Cloth Diapers Discussed on 19 Kids and Counting: Anna Duggar Uses Cloth Part-Time

Last night I was watching 19 Kids and Counting and unexpectantly caught the conversation between Anna Duggar, Josh Duggar, and the camera about their use of cloth diapers.  We’ve seen her use cloth on both babies before, and she has even mentioned it in previous episodes, but in this episode they had a whole mini segment on the topic.  To those who aren’t familiar with the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting Anna Duggar is the wife of Josh Duggar and Josh is the first son of Michelle Duggar- mom of 19 children.   Anna and Josh now have two children of their own and both children have been cloth diapered part time.

According to Anna she wants to cloth diaper but has run into some issues.  She admitted to feeling guilt that she uses disposable diapers in conjunction with cloth.  She uses cloth more on her son Michael and is trying to potty train her first daughter.  Josh- ever supportive, told her not to feel bad because washing cloth diapers is hard work.

I got the vibe that Anna was having issues not with having to wash diapers but with the actual wash routine.  After I excitedly posted this photo and announced that modern cloth diapers made a spot on the show onto DDL’s facebook Page a few readers informed me that Arkansas, where the Duggars live, has notoriously hard water. They also declared the diaper on Michael to be a Sunbaby and Julie from Rumparooz let us know that Anna has some RaR’s as well!

Hard water can cause all kinds of washing troubles including repelling (where the diapers have buildup of soap and/or minerals from the water that prevent urine from soaking through and will cause major leaks), Barnyard Stink (usually caused by the diapers not getting clean enough, possibly also due to hard water), or ammonia.  Ammonia is the biggest beast of all that is the hardest to kill.  Ammonia produces an intense odor in the diapers that can burn off your nose hairs.  It can also be worse than just an odor- high levels on ammonia in diapers can cause ammonia burns on the baby, usually these appear in bright red, flat rashes or even some blistering, especially on the tip of the penis.

No one ever said washing diapers is super easy.  I’ve had my own troubles more than once and battled them.  I’m hoping Anna will get the hang of cloth diapers and be sure to have those camera men film her adorable babies in their cloth diapers!  Modern cloth diapers have come a long way but society still thinks of the old school flats, pins, and rubber pants.  The more we see the easy to use, modern cloth diapers in the media, the more moms will see them and think “hmm… that’s not so bad…”  Some of you may recall my push to get cloth diapers on The Ellen Show (#OperationFluffy) that wasn’t successful.

More reasons to love Anna Duggar- She uses an Ergobaby Carrier and wears her children, she breastfeeds (even in public with a cover), she has had two successful homebirths and both were shown in part on the show, she practices baby sign language with her babies, and she seems to be a genuinely nice person and a great mom.

Anna Duggar, if you see this and you want some cloth diaper help you just let me know!  

I’ll be the first to say I take issues with the Duggar’s beliefs but this isn’t a religious discussion, or a discussion on their family size. Please keep comments related to cloth diapers on the show or related issues- not about the family or religion.  Thank you.  

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  • Amilee

    Yep our hard water here is super bad, specially in the area she lives in(I lived very close, and still live pretty close to where the duggars live) I found rockin green hard rock works the best. But I still have to strip every so often. It took me a long time to get a good wash routine…depending on her washer it may take her a bit to figure it out as well.

  • Nicole

    I’m having a hard time with hard water as well… sigh. It put me off using my lil joeys after 3 weeks. I wonder if anyone anywhere in the country doesn’t have hard water. We have had issues in 3 states now!

  • Christina D

    Ammonia is my arch-nemesis.  We even just got a new water softener and are still having problems.  Stupid upstate NY water (Did you have a huge issue with it in Syracuse?  I live in Rochester and feel like the water is REALLY hard.).  My son has been waking up with the tip of his penis bleeding lately and it’s making me nuts.  He had a super bad ammonia burn this past week too.  I ended up giving up and using disposables at night.  The daytime diapers don’t seem to be causing any problems.

    Looks like I’m stripping diapers this weekend.  I’m thinking there was a mineral build up on the diapers from before we replaced our water softener.  If not, looks like Calgon is going back into our wash routine.

  • Zoesmumlizs

    i don’t know anything about the effect of hard water on the diapers but i used to have some problems with ammonia which got resolved once i started to soak them longer, you might even want to try to soak and rinse them twice before washing, also try baking soda added to your washcycle, good luck

  • guest

     Cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, natural birth…I never thought I’d have so much in common with a Dugger! I’m also suprised that Michelle doesn’t CD since it’s so economical, especially with so many kids!

    • Anonymous

      Crazy right? Anna is her own Duggar and has a lot of great ideas on how to raise a family. I’ve seen Michelle and other older kids wear babies in an Ergo too, and Michelle also homebirthed a few babies and does breastfeed usually until getting pregnant again. Michelle doesn’t cloth diaper but with the 9+ loads they do a day that would be a tough argument. Still……. it does fit in with their philosphy of “buy used and save the difference.” since you can find used diapers and never have to buy more ever again! THAT is saving money!

  • Ash_erbes

    Could some of her issue be not washing enough diapers to help get them clean? If she only does it part time there might not be enough diapers to rub together to help get them all clean. I hope she is able to prefect her wash routine so she will cloth diaper full time. 

  • Heather Robuck

    We have extremely hard well water, Tide HE Powder takes care of it all 🙂

  • Clothmomma

    This is soooo exciting!!!!!  I am really happy to see people who could by some people be seen as role models (rightly or wrongly) using cloth. Is there any way to speak with Anna about her wash routine?  I’d sure like to help her.

  • Jennifer Torres

    I think I may have the same problem Anna does with the hard water.  If you could post something about that, it would be very helpful.  Or at least let us know where to find the info?

    • Anonymous

      Which issue were you having?

      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  • Anna Mary

    We have awful water as well.    I started using bac-out in my wash routine.  This has taken care of our stink issues.  My worse stink comes from microfiber pocket diapers.  So I am slowly switching my stash over to  natural fabrics.  I have to say though my current wash routine is working even on my pockets.  So I will share real quick what I do.  I have 2 in cloth so I wash every other day.  1)Dirty diapers in, no detergent, 3 squirts Bac-Out, cold water wash. 2) Add detergent (my favorite is Charlies Soap this one works the best for us) hot water wash and extra rinse. That’s it.  I also learned that my washer (Fisher Paykel) does not use all hot water even on the hot wash cycle.  So my husband placed ‘a splitter at the hot water hookup behind our washer and attached a short hose for me so I can now run a full load of hot water.   Hot water really helps!

  • Lauren

    Charlies Soap has a booster for hard water and I use it when ever my diapers start to get a funky smell and it takes care of it. I have heard but not try adding a drop or two of tea tree oil to a load every now and then helps to kill any bacteria and reduce the smell, what is your thought on using tea tree oil?

    • Anonymous

      I have never used TTO myself so I don’t have a lot of experience.


    Good for Anna Duggar. While I don’t necessarily hold the same beliefs (religiously) as she and her extended family do, I can’t help but applaud her. I’m not sure how old she is — but she can’t be any older than 22 or so. And to be as “progressive” as she is in terms of diapering, parenting, nurturing… well, it’s great.


  • Liz

    I love the duggars!!!! I wish I lived near them – I could seriously be Anna’s friend.

  • guest

    we have super hard water, (hard time keeping up with toliets and tub and even the sink that drips…to give a better idea of how hard it is, if you get a glass of water and let it stand for about 10 min it looks like someone pee’d in the cup). anywho, i don’t know if it voids any warranties or not, but obviously soaking in regular water is not an option for us, so I add Iron Out to my was loads. I agree that the mineral deposits from the hard water can cause all kinds of issues with the cloth diapers, and sunning no matter how long you try to leve them out, just doesn’t take care of mineral deposits!