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Two newbie questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
First of all, I've heard some of y'all use a large wetbag to line your diaper pail with. I'm just wondering the reason for it. As in, why do that rather than lining it with a regular trash bag.

Also, about the cloth diaper-friendly detergent. I'm extremely confused. I use ALL and the grocery generic equivalents, and can't afford anything like Charlie's online. I read that the Free & Clear brands at the store aren't cloth diaper friendly...is this so? and why?

Basically, any suggestions for laundry soap for my cloth diapers for someone on a SEVERE budget. We're talking, no income for two months- that kind of budget.

post #2 of 12
in the past i have just used an unlined trash can. currently, i'm in temp housing. had to move with what i could fit into 2 tiny cars, and didn't bring any trash cans, so i'm just using a garbage bag now and it works fine. i also use grocery bags for diapers when out.

as for detergent. i use tide free and clear and works great for me.

i guess it also depends on the type of diapers. i use prefolds, which rinse very easily.
post #3 of 12
There was an excellent and long (45+ pages) thread on this on the diaperswappers.com site (http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/....php?t=1040786) that you might want to check out. The highlights are that there is a website that posts recommendations for laundary detergents and ranks them and choosing any from that list is fine knowing how they are ranked (http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.co...entchoices.htm). I've cut and pasted the general wash routine here from that post at the end. I am about to try CD with a newborn for the first time hopefully within the next month and so I only have prepping experience. It seems that if you find what works keep using it and if all else fails boil the diapers OR put them into wash with a squirt of dawn detergent and hot washes to "start over." I guess that is generally what I learned from the postings on diaperswappers. Sorry no specific recs on which detergent to use here - but lots of people use a variety of cheap detergents because they have less ingredients which are better for CD! What I have not seen posted a lot about is the type of diaper you are using or diapers vs. covers washing. I bought some Nikky covers and will be using prefolds convereted to fitteds with all natural fibers so it seems the diapers should be washed the way the diaperswappers post reads but that the covers need more delicate care (gentle cycle, warm water, they recommended ecover delicate wash $5.29 on amazon or was it diapers.com or drugstore.com?) Hope this helps.

Q: What wash routine would you suggest for most people?

A: For MOST people with no particular problems and moderately hard water....I would suggest you shake off all solids into the toilet. Run the diapers through a rinse cycle on hot water, with no detergent. Then wash a full cycle with the detergent manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent, an additional tablespoon of washing soda, and a scoop of oxy clean. Run the cycles on HOT if you can, with hot or warm rinses. This may mean you have to run back and turn the dials on your machine in the middle of the cycle to force the rinses to hot or warm. Once the cycle is complete, turn the dial back half way, and run the cycle through a half cycle so that you get another couple rinses. You will have to modify this to work with YOUR machine, but the goal is to get a full cycle, plus a couple rinses. I have a FLer, so the extra rinses are important.

If you have a big Top Loader with extra rinses built in, you may not need it.
If you have soft water, drop the washing soda, and run a full extra cycle.
If you have ammonia, put vinegar in the pre rinse (1 cup)
If you want to use bleach, add it with the detergent, and add 1/4 cup vinegar to the normal rinse cycle (not the extra rinses)
post #4 of 12
Charlies soap may look expensive at first (though i don't buy online so I don't know the prices) but I buy it in a shop and it lasts FOREVER! if you consider how much longer it will last and how many more washes you get out of it... I think its worth it. plus you only need a tiny tiny bit... I only use it cause I was using ummmm i think arm and hammer like the no perfume/ dye one and my son got a horrible rash. we werent sure what it was at first but as soon as we switched it cleared up
post #5 of 12
detergent, we just use the all free and clear that I use on all our clothes, but I'm considering looking into making our own to save money, or at least will when I go on maternity leave with baby number 2.

right now I just line our diaper pail with a regular trash bag, but I want a reusable pail liner (ideally two), my reason being that I'm using about three garbage bags a week on diapers, and that starts to add up, especially over multiple kids.
post #6 of 12
I forgot to mention that from what I have been told and seen at some cloth diaper classes the diaper liner can is for a dry pail method and can be emptied into the washer and washed with the diapers so no need to throw away a liner, supposed to cut down on some odors and recommended to turn it inside out to wash and dry. I plan to use a zippered wetbag that hangs over the diaper changing table instead of a pail (planetwise wet bag).
post #7 of 12
I don't use a pail liner at all. It is easy enough to rinse the bucket in the tub with a squirt of soap if it gets too dirty.

As far as soaps, I have used Ecos and Bio-Kleen with no problems. Those are the cheapest natural brands available in our area and we can't use regular brands. They are ultra-concentrated, so the price per load does work out to pretty cheap even though it seems like a lot when you make the purchase.
post #8 of 12
I have 2 pails. One is lined w a wetbag, the other isn't. The small can is easy enough to toss in the bathtub w some BS and let it soak out the smells, but the big can is, well, big. I wouldn't even consider using a garbage bag, since a big part of the reason we use cloth is to cut down on our garbage production. But you don't have to use a wetbag, you could use a big pillowcase or laundry bag - it's just that a wet bag will contain any wetness and you won't be constantly washing the can. You can also skip lining completely, as I do with the small can. It's also really handy for carrying the laundry downstairs - I don't have to dump it out of the pail into the basket, carry it downstairs, dump in the wash, then rinse the basket. I can just dump the unlined pail into the lined one, lift out the liner and carry the whole thing downstairs and dump the whole thing, bag and all into the washer - built in hamper.
post #9 of 12
A wetbag can be reused more times than a trash bag. That's why.

If you have a top-loading washing machine, try something cheap like Sun detergent. Optical brighteners are bad for PUL, and free & clear laundry detergent brands tend to be loaded with them. Also, cotton diapers are easier to launder than hemp or synthetics, so keep that in mind.
post #10 of 12
I use a large wet bag, b/c I don't want to have to go through that many plastic bags every week. Seems a waste, especially since you know the plastic will stay intact forever and it takes up oil and other resources to make it. I have 2 large wet bags, when it's time to wash I take the bag out of the trash can we use as a diaper pail, turn it inside out into the washing machine to get the diapers out, then wash it along with the diapers, and put the spare bag in the can. The two get rotated out at each washing that way.

As for detergents, here's a chart I like that rates different detergents and how good they are for cloth diapers:


Basically, some of the enzymes or additives in many detergents can be harmful to your diapers (cause them to not be as absorbent, or even break down the fabric over time). Do keep in mind that when washing cloth you only need to use about 1/4 of the amt of detergent you're "told" to use for laundry, so whatever you buy will last longer anyway.
post #11 of 12
What kind of diapers are you using? I've heard pocket diapers need special detergent because they are synthetic. But prefolds are workhorses and will take whatever you throw at them. Seriously, they were used when people just used lye soap! I have used various detergents, but now use either homemade or Costco Environmentally Sensitive brand or whatever it is called. Both work just fine on my prefolds.

I did use plastic trash bags but felt bad throwing them away all the time, so bought a reusuable pail liner finally. But you don't need one.
post #12 of 12
Make your own detergent! It's less than 10$ to purchase all the components and less than 4$ for 5 gal. of detergent.

1 bar Fels Naptha soap
2 c. borax
2 c. washing soda (NOT baking soda)

Dissolve into very hot water in 5 gal. bucket, fill up 5 gal. bucket with hot water, stir, allow to set up for 24 hours, and stir again. It should have a gel & liquid consistency. Use 1/2 per load.

It's safe for CD and all laundry.
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