Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Green(er) Parenting - Cloth Diapers (part two)

Ok, you've decided on a type of cloth diapers. Welcome to the wonderful world of fabric poo receptacles! Its an exciting place. Promise!

Now the question becomes, what the heck do I do with these things? This post will cover some tips on how to store your clean and dirty diapers, washing and drying them and cloth diapering on-the-go.

1. Storage

Everyone will have their own system for keeping clean diapers and storing used ones. This is just our system and what works for us. Feel free to alter the process as you see fit.

Clean diapers are stored in the top drawer of E's dresser in theseOne compartment houses the prefolds/fitteds and one houses the covers and swim diapers. A third houses the cloth wipes we use, but more on those later.

Once used, we simply toss the diaper (and the cover, if soiled as well) into a drawstring bag, similar to this one which is kept in a plastic garbage bin with a lid in E's room. No, it does not stink. Unless you open the bag, in which case helloooo ammonia! Every few days, we bring the bag down to the laundry room, shake the diapers into the washer and toss the bag right in there with them.  Our second storage spot for used diapers is in the laundry room, for when we change E on the main floor or in the basement. We have one of these hanging on the doorknob of the laundry room. It too, can go right in the wash with the diapers.

2. Cloth wipes

Although it may seem easier to use disposable wipes - you are, after all, already doing so well by using cloth diapers - once you make the leap to cloth diapers, it actually makes more sense to also use cloth wipes. This way, the wipes can be folded into the dirty diaper and thrown into the wet bag for washing later. Much easier than picking a used disposable wipe out of the diaper and putting it in the garbage. Try Etsy for some cute pre-made cloth wipes, make your own with a serger and fabric, or simply use baby face cloths. For wipe solution, we have a spray bottle on the dresser with warm water, tea tree oil and a bit of baby shampoo. There are several recipes out there for wipe solution - feel free to choose whatever suits you.

3. Washing and Drying*

How you wash your diapers will vary based on the type of machine you have. The most important points are to rinse, rinse, rinse! We generally do a rinse, followed by a heavy duty wash cycle, followed by a rinse. We use Nellies and love it. In the past, we've used Crunchy Clean and soap nuts. Many cloth diaper peeps use Rockin' Green as well. We aim to wash every 2-3 days.

The most economical and green way to dry your diapers is to line dry them. The sun also helps to sanitize and bleach any stains that may have accumulated. It takes longer but David Suzuki, the trees, and your wallet will thank you.

*Note: we use wool covers at night over our fitted diapers. Unless you'd like a cute little teensy-weensy wool cover, do NOT put your wool in the wash. Jay has found this out the hard way. Twice. Wool has its own set of care instructions and in fact, you only need to wash the covers when they start to smell or leak.

4. On-the-go

While some people prefer to use disposables on the go, I'm here to tell you that yes, it is possible to use cloth while out and about and even while travelling! If we are headed out for less than half a day, I generally bring one cover, three prefolds and a small wetbag with me along with wipes. You can even use cloth wipes soaked in your cleaning solution and kept in a disposable wipes container! The wetbag keeps the stink out of your purse or diaper bag and it all goes in the wash together. No harder than disposables and no one knows you're walking around with poop in your bag. For day trips I'll bring a few extra prefolds and another cover. For more than two days, we bring the whole stash and our large wet bag.

There's so much more that can be said about cloth diapering and others do a much better job of explaining it all. Check out some of these great cloth diapering resources:

Happy diapering!

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