11 May Cloth Diaper 411: Maintenance
At first with my 27, I washed 15-16 of them every other day at most (and that kept me with several in my drawer). Now I do a load about every 3 days (Corban finally quit pooping every hour). I was also afraid of the time involved in laundering these diapers. Here’s a breakdown of approximate times: throw diaper in bag instead of can–3 seconds, dump full bag into washer–2 minutes, move diapers to drying rack–3 minutes, stuff and fold clean diapers–6 minutes (used to take me 10; I’m an old pro now ;)). That 11 minutes and 3 seconds has saved us oodles of moola.
I use All Free & Clear. I get the BIG tub with the spout dispenser for $8.99 at Walgreens when it’s on sale. Rockin Green, Charlie’s Soap, and Dropps all have gotten good ratings for cloth diapers as well. I just use All because I can get it locally, BUT Corban has baby eczema, so I’m seriously considering trying Rockin’ Green. Here’s one of the charts I used when doing my initial research.
While you want to be cautious about using creams that could muck up your diapers, you can use them. This chart rates widely known and unknown diaper creams for cloth diaper friendliness. If you don’t want to worry about which cream to use (and just want to use up the 17 tubes leftover from your showers), you can always use a liner (aka a cloth wipe or something similar) to separate the cream from the diaper. There’s something called “stripping” your diapers that you may have to do if you get too much cream on them. What happens is the diaper becomes less absorbent toward liquid and starts to repel it. You know you need to strip your diapers when you’re experiencing tons of leaks. (P.S. This hasn’t happened to me yet.)
Winter: Because the inserts separate from the covers, I dry the inserts in the dryer and the covers on a line. (I haven’t actually tried drying the inserts on our rack; it’s just not big enough to hold the covers AND the inserts.) If I put the covers on the drying rack at night, they’re dry by morning. And the inserts just go on a light dry cycle. You MAY dry the covers in the dryer, but it should be on a tumble cycle–no heat.
Summer: Take both the covers and the inserts and hang them up outside! :)
Lots of people have asked about odor. We’re starting Corban on rice cereal next week (or as soon as we get that high chair that we keep forgetting about!), so I hear his poop is about to change. We’ll have to do the “toilet shake.” But for now, there’s no rinsing, no scraping no nothing. Just toss the soiled diaper in the bag and then in the washer. But regardless of his poop, the Smartipants zipper bag that I mentioned earlier is fabulous–not a single smell! Even though we wanted to use a reusable liner in a regular trash can, I wouldn’t do it now. Zipped-in odor is so much less than lid-shut odor.
When we first purchased the cloth diapers, we figured we would still have to buy some disposables for when we traveled. We were kinda bummed out. The whole point of buying the cloth diapers was to make it a one-time expense! Thankfully, this has not been the case. Now to be fair, we haven’t traveled that much–Fort Wayne for all-day shopping trips and Michigan and Wisconsin for weekend family visits.
Day: For the all-day adventures, the dirty diapers fit nicely into the small zippered wet bag. We’d have to change his diaper no matter what kind he was wearing. These ones we just keep with us. And for the record, they don’t stink up the car or anything.
Weekend: And for the weekend endeavors, we usually end up doing a load the last night we’re there. They’re dry by morning, so I can fold them real quick and we can leave!
Tomorrow’s topic: cloth wipes