How to use cloth diapers
The cloth diaper, which absorbs the wee, is placed inside the leakproof diaper cover. Put in an extra insert if your child wees a lot. Place the child on the cloth diaper and adjust the Velcro fastening for a perfect fit. Make sure the diaper is completely inside the cover. Do not pull on the leg cuffs as this could cause leakage. It is a good idea to use a flushable liner to make it easier to dispose of poop.
Which size and which diaper should I use?
Remember that at night-time, you might need to use a larger size diaper cover for your child to allow room for an extra insert or a double diaper.
What do you need?
This is what you will need for round-the-clock use if you wash every three days.
24 cloth diapers – if you choose muslin sqares you may need 2 sizes.
5 diaper covers – in each size.
Bio liners (make it easier to change poopy diapers).
Inserts for dry bottoms
Inserts for additional absorption
- When a diaper has been used, rinse it in cold water and squeeze it well.
Tip: hold the diaper in the toilet bowl and rinse with the shower hose.
- Put the damp diapers in a bucket. You do not need to add extra water. The diapers can lie there for up to three days.
- Normally, the diapers and the diaper covers can be washed at 60°C. If necessary, the cloth diapers can be washed at 90°C to get them extra clean. Close the velcro fastening on the diaper covers and Snap Diapers. Tip: diapers can be washed with other items of washing.Do not use fabric softener as this leaves a residue on the surface of the fabric, which will decrease the absorbency.Do not use bleaching agents on the diaper covers. You can use bleaching agents on the diapers occasionally.In Sweden, there are basically two types of washing powders available. The general rule of thumb is that households with their own sewage system use detergents that contain zeolites and households connected to municipal sewage systems use phosphate-based detergents.
- Detergents containing phosphate: This type of washing detergent is gentler on fabrics, easier to rinse out but increases eutrophication.
- Detergents containing zeolites: Zeolites are small particles of aluminium that can ruin your clothes. Diapers washed frequently in detergents containing zeolites will be exposed to extra wear. If your household has its own sewage system, remember to rinse the diapers thoroughly and do not use the economy programme.
- We recommend that you simply hang up cloth diapers and covers to dry. You can dry them in the tumble-dryer but this puts more wear and tear on the fabric. Never dry ImseVimse items on a hot radiator or heated towel rail. Tip: if you use folding diapers, fold them as soon as they are laundered and dry – this saves time when changing diapers.Washing instructions – Imse Vimse wool diaper coversFor best results, Imse Vimse wool diaper covers should be handwashed using an olive-oil soap or wool shampoo. They can, of course, be washed at 30ºC in the washing machine. Tip: reduce drying time by wrapping the wool covers in a terry towel and squeezing out excess moisture. The wool covers will need to be relanolised once or twice a month with a wool cure.
Relanolising with a wool cure
- Wash the covers before relanolising them. Shake the bottle and dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of the wool cure in 2 litres of hot water. Place the diaper covers in the water when it has cooled to 30ºC.
- Squeeze the diaper covers from time to time and leave them to soak over night. Rinse in cold water and add a few drops of vinegar to the rinse water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Hang up to dry. Once they are dry they are ready to use.
The most common questions about cloth diapers
Is it environmentally-friendly to launder cloth diapers?
Yes. When you choose an organic cloth diaper you can be easy in your mind. Wash the cloth diapers at 60-90°C and hang them up to dry. You use less detergent and electricity by washing the cloth diapers with the rest of your washing.
How much do cloth diapers cost?
Cloth diapers cost about 490 EURO, and disposables cost about 2000 EURO for the whole diaper-wearing period.
Which diaper is best for the environment?
On average, you need about 6000 disposables for one child during its diaper years. That creates 1050 kilos of rubbish, which takes 500 years to bio-degrade. In Sweden, diapers fill 14,000 rubbish lorries with 420 million diapers each year.
Only 4.8 kg of recyclable cotton is used for cloth diapers!
Which diaper is best for my child?
Soft, airy diapers are made of organic cotton, which is the most natural and comfortable material you can wear next to your skin. Cloth diapers have been used for thousands of years, disposables have only been around a very short time. Research has shown that the chemicals used in disposables can cause asthma in small children* and can lead to reduced fertility in later life*.
* source: Acute Respiratory effects of Diapers Emissions Archives of Environmental Health,
October 1999. Dangerous diapers, Expressen 11th October, 2000.
How do you keep cloth diapers from leaking?
Diapers should be changed frequently – for your child’s comfort. The diaper and cover should be the right size for your child’s weight. If your child wees a lot or sleeps for longer periods, place an extra insert inside the diaper and/or use more impermeable diaper covers for added protection.
We recommend Imse Vimse wool covers. Make sure the cloth diaper is completely inside the cover. Secure the Velcro fastening so that the cover does not slip and make sure the elasticated cuffs and waist are snug.
My child wakes up in the night because the diaper feels wet
Use an insert for dry bottoms. This wicks damp away from the skin and keeps it feeling dry.
My child has a rash
If you have recently switched from disposables to cloth diapers, it may take a few days before your child’s bottom gets used to its new environment. Almost all disposable diapers contain super-absorbents, which are of a plastic material that absorbs moisture very efficiently. However, they absorb the skin’s natural moisture too.
How often should you change diapers?
A newborn baby wees 15-20 times a day. Whether you use cloth diapers or disposables, you should change your baby’s diaper frequently as that is best for your baby’s sensitive skin. We recommend that you change diapers about 8 times a day, but of course this will vary from baby to baby.
Do cloth diapers involve more work?
No matter which sort of diaper you decide to use, they still need changing regularly. You wash cloth diapers with the rest of your washing. You change cloth diapers slightly more often but, on the other hand, for a shorter period time as your child will be out of diapers earlier. One major advantage is that you always have a supply of diapers at home.
How long should a child be in diapers?
In the last 17 years, the time children spend in diapers has grown significantly.
In 1989, children were out of diapers at about the age of 2
In 2006, children were out of diapers between the ages of 3 and 7, which may be due to the dry, disposable diapers that are available for children up to 30 kg. Children neither can nor want to stop wearing disposable diapers. Children are out of the diaper stage normally before the age of 2 when they have been using cloth diapers. This is because the child can ‘feel’ when they do a wee.
Cloth diapers add up to a shorter and more pleasant time in diapers.
Myths and truths about cloth diapers
MYTH: It is time consuming
Truth: When you use cloth diapers, your child will be out of diapers much earlier. Your child will be past the diaper stage at about the age of two. It only takes a couple of minutes to toss the laundry into the washing machine. You’ll always have a supply of diapers at home.
Compare that to changing diapers for 4 or 5 years and constantly having to buy and carry home bulky bags of disposable diapers.
MYTH: Cloth diapers are fiddly
Truth: Modern, form-fitting cloth diapers are easy to use. Our one-size diapers are a perfect fit throughout the diaper-wearing period and you just have to make sure that the diaper cover is the right size according to your child’s weight.
MYTH: You spend your whole time washing
Truth: You can either wash the diapers separately every third day or put them into the machine with the rest of your normal wash.
MYTH: They are unhygienic
Truth: These diapers are hygienic! They come out clean when washed at 60-90°C. We have sold Imse Vimse diapers to lots of maternity wards.
MYTH: Only bohemians and skinflints use cloth diapers
Truth: Nowadays, all kinds of families use cloth diapers, for health, environmental and financial reasons.
MYTH: The diapers smell
Truth: Since you flush the poop down the toilet and wash the diapers every third day, cloth diapers do not smell.
MYTH: The child cannot move properly
Truth: All diapers are a slight hindrance. Today’s cloth diapers are light and effective and reduce the overall amount of time a child spends in diapers.