Troubleshooting Cloth Diapers

I mentioned in the first post that I was trying to explain how we cloth diaper to some friends and they just sat there horrified at what I was saying. I obviously didn't explain it well enough and it made me want to write these posts!

I will also add that I am pretty high maintenance and extremely squeamish and repulsed by smells. So if you're reading this thinking "oh some people are just cut out for this, some aren't" maybe that's true, but I never thought this is something that I would actually stick with/carry through longer than a month.

There are so many miscellaneous things that go into cloth diapering. I figured I'd put them all in one place. These opinions are simply my own.

What about washing? What kind of detergent should I use? Does it use alot of energy to wash/dry?
I wash our diapers with any Free and Clear detergent (Tide/All/Arm&Hammer). I will occasionally throw in some Rockin Green as a booster to fight ammonia stink. The ammonia comes from the build up of pee and detergent. With Luke I washed everything is Tide Original and although the diapers smelled great right out of the wash, they did eventually smell like ammonia. I think the detergent built up on them and it wasn't until the Rockin Green that finally kicked the stink.

We never noticed a difference in our energy or water bill. We have a top loading energy efficient washing machine that only uses enough water for the wash. I always do a hot prewash, then regular cool wash, and depending on how soiled the diapers are I'll do an extra rinse to be sure all the detergent washes out. I prefer to line dry my diapers, but this year I've dried them in the dryer on HIGH because of all the nasty rain. Our dryer also senses how heavy the load is an adjusts the time accordingly.

Won't the diapers stink eventually?
Detergent will eventually build up on diapers. That's why the extra rinse is pretty important. Occasionally I will bleach my inserts and I've come to LOVE Rockin Green Funk Rock as a booster. You can find it here. It eliminates any stink (when I say stink- it's mainly ammonia smell- not poop). Some people will "strip" their diapers with blue dawn dish soap. I haven't had luck with it. It seems to build up on my microfiber inserts.

Stink is either diapers that aren't getting clean enough and the stink is bacteria or stink is a buildup of residue from the detergent it's washed in. This is why it's super important to use cloth diaper safe detergent.

Can diapers be dried in the dryer?
YES. Many manufacturers actually recommend them going in the dryer sometimes. The heat in the dryer helps to reseal the PUL which is the waterproof fabric in the diaper. You absolutely CANNOT use dryer sheets. Dryer sheets build up oil on fabric and it will make the diapers repel water over time. We've simply cut out dryer sheets in our family, even in our regular laundry.

Umm poop. Isn't it gross to put that in the washer?
Poop doesn't bother me. And since having children it grosses me out even less. Breastfed baby poop is water soluble so you can throw the diaper, poo and all, right into your washer. For formula fed babies (my babies!) you do need to dump the poo into the toilet. This is what heebs some people out. I do it as soon as the diaper is changed. I just flip the diaper inside out and shake it over the toilet and it falls out. I've been lucky with the consistency of the poo. I'll leave it at that. It's really not any more gross than wrapping up and throwing away a poop disposable diaper. With cloth diapers the poo goes where it should (down the toilet) as opposed to in the trash. It always made me laugh that daycare wouldn't touch cloth diapers, yet Luke would come home at LEAST once a week (in the potty training days) with accident clothes. We threw that in the washer without even thinking twice. Cloth is the same way.

Also as they start to eat more solid foods the consistency of their poo gets, well..... more solid! So it's easier the older they get.

What's a wet bag and why is a "wet" bag dry?
It's true- a wet bag isn't wet. But wet diapers go in them. Back in the old days people kept pails filled with water in their laundry room or bathroom for the dirty diapers to go in. This is a huge no-no since babies can drown in just a few inches of water. So use a bag! We own 2 wet bags. 1 is a travel bag that goes in the diaper bag that looks like this:
And the other is called a "pail liner" that just gets placed inside a trash can. Ours looks like this one except ours is gray:



Can I use diaper rash cream?
I'm going to state my opinion really fast... We used disposables with Luke for his first 18 months. We had some of the WORST diaper rashes ever. We're talking blisters that bled and oozed. It was terrible. He never had an issue after switching to cloth. Emberly has never had a diaper rash and she has almost exclusively used cloth. To each their own.

There are diaper rash creams that claim they are cloth diaper safe. I'd say it's waaaay better to be safe than sorry. My advice is never put diaper rash cream on without a fabric barrier. Diaper rash cream is made to repel moisture, so if it gets on your diaper or prefold the fabric will do the same. Some people cut fleece pieces that fit along the diaper so the cream stays on the fleece and the baby's bottom not on your diaper.

Stains? Gasp. 
Poop happens. And especially when they start eating solids (we're not there yet with Emberly). I found the easiest way to "prevent" (if you can even call it that) is to get rid of the contents of the diaper immediately. Next realize that stains are inevitable. Putting diapers in the sun (called "sunning" them) is actually the best natural bleach for them. I never thought it would work, but it does. Out of all my diapers in my stash I have 1 with a stain. For the most part they come out in the wash.

How you diaper your kid is totally a personal decision and Josh still won't change a poopy cloth diaper. But I have been amazed at how truly easy it is (being all high maintenance and all) and what it has saved me (I'll break that down on Thursday)!

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