Cloth Diapering Is Not All or Nothing: Here's How to Cloth Diaper Part-Time

Cloth Diapering Is Not All or Nothing: Here's How to Cloth Diaper Part-Time

If there’s one thing we could shout from the rooftops about cloth diapering, it’d be this: cloth diapering does not have to be all or nothing! Every little bit matters, and no earth-conscious choice is too small. There is so much pressure on new and expecting parents to feel like they have to make all these big decisions before even knowing what life with a new baby will be like! Feeling like we have to choose whether to breastfeed or formula feed, co-sleep or put baby in a crib, baby wear or stroller when the reality is that many of us will end up doing a combo of everything! And how you diaper is no different. 

With cloth diapers, if diving in full-time doesn’t feel like the right fit – that’s okay! Part-time cloth diapering is a great way to save money, reduce waste, and create sustainable practices for your family. 

In this blog post we’ll be diving into:

  • The benefits of cloth diapering part-time
  • Tips and tricks for part-time cloth diapering
  • How to build a part-time stash

Part-Time Cloth Diapering Benefits

Environmental Impact

If you’re curious about cloth diapers and feel like part-time will be a better fit for your family -- but are thinking that it won’t have a substantial enough impact, consider this: if 100 parents in every state were to swap out just 3 disposables a day for cloth, we’d save over 5 MILLION disposable diapers from filling our landfills and littering our waterways. That’s huge! Individual choice collectively will have a profound impact on climate change and our planet. 

If you decide to take the plunge with our Try-It Kit (which happens to be the ultimate way to "test the waters'' of cloth diapering and find your groove!), by using the three Esembly diapers included in the kit, you can keep over 1,000 disposables from ending up in the trash every year. It's a win-win – great for the planet and great for your wallet too!  

Cost Savings 

Speaking of cost savings- Esembly diapers will save you money! You can read all about how to  save over $2000 by cloth diapering in this post – but even if you’re only cloth diapering part time, there are still savings to be had! It all depends on your cloth to disposable ratio. The more cloth diapers, the bigger the savings! 

Every reusable diaper you use is money back in your pocket, and one less disposable headed to our landfills.

Leak-Free and Blowout-Proof Diapering

We absolutely can't overlook the advantages that cloth diapers offer compared to their disposable counterparts. Most notably, when sized correctly and changed regularly*, our Esembly cloth diapers are leak and blowout proof!

Disposable diapers have quite the reputation for allowing newborn poo to escape, either up and out the back or through the leg holes. 🤢 When designing our Esembly cloth diapers ensuring they were blowout proof was our paramount. (Check out this video where our co founder shares her own personal experience with a blowout when she opted to use disposables for “convenience” 😅)  

Our super-absorbent cotton Inners (these are our “fitted diapers”) will handle all the absorbing, even for the messiest of messes! And rest assured, our Outers (these are our water-proof diaper covers) are experts at containing any forceful poo that dares to venture beyond the Inner. You can say goodbye to the anxiety of those diaper disasters each and every time you put an Esembly diaper on your little one.

*Addressing another common cloth diapering myth here: you DO NOT need to change cloth diapers more frequently than disposables! Every 2 - 4 hours (or immediately if poop is detected) is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for ALL diaper types (cloth and disposable).

Tips and Tricks for Part-Time Cloth Diapering


If you’re planning to use both disposables and cloth diapers, you'll want your diapers stored separately so you can easily launder them without sorting through dirty disposables and cloth diapers – for obvious reasons 😅 However, if you’re already using a pail for your disposables, having a second pail isn't necessary. You can simply use our Pail Pouch on it's own hanging on a door knob or hook 😊️ (or if you’re using only a few cloth diapers, you can store them in one of our smaller Day Bags or Ditty Bags until you wash them)

Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember: 

  • No Plastic! Do not ever store your dirty diapers in plastic bags (ziplocks, grocery bags, garbage bags, etc.) Plastic does not allow for any air circulation and is a surefire way to grow mold.
  • Do not overstuff the bag or pail with diapers. Cramming too many diapers into a pail or bag is another common reason we see mold growth and one that can be easily avoided! Even the perfect bag or pail can be problematic when overstuffed.


    Regardless of whether you’re cloth diapering full time or part time – you will want to wash your cloth diapers per our instructions every 2-3 days. This will prevent issues like ammonia build-up, mold, and mildew, all of which we’re certain no cloth diapering parent wants to deal with! 

    When washing diapers, it’s important that the washer barrel is filled approx ½ - ⅔ full. Any less than 1/2 and you’re missing out on that critical mechanical action where the diapers bump and press into each other helpful to force the soil to the surface to be cleaned away. And more than 2/3 full, your diapers are crammed in and being deprived of that essential "swooshing" action that is needed for deep cleaning.

    ​This can be hard to get to if you’re washing your part-time cloth diaper stash every 2 - 3 days. You likely won't have enough diapers for a “full load” – but fear not! If your diaper load is too small, you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone and throw in some of your other household laundry! Baby clothes, spit up clothes, towels, your PJs, etc. Just make sure that whatever you throw in won't bleed color and can withstand the hot water temps! (And try to avoid oversized items like sheets or blankets. These can tangle easily and "bury" the diapers.)

    And please rest assured, when laundering per our instructions with the right detergent* (we have an industrial diaper laundry background and have detailed our fool proof system for washing cloth diapers at home in this blog post: How to Wash Diapers the Esembly way), all items being washed with your diapers will come out 100% clean, fresh, and neutral. 

    *Dirty diapers are some of the dirtiest laundry you’ll ever wash, and even for a part-time diapering load, you still need a powerful detergent that’s up for the job. We recommend our Washing Powder simply because we find it works best! After 14 years washing millions of cloth diapers through our busy NYC diaper service we specially formulated our very own detergent to power clean diapers while remaining gentle on baby skin and the planet (no easy feat, I promise you!). Our detergent is so good in fact that we were recently awarded a PATENT for it and it is now officially the only detergent to ever hold a patent for cleaning diapers!

    That said, there is no mandate, and you are free to wash diapers with whatever detergent you’d like. But, we encourage you to find a formula that is free of fragrance, fabric softeners, optical brighteners and powerful enough to clean heavily soiled fabric. As mentioned, you can follow your detergent's instructions for measuring a normal load (1st wash cycle) and a heavy-duty load (2nd wash cycle).

    As mentioned, for a deep dive into all our recommendations for “How to Wash Diapers the Esembly Way”, check out this post!

    How to Build Your Part-Time Stash

    While starting with our Try-It Kit is a great way to dip a toe into cloth diapering your little one (it includes the Ditty Bag we mentioned for storage + 3 Inners and 1 Outer, along with a 12 oz bag of our Washing Powder, and samples of both our cloth friendly skincare products) – if you’re wanting to get started with an approach like 50% cloth diapers, and 50% disposables, we’ve detailed our recommendations below!

    But first, a “breakdown” of our two part diaper (as both the Inner and the Outer are needed to make one leak-free blowout-proof diaper) 

    Inner - this is our fitted diaper (made of 100% organic cotton!), which provides all the absorbency you’ll need – and is oh-so-soft on delicate baby skin

    Outer - this is the Esembly diaper cover. It’s the waterproof part of our diaper. It goes over the Inner to keep things leak-free and blowout-proof 🙌

    Part-Time Cloth Diapering Stash

    For birth until approximately 17 lbs:

    4 Size 1 Inner 3-Packs (12 Inners total) and 4 x Size 1 Outers

    Then, once your baby is about 18 lbs, you'll need to grab a set of Size 2s. These will last all the way till your ready to potty train! (about 35 lbs)

    4 Size 2 Inner 3-Packs (12 Inners total) and 4 x Size 2 Outers

    Of course, you can adjust these recommendations based on if your wanting to cloth diaper a little less than 50% of the time, or a little more than 50% of the time. And in case you’re wondering why you can get started with less Outers (diaper covers) than Inners (fitted diapers) – we’ve got you :) While our Inners do need to be laundered each time they’re soiled, the Outers can be reused multiple times before laundering (unless there’s a poop!) – still making sure that you're washing every 2-3 days max.

    Pro tip: When you’re not using our Outers as part of the diapering system, you can use them as reusable swim diapers!

    The Takeaway? 

    Cloth diapering isn't an all-or-nothing commitment; it's about making choices that work for your family and the planet. Last year, Esembly families collectively prevented nearly 30 million diapers from ending up in landfills. Not everyone embraced full-time cloth diapering, but together, we made a significant impact! This goes to show that no act is too small when it comes to contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future for our planet. Whether you choose full-time or part-time cloth diapering, you're playing a crucial role in making a positive difference, and that's something to be proud of!


    Want to learn more?

    Our co-founders host a free, virtual, Cloth Diapering 101 class every month to help cloth-curious parents get all the tools and information they need! You’ll learn:

    • How to use the Esembly diapers and accessories 
    • How to easily and effectively launder your Esembly diapers
    • The impact that your choice has on the planet, your wallet, and your day-to-day. 

    You'll leave with the confidence to Live Less Disposably and a 20% discount code to use on your first order. 🥳 We hope to see you there!

    Sign Up for Our Next Cloth 101 Class

    Have Questions? Sign up for our next Cloth 101 Class!