Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cloth Diapering: Why I did it and My Methods and Tips

I did the whole cloth diapering thing with my boys when they were younger and I loved it! It was better for the environment and I was saving money in the long run. I used 100% Organic Cotton Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) Unbleached Chinese Pre-Folds (CPF) folded inside Bummis Super Whisper Wraps or ProServices, Inc Proraps Classic Diaper Covers. We would get ProServices, Inc seconds which were products that they sold that had minor defects that they couldn't sell full price. I am not sure that you can still do this, but it saved us money upfront and they are really well made diaper covers!

Here is why I basically decided for myself that cloth diapering was the best solution for me...

More environmentally friendly:
  1. Using Cloth Diapers is an act of recycling. You can reuse them for more than one child as well as reusing them over and over again.
  2. Disposables create waste in our landfills and it can take up to 500 years for one disposable diaper to break down. 
Less expensive:
  1. On average, you will spend anywhere from $2,800.00 (for 8,000 diaper changes) and $3,500.00 (for about 10,000 changes, which I believe to be a more accurate number) per child on disposables (depending on what kind of shopper you are). 
  2. When using cloth diapers for 2-3 of your children, you can spend as little as $300.00 for a basic layette or as much as $500.00 with all the bells and whistles. You can also reuse them for your next child. That's quite a savings per child! 
Improvement of Cloth Diapers:
  1. Cloth diapers have come a long way since Grandma or Mom used them! With products like All In Ones, flushable diaper liners, leak-proof and comfortable Velcro® and snap fitting diaper covers, you'll soon find that diapering is actually an easy process! And no, you don't need to use any diaper pins or rubber pants! 
  2. Instead of pins there is a great little gadget called a Snappi and another called a Boingo. Or you can do like I do and just fold a DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) Chinese Prefold or other prefold diaper into a wrap.
  3. All In Ones are Also known as AIO's, all-in-ones are fitted diapers that have an attached outer waterproof layer. They are just like your disposables except you can reuse them and they are cloth. Frequent washing and drying, however; reduces the effectiveness of the waterproof outer layer. So, hanging to dry is recommended. 
  4. Flushable / biodegradable septic safe diaper liners...These are awesome! All you have to do is lay them in the diaper and when they get yucky you just take 'em out and flush 'em. Saves time spraying diapers down. 
  5. Diaper covers. These have come along way from the rubber or plastic pants of the past. You can pick from the huge variety out there. I love Bummis Super Whisper Wraps myself. But Proraps are also really great at holding in the mess and not leaking...and I think you can still get these for $3 each from the company as seconds. 
  6. Chinese prefold DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) diapers are a ton better than the prefolds you see in stores or that people use for burp cloths..those were used in the past as cloth diapers. Chinese Prefolds are a lot more absorbent and can survive rigorous washing/drying without tearing, shredding, piling or losing absorbency. 
  7. Read this article about Diaper Rashes and Cloth about sums up what I was going to say about it...I don't use a diaper service...and frankly I don't plan to...I want to save my money. 
  8. Cloth Diapering isn't hard, it's easy and it doesn't take up all your time to do either. Here are some websites that are all worth spending your time reading...

My In-House Cloth Diaper Washing Method (everybody has different ways of doing is mine):
  1. When the diapers are soiled or wet I pre-rinse them in the toilet with a diaper sprayer. This saves me time and makes the diapers less stinky. Also I have found that using flushable-biodegradable septic safe diaper liners also saves time in my routine. I keep the pre-rinsed diapers and wraps in a diaper pail with deodorizing disks (just do a search on them...there are a number of homemade ones you can make...or you can buy them) before wash day. With the use of the diaper sprayer I do not have to soak them in the pail or dunk or swish them in the toilet. I used to do dunk and swish diapers in the toilet with the use of a Diaper Duck. The Diaper Duck is still an awesome device for wringing out the water out of the diaper.
  2. When wash day rolls around first run a Cold Wash/Cold rinse adding-in only 1/2 cup of Baking Soda and 1/2 the amount of dye/fragrance free detergent as suggested with the water. Make sure that all diapers are opened-up for easier cleaning. Make sure that all AIOs and covers have the Velcro secured on their loop-backs to keep from developing a 'diaper chain' in the washer. Make sure that all doublers, or inserts are pulled out of the diapers. 
  3. Once this load finishes, hang to dry all of the AIOs and covers to extend their longevity. Then run a Hot Wash/Cold rinse adding-in about 1/2 the amount of dye/fragrance free detergent as suggested on the side of the box. For hard water areas or for those who line-dry, throw in a Downey Fabric Softener ball filled to the line of Distilled White Vinegar. The Downey Fabric Softener ball will open up in the rinse cycle. The vinegar will prepare your diapers for line-drying, soften them against the hard water elements, balance the pH to keep the diapers odor free, help static cling, and keep your diapers absorbent. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial agent. You can add 20 drops tea tree oil to approximately 1 gallon of water in your diaper load for germ free, super clean diapers! Lavender oil added to your wash load of diapers also freshens the batch and smells sooo nice!
  4. After the second wash, open the lid and take a whiff. Does it smell fresh? If not, run another Cold Wash/Cold rinse with NO DETERGENT, NO BAKING SODA and NO VINEGAR! This is just to rinse out the diapers. Then, pull out your dipes and depending on your preference, line-dry or tumble dry. 
  5. NEVER RUN A HOT WATER WASH FIRST!! Hot water tends to set in stains. (Also you can always sun the stain out and use lemon juice to help the stain come out with sun. Sun also disinfects and restores PH balance.) DO NOT USE VINEGAR ON YOUR COVERS OR AIOs!! Vinegar will eat the water-proofness away because it is acidic. DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH OR LAUNDRY ADDITIVES LIKE OXYCLEAN OR BIZ ON YOUR DIAPERS OR COVERS!!!! Bleach eats away at the cotton and will make your diapers less absorbent the more you wash them in it. The laundry additives destroy the All-in-ones and covers water-proofness and will eventually make holes in your diapers because they breakdown the fabric. Since they are also harsh chemicals they may cause irritation to baby`s skin. Instead, use sunshine and lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide bleach to get stains out. They are a lot more natural and not as harsh. NEVER USE FABRIC SOFTENER, DREFT, PURE SOAP, OR IVORY SNOW ON YOUR DIAPERS!! It will coat the diapers, and make your diapers less absorbant. Instead use vinegar as directed above. DO NOT WASH COVERS OR AIOs ON HOT WATER!! The hot water will melt the water proof coating. DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR WASHING MACHINE!! The diapers need room to move in order to get clean. DO NOT MACHINE DRY COVERS OR AIOs!! This wears out your covers and AIOs faster. Instead, line dry them.

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