Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Reality of Cloth Diapers

There's nothing like the sight of a poopy diaper to catch your attention!

Sure, cloth diapers are environmentally friendly, cute to look at and easy on the pocket book (in the long run). But the reality is: they have to be washed. And washed. And washed. Again. And Again.

Only second to the search for the perfect cloth diaper is the search for the perfect wash routine. All cloth diapering mommas are looking for the best wash order/temp, soap and drying to keep their cloth diapers looking, feeling and smelling just like new. Will we ever find it? Only with time and a lot of mistakes and still it won't be perfect. We just have to find how to fit it into an already busy day.

I am lucky I stay at home. Some mammas work outside the home and still find time to cloth diaper and wash!

Everyone has their own way to wash and dry their diapers. On Cloth Diapering Bloggers, created by Dirty Diaper Laundry, we are having our 2nd Cloth Diapering Carnival and the subject is, you guessed it, "What is your Wash Routine?"

My wash routine is ever changing. It depends on many different things: how dirty are the diapers, how much soap did I use, how stained are the inserts, when did I last strip them, just to name a few. This process can take as little as 2 hours to all day. It just depends on what I'm doing and if I remember I am washing!

Let's start with the diaper coming off the baby. I toss them and my cloth wipes all in the pail with a laundry bag to line it. (Hopefully some day I may buy a waterproof wet bag.) If there is poop on the dipe it may or may not get rinsed of with my handy diaper sprayer. (This has to be the grosses thing I've ever done.) I don't have separate pails for the covers, inserts or the wash clothes. Some do but I'm not sure why.

Every other day I drag the bag into the garage. I pull out the liners from the BG's and toss them in the cold water along with any covers or fitteds I may have. (The whole time I'm doing this I have a look of disgust on my face. This last until I finish putting all the diapers in the washer and leave the garage. Then I have to stretch my face back out to normal.)

The diapers get a cold wash/rinse with no soap. Then they get a hot/cold with a little Planet soap. I have tried several different types of soap on my diapers; starting with Tide Free then homemade and now Planet. I am happy with it but some say you need to strip them more often so every few weeks I replace my Planet with Dawn.

The last step is another cold wash/rinse without soap. Our water is so hard that I sometimes just do the rinse on this step.

I mostly line dry in my back yard. While I'm hanging diapers I start another load with the wipes, micro fleece liners and any prefolds I may have. I wash these separately because I use California Baby diaper cream on Ethan from time to time and don't want the oils to transfer to the BG's. Also, the velcro on the BG's picks up EVERY loose thread from the wipes and the prefolds. On the hot wash I will add any extra laundry I may have sitting around like towels or underwear. I usually use Tide or my homemade soap on this load.(Save the Planet!)

Most of the time I toss the dried inserts and fitteds in the dryer for a few to kill any ants or fireflies that may be creeping around. And yes, I have woken up in the middle of the night to see my son's bum blinking green!

So the harsh reality is: Cloth Diapers are great but cleaning them is time consuming, frustrating at times and stinky. Very, very stinky.

But I wouldn't stop using cloth for anything! It is worth all the time and effort to have my baby in a cloth diaper that is chemical free and saves us money.

Happy washing!


DustieBottoms said...

I'm right there with you. I actually enjoy changing dipes now and it feels great that I made all but two. Lucky me, my ds weaned off the breast at 4 months, and has really solid poos. Dump and flush, into to bucket (we use a plain bucket with a lid!), two days later the whole thing gets dumped into a cold rinse, noo soap, then warm with f&c, then another rinse and out to dry. I'm the lazy laundress, I wash fleece with fibers, don't unsnap soakers, and quite stuffing pockets. I seperate it all after it's washed, before drying.

Novia said...

I'm so glad I figured out my routine early and blessed to have continuous success with it after moving to 3 different residences!

I cold prewash, use my own homemade detergent, and put them in the dryer. That's it. No extra rinses or anything.

And Dustie I so envy your solid poops I'm still dealing with "peanut butter" poops! *yuck* But I do unsnap the soakers though...because of the PB poop.

Anonymous said...

All you cloth diaper girls are wonderful!! I used cloth diapers on my little ones 30 or 40 years ago!! We soaked ours in water!!! You talk about stink!! Ugh! I washed every day because of the smell!
I love the NEW kind of cloth diapers! We had plastic pants that we had to pull up over the diaper that is put on with SAFETY PINS. They always scared me! I got many pin pricks from putting them on and worried they would open up while on the baby!
It's a new world, but like Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." People continue to use cloth diapers.
(Ethan's grandma and Melissa's mom)

Jackie at 3littleones said...

I agree w/ you completely - the smell can be bad on wash day and rinsing out poops isn't always fun - but babies poop no matter what - with cloth or disposables. We might as well do what is healther for them & the environment (& save some $ in the process!).

Annie said...

LOL at the blinking green bum!

I don't have a diaper sprayer, I have always dunked and swished! But I think I'll get one as soon as David starts solids....D&Sing is really nasty LOL

AMother'sEarth said...

LOL. LOVE your face picture!!!

Denise said...

Melissa you should try Rockin Green, I LOVE it!!! I've never stripped my diapers & have never had repelling issues. Rockin Green is specially formulated for hard water too!!!

You also might want to think about unstuffing your pockets before you put them in the pail, I've heard it makes the PUL last longer.


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