If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it *here*.
There are many different methods of caring for cloth diapers. Some diapers, ironically the ones considered more convenient (like the all-in-ones), have very strict care requirements. Some require a specific detergent (which happen to cost $20+ a bottle) or need to be air-dried only. Paying that much cash for simply cleaning my super-budget adventure would totally negate the whole thing for me. And so, I use good-old-fashioned, cheap-as-dirt bleach.
That answer might make the die-hard cloth-diaperer cringe, but it’s worked for us really well. No smells. No stains. No breaking the budget. Nothing complicated. It’s the way I like it.
A normal cloth-diapering care routine for me goes like this…
I collect all the soiled diapers in the wetbags over about a four day stretch. The wetbags do a really good job of keeping the smell where it belongs. The only time I get a ‘whiff’ of anything is when I unzip the bag to put a new diaper in. Not too different from tossing a disposable diaper away in a diaper pail.
If you’re interested in how I learned to fold the prefolds, here’s the youtube I learned from. This lady does a great job of showing the different popular folding methods so you can figure out what works best for your little one.
When I’m running low on clean diapers, I toss everything in the wash (including the wetbag) and wash them on a heavy, hot cycle with a little bleach. Then I wash them a second time on cold with a little bit more bleach for good measure. Being the unsure, slightly queasy beginner, I first washed them on the heaviest setting my machine allowed. I’ve been gradually experimenting with lighter load settings in an effort to see how much water I can save and still get the job done.
When the washing’s done, I quickly separate the covers and wetbags from the true cloth diapers and dry only the cloth pieces on regular high heat. Then I add the covers and wetbags to the dryer and change the setting to medium/low heat. It’s important not to wash the waterproof parts on regular heat as they can melt and loose their water/smell-proofness.
And that’s it. I fold them, put them away, and continue saving tons of money diapering.
Okay, so washing’s easy enough, you say. But what about, you know… the poo? Are you really okay sticking that stuff in the wash?
THE CONVENIENCE: (taking care of poo)
Well, as long as your baby is not on solids yet, the poo is nothing to worry about. It washes away easily and leaves no trace behind. However, now that I have a ten month old who is quite the baby food fan, things have… shall we say, changed.
It might surprise you (it surprises me) to know that I have yet to change a truly gross, solid-food-based diaper, even though Matthias has been experimenting with solids for months now. (And no, silly! I don’t make my husband change them all. Although, come to think of it… that’s an option worth considering if it ever comes down to it.)
You see, the good thing about older-baby poo (the kind you don’t want going in your washer) is that it’s usually prefaced by a bit of obvious straining on the little culprit’s part. Usually, that’s just enough time for me to stop what I’m doing and rush him to the potty to let him finish the job there.
Am I actively potty training him at ten months? Goodness, no. I’m not that brave.
Instead, it’s more coincidental potty-training out of necessity or pre-training, if you will. (In reality, it’s me running to the bathroom shouting “Wait, wait! I don’t want to change it! I don’t want to change it!”) But either way, I suppose the early familiarity will help with future potty training. At least, I’m hoping he won’t have the same irrational fear of the soul-sucking, black-hole of a toilet that brought Gabriel to tears for months on end. And personally, it might be worth it just for that.
A little extra work? Perhaps. But is it really that much work to run him to the potty right away than it is to wait until he’s finished and clean up the mess afterward?
Alas, I am not done. Do you remember when I mentioned beginning my cloth-diapering adventure with martyr-like resolve? Well, that has changed. You see, on top of saving TONS of money, there are two other perks I’ve discovered along the way… and they’re biggies. Because of them, I’m not sure I’d go back to disposables even if I won the lottery (although, I might start paying a maid to wash them all for me).
No more diaper rash. – Most children don’t have reactions to 100% cotton material, and if you’re using prefolds, that’s probably what you’re working with. Diaper rash only happens now if we go far too long between diaper changes.
No leaks! – Seriously, with disposables I thought blow-outs were just a necessary part of life, but they really don’t have to be. Cloth has been amazing as far as containing the worst messes and keeping him dry overnight. Hooray for waking up to a huggable, dry child!
I’d love to hear about your thoughts on cloth-diapering. Tried it? Liked it? Trying to work up the courage?