Cloth Diapering Basics
01. | What’s needed to cloth diaper?
Excellent question! To successfully cloth diaper you need to prepare yourself with the right products and the right instruction.
We have an assortment for full-time, part-time, and trying out the Esembly system.
02. | A quick overview of the Esembly System
Step 1: Wrap your baby in an Inner for absorption
Step 2: Cover Inner with Outer for Containment
Step 3: Change your baby every 2-3 hours (or immediately if poop is detected)
Step 4: Remove Outer and set aside for reuse
Step 5: Remove Inner
Step 6: Clean and dry baby with Wipe Ups and Wipe Up Wash. Use Everyday Balm and rash Relief cream as needed
Step 7: Toss Inners and Wipe Ups in Pail Pouch for laundering
Step 8: Run your diaper laundry twice a week (See Laundry Instructions Below)
03. | How to cloth diaper?
The Esembly diaper is not your average diaper because it’s made up of two parts. A soft, absorbent Inner and an adorable, waterproof Outer that together make one comfy blowout-proof diaper.
Cover the Inner with the Outer to complete the diaper.
Outers have two rows of snaps allowing you to adjust the fit around the waist and thighs separately. This is especially helpful for babies with big round bellies but skinny legs, or vice versa.
As you’re securing the Outer, keep in mind the fit should be cozy but not too tight.
After securing the Outer, give a quick feel around the baby’s back and legs to make sure there is no cotton peeking out. Exposed cotton can wick moisture onto the baby’s clothes, so be sure it’s all tucked in.
We recommend changing your awake baby every 2-3 hours or immediately if poop is detected. It’s common to time diaper changes with feedings.
When changing your baby, remove the Outer and give it a quick check. Outers do not have to be laundered after each use.
If it’s clean, go ahead and reuse it. If it’s just a little damp, set it aside to dry, using a new Outer with this change. Then switch back to the first one at the next change.
If it’s dirty, toss it in your Pail Pouch for laundering.
Esembly diapers are customizable:
All-natural fibers like our organic cotton can feel slightly damp to the touch when fully saturated. This should not cause your baby any discomfort. If extra moisture-wicking is desired, our washable fleece Stay-Dry Liners can be added to your Inner. For those who wish to have only natural, organic fibers against their baby's skin, the Inner should be used with no Stay-Dry Liner.
While your baby is on a liquid diet, there’s nothing special you need to do to the poopy diapers. They go right in the Pail Pouch for laundering along with the pee diapers. When your babe starts eating solids, you’ll want to incorporate Tossers or Stay-Dry Liners for easy removal of the solid poo prior to laundering.
Once your baby starts sleeping in longer sleep stretches, you can add an Overnighter or two to your nighttime diaper to increase absorbency.
04. | How to help Daycares and Caregivers use Esembly?
Sometimes Daycare centers, nannies and babysitters need a little extra help learning how to use the Esembly system. A live demo is always the best and most effective way, but sometimes that's not possible. In those instances, leaving behind a reference sheet can do wonders. The illustration above can be printed for that purpose. You could even laminate it and leave it in your changing station or your daycare Day Bag for easy reference. If you need any extra assistance convincing a childcare provider to use cloth, or helping them understand how, don't hesitate to reach out to us so we can help!
01. | How to prep new diapers before first use?
New cotton is loaded with cotton oils that cause moisture repellency (certainly not a feature you want in a diaper!). Knowing this, we prewash our organic cotton prior to it being cut and sewn into diapers. This makes it so you do not have to go to crazy lengths to prep your diapers before use (some brands require 6-8 washes!). Instead, you'll want to run your new Esembly diapers through 1 Heavy Duty, hot water wash with 2 scoops of Washing Powder before using them on your baby*.
*Please note that depending on your household water temperature and hardness, it may require 2 washes to effectively remove the lingering cotton oils and achieve maximum diaper absorption.
You'll know that your diapers are ready if they 1. do not leak, and 2. if you sprinkle a little bit of water on the surface of the cotton it absorbs immediately (if it beads up for even a split second, run them through another wash).
02. | How to wash cloth diapers?
We have over a decade of experience washing diapers at our busy NYC diaper service, Diaperkind. And we’ve taken all of that knowledge and expertise and rolled it into a simple yet effective wash method you can use at home.
Just follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Every 2-3 days, carry your Pail Pouch over to your washer. Place the open end of the Pouch into the machine and push it inside out to release the contents. Then toss the Pouch right in there with the Inners, Outers and Wipe Ups. Add your six Agitators into the washer to help increase the mechanical action needed to get your diaper laundry clean.
Step 2: Using 1 scoop of Washing Powder and warm water, run the shortest cycle your machine will allow. Do not be tempted to skip this step. What this cycle does is rinse away the surface soil of the diapers. Which, because of the way surfactants in detergent work, is super-important! The ingredients in detergent attack the easiest-to-find soil first. So if you put very dirty items into the washer as soon as it starts spinning, all of that “dirt” is released into the water. So what does the detergent do? It starts cleaning the water and not deep down into the core of your Inners. By running this (very, very important) cycle, you’re prepping your diapers to get SUPER-clean in Step 3.
Step 3: When that cycle is complete, leave everything in the washer, change the water temperature to hot, add 2 more scoops of Washing Powder and run the longest and heaviest setting your machine will allow. This is where the magic happens!
Step 4: Move everything, including the Agitators, into the dryer. Shake the Inners open as you transfer them to decrease dry time, and don’t be afraid to give them a sniff. Your laundry should smell fresh and neutral. Run your dryer on medium-high heat or line dry in the sun.
Detergent Dispensing Tip: Sprinkle Washing Powder right onto your diaper laundry, never into the machine’s detergent cups or drawers.
Hard Water: Esembly Washing Powder is formulated for use in both soft and hard water. However, if you have well water and no household softener (or just very, very hard water) and are finding that your diapers are not smelling 100% fresh when coming out of the washer, experiment with adding more Washing Powder to the second wash cycle. Go slow. Increase in small increments — 1/2 blue scoop at a time — until the desired result is achieved.
Optional Refresh: Every so often, we recommend adding 2-3 ounces of chlorine bleach, such as original Clorox, to the second wash cycle of your diaper laundry. You can do this with every wash, weekly, monthly — or never, if chlorine is something you wish to avoid. The purpose of adding chlorine is to kick back any discolorations that might be building up, and also to give your diapers and accessories a refresh. Rest assured that your Esembly Outers, Pail Pouch and Day Bags are colorfast and will not be lightened by the bleach.
Speaking of discolorations, it’s important to note that “diaper art” is not an indication of cleanliness. The nose knows. A diaper’s smell is more important than its appearance. Some babies, each with their own unique biochemistry, stain their diapers more than others. There’s no reason (that we’ve discovered yet) why. As long as you’re using Esembly skincare products and following these wash instructions, don’t stress it. And if the stains bother you cosmetically, just do a Refresh!
Soaking: Please note that we do not recommend soaking your diapers. Soaking in anything (detergent, bleach, oxy-clean, plain water, etc) can weaken the fabric fibers and cause premature degradation; leading to fraying and tearing.
Sanitizing: Please avoid using the "Sanitize" cycle on your washing machine when laundering your diapers. The water temperature of that cycle gets too hot and will damage the fabric, eventually causing your Outers to leak.
Want to dig deeper into the science of laundering diapers? Nerd out on our video below:
03. | How to dry cloth diapers?
We often hear that families feel like they have to air-dry their diapers (specifically the Outers) in order to "protect" them. This is simply not the case with Esembly diapers and accessories. Our fabrics and elastics were specifically created/chosen to be washed in hot water and tumbled dry in the dryer. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that we RECOMMEND machine drying because the heat from the dryer helps preserve the water resistance of the Outer over time!
Step 1: Once your diapers are finished in the washer, transfer them to the dryer.
Step 2: To expedite dry time, be sure to shake open your Inners and Outers so they aren't all balled up. If you're washing and drying Day Bags or Pail Pouches, check that no washer water is puddled up inside the bag (and if it is, dump it out prior to placing the bag in the dryer).
Step 3: If your dryer is gas, the best setting to use is Timed Dry for 55-65 minutes. If you're using an electric dryer (which tend to not get as hot as gas) you'll want to use Timed Dry for 65-75 minutes.
Caring For Baby's Skin
01. | How to clean baby’s diaper area?
Use the marked fill lines on your Esembly foamer bottle to combine Wipe Up Wash concentrate with fresh water to make your foaming solution.
Keep the foamer bottle and dry Wipe Ups handy at your changing station. Be sure to either use, or discard and refresh, the foaming solution every 7 days.
As needed, pump 2-3 pumps of foam onto a Wipe Up to clean your baby. No rinsing required.
Patting dry the diaper area with a Wipe Up after cleaning is recommended to prevent diaper rash.
Dirty Wipe Ups go right into your Pail Pouch to be washed with your Inners and Outers on laundry day.
02. | How to heal and protect baby skin from diaper rash?
For daily nourishing, freely apply a thin layer of Everyday Balm to your baby’s clean, dry diaper area.
If ever redness or irritation is detected, work a generous layer of balm into the skin at every change for 12-24 hours.
If the redness goes away, great! Continue to apply generously for another day or so and then resume using just a thin layer.
If the redness persists or gets worse, it’s time to switch over to Rash Relief Cream. Work a nice layer of cream into your baby’s clean dry diaper area at every change until the irritation is gone. For maximum healing and barrier protection, really work the cream into the skin as you would a lotion. Resist the urge to leave gobs of cream sitting on the surface of the skin as excess cream only gets absorbed by the diaper.
Once the rash heals, continue to use the cream for another day to give the skin extra time to rebound and then switch back to Everyday Balm for continued protection.
When diapering a newborn, you may notice a red rash inside the crack of their bum. Don’t be alarmed! Babies require changing every 2-3 hours, or immediately if they poop. Problem is, sometimes they poop just a tiny bit and it goes undetected, and poop against the skin, even for a short period of time, can cause irritation. To treat this type of rash, you’ll want to thoroughly clean and dry the affected area using your Wipe Up Wash and Wipe Ups. Then work a healthy layer of Rash Relief Cream into the skin. The cream creates a barrier that prevents future poops from further aggravating the irritated skin and gives the skin time to heal. And rest assured, this is a newborn problem. As your babe gets older, those secret poops become less and less common and when they do go away, you’ll know it!
If, despite your efforts, a rash persists, it’s recommended to consult your pediatrician to rule out yeast. If an anti-fungal is required, both Lotrimin and Nystatin creams are safe to use with your Esembly Inners.
It’s important to avoid using balm and creams containing petroleum byproducts in the diaper area. These products are not considered “cloth-friendly” and can ruin your Inners and Wipe Ups by locking in stains and building up on your cotton, decreasing its absorbency.
Esembly skincare products are formulated specifically to be used with your Esembly diapers, ensuring everything will wash out easily and completely.
Collecting + Storing Cloth Diapers
01. | How to collect and store dirties between washes?
The Esembly Pail Pouch can be used as a liner for any diaper pail, or on its own, hung over a doorknob or hook for easy access. It’s made from the same waterproof material as the Outers, so soiled diapers and accessories are happily contained for up to 3 days as they await laundry day.
Use your Pail Pouch to line your diaper pail or hang the Pouch in your changing area.
Toss in dirty Inners, Outers, Wipe Ups, and Overnighters.
Sprinkle Pail Deodorant* into the Pouch daily or as needed to help absorb excess moisture and keep things smelling fresh.
Every 2 or 3 days, take the Pail Pouch to your washing machine, empty its contents and then throw the Pail Pouch in too.
*Pail Deodorant does more than just keep your Pouch smelling fresh. The sodium bicarbonate in the deodorizer is a strong alkali that helps boost the performance power of the Washing Powder when laundry day rolls around.
02. | How to cloth diaper when out of the house with your baby?
Using Esembly diapers doesn’t mean you can’t get out on the town with your babe. With two waterproof compartments and an adjustable shoulder strap, the Esembly Day Bag helps you keep your system organized when away from your home diaper changing station.
Preparedness is everything. Pack one compartment with clean Inners, an Outer, pre-foamed Wipe Ups in a Petite Pouch, a small change pad and a change of clothes for the baby. There’s also room for your phone, keys or anything else you might want in there.
When it comes time for a diaper change, zip up the soiled items in the second compartment of the bag. Carry on with your day knowing your dirties are sealed safely away from everything else.
When you get home, empty the contents of the Day Bag into your Pail Pouch for laundering. Once per week, or as needed, flip your Day Bag inside out and run it through the laundry with your diapers, accessories and Pail Pouch.
Day Bags are the perfect accessory for babies attending daycare. Simply pack one compartment with all of the Inners, Outers and Wipe Ups that the baby will need for the day. Have the childcare providers collect all of the soiled items in the second compartment throughout the day. You’ll then take the Day Bag home with you when you pick your baby up, and bring it back fresh and restocked the next morning.
Eating + Sleeping
01. | How to cloth diaper overnight (and get more sleep!)?
Once your baby is sleeping in stretches of 6+ hours, we recommend adding an Overnighter to your nighttime diaper to boost absorbency.
Esembly Overnighters are made up of eight layers of thirsty organic cotton and one layer of “stay-dry” fleece to keep your baby feeling comfortable through the night.
Simply lay an Overnighter — fleece side up, so that it’s touching baby’s skin — inside your Inner. Put the Inner and Outer on as usual.
Fleece is a fabulous material to incorporate to your overnight diaper because it allows moisture to pass through and be absorbed by the cotton, but the fleece itself remains dry-feeling, keeping your baby comfortable through a long sleep stretch.
Some babies, as they transition to sleeping through the night, do what’s called a “dream feed,” where they wake up just enough to drink but you prefer not to change them because that would result in a fully awake baby. If a baby is taking in liquid but not being changed, you’re asking a lot of the diaper absorbency-wise. We recommend using 2 Overnighters through this transition period. We call this the “diaper lasagna” and it doesn’t matter how you layer it as long as one layer of fleece is touching the baby’s skin and all layers of absorbency are inside the Outer.
With the right layering of absorbency, your baby should stay leak-free for a full 12-hour sleep stretch.
Wash Overnighters with your diapers following the Esembly Wash Instructions.
02. | How to cloth diaper when baby starts solid foods?
While your baby is on a liquid diet, there’s nothing special you need to do to the poop diapers. Just toss them right in your Pail Pouch for laundering with the pee diapers.
Once you start incorporating solid foods into their diet, you’ll notice a (brace yourself, this is a bit gross) change in the consistency of the poop. It will become thicker and pastier. It’s at this point that you want to remove the bulk of the solid mess before putting the Inner in your Pail Pouch. Failure to do this will result in a terribly stinky Pouch and diapers that don’t get clean enough in the wash (our Washing Powder does have limits to its magic!). And rest assured, this “dirty” task is really quite easy with the use of Esembly Tossers or Stay-Dry Liners.
Tossers are biodegradable liners that give you an ick-free way to discard solid waste — and they’re super-soft and comfortable against your baby’s delicate skin.
Line your Inner* with a fresh Tosser. When soiled, simply carry the whole diaper over to the trash or toilet and give it a shake**. The Tosser will peel right off, taking the mess with it. Then launder your diapers as usual. It’s totally okay if there is some residual poop left on the side of the diaper. Just make sure the bulk of is removed.
Stay-Dry liners are a reusable, washable alternative to the Tosser. Line your Inner* with a fresh Stay-Dry Liner. When soiled, simply take the Stay-Dry Liner and shake it over the toilet. Because the poop doesn't stick to the fleece, it should fall right off allowing you to flush the waste. Stay-Dry Liners get laundered right along with your diapers.
*Some parents put a fresh liner in at every change. Others, whose babies have a more predictable “schedule,” use a liner only when poop is anticipated. Do what works for you!
**Tosers can be discarded in the trash, or in some cases flushed down the toilet. If flushing, please note that while they are biodegradable, flushing any product (other than toilet paper) can cause blockage in some plumbing systems. Use your discretion. Tossers are not septic safe.