Huge Cloth Diaper Stash, Huge Downfall #Throwback

I have discovered that there are downsides to having a huge cloth diaper stash.  The biggest downside of all is cloth diaper laundry.  Ideally, cloth diaper laundry should be done every two or three days to prevent bacteria from building up in the diapers.  Clean and frequently washed diapers are the easiest way to avoid stinky cloth diapers.

I know this. [Read more…]

Scented Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent? #Throwback

I’ve done some experimenting in the last six months of using cloth diapers.  I’ve done cloth diaper comparisons in effort to find something that works better than the FuzziBunz pocket diapers that I started out with.  I’ve tried different cloth diaper safe detergent brands to see if I could find something that worked.

The first cloth diaper safe detergent that I tried wasn’t quite as cloth diaper safe as I’d thought.  I used Tide Free and Clear (or whatever the unscented, perfume free and dye free Tide product is called).  It took about a month and a half of using Tide on my diapers for me to strip them.  I think I used the Tide for about… two or three months. [Read more…]

Your Cloth Diapers Are Not Ruined – Relax

A lot of us have some levels of crazy regarding our cloth diapers ruinedcloth diapers. We have our cloth diaper routines and rituals.  We have our storage systems.  There are diapers that are worn at certain times, certain holidays, with certain outfits, etc.  Heck, there are folks that buy diapers and never take them out of the package.  With all that in mind, there are times that someone stresses out over something not going according to ritual.  All that I can say to that is this: your cloth diapers are not ruined.  Seriously.

Your Cloth Diapers Went Through the Wrong Wash

It happens.  Your cloth diapers have just been laundered.  You’ve emptied the washer, hung your shells, thrown your inserts to the dryer, done the Hokey Pokey backwards, and all parts of your particular cloth diaper laundry ritual.  All is right with the world.  You throw your husband’s stinky socks and underwear in the washer with a triple helping of Gain because they smell really funky and he smells much nicer when his socks don’t.  And then gasp, horror, you discover that you left a microfiber insert in the wash.

I frequently see things like this happening.  And I always have the exact same answer: Calm down.  Your cloth diapers are not ruined.  You don’t have to strip them or use Dawn.  You don’t have to flog your husband for forcing you to use such potent smelling detergent to cope with his man stink.  It’s okay.  One time will not make a difference.

Your Cloth Diapers Were Left in the Wetbag

Okay, it’s gross, but it happens.  You went out, had to change your kid because when you’re out and about is the best time ever to have a vile smelling poop that makes you wonder if you need an old priest and a young priest, or at least a gas mask.  You quickly pull over on the side of the road, change your fighting, squirming baby and manage to not get poop all over the front passenger seat of your mini van.  Since you’re in the middle of nowhere (not even cell service?!),  you throw everything in your wetbag, close it all up, wipe down your own hands with a baby wipe, and clean them off with Purell.  And then… you forgot them.  Maybe it was because you didn’t want to think about the vile stench that your cloth diapers are housing in that wetbag.  Maybe you just got busy.  Whatever.  The next thing you know, you’ve forgotten that awful bag in your van for three days.  On the one hand, you’re amazed: your wetbag kept that smell from stinking out your family van.  On the other… your cloth diapers have been left dirty and disgusting for three days.

It happens.  Your cloth diapers are still not going to be ruined.  Just hold your nose, turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, and rinse them out before tossing them in with the rest of your cloth diaper laundry.  Even if it’s mildewed, it’s still not ruined.

Your Neighbor Helped You Out

Your dryer broke.  Your cloth diapers were sunned out, nearly dry, and then the skies burst and torrential rain fell.  You were ready to cry when your neighbor took pity and offered to throw your cloth diapers in the dryer for you.  You were so grateful… but your gratitude was replaced with horror when he handed you a basket of fresh smelling diapers.  Your eyes fill with tears when he says, “I used four Bounce sheets so they’ll smell super nice and be really soft for your baby!”

Your cloth diapers are not ruined.  Really.  Heck, chances are good you won’t even have to strip them.  Just use them, wash them as usual, and go about your business.

The chances are very good that if your cloth diapers have gone through something strange that you would never (deliberately) do, they’re still fine.  They won’t need to be stripped or burned.  It’s not a one-off that causes most cloth diapering problems: it’s the systemic use of things that cause problems over time.

Even so, everything but delamination is fixable.

Have you have a moment when you thought your cloth diapers were wrecked?

Wet Diaper Pail? Gross. (Storing Dirty Diaper Laundry)

Every now and again, I see a post on Facebook where someone asks about using a wet diaper pail for their dirty diaper laundry.  I always tell them that it’s no good.  Sure, my mom used a wet diaper pail for my cloth diapers back when I was in cloth.  But my mom wasn’t using modern cloth diapers.  I was in the best cloth diapers that technology had at that time: flats with pins.

So why is a wet diaper pail so awful?

A Wet Diaper Pail is a Safety Hazard

Did you know that children can drown in as little as two inches of water?  And babies have little melon heads?  It’s quite simple for one to pull up and get that massive head in a position that the little one can’t get out of.  Really, anything that requires standing water shouldn’t be kept in the home.  (And if you keep it outside, it’ll freeze in the winter and be a mosquito hazard in the summer.)  A wet diaper pail should absolutely not be used just because it’s a drowning hazard.  Isn’t that reason enough?

Some Gross Things Grow in Damp Places

Wet Diaper Pail?  Gross.  (Storing Dirty Diaper Laundry)

Do you really want this stuff growing on your diapers? Image courtesy of Photokanoc / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

 

 

 

Mold.  Mildew.  Various bacteria.  They all love wet places.  A moldy diaper is a disgusting diaper that can present a health issue, particularly if your child has mold allergies.  A mildewy diaper is a stinky diaper.  Either way, it’s just gross.  It’s far more disgusting that poo.

Won’t Someone Please Think of the Diapers?

Leaving your diapers to soak in a wet pail can actually break down aspects of your diaper.  Constant soaking isn’t great for elastics.  Soaking in some of my mother’s favorite treatments for flat cloth diapers are guaranteed to void your warranty with modern diapers.  There is absolutely zero benefit to using a wet diaper pail for modern cloth diapers.

So now that I’ve told you how not to store your dirty cloth diapers, here’s a break down of the best ways to keep your cloth diaper laundry.

Cleaning Cloth Diapers in a Top Load Washer

Diapers in Washing MachineThe topic of washing cloth diapers has come up recently in one of the many cloth diaper groups to which I belong. Some moms have front loaders. Some moms have high efficiency washers. I personally have an older model top load washer. I also have a pretty good wash routine that keeps my diapers clean and fresh. Although the way that I clean my cloth diapers is different from the routines that a lot of other moms use, my method works great for me, my daughter, and my diapers.

When I first started cloth diapering, I did diaper laundry every day. Now that I have a pretty extensive stash of Best Bottom Diapers and a few other brands, I wash my diapers only every three days. Between washes, I keep the clean diapers in a basket and the dirty diapers in a wet bag in a garbage can with a lid. [Read more…]

Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine #clothdiaperhop

Cloth Diaper Blog Hop 2013 I’ve noticed through the years that a cloth diaper laundry routine is something that almost everyone seems to struggle with at some point.  I was absolutely one of those people.  Once I finally got my cloth diaper laundry routine down pat, I realized that “keep it simple, stupid” really does apply here.

 

 

My Step by Step Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine

My Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine (Cloth Diaper Addicts)1.) Pre-wash cycle.  I use Rockin Green Funk Rock ammonia bouncer as an additive because Norton produces very strong, very stinky pee.  Plus, since we cloth diaper overnight, Eudora’s morning diapers don’t exactly smell like roses.

2.) Extra long hot wash cycle.  I use around two tablespoons of Rockin Green Hard Rock detergent.

3.) Extra rinse and spin.

4.) Hang shells and all-in-one diapers to dry.  Dry inserts on high with some Woolzies dryer balls thrown in to reduce drying time.

Recent Changes to my Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine

1.) Norton has been having issues with cloth diaper rash around the elastics.  That he won’t let me wipe him when we have a wet diaper change doesn’t help.  To counteract that, I’ve been adding a drop of tea tree oil to the wash.  It’s working.

2.) I’ve been toying with the frequency of doing my cloth diaper laundry because I have two in cloth.  So far, every day and a half looks like the magic number, as two full days will be too long for the diapers to get truly clean.  I go through too many cloth diapers in two days.

That being said, there are variables that can influence your cloth diaper laundry routine.   What does your cloth diaper laundry routine look like?  Is it working for you?


Woolzies Dryer Balls Review & Give Away!

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review and Giveaway (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Yesterday, I announced on my Facebook and on Cloth for a Cause that if I got up to 900 fans, I’d give away a diaper and do a cash donation to the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.  I didn’t get there.  But I got really, really close.  So let’s do another giveaway that I’ve been meaning to get started: let’s do some Woozlies dryer balls!

Last month, I got a package of Woolzies dryer balls for a review.  I’ve been using them faithfully with my cloth diapers and I love them.

Woolzies Dryer Balls are environmentally friendly

Woolzies Dryer Balls are made of pure wool.  That means that they are a renewable resource and are all natural.  Unlike other products or tennis, they don’t contain any sort of chemicals to break down.  There’s no off-gassing onto your laundry.  There is nothing to throw in the landfill.  At a thousand loads, they last pretty much forever.  Plus, Woolzies do an amazing job of shortening drying time.  According to their website, Woolzies dryer balls can reduce drying time by 25% in large loads and up to 40% in smaller loads.  I didn’t do the math, but I can tell you that my cloth diaper inserts are drying much faster with Woolzies dryer balls in the mix!

Woolzies Dryer Balls are a Small Family Business

I really like to support small businesses, particularly family owned ones in the US and Canada.  When you support a small business, you are directly supporting individuals rather than large and faceless shareholders.  The family that owns Woolzies dryer balls lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York State.  As an environmentally conscious family business, they are a group that I can feel good about giving my money.

Woolzies Dryer Balls supports women

Woolzies Dryer Balls are handmade by women in Nepal.  That means that they are giving women a way to support themselves and their families.  You’re also supporting a developing economy in a democratic country.  How awesome is that?

How Can You Get Woolzies Dryer Balls?

You can order them from authorized resellers, directly from Woolzies, and you can fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win a set!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cloth Diaper Laundry – Roll Tide!

Cloth Diaper Laundry - Roll Tide!

Which Tide will you use on your cloth diaper laundry?

Oh, cloth diaper laundry…  You are a cruel and confusing mistress.  You confound even the most seasoned of cloth diaper addicts, particularly when one starts getting into the more mainstream detergents.

We already know that there are so many variables that impact which detergent will be kindest to your cloth diaper laundry.  While I’m a diehard Rockin Green user, not everyone loves my favorite detergent.  Some actually hate it and find that it causes irritation, build up, or any other evil that one does not want to experience when using cloth diapers.

In my local cloth diaper group, we discussed the advice that a mom had received from a diaper company on cleaning her diapers to resolve the leaking issues that she’d had.  This diaper company actually told her that Tide Free was the best to use on their products.  While I wasn’t surprised that Tide Free was considered safe, I was surprised that it was considered to be a “best” option.  FuzziBunz lists it as a safer (but not a first choice) detergent.

Another local mom was surprised by that suggestion.  She had come across some articles lately that said that Tide Free wasn’t the best way to go when it came to cloth diaper laundry.  She’d read that plain old Tide powder was the way to go and she’d used it herself for dealing with the occasional build up issue.  Then I’d learned that the mom who runs a co-op that I’m in uses plain old Tide powder exclusively.

I was actually kind of surprised by that.  I’d heard of someone periodically using the old fashioned orange box Tide on her cloth diaper laundry to resolve build up issues, but to use it all the time?

Wow.

Tide Free

Tide Free is a liquid detergent that’s free of fragrances and dyes.  Those things are very good for cloth diaper laundry.  However, it has brighteners and enzymes.  Enzymes, while not necessarily a bad thing for the diapers, can be unpleasant on your baby’s bottom if the diapers are not rinsed perfectly clear.  Enzymes work by attacking organic matter (like fecal matter) when wet… but our babies are also organic, so this can cause irritation when they wet the diaper.  Brighteners are actually a chemical residue left behind on diapers.  Residue can lead to build up, which can lead to stink or reduced absorbency.

Regular Tide

The good old fashioned Tide powder has enzymes, brighteners, dyes, and fragrances.  There are those that use it and swear by it.  There are even diaper manufacturers that recommend it and specifically say not to use Tide Free.

My personal cloth diaper laundry experience

All that I can tell you is that I used Tide Free, a detergent that’s on the “it’s okay to use” list at FuzziBunz, and experienced such a stink that I nearly gave up on using cloth diapers all together.  But again, that’s my experience, which will be influenced by a whole bunch of factors.

No wonder cloth diaper laundry can be so confusing.  At the end of the day, though, all you can do is figure out what works best for you, your diapers, and your baby (not necessarily in that order).

Have you used either Tide detergents on your cloth diaper laundry?  How did it work for you?

The Evils of the Sanitize Cycle on Cloth Diaper Laundry

Image from Stock.xchng. Used with permission

Whenever you do cloth diaper laundry, the goal is to get your diapers clean.  Your cloth diaper stash takes a lot of abuse.  I mean, our kids pee and poop on those things… over and over again!  So with that in mind, you’d think that you want to get your cloth diaper laundry as clean as humanly possible, right?  And what can be better than sanitized or sterilized?

It turns out that when it comes to your cloth diaper laundry, just plain clean is generally good enough.  But then there are these beautiful, amazingly energy efficient front load washers.  And there’s that lovely “sanitize” button…  It seems like it should be the perfect solution, right?

It’s not.  While “sanitize” means to “render sanitary, free from elements such as filth or pathogens,” it’s not super kind to your diapers.  It can actually get far hotter than manufacturer specifications for some varieties of diapers.

I was curious about the temperatures, so I decided to start calling washing machine manufacturers after finding no hard and fast temperature information on sites with washing machine specs.  According to Maytag, their sanitize cycle renders clothes NSF safe.  NSF certified minimums for washing is 131F/55C.  But that’s just the minimum.  I couldn’t find any information regarding the actual temperature that the washing machine uses on sanitize.  The nice gentleman on the other end of the Maytag customer support line couldn’t, either.

Some sanitize through steaming.  The temperature that water turns to steam is 212F/100C.  That’s also the boiling point of water.

Here’s the thing: while boiling will most certainly kill most things, it may also kill your diapers.  Rockin’ Green says to wash your diapers at a maximum of 150F/65C, but to stick with 130F/54C for every day cloth diaper laundry… with deference to the manufacturer instructions, of course.  The instructions on BumGenius diapers says to wash at 100F/40C.  AppleCheeks diapers say to wash at 140F/60C.  Rumparooz website says explicitly (and this is a quote from their website) “Washing your pockets on the sanitize cycle will void the warranty.”

If you really do need to hard core sanitize, you most likely will only need to sanitize your inserts.  That’s where the issues are more than likely to reside with your diapers in the first place.  The only time I would ever make an exception to this rule is under the same conditions that I would actually use bleach: if dealing with MRSA, a really bad nasty fungal infection, or something else that requires a “kill or cure” approach to getting your cloth diapers back.

Have you ever used the sanitize cycle on your cloth diapers?  How did it work out for you?

Using Cloth Diapers with 2 Or More Still in Diapers

Is it really any harder to have two in diapers than one?

It sounds like a common parenting dread is having two or more in diapers at the same time. When using cloth diapers, it sounds even scarier. It turns out that it’s surprisingly less awful than one might think. If anything, the advantages of using cloth diapers is even more apparent. Here are some things that I’ve figured out in my six months of having two in diapers.

1.) I’m avoiding dropping $80 or so a month at Costco on a couple of monster size box of diapers.  You hear a lot of commentary about how kids in diapers are so very expensive.  Granted I do spend a lot of money on buying cloth diapers, but that’s because I’m a crazy person who enjoys buying diapers.  I have enough diapers right now where I would never have to buy another one ever again.

2.) I never run out.  I did a little experiment.  I thought I was doing a less than stellar job of rotating through my cloth diaper stash, so I decided that I wasn’t going to put away cloth diaper laundry until I was out.  I went eight days.  Granted, I do have an obscene stash, but the point is, even if I had only half of what I’ve got on hand now, I’d still never run out of diapers for my kids.  That means that I never have to make an emergency run to the store.  Of course, that goes along with the not dropping $80 on diapers.

3.) It’s no harder to change two butts than it is to change one.  Sure, my boy fights diaper changes like no tomorrow, but that’s because he’s ticklish and hates wipes.  However, having a second butt to change in the form of a tiny Eudora bottom isn’t any extra labor.

4.) Just keep a huge wet bag.  Or better yet, multiples.  Since I have two in diapers, I have two diaper changing stations: one in each kid’s bedroom.  Then I carry the diaper into the bathroom and drop it in the wet bag after I’ve shaken out the pocket insert or dealt with poo.  I don’t have to wash Norton’s diapers differently than I wash Eudora’s.  They all go in the same Planet Wise wet bag, in the same wash cycle, and then get straightened out and sorted when I get around to folding the diapers to put them away.  I recommend three wet bags: one to use, one to wash, and one for back up.

5.) Do laundry a bit more frequently.  I’m still playing with finding out what the right ratio is for me to do my cloth diaper laundry now that I have so many more diapers to wash.  I have a high efficiency front loader, so if I let the diapers pile up for a full two days, it seems to be too much for my machine to clean effectively.  I’m still working on the soap ratios so that I get the right balance to my cloth diaper laundry routine, too.

The long and short is, everything gets bigger with two.  You do more laundry more frequently anyway, so doing some extra loads of diapers really doesn’t even figure into the equation.

Have you had more than one in cloth?  What secrets have you figured out for your success?

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links.  Should you purchase from one of them, I will receive a small commission that will be used to support Cloth Diaper Addicts.