Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Thoughts on Cloth

I have always been a very eco-conscious person. As a child I was taught the three R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. My schools constantly beat this into our brains and it's something I've always believed to be important. We need to take care of our world. We have two big, blue recycle bins and I have a jug in my toilet tank (reduces how much water fills in the tank after a flush), I've been begging Daniel to put up a clothesline for me for two years now... and so much more.

So it only made sense that I'd be drawn to cloth diapering. However there are two main arguments about  whether or not to cloth diaper - stop filling landfills with disposables OR use more water in order to clean cloth. I decided the latter was the lesser of two evils and finally jumped into the Cloth Diaper Bandwagon!

Initial washes in HOT to get them clean!

So first thing first - how affordable are cloth diapers? I've seen some diapers go for $20 apiece! However I got mine in an amazing bundle from SunBaby and didn't pay shipping. I got them for $6 apiece and that price included two inserts per diaper. Because I can reuse and reuse these diapers I'm getting way more bang for my buck, even when you consider the few extra bucks on my water bill. Not to mention these are so so so cute! They come out with new patterns all the time.

There are different types of cloth diapers, too, which I won't get into (pocket, AIO's, prefolds, etc.). I will just mention that mine are pocket diapers and they are one-size-fits-all (from newborn to 35-lbs). A pocket diaper is a diaper that you insert "liners" (AKA "soakers") into. I like this method because this means I can add as many liners as I need for added absorbency for overnight.

Some diapers have velcro, snaps or require pins. Mine are snaps. Because of this I do not dry my diapers in the dryer. I only dry the liners in the dryer (the big white rectangles you'll see below). I do not want to distort my snaps!

My detergent

When my diapers arrived I needed to wash them and "strip" them. This means I needed to get all the buildup and junk out of them from the manufacturer. I washed mine on hot three times for perfection (picture at top of page)! I used this detergent from Fuzzi Bunz featuring Rock'n Green. I will most likely continue to use Rock'n Green detergent. I've really liked it thus far! I also got the detergent shipped to me for free!

Hung them up to dry on extension cord

Once I had washed the diapers the initial three times I opened the washer lid and realized I didn't have a clothesline. Oops! I grabbed an extension cord and duct tape to jerry-rig a line. I loved seeing all my diapers hanging out! But a clothesline is a must. I'm getting this retractable clothesline for only $9 so that I can hide the line whenever I want. I will also get an outdoor one when it warms up again. I did toss the liners in the dryer and dried them as normal laundry.

All cleaned up and ready to go!

When I woke up the next morning my diapers were all dry and ready to begin using. I haven't used Judah's diapers on him yet (his are the stack on the left; he has double the amount of Zoë). So the pocket diapers have a pocket inside and I inserted two liners for Zoë. The diapers have lots of snaps so you can choose the best fit for your child, making these a one-size-fits-all, up to 35-lbs. Here's more information on the SunBaby page on how the diapers look and work.

Showing off her diaper!

During a diaper change I remove the diaper and remove the inserts. Then I toss everything in a "wet bag". I have a large one that fits your average 13-gallon kitchen trash can. So my wet bag fits in a trash can and I made sure to get a can with a lid. Contrary to how it sounds a wet bag is not actually wet. It just contains wetness. It won't contain a glass of water being poured into it but it will contain moisture from wet diapers.

If there is poop on the diaper I toss the poop in the toilet before putting everything in the wet bag. When it comes time to wash I throw everything and the wet bag itself into the washer for a cold rinse. This gets rid of any poo on the diapers and in the washer itself. Once the rinse is done I do a hot wash cycle with my detergent. Then I line dry the diapers!

So a lot of people have told me they don't want the extra laundry and to that I say - it's not a big deal. It's one basket every other day and you have to do it out of necessity or your child will be running around naked. It's so simple and your older kids can help pin up the diapers to dry. I don't fold anything - I just stack them. I think the biggest issue with laundry is the folding, not the washing and drying.

Here's a simple breakdown of my routine:
1). Diapers & liners separated at diaper changes and put in wet bag.
2). Dump contents of wet bag and the wet bag into washer.
3). Cold rinse.
4). HOT cycle with detergent.
5). Line dry diapers; can dry the liners in dryer if desired.
6). Stack for storage.

There you have it! Easy as pie! It may seem like a lot of steps but mostly it all does itself (no hand-washing, for instance). And to answer the question of smell and stains... we don't have stinky diapers or stains at all! And Zoë has had quite a few nasty poops on these diapers. I'm very impressed! Of course everyone has their own routines, their own diapers with special instructions, etc. so you may see others out there doing things differently.

A list of things you'll need (first three are necessary, the others are extras):
-A baby/child (ha!)
-Cloth Diapers (some people have a mix of many types)
-Cloth Diaper Detergent (can make your own)
-Wet bag for diaper bag (Sweet Bobbins on Etsy)
-Wet bag pail liner for trash can (also at Sweet Bobbins)
-Trash can for wet bag pail liner, preferably with lid
-Clothesline (indoor, outdoor)

Do you cloth diaper? Do you want to if you don't? Tell me what you think about it!

*A great resource for cloth diapering is


The Mommy said...

Cute, cute diapers! I LOVE cloth-diapering, but my (expensive) bumgenius diapers had the velcro closures and didn't hold up as well as I wanted them too.
I found that any stains that we had would be taken care of after drying in the sun. I really enjoyed stacking and stuffing my diapers and took more than one picture of my diaper basket full of stuffed diapers ready to be worn.

Susan Sene said...

Wooo hooo!! I LOVE my cloth diapers! I started when Ri was just over a year and wish I would have done it sooner! And I've found it easier to cloth diaper a newborn - no rinsing needed! And I agree...the sun is AMAZING at zapping out those stains!

I've found for Kaylee that I'm actually preferring prefolds and covers for her. I feel like it's a more snug fit than my pocket diapers I used for Rilynn (I used several but most Kawaii). When I first started using cloth, I would have NEVER considered prefolds because they were too intimidating but I REALLY love them! Just goes to show you shouldn't be scared of what you don't try right? :)

Welcome to the club!! ;)

*~Chelsea~* said...

So cool!! We may try those when Olivia is a little bigger since they're so tough to fit newborns. Looks awesome and I'm grateful for your review of them! I've been really curious about cloth diapers! :)

BrandiH said...

I want to try cloth diapering in the worse way! But as a working mom and not actually knowing at this point where the new baby will be going during the day, I don't want to spend the $$$ and not be able to use them while she's at daycare.