I hate to be that mom who starts new threads instead of reading back, but between the cloth diapers forum on reddit, reading old threads here and all the resources google has given me I AM SO CONFUSED. As a preface, we are pretty poor, live in a small apartment with no patio or outside area that is ours in a slum downtown (so no hanging to dry outside) and as a result of having no washer or dryer in the unit (and the high prices of using a laundromat), I handwash all of our cloth diapers and then hang them to dry in the house on hangers. The dry air in our apartment thanks to using the oven and space heaters for heat (no central air or heat) helps the covers dry in a couple of hours and the prefolds usually dry overnight. I haven't had any problems with mildew as of yet.
Also, keep in mind DH works full-time about 45 minutes away and I've recently switched jobs and have been off for a few weeks but start at my new job later this month. Also, I'm starting school again in mid-January, so we're going to be, er, a little busy.
1) If they were my prefolds/covers, I would be less worried about stains, but these are all on loan from Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and they came to us in nearly pristine condition, most of them clearly never before used. Right now when she poops, I change DD, then have to set her down so I can immediately spend 10 minutes or so cold-rinsing out the actual poop from the prefold fabric. (She's ebf and 3 months old, so I can't exactly call it solids.) Then I throw it in a big bucket that DH brought home from work, shake some baking soda and lemon over it. I have around 6 covers and 12 diapers and I do laundry almost every day because every time she poops, it's a horrible cloth diaper poopsplosion that gets all over the cover. I use ECOS Free and Clear because I've read that you shouldn't use anything with optical whiteners, enzymes, fragrances or fabric softeners on cloth diapers. When I can afford it, I do a bathtub wash-cycle with tea tree oil before the cycle with the ECOS. I like Rockin' Green better but the only local retailers are only open twice a week and I can't drive, so I have to wait for DH to have a day off work. I've been able to get rid of a lot of the staining, but I still feel bad because some of the really nice covers and several of the prefolds are very stained. I read that you can't use bleach on prefolds, either... WWYD? Anyone BTDT?
2) DD is on the thinner side of average except for her really chubby thighs and chubby butt (like me :P) - I read on this forum that newspaper fold is better for big-thighed babies, but I feel like we have even more leaking with that one. When we can, I'm going to build on a stash - is there a better setup than prefolds and covers as far as the fit for her? What about leaking?
3) When the disposable wipes we were given by relatives before she was born run out, I'm planning to switch to cloth wipes, but will I have to do the same run-to-sink routine with them as I do with the prefolds? What is your cloth diaper routine like/do you think it's worth it?
4) I usually soak my diapers for about 45 minutes on each cycle of the handwash (first cycle: hot water/baking soda on stained areas/TTO when I can afford it, second cycle: ECOS, third cycle: quick water rinse and ringing them out by hand) because it was recommended on one forum but while searching this forum I read that's bad. Why is it bad and what can I do instead?
Thanks in advance, I love all of you mamas and your infinite wisdom!
Hi, I saw that you haven't got any replies so here's my take on things...it may destroy my crunchy street cred but here goes, hopefully it'll help!
1. You can totally use bleach on cloth diapers and on covers, too. I have bleached my prefolds and covers. They are fine. Don't worry about it. Seriously, bleach is not the end of the world--yes, it is not super organic natural baby-friendly, but your baby will be fine and the diapers will be fine, and they will not have stains. If it really bothers you, get non-chlorine bleach. The stains really bothered my DH and non-chlorine bleach worked great. (Full disclosure: I am a chemical engineer and worked in a microbiology lab till I had my DD. I am more afraid of weird natural supplements and of not vaccinating against whooping cough than of bleach. Bleach kills bacteria and viruses. Sometimes a little ungentle oomph is a good thing.)
Furthermore, you don't need special fancy detergents for washing your diapers. My diapers are from Green Mountain Diapers and they send out a little booklet on how to care for them, and even it says so--yes, it's best if you use the free-washing stuff, but if (say) you use a shared washer and the other folks using it aren't using the free-washing stuff, it won't make a lick of difference. If you're on a really tight budget--and it sounds like you are--you could just get the cheapest detergent that will get the diapers clean and use that. We used the Trader Joe's brand detergent (it's cheap but doesn't have fragrances, etc. to bother sensitive skin) and it worked pretty well. Bright Green is better--that's what I use now--but it's spendier and harder to find. You might eventually have to strip the diapers if they get buildup, but I haven't had a problem with it yet, and my DD is 15 months old (she's been in the medium size dipes for nearly a year now).
2. I don't know about this, sorry. We just used simple folds for prefolds and as she got older and the poo got, um, thicker, there was less leaking. My DD is skinny too and the Thirsties covers worked best for us.
3. When we were washing by hand, we soaked all the poo dipes & wipes in one bucket with soapy water, and the pee dipes & wipes in another bucket with soapy water. We'd scrub them in the bathtub with more soapy water and a hard-bristled brush, rinse 'em a couple times and hang 'em to dry. Now that we have a washing machine, I don't bother presoaking anything (I just scrape the poo off the diaper into the toilet).
4. Dunno why that's bad, sorry. I figure anything that gets your diapers clean and works for you is great. Isn't that the whole point?
Good luck! Please don't be too scared to do something "wrong" with your diapers--I know it's harder when they're just on loan, but really...they're diapers. I'm sure the loaners expect them to be used. And much as I admire the crunchy CD point of view, and I'm a hard-core CD person, I do feel that we take it too far sometimes. If you can't afford fancy schmancy organic diapers and soap and whatnot or the time to handscrub each diaper lovingly for 50 minutes in just the perfect way... it will be okay. Really. As long as your diapers are clean and the routine works for you and your family, you're doing it just right!
Mom to the wacky and wonderful Kalyani (August 2011)
1) We have donated diapers to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope in the past and they give the diapers out knowing that they will get pooped on. So you shouldn't get stressed about removing each and every poop stain, mostly because its futile, as the diaper will get pooped on again. As Choose2Reuse said, bleach will not kill your diaper if you do it in moderation. But again, know that diapers are poop catchers and its OK for them to get stained. As long as you wash them properly, which you do, then staining doesn't really matter. Before you return you loaners give them a thorough cleaning.
2) AI2, AIO and Pockets will work better (in that order) in terms of preventing leaks and getting a better fit. My daughter is skinny so I know. Also, there will be times that your diaper WILL leak, no matter what you do, so don't stress about it.
3) Cloth wipes should be washed exactly like your diapers. Even if you are not as thorough with them as you are with your diapers, it should be fine. If you cannot afford actual wipes, you could easily go to the thrift store and buy soft cotton t-shirts in the largest size possible (XXXXL), cut it out and then wipe away.
4) What you are doing is fine. I know mama's who boil their diapers and others who don't use little to no soap. It all works for each one of them. You will be fine.
One thing that I could help you with is giving you with a few brand new one-size AI2 diapers with the explicit promise that you would send them to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope after you are done using it on your DD.
We have a diaper donation program called Baby Do Good through which we give 1 diaper to a struggling family like yourself for every 3 diapers that are bought from us. We don't donate outside of US or Canada, and since you were helped by GD,GH I am sure you are. Although we don't give to individuals, we can make an exception for you.
We are located in Canada, so I would expect you to pay shipping which will not be much. You can send the shipping charges after you receive the diapers.
My only hope is that you get a break from washing the diapers everyday.
You can get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mama I have thought about your post a lot ...if you pm me your address I have several BumGenius 3.0 diapers ( in excellent shape) that I'm not using. Let me know where to send them and they are yours free of charge.
Jess SAHM to Daniel (09/07) and Samuel (06/10)and Katie Lee (11/11) Wifey to my "geek" : David for 14 yrs. ( 4/09 @ 19 weeks).
I do trouble shooting for Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and my boss at the cloth diapers store I work at is on the board.
-Thank you for being so careful with the diapers.
-Please don't worry about stains. Diapers are for poop. In my experience most come out in a few more washes anyways. If you really want to fuss about it, soak them overnight in super hot water and oxygen bleach (like oxyclean) before you send them back. Oxygen bleach will not hurt diapers.
-You can chlorine bleach prefolds, but by its nature it does slowly destroy the fibers. It hurts the PUL waterproofing in covers more. I only use it to kill staph infections (which we have had two off, whole other story). But to each their own.
-you don't need to fuss about getting all the efb poop off. It is water soluble and will come off as you rinse. You can just add a rinse or two for all the diapers when you start your hand wash. If you are washing every day @Choose2Reuse's wet pail soak is great and is your first rinse, just consider not soaking the covers as it does shorten their life.
-Ecos is a great choice, don't worry about spending more on Rockin' Green. Prefolds are very forgiving about what they are washed in. If baby's bum is happy and the diapers don't smell, all is good. No detergent is going to permanently harm prefolds. Mine were washed in Arm & Hammer scent free in communal machines for almost a year and worked just fine. If TTO is a stretch, skip it or just use it in the wipes solution. I don't recommend it because it gets so diluted in the wash.
-wipes. I love cloth wipes and find they work far better. They are pretty easy to make by just cutting up an old t-shirt if you don't want to get fancy. I have never ever in almost four years sprayed a wipe, just tossed it in the rinse.
-if the poop gets all over the cover, the cover is doing it's job. It will pass when she starts solids and gets more solid poops. Using a snappi can help now.
-Youtube is great for different folds. Try and see what works.
-warm first, hot helps set stains, warm gets the most out. If you ease back on the pre rinsing the diapers I would do a 10 minute soak, water change and a 45 minute soak. Time is your friend and will do the work.
-rinse again if you think you need to.
-wash in hot with detergent. tiny amount. I used a tablespoon when I was handwashing a dozen diapers.
-I made a hand agitator by drilling lots of holes in a $3 plunger and used that to mix the diapers up in the rinses and give them a good minute of sloshing in the wash. I preferred doing them in an open top home depot bucked
-I wrung mine out by hand after letting them drain for a few minutes.
-Check out Kim Rossa's DirtyDiaperLaundry.com information on hand washing (she is also in the GDGH board). She has video and lots of good tips.
-You can also use the information there to add some free flats to your stash to extend it if you want. I did flats for a week and found I loved the origami fold and receving blankets over store bought flats. Once I got the hang of it I found flats to be easier than prefolds to get to fit my oddly shaped baby (huge thigh rise, tiny waist). They also dry very fast.
Mama to Monkey (Jan '09), Bee (May '11), and Cat (August, '13)