I recently went to Ikea for a cheap lunch date with Little Miss Cub and decided to mix business with vegetable balls and do some cloth diapering-hacks recon. Fun detail: While we were eating, another mama came up to me and said, “Are you the lady with the blog?!” Yes. Yes I am.
Cloth diapering does save money over disposables, but the start-up costs can be overwhelming compared to twenty or thirty dollars each month spent on ’sposies. I’m stoked to have found these cost-saving alternatives:
Himmelsk Burp Cloths (aka: Ikea Flats)
My favourite thing I picked up at Ikea? (Besides two bags of frozen vegetable balls?) Himmelsk Burp Cloths. These. Make. Amazing. Diaper. Inserts. Like, now that I’ve tested them out, I’m going to keep using them.
A two-pack (one white and one with grey stars) is $6.99, and once you’ve washed them they shrink to 24.5″ squares. I fold the blanket into a quarter, then into thirds to make a rectangular insert that fits perfectly in our one-size diapers. I am able to reuse our diaper cover at least four times in a day, simply swapping out the wet Himmelsk blanket for a fresh one. They also work great inside a pocket (BumGenius, for example), and overnight I can use it in my Extreme Super Soaker Overnight Solution tucked inside a BumGenius Elemental. I am so happy with the absorbency and practicality of “Ikea flats.” Easy to launder, quick to dry if you are hang drying, and at $3.50 each, you could have two dozen for $84. Partner them with eight diaper covers at $15 each (that’s an average price, depending on the brand and if they’re on sale) and you have enough to cloth diaper your baby for $200! Little Miss is now almost one and half years old, and we can get three hours out of a Himmelsk blanket before it is saturated—that’s more than a flannel receiving blanket or a flour sack towel (which I’ve been testing, too).
What about using Himmelsk blankets on a newborn? Definitely! A perfect square, they’re easy to fold in a variety of ways and can be secured with a Snappi or Boingo (the modern equivalents of diaper pins). You can also pad-fold them, but admittedly this will be quite bulky. I used a kite fold to demonstrate how you could use a Himmelsk blanket on a newborn.
Honestly, I picked up one of these towels not quite knowing how I might use it. I mean, they’re 50 cents. I’ve since found two ways to use Näckten Guest Towels when cloth diapering. When my kids were babies, I always placed a cotton prefold under the bum when changing their diapers. Messy newborn poops get everywhere, and having a prefold underneath saved having to wash the whole change pad cover. This towel does this same job just as well, without sacrificing prefolds you might need for diapering. Secondly, I figure you can use these towels as boosters, particularly if you’re using the Himmelsk blankets on your newbie. Fold the towel and place it in the middle of the folded Himmelsk diaper before securing to baby.
At $2.49 for four cloths, you’ve got awesome cloth wipes for less than a buck a piece! These are 12″ x 12″ cloths, so they’re larger than baby face cloths and other cloth diaper wipes on the market. They’re also thick. I like using them for poops because I can fold the cloth over and get three or four good wipes out of the same one. (I like to use them with Les Produits de MaYa liniment.)
The green Polarvide Throws were on sale at Ikea for $1.99. (They’re regularly $5.99) I bought two. I’m a sucker for a good deal. I have made diaper liners from fleece blankets before: you just cut rectangles out of the blanket and then place them in the diaper either to create a stay-dry effect or to make poop-cleanup easier. I wasn’t sure if the Polarvide would be too thick for the purpose and lead to leaks from urine pearling on top rather than passing straight through. A loyal student of Bill Nye, I did a quick experiment. Water poured onto the fleece (placed on top of a diaper) was absorbed right away. I’m not worried about Polarvide liners causing leaks!
Löjtis Laundry Bag
This large, drawstring nylon laundry bag can be used for storing dirty diapers. I much prefer my Funky Fluff Hanging Pail, but this $3.99 bag will do the trick! I hung it by the cord and it held three days’ worth of diapers without any issue. The corners of the bag are mesh, which is good for maintaining air circulation (which reduces stink). You can use the bag as a pail liner, too, but your pail may still get damp. Note that while I found this bag very recently at my local Ikea, I cannot find it on their website.
These 99-cent tea towels aren’t my favourite thing I picked up at Ikea in terms of cloth diapering, but they are good tea towels! If you want to get cloth diaper inserts at Ikea, definitely splurge on the Himmelsk Burp Cloths. However, if you just need a few boosters or a couple of newborn prefolds to stretch your stash, you can definitely use these tea towels. They are smaller than flour sack towels from Walmart, so I don’t find them as useful.
If you air-dry all or some of your cloth diaper stash, you know that a drying rack can take up a lot of space. In our tiny apartment in Montreal, we installed the Grundtal rack over our bathtub (note that our bathtub was separate from our shower … because it would be kind of stupid to do this if your bathtub also had a shower in it) and it folds flat against the wall when not in use. To maximize drying space, I hung two Pressa octopuses from it. You could hang these octopuses in a closet or on the shower curtain rod … lots of possibilities!
What else is great for cloth diapering at Ikea?
There are so many Ikea products in our house, it’s hard to keep track. I also love the Hemnes dresser, which is the perfect height to function as a change table (just put a contoured change pad on top). Their Skubb set of 6 boxes is awesome for organizing wipes and diapers in a drawer or on top of the dresser. I also used the Kallax 2 x 2 shelf unit as a change table in our powder room, storing diapers in the cube-shaped shelves. (Fun fact: Zelda our foster cat also used one of those cubes as her delivery room.)