Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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You Want To Put WHAT In My Laundry?!

We've all been there, and if you haven't - you will: You visit family for the weekend and your 7 month old goes through three days worth of diapers in roughly 5 ½ hours.

Or, you're at a friend's house for dinner when the weather turns bad, leaving you and your cranky newborn with nothing but a bag full of wet prefolds.

Or, as was my case, a day trip to your hometown 3 hours away turns into a to-night stay (as it turns out, even a woman whose children are well into their 20s is able to accommodate a baby in their home!).

So what do you do? The thought of running out spending unnecessary money on disposables and forcing your baby's pampered bottom to endure hours – or days – away from its precious fluff is unbearable! There simply is no choice: you must wash your diapers. And you must wash them now.

The first thing to keep in mind when washing diapers in a strange place is the ever-important detergent (after getting permission of course). Gently ask your host what kind of laundry detergent is used in the machine to wash the family's clothes. Hopefully it's on the The List! If not, I recommend the following:

Do: Check labels on any detergents or cleaners your host may have. Be sure there are no non cloth diaper friendly ingredients. If so, run a rinse cycle with a cloth diaper friendly detergent (or wash a load of towels) BEFORE putting your diapers in the wash! This will help remove the residue from the “bad” detergent this is lurking in the washing machine's crevices.

Worse case scenario? If you have no other detergent available simply ask for some vinegar or baking soda. The water in the wash will work to get all the “yucky” out while the baking soda or vinegar will remove the smell.

Don't: Wash your diapers with detergents that contain the following – Pure Soap, Enzymes, Fragrances, Dyes, Brighteners, and Fabric Softeners. Not exactly easy, is it?

TIP: Put a small amount of your usual detergent in a resealable, airtight container in your diaper bag! PLEASE be certain that it is sealed tightly and not accessible by your child! Having this with you at all times will greatly reduce the woes of washing at someone else's home. I now keep a tupperware container of Charlie's Soap with me always.

Once you're done washing, a whole new problem comes up – drying! Of course line drying in the sun is recommended, but obviously this isn't always feasible. However, if you insist on not using the machine and there isn't clothesline available to you, there's always my tried-and-true method... there's a shower curtain isn't there?

Washing your cloth diapers at someone else's house really isn't something to be afraid of. However, I will just have to take this moment to brag a little bit. I do all my diaper washing by hand, which makes it loads (pun intended) easier on-the-go. Sure it's time consuming but once you get your hands wet (I'm on a roll!), it's a breeze!

But I do admit during my stay away from home, my diapers took advantage of the luxury of a washing machine. Which brings me to my final bits of advice:

Do: Check the washing machine after you finish.

Don't: Leave your super-soft bamboo fitted just sitting there in the washer, all alone, with no baby butt to fluff up ever again.... sigh.

-- By Christine D.

21 comments:

Liketohike said...

Thanks for the tip about keeping detergent in your diaper bag--I'll have to see if I have room!

Camille said...

LOL...I LOVE your title! Recently our power went out....right when I had a FULL pail of dirty diapers! I was frantically calling firends who did have power, trying to find someone who would let me wash my diapers in their washer and I had this exact response from a friend! Actually what she said was, with obvious disgust in her voice, "Well, how dirty ARE they?" :) Anyway, thanks for the tips--I am going to use your idea of putting a tupperware of detergent in my diaper bag! Thanks!

BabeeLove said...

Good advice. Now to remember that when I start cloth diapering :)

hosiewosie said...

Oh, you lost a diaper in a friend's laundry machine? :-(

Shaking said...

This was a fun article. I am curious as too how long it takes to wash by hand and how you get good suds from hand washing alone.

Brie H said...

Oh my.. that is some good adivce.... It has never occured to me to put some incase soap in the diaper bag! Thanks for the advice

Upstatemomof3 said...

Oh no!! You left one behind. How sad!! I am so impressed that you wash by hand. I could use some tips - that is m plan for our up-coming international trip.

Pamela said...

Oh no! I hope you get your bamboo fluffy back!

Robyn said...

Thanks for the post!
When my husband told his brother that we were going to use cloth diapers and wash them at home he could not believe we were going to wash our clothes in that same machine. He said if his wife ever wanted to try cloth diapers he would buy a separate washing machine just for the diapers! So much for saving money! :-)

James, Andrea, and Clara Smith said...

Good advice about taking Charlie's with me. I can do that! Too bad it's just another thing to stash in my monster bag. *sigh* I'm a better boy scout than most--I'm ultra prepared (except of course, when I'm not). : )

J TiBBS said...

I always feel bad asking to use a friends washer when we're staying. Even some family has a hard time understanding our using cloth diapers. Thankfully I normally pack enough to get us through a few days. But if we're in a pinch I always have to suck up my pride and ask. Normally everyone is okay with it. Except my MIL, she "doesn't want that filth in her washer". UGH! I like the idea of having a ziploc bag of Charlie's Soap in your diaper bag.

Julia said...

Too cute! Poor lonely fitted diaper...

Christina C. said...

Thanks for the tips!

I would LOVE to see a post about how to wash cloth diapers by hand!

Kelly said...

Another great post about washing away from home! I have never thought of packing my own detergent. I guess I am lucky (or uneducated) that my host's detergents have never affected my diapers performance. I do always check to make sure the detergent doesn't have softners in it. Maybe that helps me out.

Amanda said...

Haha! Great post. I will be spending 3 weeks w/ the in-laws for Thanksgiving & when I told my FIL I would need to use their washer for the diapers he suggested just buying us some sposies for the trip. I had to politely insist that I stick w/ the cloth & then he was fine w/ it...But, honestly DD may be pretty well potty trained by then (crossing fingers)so I may be washing training pants instead.

Lynneskitchen said...

I never thought to wash diapers by hand. We're going to Disney soon and I hate the idea of my boy sitting on paper the entire week. How long does it take them to dry once washed by hand?

Stacy Whalen said...

GREat idea about keeping the detergent in your diaper bag. Now, if I can only remember to bring the diaper bag... (this has happened to me, actually)

Brittany said...

This will be SO helpful when I travel to my sister's house in September! I had never thought of taking a container of my detergent with me everywhere.

Ashley said...

I like the suggestion of carrying a small amount of your regular detergent with you in your diaper bag. I honestly didn't even think of that!

Lisa said...

I like your idea of keeping a Tupperware of cloth diaper detergent in the diaper bag. I think I'll definitely start doing that.

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

Having an emergency stash of cloth diaper detergent is an excellent idea!

As for questions regarding hand washing... Usually, for best results, you're going to need a good old fashioned "washing board" (the kind with metal rungs). This will provide the "agitation" the diapers will need in order to work out the "yucky" stuff. Using the bathtub will work best, however you could opt to wash in a basin.

Honestly, while I know some manufacturers don't recommend the use of OxiClean - if you're planning on hand washing I would personally recommend allowing the diapers to soak in a little OxiClean for at least an hour to allow the organic matter to be broken up by the OxiClean (remember to "activate" the OxiClean by running warm/hot water and dissolving the powder - then change the water to cold).