Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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Washing Cloth Diapers Away From Home? Yes You Can!

Earlier this year our family traveled down to Orlando , FL for a week to attend a wedding. The thought of spending money on disposable diapers that I could instead spend on new fluff, just killed me…so I made the decision to cloth diaper on vacation. This decision was made easier due to the fact that we were staying at my sister’s house, thus giving me access to her washing machine. To keep travel costs down, (don’t you just hate those new per bag charges!) I somehow managed to pack not only myself and two kids in one suitcase, but also a days worth of diapers. This was in addition to the days worth that I packed in my diaperbag. I considered taking prefolds and/or flats and covers due to their small size, but ended up turning to my faithful BumGenius 3.0 pocket diapers.

I was pleasantly surprised when my sister didn’t mind when I asked her if I could use her washing machine every other night to wash diapers. She knew that I had made the switch to cloth diapers, and was more than happy to let me use her washing machine. I had asked her about it before we left on vacation, as I wouldn’t think of throwing my fluff in someone else’s machine without asking first. Cloth diapering while away from home did take some planning, but I did work out a system that worked great for us the week we were away.

I chose to take only one type of diaper to keep things easy. The BumGenius 3.0 is the diaper I depend on overnight, so it was an easy choice to take with me on vacation. I also took a medium size Planet Wise Wet Bag to store the wet/dirty diapers in. Knowing that I wouldn’t have my diaper sprayer with me on vacation, I decided to use Bummis Bio-Soft Flushable Liners to aid in clean up before washing my diapers. The liner, along with any solids, simply fell into the toilet after I removed it from my son at changing time. I then tossed the diaper into my wetbag until it was time to do laundry. When it came time to wash the diapers, I did the old dunk and swirl in the toilet to remove any residue left behind, then proceeded with my normal fluff wash routine. (A cold water wash to rinse, followed by a hot water wash with a double cold rinse using Charlie’s Soap to clean the diapers.) Because I had packed two days worth of diapers, I did fluff laundry every other day once my son was down for the night. By doing this, I would have a two day stash of clean diapers by morning (minus the one he was wearing). To make diaper changes easy, I placed a liner in each diaper after I stuffed the pockets, so they were ready to go when I grabbed one.

We had a great vacation, and I felt a sense of accomplishment by keeping up with my cloth diaper routine while away from home. The only thing I did differently (other than twice as many fluff laundry loads as usual) is I did use disposable wipes instead of my usual cloth wipes. For this trip, I found it easier than trying to stuff even more cloth in my already over-packed bags. I’ll never forget changing Brendan’s diaper while he laid in the stroller parked next to Cinderella’s Castle at DisneyWorld . The other memorable diaper change while on vacation took place during the flight home. About half way through the two and a half hour flight, I checked Brendan’s diaper and found it to be dirty. I made my way back to the bathroom where the changing table was and found the messiest diaper we had the entire trip. Of course, trying to change a diaper on a tiny changing table in a cramped airline bathroom presented quite a challenge, but ten wipes later, it was mission accomplished. It was worth the work though, as I have no doubt in my mind that had he been wearing a disposable diaper, I would have been cleaning up a major blow out. My BumGenius 3.0’s had saved the day.

-- By Katrina W.

37 comments:

hammergirl5 said...

Yeah! This gives me hope! I am going on vacation next week and we are planning to stay in acondo that has a washer and dryer! I had planned to write about it afterwards as well! Thanks for the great input!

lisa hammer

Amanda said...

I've been wondering if I'll be able to use my cloth while my family is on a mini-vacation to the zoo and hiking. We'll be staying in a hotel. I may have to go half cloth and half sposies.

brightland416 said...

Since I am new to the world of cloth, I would be so nervous to use cloth diapers while away from home. But this blog made me feel a little more confidant that it isn't such a big deal! Thanks for sharing your experience! :)

The McDougles said...

I haven't been brave enough to do cloth diapers while away from home yet. I am glad it can be done and will attempt it sometime.

MaryAnne said...

Great article. You're right about blowouts being worse with disposables - I finally tried cloth diapers for the first time because I was tired of my daughter having blowouts with disposables.

ONCE upon a time.... said...

airplane travel with cloth diapers scares me...so i'm glad to hear you had a positive experience! makes me think maybe I can do it, too!! but i suppose, as you pointed out, it's better than changing a blowout in a sposie! ;) thanks for the great info!

ih0ney said...

Hmm, we are about to make our big move back to our hometown and the drive will take a few days. We are not sure if hotels have a washer and a dryer so we are a bit confused on how we are going to do the trip with a cloth diaper!

Stacy Whalen said...

You really had an organized system! I think it probably made it simpler with only bringing one type of diaper, which cuts down on "Decision making time"

Erin said...

I am so excited to know someone else has flown with cloth diapers. We leave this weekend and I am a little worried about the challenge, but I am up for it!

LaurenAshley said...

I was wondering, on older babies do you have to rinse out the cloth wipes before doing your diaper laundry like you do the diapers? Or can you just throw them in the washer as is?

A Psych Mommy said...

That's really awesome! I still haven't tried using CD's away from home--I think it would be easier if I tried it while staying with family like you did. BTW--it's amazing that you were able topack everything in just one suitcase! Last time we traveled, my son had a suitcase with just his stuff

Ashley said...

You definitely earned that sense of accomplishment you mention - how impressive that you were able to stick to your cloth diapering routine!

Chic Mama said...

I just have to say yeah for planetwise wetbags!

Yara said...

awesome that you were able to wash dipes on the trip, and yay that cloth prevented a blowout diaper on the plane!

Liketohike said...

Thanks for the encouraging information on cloth diapering away from home. It's good to get ideas on tweaking the normal routine to make it work on vacation.

Anna said...

This post was perfectly timed! We leave on Friday and I wasn't sure I could do cloth due to baggage charges now. I'm inspired to make it work!

Katrina said...

First of all - good luck to all of you who are going to try cloth diapering while away from home...you can do it :) But don't feel guilty if you don't. I've made a few trips here and there where I've used sposies instead when I didn't have a washer and dryer available.

LaurenAshley - I usually rinse off my cloth wipes along with the dirty diapers before putting them in my diaper pail

Andrea said...

We went on vacation last week and ended up using disposables and TOTALLY regretted it. We had no fewer than seven big exclusive breast fed poop blowouts, including one two hours into the trip all over his brand new car seat! Awful.
But since my son is totally allergic to disposable wipes, we made our own disposables by cutting up old tee shirts and taking a bottle of our solution-- it worked perfectly, and we didn't have to worry about dealing with wipes.

Senior Family said...

woot ! love this post ! i hope my MIL will let me use her washer so we can CD on our trip too :)

James, Andrea, and Clara Smith said...

Good for you! I know about not wanting to spend money on diapers that you could use on fluff! My DH thinks I've gone a bit nutty. He doesn't get the cloth diaper love, but he's a good sport and changes diapers and washes according to my specifications when I need an extra pair of hands. I'll have to try this when we go on vacation. I think the laundry machine would be a crucial element.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the tip about using a disposable liner to help clean up poopy messes. That's a great idea to make things a bit easier.

Upstatemomof3 said...

We have used clothdiapers while we were on vacation. The part I found the most difficult was choosing which ones to take - I wanted to show off all of my fun ones. :)

Shaking said...

We are planning to use our diapers while staying in a hotel next week. Can't wait to see how it goes.

Ryan and Amy said...

Yes, gives me hope for our upcoming beach trip!

Christina C. said...

Using the liners in the BG is an amazing idea for when you are away from home. Smart Mama!

Crissy said...

We haven't gone on a vacation yet..but after reading this I'm sure it won't be as traumatizing as I picture it in my head! Thanks!

TheClothDiaperWhisperer said...

LaurenAshley- You can wash your cloth wipes with your cloth diapers. Keep in mind that if you use a wipes solution that contains any oils in it you should wash separately. I just use water with my wipes.

Sarah J. said...

I am going on vacation in weeks and refuse to use sposies after the reaction my son had to the chemicals. We are staying in the mountains so we'll have to make a trip to town to the laundry mat, but I feel like it will be totally worth it. Plus if we can use cloth while camping, a cabin will be much easier! Thanks for sharing!

Sarahjenne said...

When we went on our first plane trip recently I wanted my baby in cloth to prevent airplane blowouts. I usefd my 1 alloted carry on bag for my fluff and it's a good thing I did because there was a 4 hour delay at the airport!

anastasiadenton said...

I've flown as well. DEFINITELY the best way to go! I added a space bag to the mix (they have travel bags) to keep down the bulk of the diapers. Not much different then bringing sposies on a trip in the past if you think about it.

Kelly said...

I can't agree more about how cloth diapers always save me in the blowout catergory. I never have a major clothing change after either a newborn BF explosion or a super duper toddler pooper like I have seen on kids with disposable diapers! Yeah for cloth saving the day!

Brittany said...

I love these traveling with cloth diaper posts! I will be going to WA for a week to visit my sister and her new baby. All these traveling tips will come in handy for sure!

a2editor said...

Any tips for washing diapers when there ISN'T a washing machine? I don't think I'm up for hand-washing, unless there's a super easy and quick way to do it.

Laura C

laurakcowan/at/gmail/dot/com

thejepps said...

I have relied on my Planet Wise bags so much. I actually took my pail liner on my last vaca and secured the top with a rubberband. My next purchase at Kelly's Closet will definitely include a medium and large travel bag.

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

iH0ney:
If the trip is only going to be 2-3 days and you have enough cloth diapers to last you through the drive for that many days then you should be able to survive the drive on cloth - just store the diapers in the trunk in a really good wet bag such as the Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag (which is big enough to hold 3 days worth of diapers).

Here's a post I wrote about traveling via car with cloth:

http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2009/02/hit-road.html


LaurenAshley:


If you're talking about "poo" wipes - then I rinse our wipes. It's not really necessary if your little one is exclusively breastfed (EBF) - but if your little one is on "solids" then yes, you really ought to rinse the wipes as you would rinse the diapers.

Amanda said...

Great post...I just got back from a 10 day trip to visit the inlaws that included two 10 hour car rides, one side-of-the-road stranding that lasted 12 hours, one baseball game in 90 degree heat, and four days camping in a tent in 50 degree weather. We used cloth the whole way and I could not be happier. I think my inlaws think I'm a little nutty though. :-P

CHRISTLIKE said...

I was going on a 5 day trip and prepared to use cloth at our family's home where we were going to stay. I ended up saying to myself "cloth diaper vacation!" I enjoyed the ease of no washing or dunking and all that for the week. But now at home we're back to business~