I must say, my previous post on the basics of cloth diapering took far too long for me to publish. It was also one that I was very excited about because utilizing cloth diapers with my little one is something I’m very proud of and so pleased in our decision to do.
Last week, we had our cloth diapers ‘super washed’ where a professional diaper laundry service took them for a day and thoroughly washed/bleached them to fluff them up, get rid of some lingering stains and help get rid of any detergent residue that can build up and affect the absorbency of the diapers. It was less than $20, so I plan to do this routine every 3-4 months just to maintain the integrity of the diapers.
While they were all being washed, we used some disposables we had been gifted during one of my showers. It felt so weird. Disposables felt like tissue paper! They were so thin compared to what we’re used to. And when my daughter had a wet diaper, the fluid was trapped in this gel-like state at the bottom of the diaper. It weirded me out. I was so excited to get her back into her cloth diapers the next day!
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Cloth Diapering At Home – What You Need
If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous post on the basics of cloth – the benefits, the different types, etc, hop on over here to take a look. In this post, I’ll be going through HOW you cloth diaper – what it looks like in action. And how I manage being out and about with a little one in cloth.
Once you decide this is the route you want to go, you may still be asking yourself, ‘OK. But how? Where do the dirties go? How do I clean them? Is this going to be too hard for me to balance when I have a little one I’m trying to take care of? Disposables just sound so much easier…’ FEAR NOT! Cloth is no more difficult than ‘sposies. You may have 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week, but to me – that’s certainly worth it with the benefits I see that we gain from using cloth.
First of all, you’re going to want to get yourself a big laundry pail. I was allllll about the pretty, odor containing Ubbi pail. I was gifted one for my baby shower and had to regretfully return it. It’s
steel, it won’t absorb odors. It’s sleek and shiny. It has a small door that you drop the diapers through so odor won’t escape. But at the end of the day – it was too small to hold more than a day and a half’s worth of diapers, and the hole you deposit the diapers through was too small for cloth to easily slide through. Also, it required a hand to slide the door open, and when you have a hand on baby, and a dirty diaper in the other…you don’t want to try and slide it open with…your wrist?
We went to Lowe’s and just purchased a nice kitchen sized trash can with a foot pedal (oh hey, hands free operation!) like this one. It works wonderfully and we honestly have NO ISSUES with smell in the nursery. I also don’t think it looks too shabby…
Within the trash can, you’re going to want to line it with a cloth pail liner. We use these by KangaCare – they have an easy to use drawstring and fit perfectly within the diaper pail. They also come in a variety of colors that can coordinate with your nursery! When you wash you diapers, you’ll turn this bag inside out and wash it with your load of diapers. This means you’ll want to have two liners on hand – one to place in your pail while the other is being washed with the diapers. And you’ll just rotate these two out with each wash.
As discussed in my last post, we use cloth wipes as well and love the GroVia ones! Many mommas use plain water and spray their baby’s bum with a spray bottle and wipe clean. You can also use coconut oil because…coconut oil can be used for just about anything! You can use either of those or we use this wipe solution from Pirates and Pixies that includes aloe, tea tree & lavender essential oils to soothe skin at each diaper change.
That’s all you need to be set up to cloth diaper at home!
- Wipe Solution or Water in a Spray Bottle
- Diaper Pail
- Pail Liner x 2
Washing Your Cloth Diapers
OK, so I’m not going to lie. Getting a wash routine down for your cloth diapers CAN be a little tricky. Spend a few minutes to get it figured out though and you’re set! Truly, this is the most difficult part of cloth diapering – figuring out what settings to use on your washing machine.
Thankfully the wonderful people at Fluff Love University have put together an incredible resource for us. This Guide dives into every washing machine make and MODEL and will give you guidance one what specific settings you should use for your specific machine! How incredible is that? Top loaders, front loaders, high efficiency or standard – this guide has got you covered. I also really love using this detergent – as it’s clear of dyes, extra chemicals and it effective at cleaning the diapers!
A wash routine includes a pre-wash, where you use about half the detergent you would typically use for the size of load you have on a Speed or Power Cleanse cycle. It’s a quick cycle with lots of agitation. This breaks up any of the thicker or heavier messes in the diaper – allowing the main wash cycle to really penetrate and clean the diapers.
For the Main Wash – you’ll select hot water, a heavy soil setting, a Turbo Wash for increased agitation, if able, and a setting that is for high spin. You’ll add detergent appropriate for your load size and let the machine get to work.
To dry your diapers, manufacturers typically recommend line drying. Since this is 2018 and maybe 2% of the population has a clothesline, I just dry on my low heat setting.
In all, it may take me 3 and a half hours from start to finish – pre wash, main wash and drying. I’m notorious for washing these at night and throwing them in the dryer right before I go to bed. It doesn’t take an entire day, it doesn’t even take a whole evening! And you never have to run to Target at 10pm because you’ve ran out of diapers!
But What About The Poop?
This is a common concern – you can grasp urine getting washed out in the washing machine…but what about poop?
A baby’s poop from breastmilk is completely water soluble – so for the first 4-6 months, if you’re a breastfeeding momma, there’s nothing extra you have to do in preparation for washing dirty diapers.
If a baby is formula fed, or has started solid foods, you will need to somehow dispose of the poop before throwing the diapers into your washing machine. There are three common ways to do this, and it seems like everyone has their own favorite for their own reason:
- The Dunk & Swish Method – you place the dirty diaper in your toilet and ‘swish’ it around until the poop (or nearly all of the poop) is in the toilet water and you flush it. You wring the diaper out (with gloves on, of course!) and place it either in your diaper pail or in another open-air container until wash time.
- Use a Diaper Sprayer – this handy little gadget, much like a hand held shower faucet, attaches to the cold water supply behind your toilet. You then use it to spray the diaper’s contents into the toilet and flush. Again, wring it out, and place it in a designated location until wash.
- Disposable Liners – Think panty liners – but thinner & for your baby. It’s a piece of paper/fabric the same size as the diaper that you place between your baby and the diaper. It allows fluids to pass through it, being absorbed by the diaper, but keeps the solids or semi-solids on its surface. When it comes to changing the diaper, you simply remove the liner and discard it. It keeps your diaper free of the heavier soils, with no need to rinse like the other two methods above. Note: Some brands claim to be flushable or biodegradable but from all Amazon reviews & fellow mom feedback – that is not the case and I wouldn’t recommend it! Get a designated receptacle to throw them away in.
With Options 1 & 2 – keep in mind you may be doing this for 1-3 diapers a day at most, and washing every 2-3 days. You will not have a mountain of soggy diapers hanging out in your laundry room or toilet area.
We will be starting our little one on pureed foods next month, and while I’m leaning towards the disposable liners, I will be trying out all three methods and posting my thoughts on these in a future post. However, for ease of use with our daycare, I’ll be sending liners with my little one…I certainly do not expect our teachers at daycare to wring out her diapers!
Out and About With a Baby in Cloth
A lot of times, when I tell a friend or fellow momma that we use cloth diapers, a common question is how do we deal with that outside of the home. I’ve known friends that opt for disposables when going out & only cloth diapering at home. But, for me, it would just complicate things. Having to remember to put a disposable on my little one before we leave, having to buy disposables, knowing when to buy some more in a bigger size, blah blah blah… It’s just easier for me to add a wet bag and tiny spray bottle to my diaper bag and be on my way.
And that’s it – that’s the only extra you’d need when using cloth diapers versus disposable diapers. A wet bag and & little bottle to contain your wipe solution or water. Truth be told, you’ll always want to have a wet bag with you to throw dirty clothes in if you child needs a sudden costume change in the middle of an afternoon out! But you’d need diapers anyway. You will be needing wipes regardless. So you’re really just adding a little spray bottle to your bag.
Heading Out the Door when Cloth Diapers
I really have come to love using a Ju Ju Be Be Ready case for all my diapering needs. It’s intended to be a make up or women’s attache bag, but I love how the lid unzips on three sides & flips over and the structured bottom/sides allows easy access to the stuff on the inside without me worrying about it spilling over.
This is where I store 2-3 All In One diapers, two or three cloth wipes, a tiny spray bottle of wipe solution and my wet bag. When it comes time to change, I’ll simply place the dirty diaper in the wet bag, replace with a clean diaper and be on my way. There’s no magic to it, no necessary extra steps. Just remember to throw your dirty diaper and wet bag in your larger diaper pail when you get home so they can get included in your next wash!
When my little one moves to solid foods next month, I will start pre-lining all my diapers as I’m folding & putting them away. That way, I won’t be having to mess with adding a liner in the middle of a diaper change and I know the diapers are all ready to go when I need to grab a few as I’m heading out the door!
We are taking our first family vacation in a month (!!!!), including our little girl, to beautiful Breckenridge, CO! I’m really excited for her to see the mountains, maybe touch some snow and breathe some fresh, mountain air!
We’ll be bringing our cloth diapers along with us, so I will be sharing with you what I learned and how to easily travel using cloth diapers. Stay tuned!