The Basics: We use FuzziBunz brand. They are pocket diapers, meaning there is the diaper part and then an insert that is the absorbent part. Both get washed. We have 16 of the perfect-size diapers in small. (With FuzziBunz, you have the choice of one size diapers or sized diapers. Click here for the comparison.) We actually purchased off of the FuzziBunz clearance center (factory irregulars and slight defects) and we can't really tell what the defects are--it can be something as small as a stitch that's not perfect. We chose to do the perfect-size diapers once we saw how petite Eden is. The smalls will fit her for a long time--potentially all the way until potty training. The one-size diapers work well for kiddos who aren't as petite.
Wipes: We use both cloth wipes and disposable wipes. Cloth wipes at home; disposable wipes while we're out and about. We found that, when using cloth diapers, it's actually much easier to use cloth wipes as well so you can just throw all of the dirties (diaper and wipe) into the same pail. If you use disposable wipes, you have to put your cloth diaper in the pail and then the wipes in the trash can. So really, it's just more efficient to use cloth wipes. I'm not crafty and I'm more into efficiency, so I just purchased a 12-pack of GroVia cloth wipes because they were the cheapest I could find that still had good reviews of being soft and a good size. You could also make your own out of pieces of flannel. I bought a $1 spray bottle from Target, labeled it "wipe spray," and keep it with the diapers. The solution is simply water, a bit of baby soap, and a bit of grapeseed oil.
Storage: We have 2 FuzziBunz Hanging Diaper Pail bags (so we always have a bag to put the dipes in, even with a load is being done). We put them in a trash can with lid (specifically, it's a simplehuman 30-liter round stainless steel step-on can) that we keep in the laundry room (others keep a pail by the changing table, but we tend to change most diapers downstairs near our laundry room, so this works best for us). We use the trash can to contain the odors--just the bag alone will not do that. We also have 4 FuzziBunz Zipper Diaper Tote bags, and we keep one at a time in the diaper bag. It's nice to have multiple of these since we typically go somewhere at least once a day (and only wash every third day).
Changing Wets: Before opening the diaper, we spray a cloth wipe with the solution to have it ready. After we change her diaper, we immediately go step on the trash can pedal, shake the insert out of the diaper (which is easy because the insert is holding all of the pee, thus it's heavier than the diaper and gravity takes over), and drop all 3 pieces (diaper, insert, and wipe) into the bag. Done and done.
Changing Poos: Again, before opening the diaper, we spray a cloth wipe with the solution to have it ready. If I'm sure it's a poo, I spray 2 wipes because I'm not good enough to do all of the clean up with 1 wipe. After we change her diaper, we immediately go to the toilet and use the cloth wipe to get most of the poo into the toilet. Because Eden is on solid foods, most of her poos are in little "patties" and are easy to scrape into the toilet (no touchy-touchy for us--we use the cloth wipe to do the scraping). When she is sick or eats something funky and the poo is runny, it's harder to get any into the toilet, so it just goes straight to the bag and we pray it all comes out in the soaking process. After the poo is in the toilet, the routine is the same as with wet diapers (shake out the insert, drop all of the pieces into the bag). Done and done. NOTE: Many people use sprayers that are attached to their toilets to help get the poo off. We've never tried this, but if you're reading this and it works well for you (meaning the poo doesn't get sprayed on your walls or anything), please let me know.
Wash Routine: We have to wash her diapers every third day or so. We prefer to start the wash in the morning. So, once Eden wakes up and we change her from her nighttime diaper, we take the diaper bag with all of the dirties out of the trash can and dump the entire thing into the washer. A benefit of the FuzziBunz bag we use is that it unzips on the bottom so all of the diapers, inserts, and wipes just fall right out without you having to touch anything. Then you put the bag right in the wash with everything else. Any of our smaller diaper bag tote bags would have also been in there and they get washed in the same load as well.
We do a cold soak on the highest load size (the more water, the better). We have an old-school top load washer, so in order to do a soak, we just move the dial to "rinse" and leave the top open so it doesn't drain out. We set a timer for 1 hour for the soak. When the soak is finished, we close the lid which activates the spin cycle to drain all of the water out. Once that is finished, we can start the actual wash.
For the wash, we move the temperature dial to "hot," move the load size back to "medium," and put in a Tablespoon of Rockin' Green detergent. We do the "heavy duty" setting for the wash. After the wash cycle is complete, we move the temperature dial back to "cold" and do two more rinses. We've found that, due to our soft water, it's best to do those extra two rinses to ensure all of the detergent gets out. If the detergent builds up on your diapers, they will smell like amonia as soon as your child pees (been there, done that--yuck!).
NOTE: It's important to note that we have a water softener system in our house, so our water is obviously soft. This matters. It means we use less detergent than someone with hard water. It also means that the detergent that works for us might not work for you if you have harder water (although, Rockin' Green makes versions for hard, normal, and soft water).
Drying: Since most days in Houston are sunny days, we choose to dry our diapers in the sun. After all, that saves us even more money since we're not running the dryer. Plus, the sun is a natural bleaching agent that will get out any residual "skid marks" left behind. ;)
Stuffing: Once our diapers and inserts are dry, we bring them back in and stuff them (put an insert into each diaper) so they are ready for the next change. We store the majority of our diapers in a basket downstairs and have a few upstairs in Eden's nursery.
Something to Consider: If your child will be going to full-time childcare (i.e., if you have to go back to work full-time after a certain amount of time at home), cloth diapering might not be a cost saver for you. The reason is that most childcare centers (and many at-home caregivers) will not accommodate cloth diapering. So, you'll end up having to buy disposable diapers for the majority of the hours in the child's day. Like any other decisions you'll have to make for your family, just consider everything to determine what is right for you.
Final Notes: With all of the details we included in this post, cloth diapering might sound more involved than it actually is. It's actually quite easy. The most convincing "testimony" is Ben's. He was a huge skeptic initially, but is now a believer (with the cost savings, who wouldn't be!). I've seriously heard him tell other people how big of a fan he is of cloth diapering! And, for those who don't know, Ben is a hands-on dad who shares just as much of the parenting duties as I do...so he changes a lot of diapers and he helps with the washing as well! Another big skeptic initially was my mother-in-law. When she heard we were using cloth diapers, she asked if she could use disposable when she was babysitting. Once we showed her the "modern" cloth diapers, she gave a big "oh!" and is totally on board now!
Here's a view from behind (teehee) of what the diapers look like on Eden. Very cute and stylish! And you don't even have to use the little bloomers that they make for girls since you'll have coordinating colors for her outfits!
Hope that's helpful! Feel free to ask me any specifics.