Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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Soiled Diaper Solutions

When I first became interested in cloth diapering, I was pregnant with my now ten month old daughter. I wanted to use cloth diapers instead of disposables, but I had been told they were hard to get clean. I was worried that they wouldn’t be sanitary. I scoured the internet trying to find out how best to wash cloth diapers – What kind of detergent/soap should I use? How much? Would I need to add anything else like vinegar or baking soda? What about bleach? OxyClean? Bac-Out? And then: should I use a wet pail method or a dry pail method? Do I need one of those sprayer thingys? It was all so overwhelming.

So I decided to just pick something and gave it a try. I figured if it didn’t work, I could always do something else. I purchased one of the size small Bummis cloth diaper kits that comes with 3 dozen prefolds and 6 Bummis super whisper wraps. I have always just folded the prefolds into thirds and placed them in the cover – no pins or snappies. If she only peed, the diaper went into the pail and the cover stayed out in rotation. If she pooped, it would usually get on the cover too so the whole thing – diaper and cover – went into the pail. Now that she has started solid foods, I sometimes shake the diaper into the toilet before putting it in the pail.

I decided to try a dry pail method because I didn’t like the thought of dealing with soiled water. The pail I use is a white plastic touchlid wastebasket I bought at Target for around $9. I customized it to our nursery by gluing on dinosaurs to the front and the top of the lid. In place of a regular garbage bag, I use one of two Wahmies all-day size wet bags that I have in rotation. It just goes on the garbage can under the lid like a regular bag would. When I need to put a soiled diaper in, I can push the button on the touchlid with one hand, and keeping the lid closed afterwards eliminates odors. For on the go storage, I use a smaller wetbag with a zippered top for day trips. If we go overnight I take one of my all-day size bags with us.

I typically wash diapers every 2-3 days. I take the whole bag to the laundry room, dump the diapers in the wash, and then the bag goes in too. I prewash them in cold water and then add ½ a scoop of Charlie’s Soap and wash with hot water. I make sure the water level is set to the highest it will go, and set the wash cycle to the longest setting. I then double rinse to make sure to get all the soap out.

To dry the diapers I take them outside and hang them on the line. My daughter has always enjoyed getting outside to “help” me do this – at first riding in my front carrier, and now playing on the ground and pulling up on the laundry basket. If there are any stains, a couple hours in the sunshine will eliminate them (even on a rainy day!), and the sun’s bleaching action also helps to sanitize the diapers. I have never used any additives such as vinegar, baking soda, Bac-Out, or OxyClean. Because there are so many prescriptions for how to wash diapers on the internet, I believe that different things must be necessary in other areas with different water hardnesses, but for me this simple method works great.


- By Samantha E.

26 comments:

Upstatemomof3 said...

Hey that's pretty much my routine - although I keep the diapers inside when it is rainy. Oh and my pail has no lid so I just zipper my bag closed to eliminate odors.

Amanda said...

Sounds good & simple. I wish I could hang our diapers outside to dry & get sanitized. We live in a condo so it's just not possible at all.

Amanda G.

Ammie said...

Wow! You've convinced me to give my prefolds another try. I know I'll like them with wet diapers, just folded inside a cover, but now you've got me thinking that, since I have enough covers, I might enjoy simply tossing the messy covers right into the pail. I think I could love the simplicity of prefolds!

J TiBBS said...

This sounds exactly like my house. Minus the fact that I have a 2 year old and a 8 month old in prefolds. Four years ago when I started clothing diapering I also wondered how I was going to deal with the diapers afetr they were soiled. I do the same exact thing. No yucky water mess for me to deal with. =o)

bethy said...

i dry my diapers on the window sill and hope the sun takes out the stains!

The McDougles said...

Thank you for this awesome article! It has given me some ideas on what to do with my cloth diapers. I am due soon with my second and really need to find a good way to store soiled diapers.

the monkey's mama said...

this is such a great post for people who are afraid of dirty diapers! thank you for sharing!

Erin said...

Thanks for the motivation!! I am in the midst of getting ready to cd for the first time, and reading your post has given me even more inspiration!

Hannah said...

Sounds remarkably similar to my routine. I even have a touch-lid pail from Target, but sometimes mine won't stay closed. I have to get that figured out :)

Ashley said...

This makes it look so easy - I have been nervous to try regular prefolds with covers, but now I'm thinking it doesn't sound all that bad!

as said...

Great post! I started with prefolds but ended up using pockets. This makes me want to try prefolds again. Sounds easy. I too wish I could hang my diapers outside. Not possible here.

Jenney said...

I use basically this same routine too, but I uise a bit of vinegar in the rinse cycle. What do you think about disinfecting diapers?

ellasentia said...

Your system is very simple. I do a pre-wash, cold wash, hot wash w/ detergent, and two cold rinses. I am very anal about getting all the nasty out. When it is sunny I put the diapers outside to dry and fluff them up w/ the dryer for a few minutes.

Amy B. said...

I use a large zippered wetbag to store our dirty diapers. Then just empty and toss it into the wash! Very simple! Thanks for sharing your routine.

thejepps said...

I'm with you. The simpler the routine the easier it is to maintain.

Kristin said...

I have definitely found that hanging my diapers outside to dry cuts sown on stink!

Sarah said...

Thank you for this information about your routine. I'm just getting into cloth diapering and have questions about washing. I'm kind of just experimenting as I go!

Shelly said...

Great article on a simple diapering plan- it is much like what I do (I like prefolds and wraps, too), except I make my own laundry detergent to save money.

HappilyDomestic said...

Thanks for sharing...I always love to hear other moms cloth diapering stories. :-)

Becky said...

I wish that I trusted the weather more. With all the rain this summer I haven't been able to dry mine outside as often as I like. I've never tried it on a rainy day.

Thrifty Mama B said...

I avoided prefolds when I first started cloth diapering b/c I didnt want to use pins (I didnt know about the snappi at the time). Now I have a handful of prefolds and I just fold them and lay them in the covers. For my 30 lb. 19 month old this works fairly well most the time.

Thanks for sharing!

MaryAnne said...

sounds like my CD routine!

hosiewosie said...

Love the clothesline picture! I still have to work on hanging them outside, it just seems so much easier to use the dryer.

Slee said...

you know, that's a good routine, though my pail is neither so pretty nor so lidded. it has a lid, but i'm too dang lazy to use it. of course, since snapdragon is only 12 weeks old and exclusively breastfed, thre really isn't a lot of an odor problem to contend with.

Sarah J. said...

I love pictures of cloth hanging on the line. Wish we could line dry ours, but apartment living just doesn't make that a possibility. great routine!

carla said...

i have a 10wk old girl and i have in recent weeks started using prefolds and blueberry covers. i also have blueberry pockets. in an effort to save floor space i use a big wet dry bag as a "diaper pail" it works great. when it's time to wash (diapers and bag) i use soapnuts as the detergent. i prewash in cold w/ a bit of soapnut liquid and then do a hot wash cycle w/the soapnuts or the liquid. i then hang them on the line outside.