Cloth Diapers What your Grandmother never told you

By Kim Leo
on September 20, 2016

When your parents or grandparents hear the words “cloth diaper” they think of pins, plastic pants and wet pails.  Long gone are the days of the labor intensive cloth diaper.  Today’s modern cloth diapers are easy to use and care for.  When your grandmother used cloth it was probably flat diapers and pins.  This required you to fold each diaper to properly fit the baby.  Now flats still have their use and paired with modern diaper covers and either Snappi, or boingo (new easier diaper fastener); they make a great option for a true one-size diaper.  

 

Types of diapers

There are a few different styles of modern cloth diapers; Prefolds, Fitteds, All-In-One’s, Pocket and Hybrid diapers... oh my!  Then you can start looking at all of the brands that are out there and it can get overwhelming quickly!  I like to break it down into ease of use and price for new parents.  

 

 

The easiest to use are All-In-One diapers (AIO). They are all sewn together and one piece.  AIO diapers are the most similar to disposable diapers for the ease of putting on the diaper and washing.  AIO are generally made from either organic cotton or micro suede topped microfiber. 

 

 

The next easiest to use are pocket diapers.  They are made with an outer waterproof layer, a middle layer for absorbency, and the stay dry pocket.  Most of these diapers are one size to fit from birth to potty training.  The absorbent layer can be many different types of material including prefolds, microfiber, hemp or bamboo.  The beauty of the pocket diaper is the ability to choose what you want for an insert and to be able to adjust absorbency as needed.  

 

 

Prefolds and flats take a bit of practice to learn how to use, but they are a work horse of a diaper stash.  Prefolds can be folded in multitude of ways; trifold, jelly roll, angel wing, and bikini twist.    Here is a great link that shows the many folds that you can do with a Prefold.  

http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/how-to-fold-a-prefold-4-video-tutorials-jelly-roll-angel-wing-bikini-twist-and-trifold/

 

 

 

 

Hybrid diapers are a combination of disposable and reusable diapers.  They have the option to have disposable insert that can be composted, flushed or thrown out.  Or they have the option to be used with a reusable washable insert.  

 

Washing

One of the most common hang up’s for people starting cloth diapers is “what do I do with the dirties?!?”  The answer to this is two options!  You can use a diaper service that will wash, dry and bring them back to you clean; or you can wash them yourself.  

 

Diaper Service

A diaper service does all of washing for you!  With newborn babies all you have to do is put the dirty diaper into the pail.  Once the baby gets a little older and they start getting solid food then you would dump any formed solids into the toilet.  You can also use a diaper sprayer at this point to remove any solids from the diaper.  With a diaper service you will receive a week’s worth of diapers at a time.  Once a week they come and pick up the dirty diapers; leaving you enough fresh and clean diapers for the following week.  The size and age of your baby will determine how many diapers are delivered to your door.  Once a month you also receive a citrus scented  deodorizing disk to go into your diaper pail.   With diaper service; all that you have to wash yourself is the diaper covers.  

 

Wash your own

If you wash your own diapers you will be washing every other day or every 2nd day.  The typical routine is as follows: cold rinse, hot wash with detergent and an extra cold rinse.  Many get better results using a warm rinse to replace the cold rinses.  Be sure to follow your diapers’ manufacture’s recommendations for safe laundry soaps; so that you do not end up with buildup that can cause your diapers to lose their absorbency.  Washed diapers can either be line dried or put into the dryer on low to medium heat.  Line drying will lengthen the life of your diapers.  Do Not Use fabric softener or dryer sheets on your cloth diapers as this will cause repelling issues.  

 

Diaper Accessories

The world of cloth diapers has become so much easier with all of the accessories that are available for use today!  Snappi’s and Boingo fasteners replace pins, no more sticking yourself or your baby while putting on a diaper.  Out and about with a dirty diaper?  No problem!  You have a wet bag!  This contains any wet mess into a waterproof bag.  These bags are great beyond potty training as well.  Wet bags are great for wet bathing suits, shoes, laundry and so many other things.  

Diaper sprayers are a wonderful addition to any cloth diapering household.  It is like a spray nozzle for your kitchen sink but attached to the toilet!  No more dunking, flushing or swishing of dirty diapers!   

Cloth diaper-safe diaper cream is a must when using cloth diapers.  Some of the many that are available are GroVia Magic Stick, Thirsties Butt balm, Lanolin, Coconut Oil, Burts Bees, and California baby.

This is just a short snip-it about cloth diapers and all of the available options.  Stop by the store to see, feel and touch the many  cloth diaper options. I am always happy to answer questions and help you find the best solution for you and your baby. 

Prepping Your New Stash

By Kim Leo
on September 03, 2016

Prepping Your New Stash

The first thing you will need to do when you receive your cloth diapers is prep them. This simple means pre-washing them. There are a couple of reasons for doing this.

  1. Cloth diapers come from manufacturers and therefore you want to wash away anything than may be on them from the manufacturing process.
  2. Natural fibers such as cotton, hemp have natural oils which repel water and must be washed away to ensure the diaper will be absorbent.  
  3. Some materials are designed to shrink when dried. If you do not wash and dry them prior to use they will not shrink and therefor may not fit your baby correctly.
Prepping Different Materials Different materials need to be washed differently. For their initial washes they should be washed separately.
  • Natural Fibers: Cotton & Hemp. These have natural oils in them which repel moisture. These need to be washed and away prior to first use. They take 4-6 washes before they are absorbent enough to diaper. They will continue to gain absorbency for the first 10 washes. Drying these 1-2 times while prepping will help them shrink to size and fluff up, making them more absorbent.
  • Synthetic Fibers: Microfiber, PUL / TPU (covers), Fleece etc. These only need a quick washing to wash off any residues from manufacturing.

How to Prewash:

Wash-Wash-Dry-Wash-Wash-Dry

  1. Wash diapers and inserts on hot water (no hotter than 130 degrees F) with a little bit of detergent. Synthetic materials once. Natural fibers 3-5 times.  
  2. Machine Dry. Synthetic Materials once. Natural fibers 1-2 time. Some covers should also be dried to help seal them (check manufacturers instructions).
Tricks & Tips:
  1. Always Refer to your diaper manufacturers care instructions prior to prepping.
  2. Prep diapers with other baby clothes you are washing to save time, water and electricity.
  3. When prepping synthetic and natural fibers, start with natural fibers and on the final wash toss in the synthetic fibers.

Washing Diapers

By Kim Leo
on September 03, 2016

Wash Routine Cloth diapers should be washed every 2-3 days to avoid smells and bacteria growth. Always start with a simple routine and tweak as necessary.

  1. Set water level to 1 higher than you would normally use for same size load of clothing. Front Loader / HE Machine Tip: Add small towels or burp cloths to the wash to help trick the machine to fill washer a bit higher.
  2. Warm rinse cycle to remove as much waste as possible. Stains go on to diapers warm so they will come out of diapers best at the same temperature. Front Loader / HE Machine Tip: Set the spin speed to 'very low' or 'no spin'. This “fools” the washer by making the load heavier, hence will add more water, which is essential for a good cleaning of cloth diapers.
  3. Hot wash with a clean rinsing detergent. Front Loader / HE Machine Tip: Leave machine with the spin speed at 'very low' or 'no spin'.
  4. Warm rinse to ensure all of the detergent is out of the diaper. This will prevent detergent build up which will cause leaks, smells and diaper rash. Front Loader / HE Machine Tip: Set machine back to normal spin so diapers will take less time to dry.
  5. Hang dry your diaper covers and toss the pads into the dryer on medium to high heat. I find that drying them with an additional load of laundry helps them to dry faster.

Cloth Diaper Laundry as In general you want to keep it simple.warm, hot, warm, detergent rinse out completely. agitation, water, soap, time makes water wetter WATCH Washing Formula

Watch Formula for Diapers

 To wash diapers you need 5 components. If you decrease one component you need to increase the rest of the components. (Provided by the Real Diaper Association)

  1. Water: Water is what does most of your washing. It plays a huge role in cleaning cotton and hemp.
  2. Action: This is agitation in your machine. Either rubbing together in a top loader or the falling in a front loader.
  3. Time: Length of cycles (and/or soaking) affects cleaning.
  4. Chemicals: Detergent. Especially necessary in cleaning synthetic materials which are prone to holding onto the oils and fats in human waste.
  5. Heat: Helps other components do their jobs.

Detergent Before you actually get to washing your diapers you need to pick a detergent. In general you want to get a detergent which are free from:

  • Scents
  • Brighteners
  • Fabric Softeners
  • Stain Guard
  • Oils
  • Dyes

These all get left behind on your diapers and lead to leaks and stinks.

Additives

  • Enzymes: Enzymes attack biological matter such as poop, pee and blood, which is what makes it a great laundry additive and stain remover. Most diaper companies tell you to avoid them while others swear by them.
            The Real Deal: Enzymes do a fantastic job cleaning your diapers as they attack waste and remove it. The problem comes from if the enzymes do not wash completely out of the diapers and they attack waste on your baby's bottom which can result in rashes. As long as you completely rinse it out of your diapers you should not have a problem.
  • Chlorine Bleach: Known for being fantastic disinfectant and whitening agent. The problem is that it is not environmentally friendly and just about all diaper companies say to avoid them.

               The Real Deal:

  • Oxygen Bleach
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

Hard and Soft Water  

Tips and Tricks: Always refer to manufacturers care instructions

*Try adding baking soda to the wash cycle to help remove odors.

*Try adding vinegar to the final rinse cycle to restore pH from baking soda wash, to soften cloth diapers and to help remove odors.

*When your diapers seem a bit dingy try using some oxygen bleach (oxy-clean). After your normal wash fill your washing machine with hot water and add 2-3 scoops of oxygen bleach. Let agitate then let the diapers sit for 4-6 hours (or overnight). Finish the wash cycle, do a final rinse. Your diapers should look and smell like new.

*Inserts (no elastic, no PUL or TPU) can be washed hotter than 130 degrees F.

Storing Dirty Diapers

By Kim Leo
on September 03, 2016

Storing Dirty Diapers

There are 2 Steps to storing diapers.
  1. Dump Solids in the toilet.
  2. Toss in your diaper pail.

People store diapers in either a wet bag (waterproof bag) or a pail liner (water proof, washable trash can liner). There are 3 ways to store cloth diapers: a wet pail, a dry pail, and a combination wet/dry pail. Our recommendation is a dry pail. We only spray poop diapers and just toss in the pee ones as we would in a dry pail. We don't recommend wet pails due to the mess and potential risks to young children.

 

Wet Pail A wet pail is a pail filled with water. Sometimes the pail also has baking soda in it. This method soaks the diapers until it is time to wash them. Any large plastic container with a lid can be a wet pail. How to use a wet pail:

  1. Fill pail 1/2 -3/4 full of cold water
  2. Add baking soda, or essential oil if desired to manage odor
  3. Shake, dunk and swish or use a sprayer as needed to remove messes
  4. Separate and unroll diapers and secure velcro
  5. Toss diaper in pail
  6. On laundry day dump entire pail in washer
  7. Run spin cycle to remove water
  8. Launder as usual
Pros
  • Wet pails minimize odors and stains because wet pail acts as a presoak.
  • Don’t have to launder as often
  • Minimizes stains because wet pail acts as a presoak
Cons
  • Can be dangerous. Babies and young children have drown in wet pails.
  • Diapers are sitting in a gross urine, poop mixture (pre rinsing or spraying can help minimize some of this)
  • Heavy and messy to lug around to fill, dump and get diapers from the pail into the washing machine.
  • Can lead to smelly diapers resulting from diapers sitting in poop water for a couple days
  • Hard on diapers puts excess wear on elastics and PUL.  
Dry Pail A dry pail is simply a pail where the diapers are tossed directly into it with no rinsing or soaking. A trash can with a flip-up lid works well. It is important to make sure that the lid closes well, even with a pail liner in it to help contain smells. How to use a dry pail:
  1. Line pail with washable liner
  2. Shake off any solids into toilet
  3. Separate and unroll diapers and secure any velcro
  4. Toss in dry pail
  5. Cold rinse
  6. Launder as usual
Pros
  • Simple! Just toss diapers in.
  • Safe no risk of drowning hazard. 
  • Easy to move diapers from pail to the wash
  • No wet bucket of pee and poop to move around and deal with.
Cons
  • Diapers may stain more (sun bleaching or rinsing can help deal with this)
  • May smell more than a wet pail (shaking solids into toilet prior to storing helps, also using a washable pail liner

Combination Pail A combination wet/dry pail is a dry pail where you rinse or spray off your dirty diapers prior to tossing them into the pail. A trash can with a flip-up lid works well. It is important to make sure that the lid closes well, even with a pail liner in it to help contain smells. How to use a combination pail:

  1. Remove as much mess from diaper as possible by spraying or dunking diapers
  2. Separate and unroll diapers and secure any velcro
  3. On laundry day empty pail into washing machine
  4. If diapers are exceptionally wet you can run a spin cycle to remove excess water
  5. Run a rinse cycle
  6. Launder as usual
Pros
  • Safe
Easy to move diapers from pail to the wash
  • No wet bucket of pee and poop to move around and deal with.
  • Minimizes stains 
Reduces odor because diapers are cleaner prior to entering pail
Cons
  • A bit heavier then a dry pail because the diapers are soaked or sprayed
  • Diaper pail is humid and if you don’t wash diapers soon enough you can develop a mildew problem
Trips and Tricks:
  1. Ammonia smells or build up. Consider rinsing your pee diapers before tossing them in your pail.
  2. Stains: Rinse poop off the diapers prior to tossing in pail. Using an natural enzyme cleaning such as BacOut to treat diapers prior to tossing pail can help minimize stains.
  3. Wash frequently to avoid excess staining and possible stink. 

Wash N' Fold Service

By Kim Leo
on December 04, 2015

Now offering Wash N' Fold service for Durham, Epping, Exeter and Stratham!

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From the Blog

Cloth Diapers What your Gra...

September 20, 2016

When your parents or grandparents hear the words “cloth diaper” they think of pins, plastic pants and wet pails.  Long...

Read more →

Prepping Your New Stash

Prepping Your New Stash

September 03, 2016

The first thing you will need to do when you receive your cloth diapers is prep them. This simple means...

Read more →