Get a Grip on Poop: Cloth Diapering Strategies You Need to Know

by Bailey Bouwman

Poop freaks people out. 

It's probably one of the biggest reasons we hear on why people don't use cloth diapers. But we can manage poop.

Does it freak out you?

I know, we're taught over the years that poop is gross, unsanitary and the texture is less than appealing... but poop is part of our every day life and there's so many strategies that diapering parents can use to limit the struggle of poop when they choose to cloth diaper. 

You will deal with poop no matter the diaper style. 

  1. How to remove Poop
  2. Types of Poop
    1. Water soluble Vs. Not
    2. Meconium, Breastfed, Formula & Solids
  3. Types of Removal Tools
    1. Disposable Liners
    2. Reusable Lines
    3. Sprayers & Shields
    4. Dunk & Swish 
    5. Spatula

 About Nest & Sprout

Nest & Sprout is a maternity and baby shop located in Prince George, BC. We have a beautiful boutique, and ship across the country and USA. As a mom-owned business, Bailey took ownership in 2022 after shifting from her career as a cloth diaper advocate and educator at the Cloth Diaper Podcast. 

Bailey spent years working with brands establishing cloth diaper educational material and resources that can support parents in diapering. The information in this blog post and others, can also be found her cloth diapering book which can support you in your cloth diaper journey. 

If you're local, send us a message and we can arrange for a 1:1 or phone call to help you troubleshoot your cloth diapering. 

How to remove poop from cloth diapers

Cloth Diapering lets you get in control of that poop, and redefine your relationship with poop. As a new parent, getting familiar with poop is a great way to monitor the health of your babe and master your laundry skills. 

But I'll stop giving you the poop pep talk, and share a few different types of poops and the best strategies you can use to remove poop from your cloth diapers.  

Types of Baby Poop

Not everything is black and white in cloth diapering. Some cloth diaper groups will lead you to believe there are hard and fast rules, but if you've been in the space long enough you'll discover there is always an exception and those exceptions increasingly become normal.

In general there are four different types of poop, but of course there is variation amongst all of them and TBH, sometimes you gotta trust your mama instinct. 

Does this poop look water soluble?

If the answer is yes, you can probably toss it in the wash.
If the answer is no, then try to get as much of it off. 

If you're wrong, your washer might get clogged and you'll need to give it a clean, but that's probably a worthy endeavour in learning to clean your machine and nothing to get too worked up about. 

Four Main Types of Poops

  • Meconium Poop - this is that first dark tar poop that babies have and meconium poop on cloth diapers and it will wash out.

  • Breastfed Poop - this type of poop is water soluble and you don’t need to do anything with breastfed poop cloth diapers. Just toss it in your wet bag, and wash on laundry day. Breastfed poop does stain, but that is mostly cosmetic and will fade over time. 

  • Formula Poop - there are different opinions on formula poop cloth diapers, but most agree it should be sprayed or removed before washing. 

  • Solid Poop - this needs to be sprayed or removed before washing. You’ll know when it needs to happen, it’s a pretty obvious change in the poop texture including visible food particles. 


Types of Poop Removal 

Now that you're familiar with when and if your poop needs to be removed, we can chat about what to do next when it's time to take care of that removable poop. There's a few different tools on the market that can help you remove poop.

I've linked the products we carry at Nest & Sprout, but other retailers like Cloth Diaper Kids in Canada, or various American retailers might have more specific options and ideas that suitable to your family and budget. Don't be scared to shop local <3 

Removal Tool 1: Disposable Liners

Available in a variety of sizes and styles, disposable liners, like these ones from Kinder Cloth, are just a thin sheet of material you place directly on top of a cloth diaper. It goes on top of the pocket liner, or the insert in a cover and the disposable liner will be directly against baby's skin. 

These are fantastic for AIO diapers that have many tongues, cover systems, and fitted diapers. 

Disposable Liners for cloth diapers are replaced with every diaper change, and savvy parents with regular poopers might only use them when they anticipate a poop. However, this is not always reliable. 

The liner prevents the poop from sticking to the diaper and provides an easy lift off solution for cloth diapering parents. Sometimes liners move around and this may cause issues. Sometimes poops are too liquid to be captured by a disposable liner.

Soiled disposable liners can be shaken into the toilet and then disposed of in a waste can. Flushing disposable liners is not recommended as it can cause larger plumbing issues for you and your municipalities. You can use them in outhouses if you are camping though!

Removal Tool 2: Reusable Liners

Typically made of fleece, reusable liners can be made from many different textiles and provide a thin sheet of fabric that typically shakes off poop easier than the standard insert or cloth diaper. 

Most reusable liners are simply just a rectangle piece of fleece that you lay on top of the diaper and against baby's skin. It can also reduce staining on cloth diapers. 

A new reusable liner is used with every change. When baby poops, the fleecer liner simply shakes off poop easier into the toilet. The liner then can be laundered and used again. 

An example of some reusable liners and where to buy them 

Removal Tool 3: Diaper Sprayer

At the core, a diaper sprayer is just a bidet that has been tweaked for pressure and many families just use their bidet sprayer to tackle poopy cloth diapers. Cloth diaper specific sprayers are available from many different makers including Spray Pal, and can provide easy solutions to removing poop with the force of water. 

Sprayers can be prone to leaks without proper maintenance. Be sure to turn your sprayer off when not in use, and follow any user instructions. 

You might want a sprayer shield

Shields, or covers, like the Diaper Dawg or Spray Pal shield, reduces the blow back and spread of yuck around your bathroom. You can do a DIY shield with some hacks from the dollar store, or take the splurge on the creativity of industry leaders like Aisha at Diaper Dawg.  

Removal Tool 4: Dunk & Swish

The simple process of taking a cloth diaper and dunking it in the toilet to remove the poop. You use the water and the poisoning of the diaper to soak or swish off the poop until it's gone. It's kinda gross when I describe it like this, but don't forget to wash your hands and you really got this down pat.

This is my preferred way of cleaning cloth diapers as it's low cost and fairly effective means for more solid and soft poops.

For pocket cloth diaper users this can be ver a simple and straightforward technique since the fleece of the pocket acts as a natural poop repellant, but for other systems it can get messy. 

For more persistant poops, I might recommend letting the diaper sit in the toilet bowl water for about 5 minutes, and returning to shake off the loosen poop. 

Removal Tool 5: Spatula

The trusty spatula, is designating that specific tool in your house for scraping the poop off the diaper and into the toilet. Super simple, super crude, and super effective. Maybe scribble "for poop" only on it

And That's Poop Removal for Cloth Diapering 101  

Once the poop is removed it's ready to be stored for wash day. We love using a wet bag, but for more ideas check out this blog post. 

It's best to handle poopy diapers as soon as possible to limit staining, but it'll be okay if situations don't allow for immediate removal. 

Those are the main options for removing poop from cloth diapers. It can be a tricky job, but it is an easy job. Don't over think it. 

Try one method, and if it doesn't jive with your lifestyle, then try another. It's really straightforward and easy to do. You'll get the gist of it. 

And yes, it's totally gross, but you can wash your hands afterwards and continue on with your day. 

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