If you’re like me, you started cloth diapering because you hated the thought of your hard-earned dollars literally being tossed in the trash and flushed down the toilet. There are added perks, such as leaving a smaller carbon footprint, putting natural fibers next your precious babe’s bum, and being able to amass a cloth diaper stash that can be used for multiple children (more savings, smaller carbon footprint, etc.).
We’re in the midst of potty training my son, who will turn two next month, and we have no baby on the horizon; these two things have made me think about alternate uses for our cloth diaper accoutrements, as I’ve spent almost three years amassing a comfortable cloth diaper stash and accessories. Many of these alternate uses can be concurrent with cloth diapering, but the point is to show you how your cloth diapering materials can continue to be used after your little one has ditched the diapers.
FLATS AND PREFOLDS
My favorite style of diapers (particularly during the newborn stage), flats and prefolds are likely the most useful of the cloth diaper styles available out there; in fact, many non-cloth diapering families use prefolds as burp cloths. If cloth diapering has caused you to be more aware of the waste your family produces, prefolds and flats make amazing unpaper towels for your household. I actually prefer using flour sack towels in my kitchen (which many people use as flat diapers), and you already know how absorbent prefolds are, so why wouldn't you put them to even more use in cleaning up spills and wiping down surfaces?
My cloth wipes have possibly been the handiest of all of my cloth diapering accessories (apart from the wet bag), as I have had many occasions to use them on places other than my son’s bum. I've used dry cloth wipes as a tissue in a pinch (for both my son and myself), and love using them to clean my little guy up when we’re eating out. I will likely continue to bring my mini wetbag with damp cloth wipes out with us, long after my son has potty trained. Lastly, for my hard-core unpaper sect, cloth wipes can be re-purposed (technically, it’s serving the same purpose) as family cloth. This option’s not for us, but more and more families are going paperless in their homes.
PAIL LINERS AND WET BAGS
Probably the most widely used cloth diapering item, in both cloth diapering circles and non, wet bags are also one of the more versatile cloth diapering accessories. If you’re looking to get continued use out of your pail liner after potty training, you can use it for kitchen cloths and dish towels as we do. Once my son started eating solids, I found myself going through our two dozen IKEA washcloths like water, and needed a place to store them before washing; I snagged one of my son’s pail liners and used an old wastebasket to convert it into our kitchen laundry basket (we use cloth napkins, so we produce a lot of kitchen linen laundry weekly). Your wet bags are the cloth diapering items that you’re going to want to hold onto, long after you’re done with diapers. There are SO many great uses for wet bags, apart from holding dirty diapers:
• accidents happen and wet bags are perfect for storing dirty clothing on-the-go
• great for storing wet towels and bathing suits after pool or beach time
• protect your electronics & valuables by placing in a wet bag
• keep damp cloth wipes in a small wet bag for messes out-and-about
• reuse your small wet bags for organizing items in your purse or holding snacks
• the list is endless – get creative!
SOAKERS AND INSERTS
Before you’re in the clear, you must pass through the potty training stage. Nighttime can be especially accident-prone while your little one is getting the hang of things, so don’t toss out those soakers! Many training pants have an envelope for you to adjust absorption by adding soakers, so your cloth diaper inserts will fit in them rather nicely. This may be a reach for some, but if you’re a mama cloth user, your child’s cloth diaper inserts will work well for postpartum bleeding.These are just a few of the ways you can repurpose your cloth diapering items. I’d love to hear your ideas for even more alternate uses – please share in the comments below!
Lauren is a former publishing rep-turned-WAHM to a rambunctious toddler. When she's not playing Susie Homemaker, you can find Lauren blogging about all things natural parenting/living at lo-wren.com, sewing or knitting woolen goodies, or scheming for companies as a freelance copywriter, blogger & marketing consultant.