May 1, 2017   |   Comments (0)

An Easy Guide to How to Change a Cloth Diaper

how to change a cloth diaper

A Newbie’s Guide: How to Change a Cloth Diaper

Changing a cloth diaper – the right way – is a big deal and you want to do it right. You’ve been told that it’s easy to do by the veteran moms, but step by step instructions would be really helpful, right?

Well, it is super easy to do and YOU WILL have the hang of it very soon. There are just a few basics involved but once you get a grasp of it, you’ll be off to the races.

how to change a cloth diaper

What you’ll need for your cloth diaper change:

A baby in need of a change

A clean cloth diaper

Cloth wipes and wipe solution or Disposable wipes

A Diaper Pail or Wet Bag for the soiled diaper

How to Change a Cloth Diaper – The Preparation

  1. Wash and dry your hands.
  2. Prepare the area where you will be changing baby’s diaper. If you are not using a diaper changing table, consider opening a blanket or towel for baby to lay on. Always keep in mind that babies cannot be left unattended for even a second because they can roll off a diaper changing table. If your baby is being changed on a diaper changing table or an elevated area, always keep one hand on your baby.
  3. Ensure that your clean diaper and wipes are within easy reach. If you’re using diaper cream, also put that within reach. (For best results, use a cloth diaper safe cream that will not affect your cloth diaper’s absorbency). Below is a great image of a well stocked diaper changing area with cloth diapers and wipes within easy reach.

how to change a cloth diaper

Infant Diapering – Your Step by Step Guide to Changing a Cloth Diaper

  • Lay baby gently on the changing area.
  • Unstrap or unsnap the soiled diaper. If you’re using cloth diapers with Velcro, fold the tabs over so that they don’t scratch your baby.
  • Pull down the top part of the diaper. If you are changing a newborn baby boy, you might want to consider covering their privates with a little hand towel or wipe because newborn babies tend to pee a lot, and they may do so while you’re changing them.
  • Hold baby’s feet and lift their bottom. Fold the dirty diaper under your baby so that it acts like a little pillow under the bottom. This protects the clean diaper from the dirty to change cloth diapers
  • Using your wipe, wipe baby’s genitals gently. Girls need to be wiped from front to back, to prevent bacteria. You may need more than one wipe to ensure baby is cleaned thoroughly. Some babies have little chubby cheeks with many creases, and you will want to make sure you clean out all of them.
  • Pat baby’s bottom dry with a clean cloth or air dry it for a few seconds. Having a dry bottom helps prevent extra moisture, which can lead to diaper rashes.
  • If you’re using all in one diapers or pocket diapers, pull the soiled diaper out completely by lifting baby’s legs gently in the air. Put it aside for a minute while you finish cleaning up your baby. If you are using flat diapers, diaper inserts or prefold diapers along with diaper covers, and the cover is still clean and dry, only remove the soiled parts.
  • Place a clean diaper under your baby. Make sure that the bottom part of the diaper, goes up to baby’s hips. Next, pull the top of the clean diaper over baby’s genitals and up to his/her belly. If baby is a newborn, fold the diaper down so as not to cover the umbilical cord because the diaper may scratch it. If you’re changing a boy, make sure his penis is pointing downwards.
  • Pull the diaper evenly to ensure there is no bunching up of the diaper in any area because this can cause leaks, chafing and discomfort.
  • Fasten the diaper with the Velcro tabs or snaps, and ensure it is snug but not too tight. If it’s too loose, the diaper will fall off or it may leak. Now you’re ready to put on the rest of baby’s clothes.
  • If baby’s diaper was just wet, you can throw your soiled diaper into a wet bag or a diaper pail.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and you’re done. Yeah!

Dealing with Diaper Poop – The Clean-Up after the Cloth Diaper Clean-up

change cloth diaper

If baby pooped, you will need to flush the poop down the toilet before throwing the dirty diaper into the diaper pail or wet bag. If it’s the type of diaper poop that simply slides off the diaper into the toilet – rejoice! Now all you need to do is flush. If it’s a pasty kind of stuck on poop, you have a few options in dealing with this kind of diaper poop. Let me also just say that you WILL deal with these poops more often than you’d like. It is always going to be easier for you to prepare for them before you have to deal with them. Here are a few tools many cloth diaper parents use to clean poop off cloth diapers.

Diaper Blowout

change cloth diapers

A Diaper blowout is less common with a cloth diaper because cloth diapers are able to hold diaper blowouts a little better than a disposable diaper would. Even so, they do happen and they are no fun to clean.

A diaper blowout is when baby’s poop goes up their back or possibly even their tummies.  They are fairly common with babies who wear disposable diapers because on the back of disposable diapers, there is not a lot of protection – poop can simply slide up baby’s back once there is no room left inside the diaper. However, with a cloth diaper, there is much more padding and absorbency.

Especially in the early stages, many cloth diaper moms like to fold

Breastfed Baby Poop

I have read on many blogs that breastfed baby poop is 100% water soluble, which means that if you throw a poop filled diaper of a baby that is exclusively breastfed, into the washing machine, the diaper poop will dissolve in the water and it will come out clean on the other side.

I’ve personally not done this because the idea of throwing poop into the washing machine, whether breastfed baby poop or not, bothered me somehow. Having said that, if there was a little bit of poop that the diaper liner did not catch, I had always been okay with throwing it into the laundry.

Using Cloth Diaper Liners

flushable cloth diaper liners

Cloth Diaper Liners are probably your easiest bet when it comes to diaper poop. They are rectangular in shape and they lay on top of the diaper, right next to baby’s genitals.

Most brands sell them in rolls, kind of like toilet paper rolls, and you tear off piece by piece.

It is not meant to absorb any urine so urine will pass right through it. It is however, meant to catch baby’s poops. What you do is once your baby needs a diaper change, you simply lift the diaper liner by the corners, and flush it down the toilet – if it’s a flushable cloth diaper liner.

Disposable cloth diaper liners are great but they are not all created equally. Some parents complain that they are a bit scratchy on baby’s skin so you’ll want to do your research to make sure you get a liner that is flushable and yet strong enough to hold baby’s poops.

Having said that, while diaper liners are wonderful and they do make life easier when it comes to cleaning up diaper poop, they will not always be able to catch everything, particularly if baby has diarrhea.

Using a Cloth Diaper Sprayer

cloth diaper sprayer for diaper poop

Many parents consider cloth diaper sprayers as life savers, particularly when it comes to the pasty kinds of diaper poop.

They attach to your toilet fairly easily and they do a decent job of getting the poop off your cloth diapers.

Basically, you simply spray the poop off your diapers.

Use a Poop Spatula

Another option is a “poop spatula”, which is basically a spatula that you can get from the Dollar Store, and use it to get diaper poop off your baby’s diapers. I’ve personally not used one because I prefer the diaper liners but I’ve spoken to moms who keep one under the sink, and use them as they need it. They scrape the poop off the diapers, then clean the spatula with a clorox wipe.

poop spatula
Image Credit:

Cleaning cloth diapers are as easy as cleaning regular disposable diapers, but it does have the extra work of clean up after you clean up your baby. However, as many cloth diaper parents will say – it is worth the effort knowing that you are either saving money, saving the environment, or doing both.

As always, if you have any questions, do drop me a note.

An Easy Guide to How to Change a Cloth Diaper
Article Name
An Easy Guide to How to Change a Cloth Diaper
Changing a cloth diaper is as easy as changing a disposable diaper, but there are a few tricks you need to be aware of. This post discusses everything you need to know, from start to finish.
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Baby Tooshy
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Gioula Chelten

Gioula Chelten

Hi, I’m Gioula – hands on mother of 5, author, entrepreneur and owner of I write from personal experience first, learning from moms like me, and a ton of research. I trust you will find value in my writing. I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment section. :) Connect with us too on these sites...

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