I get this question a lot. Why do you cloth diaper? You are crazy! Well, ok, I’ll admit I can be a little crazy at times. I used to tend to do a lot at once and overflow my plate.
I would describe our cloth diapering adventure much like that of a DIY project gone bad. You say, “I can do this!” You buy all the supplies and take a room down to it’s studs. Then you get a wall back up…months later. We started strong, but have ended as a casual cloth diaper family.
I do believe Lil’A potty trained so quickly because of it. I love to sleep, and I was not waking my child to pee in the middle of the night. Especially when I had just started to get sleep through my second pregnancy. (I do have a friend who has great success with this method. However, she can fall asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow…I’m sure she’d say any pillow 🙂 ) The cloth diapers didn’t keep her dry at all and she is very particular, so being wet or dirty wasn’t an option. Again I am finding the same with Lil’ E. She will actually go for the cloth diapers when I ask her to go get me diapers!
Here’s what made us part time though. Our washer. While I think the new ones do a great job at all other cleaning, they aren’t very helpful with cloth diapering. I had a in depth discussion with the gentleman at our local appliance store about needing as much water as possible to get my diapers clean. He insisted I was wrong. He should have known better than to argue with a mom of three.
Here’s my routine now that I have things figured out! My diapers were keeping too much soap in them since they are so absorbent and not enough water was washing the soap out. So Lil’ E had diaper rash all the time…which has never happened with my cloth diapers.
(**If this does happen to you, rinse, rinse and rinse with cold water again and again until you can’t see any suds. I think I had to do my 20+ diaper stash in two groups 3-4 times each. Thankfully it was cold water I had to use!)
Routine: (Maytag HE Washer-none of the Maytag products have a soak feature-FYI)
- COLD CYCLE(QUICK WASH or similar) No spin, No detergent
- HOT CYCLE (NORMAL OR HEAVY DUTY or similar) 1 teaspoon of detergent per 12 diapers (or less!!! I usually use a bit less.) Medium Spin, Extra Rinse
- WARM RINSE & SPIN (HIGH) (Warm rinse helps get out the soap residue I found)
I use Rockin’ Green detergent. I pay 20.00 or less on Well.ca and I have one bag for about 6 months. Worth it to me, as I have used others and not had success.
1. First things first. You always need enough water plus 1” to cover all your diapers-in each cycle.
I do find that this means you should only wash a maximum of 12 diapers and inserts at a time. The next step will tell you why this is necessary.
2. I add water to my loads. Yup, I do. And I haven’t had a problem in 2 years of using this machine. (I really wish I had kept the old washer and put it down stairs! Although it was too small for more than 3 jeans, it would have been wonderful for this…so if you have the cash-check online re-sale sites for a cheap one someone doesn’t want because they got the fancy new ones. I have two years left CDing and I am considering it…)
At first I used to just add a few buckets of water to the load, right up to the edge, then start it up. This does work. And won’t result in too much water if you step away for a minute.
Now I have a hose hooked up to my laundry sink. This seems to work well too. Just don’t tell anyone you do this. Apparently it could void your warranty, although I have only heard that as a rumor. I start the washer. Let it go for 1 minute. Pause it. Then open the detergent drawer and fill it up until I can see the diapers start to float a big. On my big machine it is about 1” up the door. Then I run the washer. I do this for all the cycles. Yes, it uses more water. But for the 2-3 loads I’ll do for a few years compared to the overall savings I will have in water with my HE machine is worth it. And no more headaches about why my diapers are smelly.
3. Vinegar and Baking Soda. I have used these two to get out stubborn stains. I honestly just toss vinegar in the drum and baking soda in the dispenser and somehow with their chemical reaction any ammonia is gone. I have done this probably a dozen times in 4 years and a few of my diapers are just starting to wear out. So I will probably do this whenever I need to.
4. Sanitary Cycle. Again only when I need to. Very rare. I have done this maybe once. The extreme hot water does apparently breakdown the stitching and such, but I haven’t had a problem ever. Use your discretion.
I have cloth diapered at night once. And I will never do it again. I guess if you started from babyhood your child may get used to the feeling and last all night. Lil’ A slept the night (6 hours) within 8 weeks, so I wasn’t giving that up for cloth diapering. (An additional 600+ disposables would have been added to the garbage, since I cloth diapered almost everywhere…ok minus playdates sometimes. Like I said, I was a part time cloth diapering momma, turned casual/home only).
We’ve had two children in diapers, then just one, then back to two (where we currently hang out), so my husband who does willingly change diapers is done. I was and now that I go to the store almost weekly to buy a jumbo box of both sizes, I am done carting everyone to the store to do so. (I know, go at night, but how many momma’s of three want to do that?)
I get asked what diapers I recommend. My favorite are Bum Genius. They aren’t bulky, they are made well (I have washed my 12 for 4 years and just now I have two with velcro coming off.) They are a bit more expensive, but I love them.
Second are Fuzzi Bunz. The reason is they are also trim, not bulky and have the great adjustable elastic in the legs. Very smart in my opinion. These are tight on bigger babies though…seeing as Baby M is about 50% bigger than the girls were at the same age.
I have done a few with disposable inserts and what I do find with some like WeeHuggers, are that they get wet in the legs, so you can’t reuse the covers. I do find this annoying and would just rather use a pocket diaper.
I will be selling about half my stash, as I don’t use some of them anymore. And if I find I need a few more afterwards, I’ll be buying bum genius! (I should really be an affiliate!)
So that’s that. I didn’t find that many really useful blog posts when I was looking for help. So hopefully this helps someone!