Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spraying, Storing & Stripping Cloth Diapers

 I've had several people ask me about cloth diapering because, for various reasons (money, the environment, disposable diaper allergies,) they are considering using cloth diapers too!  This, of course, thrills my heart even though, if I'm being truthful, my husband and I usually take the weekends 'off' and rarely travel with cloth. 

Here's some FAQs I get from friends about cloth diapers:

1.  Why do you use cloth diapers?
I do it to save money.  "But cloth diapers are expensive." I received most of my stash during baby showers, so the start up cost was very inexpensive for me.

2.  Do you use diaper pins and everything?
No.  You can, but I don't.  Cloth diapers have come a long way over the years.  To check out my detailed explanation of all the different types, check out this post.  If you want to know the specifics of what gDiaper supplies I use, check out this post.

3. Is it gross?
Sometimes, but not often.  It's more gross when my son poops in the bathtub.

4. Is it a lot of work?
It's work, but not a lot of work.  Obviously you can't just trash the diapers and you have to wash them.  But those things are not really that difficult once you get the hang of things.

5. What do you do with the poop?
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, his poop is water soluble.  There is no pre-cleaning needed.  The diaper just goes into the pail until it's time to do a load of laundry.

before diaper sprayer
after diaper sprayer
Once your baby starts solids (or if he's using formula), the poop changes.  Something that has been GREAT for our family is having a diaper sprayer.  We have this one.  It was another gift (we did not pay the $60), but we are so glad to have it!  There are also other options that are less expensive including homemade options that you can find on Pinterest/Google.  The installation was pretty easy, however, I did buy a new hose that was flexible rather than the stiff one that came standard with the toilet.

Now that our son is on lots of solids, when he poops we take his diaper over the toilet, hose off the poop (flush) and put it in the pail that's next to the toilet.  We like keeping our pail in the bathroom because of the distance to the toilet as well as keeping any unpleasant smells in the bathroom where they belong.

When it comes time to wash, I take the pail over to the washer and dump it in.  I do my best to avoid touching poop if I can! 

And now a little about diaper stripping: 
What is this scandalous thing you ask? 
When your diapers start smelling funky the moment your baby pees into them, when your baby starts getting fierce diaper rashes, or when your diapers start to leak after just a short period of time, it may be time to strip them.
But why?
If you've used too much detergent, it begins to build up in the diaper causing it to not get as clean.
If you've used a diaper rash cream, it creates a barrier on the diaper that will prevent it from absorbing and will not wash off in a regular wash cycle.
So how do I strip them?
I've read that the easiest way is to use really hot water and do several extra rinse cycles checking to see if there are still soapy bubbles while the washer is agitating, but this didn't do the trick for me.
After 5+ rinses there was still just as many bubbles as the first time.
So then I tried adding Dawn.
And then I tried adding bleach. (If you try bleach, make sure to rinse several times, it can be harsh on baby's bum.)
After that I tried rinsing some more.
I still saw lots of soapy water/bubbles.
I finally tried vinegar and in about 2 rinses my diapers were rinsing clean.  Wahoo!

There's lots of ways to strip diapers and washing machines, water, and diapers are all unique, so it may take some trial and error to figure out what works for you.
I'm so thankful I finally found something that works for me!  (And there's plenty of other blogs that have lots of detailed instructions for all different kinds of options.)  Hope you find something that works great for you!  Also, if you have some yucky stains, take advantage of sunny days to line-dry your diapers.  The sun is a natural way to bleach out the stains.

Need help figuring out the differences between different types of cloth diapers?  Click here.
Want to look at the cost of cloth diapering and the supplies needed to gDiaper?  Click here.

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