is a bit of an upfront investment. Though I am a firm believer that using cloth saves you money, YOU still need to enter the cloth diapering world having that confidence for yourself.

Just like all clothing, the fibers and materials used to make your diapers WILL break down over time. It is nearly impossible to predict the life expectancy of any clothing item because how much fabrics break down and wear out depends on several things. A few of these things are listed below:
 

  • purchase some used cloth diapers to use at the beach that wouldn't really matter if they get broken down by the elements.
  • purchase some good cloth swim diapers like iplay swim diapers or Kushies.
  • How many children use the diapers - Just as hand-me-down jeans are more likely to get holes in the knees, diapers used by more than one child will receive considerably more wear-and-tear and should not be expected to last as long.
  • How frequently you wash the diapers - I recommend an every-other-day wash routine to my customers. Some people prefer a daily wash, however, keep in mind how frequently you wash your personal clothing. Most of us do not wash the same article of clothing in the washing machine more than once each week. Nevertheless, do we subject our clothing to every-other day abuse! These diapers are taking a beating! I highly suggest owning enough diapers to skip wash.
  • What kind of diapers you're using and what they are made from - Natural fibers, such as cotton, will hold out for you longer than a synthetic material, like polyester.
  • How rigorous your wash routine is - A hot wash/hot dry routine will be harder on the life of your diapers than a hot wash/line dry routine.
  • How many diapers you have in service at one time for your child - Check with your retailer of choice for their suggestions on the number of diapers you will need for a full stash in the diaper style you have chosen. A good retailer will be happy to work with you on your family's specific needs.