Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Washing diapers (part 5)

(I originally posted this info with Part 4, about the cost and value of cloth diapers
but realized it was just too long as one post.  
So here is the final chapter in my cloth diapering series.)

Investing time in washing
There is a financial cost of any kind of diapering.  With cloth, you also invest your time.  It isn't hard, but it is 3 or 4 extra loads of laundry per week.  But I also don't have to drive to the store to buy diapers in a pinch either.

Other than fit, washing is the most personalized aspect of diapering because it depends on your water.  If you  read any cloth diaper forums, you'll see that washing questions are common.  

The main thing to remember is that you need hot water and lots of it to wash diapers.  There is some debate over the amount of detergent used.  For my all-cotton diapers, I just use the recommended amount of one scoop per load. I think soiled laundry needs a regular amount of detergent to come clean.

Other laundry additives are also helpful.  I use Oxy-Clean in each load because that's what Green Mountain Diapers recommends in their lengthy wash instructions.  I've also tried Calgon Water Softener (found in the laundry aisle at Fred Meyer) for my hard water in the past.  White vinegar is often recommended for diapers with ammonia troubles.  Bac-Out is also a good additive for stains and odors.  (I buy from Azure Standard for a better price.)

My wash routine for flats and fitted diapers

My water is hard well-water.  I was having trouble with ammonia build-up on my all-cotton prefolds when my baby was a week old, so I switched to flats.  Cotton doesn't usually develop ammonia build-up very easily, and especially with a tiny baby.  It was my water. 

It was still a process to figure out my washing routine but this works even on our Mother-Ease One Size nighttime diapers.  

Used diapers go in a wastebasket on top of my dryer.  I don't use a wet pail.  Once baby eats solids, poop should be shaken off into the toilet, but exclusively-breastmilk poop washes out.  So easy!  Yes, you change a breastfed baby often, but it is easy.

This is my routine:

  1. Cold rinse.  I turn the dial to the last rinse to run it one time.
  2. Hot wash cycle.  I use one scoop of Country Save detergent, and one scoop of OxyClean.  Lots of water … I usually use the “super” size.  (Bleach at this time, if needed … not every wash; I might use bleach once or twice a month.)
  3. Cold Rinse, same as the first step.
  4. Dry in the dryer or on the line.  (Sunshine is a natural stain-remover and sanitizer!)  My rack is from Costco, purchased on sale for $35 a few years ago.  It holds a medium-sized load of laundry.  I think its made sturdy and folds up easily.  It looks like this one though I can't vouch for this exact one.
I’ve learned the hard way that PUL covers don’t wash well with the Oxyclean or bleach … the elastic legs got loose.  Try washing covers with clothes instead.  I always line-dry covers.

Fleece pants 
Wash with diapers or with other laundry.  Easy.

Wool pants or wool covers
Wool is amazing.  It reminds me how God's creation is so much better than our attempts.  

As a diaper cover, it allows the baby's skin to breathe yet it doesn't leak.  My son usually wears wool pants at night, and the sheet is never wet.

It is a natural fiber, not produced in a factory with industrial wastes.  It is renewable.  What can man make that grows back like a sheep's wool?

Unless they are soiled, I wash wool only twice a month!  If that sounds gross, it really is not.  The wool that my son wears over his nighttime fitted diaper is only slightly cool to the touch, hardly damp, when he wakes up.  I hang the wool to air dry.  No lingering smells.  It is ready to wear that night.

Here is how I wash wool:
  1. Fill the bathroom sink with room-temperature water. Not too hot, not too cool.  
  2. I add a capful of Eucalan Wool Wash.  
  3. Soak the wool pants for 15 minutes.  Hand scrub any soiled areas. I can usually fit 2 pair of pants in my sink.
  4. Wring the extra water and line dry.  
Goodness, how much can one mom write about cloth diapers? !
Try it if you need to save money.

Try it if your toddler is potty-training (they say cloth can help a little one feel wetness and learn to use the potty instead).

Try it if you want less trash in your weekly garbage can and in the landfills.

Try it if you seek less consumerism and tempting trips to Target.

Try it with a small investment (don't break your budget buying the fanciest cloth diapers) of 6 to 12 flats and a couple of covers.  Try just a few to see how well it works.  Try it with a couple of homemade fitteds and upcycled wool pants.

Try it if you need a project to inspire your motherhood and homemaking.  It is a a funny little truth I've found in my own life, just like how cooking from scratch is more work but can be more enjoyable.

Try it, and remember to give yourself grace to be flexible if you are in a season that cloth diapers feel like too much to handle.

Have fun with cloth diapers ... give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips! I used cloth diapers on both of my babies.