Let me first answer the typical few questions that I have gotten from mothers who don’t cloth diaper….
#1… yes…they stink more than paper diapers…
#2… yes… they are a little more work than paper diapers…
BUT… I have to be honest… I am completely addicted to CLOTH DIAPERS!!!
If I was to be even more honest… my favorite part is that I am independent. It’s the feeling like people that garden get when they want a salad and don’t have to go to the grocery store and pay for overpriced veggies!!! To know that I never have to buy another diaper or wipe just makes me smile 🙂
And… they are more fun than women think and they are much cuter and more flexible than boring old disposables! You can get so creative and turn them into a fashion statement if you like!
OK… I used to be one of the anti-cloth type of Moms. I tried cloth with my 2nd child and absolutely hated it!! I used some prefolds I got from a friend and some pull up plastic pants… and did the "swish in the toilet" method from back in the days when my Mom diapered with cloth. All I can say is "EWWWWWW"… it wasn’t long and we were buying disposables again.
But it wasn’t until my 5th child was born and my friend "Muffin" opened me up to the world of cloth again. She made it sound so much fun!! At first I was completely NOT into it… plus we felt we couldn’t afford to get started. (which was completely NOT true since you can start with the bare necessities and still cloth diaper). We finally bit the bullet, and with careful planning I purchased my cloth diapers and all I felt I needed to get started!
I bought about 12 Fuzzi Bunz for my Sweet "L", 12 Chinese Prefolds & 4 Bummis Whisper Wrap covers for Baby "E", some hemp liners, 2 wet bags, 2 Snappi’s and a few other things. After a while I DID purchase 6 smaller Fuzzi Bunz to have for Baby "E" and I got some disposable liners for "L" because she has bouts with constipation. (So I can take the liner out and leave the diaper on)
Now… my absolute favorite way to diaper is just a simple prefold (although I’d love to get some flats to fold myself in cool ways!) And a cover. I have knit a couple awesome wool soaker pants and just recently started using my favorite one as the cover. I didn’t believe it at first when I heard that women used wool as a cover and rarely had to wash them… but now I am living proof that it works. I am the kind of person that needs to "see it to believe it" with stuff like that. Now I just change my son’s cloth and if the soaker gets a little damp I just hang it outside and it is as good as new. The natural fiber is awesome for that!! Not one ounce of pee smell!!
I also have found (FINALLY) how to wash my diapers and not have the smell I used to get after I washed them. It took research and trial and error to find out the simple fact… I was not cleaning them thorough enough to get rid of the bacteria… so even if they seemed clean they would end up with a funny smell after they were dry. Even putting them in the sun didn’t work. I think it is my hard water.
This is pretty much my cloth diaper routine in a nutshell. I keep a "dry" bucket for my diapers in my laundry room. I have a "poop-tula" (my cute little name for my big bathroom spatula hehe)
and if I have a poopy that won’t just fall into the toilet, I use my Poop-tula. (I know… this is gross talk… but when you are talkin’ diapers…really there is no way to escape potty talk!!!) I have the name on it so that people will know just what it is and not use it to make a cake or something! Haha OK as if someone would actually go into my bathroom to grab a spatula for baking… but you just never know!! Plus my oldest son can read and my oldest daughter is learning and that’s just an easy word to learn… "POOP"… and is a gentle reminder for my kids to not touch it and decide to lick it or something. Haha You just never know what a kid will do!
So then my diapers go in the bucket DRY and never soaked. When it comes time to wash… I do an large cold wash NO SOAP (to get a good beating and rinse to start), a large hot wash WITH SOAP (I use my Sam’s Club detergent–cheap so less junk in it— and I fill the cup halfway up to the bottom line), an EXTRA large cold rinse NO SOAP, and then another large hot cycle NO SOAP. I find this gets the diapers super rinsed to not let residue make the diapers smell and the 2 hot cycles give it an extra good cleaning!!
Then I take anything waterproof and hang it on a clothing rack to air dry and then throw all the other stuff in the dryer.
If I DO smell that maybe my diapers may have some bacteria in them… I have to be honest… I use BLEACH. I have seen on places like diaperpin.com that many women have found that a little bit of bleach doesn’t harm their diapers at all. I let my washer fill to the extra large level with my diapers in it and THEN put a little bleach (1/8 c.) in while it swishes. On my drier I have to push the little button that the lid pushes when you shut it. I just use something pointy to hold the button down while I add the bleach and then I shut the lid and let the cycle finish. (That is on my 1st hot wash WITH SOAP.)
But I haven’t had to do that for a long time. I just think that early on I wasn’t using enough soap. I heard that some women were using 1 teaspoon of detergent (I know some women can that probably don’t have hard water or something) but that just didn’t cut it for my water! It did get me thinking though… I’d look in when the washer was swishing and there would be major soap bubbles after lots of rinses!!! That is when you need to STRIP your diapers because of soap build-up. I’ve found that odors are either due to bacteria or soap build-up!
I don’t use nearly as much laundry soap with my regular wash ever since using cloth diapers and seeing just how little detergent you actually have to use!! If you measure ½ up to the bottom line on Tide cups…that isn’t much! AND it takes a lot of rinses to get your diapers clean! Think of how much soap residue is on our clothing when we fill to the 2nd or 3rd lines and only use one rinse with regular washes!! YIKES!! What a waste of money!!
I am in the process of getting ready to try to make my own laundry soap with an article I found in the "Bee-Youtiful" catalog. I uses bar soap that is grated and melted, washing soda, grapefruit seed extract and water. I will let you know how it works once I’ve done it and post the recipe. (I just am being lazy and don’t have the article close by!)
I have spoken of using cloth wipes in this post~~ CLOTH DIAPER WIPES I now use more dry washcloths that I just wet before I use them and then have the liquid in spray bottles. I just fill a spray bottle with water and add the liquid soap and tea tree oil drops. Here is a pic of one of my bottles that I keep on the back of the toilet. The spray is also good to spray on toilet paper for those "MOM!!! Come and wipe me!!!" moments. I am always telling my younger potty trained kids to tell me so I can "check" them after they go poopy. If I use it on toilet paper I can just flush it!
I guess all I can say right now is just how much I love things that I don’t have to throw out. I feel like I am saving money, helping the environment, working harder (to keep from being idle) and I just really enjoy making things myself! It’s rewarding!! Why not be independent as much as possible?? I remember running out of paper diapers and wipes and always having to call my DH to stop at the store on his way home to BUY some. Although I DO use some disposables at night and when we go places (although I’ve used cloth for both at times too) I just love knowing I don’t HAVE to use ‘sposies if I don’t want to!!
And if you like to knit, you can make wool soakers to use as covers. (you can look over to the right side of my blog and scroll down to see different longies I have made for my son!) Wool is a natural fiber so it’s great! You can let it air out in the sun even if they get wet, and the sun disinfects them and they are ready to be worn again after a good air-out! And lanolizing your wool soakers makes them waterproof. This is a great video to show you how to lanolize!
So that is my CLOTH DIAPER experience! I hope I can encourage more of you ladies to at least try it if you never have!!
In Christ, B