Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Down and Dirty (literally) on Cloth Diapering

image via here
I posted last week that James and I are loving cloth-diapering Jones, and we really are.  I mentioned that our favorite diaper is the Bum Genius 4.0 all-in-one, but I didn't give details on how we were rinsing and washing and drying the diaps, so here we go for those who have asked:

I found this Potty Pail on-line before we even had Jones and knew that this was what I wanted to use to rinse out the diapers.  My husband is pretty darn handy, so he saw the product and knew that he could make his own version cheaper, so here it is:

5 gallon bucket with hole drilled in the bottom, placed on top of the toilet
tubing with toggle that connects to water at the back of the toilet (turn on and off as needed to rinse diapers)
sprayer attached the other end of the hose
the silver hooks are simply shower hooks that we got in a package of 12--you can use them to hang up rinsed diapers while they drip-dry in the bucket or to hold the sprayer (shown above), or to hang washed diapers on a shower rod to dry
diaper pail that I inherited from my sister--she used it for disposable diapers, but I'm using it for our cloth diapers; after a diaper has been rinsed and dripped dry (mostly) in the potty pail, then I put it in this baby until I'm ready to wash
Most parts of the homemade potty pail we got at a plumbing supply store.  James just took in a photo of the parts we needed and showed it to an employee, and he gathered everything we needed--I think it came to about $30 total.  The 5 gallon bucket we already had, and it came from Lowe's, (obviously).  The silver shower curtain hooks are from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
I wash diapers about every other day and there are definitely times when Jones wears disposable diapers.  From the beginning we decided not to pressure ourselves, but to make the cloth diapering routine user-friendly for us so that we would stick with it.  

Some things we have learned along the way: 
1- I was scared to put Jones in a cloth diaper overnight at first because I was scared of leakage.  (The cloth diapers don't have quite as much absorbency as the fake fibers that wick moisture into the disposables, so they get wetter faster).  But, I was wrong.  Since we started cloth diapering him at night, Jones has had nary a leak.  We put 3 absorbent inserts in the diaper for overnight, (as opposed to 1 for day-time use), and we have had less leaks from the cloth diapers than we have the disposables.
2- I thought the cloth diapers may leak poop more readily than the disposables.  Wrong again.  Jones has had some blow-out diapers, as I assume all babies do at one time or another, and almost all of the blow-outs that were super messy were in disposable diapers.
3- We like the BumGenius 4.0 diapers with the velcro better than those with the snaps.  They are both fine to use, and we have an equal number of each because we didn't know what we would like best when we bought them, but we no know we like velcro best.
4- Use just a 1/4 of the amount of laundry detergent to wash a load of cloth diapers as you would to wash a normal load of clothes.  If you use a regular amount, the diapers will still be soapy when the wash cycle is finished.
5- There is no need to take the diaper inserts out of the dirty diapers before rinsing or before washing in the machine--they will get just as clean inside the diaper, and many times the machine agitation will pull them separate from the diapers during the cycle anyway.  You can separate them to dry.

The diapers we use can be dried in a clothes dryer, but I prefer to line dry them to save energy and also to save the life of the diapers.

If you have any other questions about our routine or anything related to our cloth diapering experience, feel free to ask!  I am by no means an expert, but I do know what has worked best for us.


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