Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cloth Diaper Washing for Dummies

We have been successfully cloth diapering Daniel since he was 3 months old using FuzziBunz One Size Elite pocket diapers, two inserts during the day and three inserts at night. After a week or two of finagling the diapers and inserts to Daniel's needs, we've been using the same routine for over 5 months. A week or so ago, I noticed that he's been waking up with leaks, which never happened again once we figured out how many inserts to use at night. Not ok! So onto trust Google I went to find the answer to our little problem...

Not all detergent is created equal

I suspect that our problem is build-up in the fleece lining and inserts. When we first started cloth diapering, I knew I needed a detergent that had no additives but I had no idea that those "natural" brands sold in the grocery store also contain oils that are bad, bad, BAD for cloth diapers. Oops.  For a while now, I've noticed a really strange smell coming from the diapers and liners, it's not terribly strong and it's really feint, you have to put your nose right up in it to smell anything and I don't think it's ammonia because I can't smell it when he's wearing the diapers (I have a really poor sense of smell, though...). I think this is build-up too.

So I've been washing, and washing, and washing some more on the hottest, heaviest, watery-est setting I can get on my very basic washing machine and the water is finally starting to be less sudsy during the agitation cycle, yay! I also found an adorable local baby boutique, Rosie Posie Baby, that sells Allen's Naturally. It was just under $50 for a gallon but the girl in the shop said it will last a long time (I imagine that it will, one pump per load).

I made an honest mistake regarding what detergent to use. Now I know better and while I heard that stripping diapers isn't necessary, I've also read that it's part of normal cloth diaper maintenance. I don't plan on using this detergent for all of our clothing, so I will probably run into this problem again soon. I just won't wait almost 6 months to do it this time! I also recently cleaned my washer, it was a very simple process and I felt really great about washing our clothes in it afterward. I will make this a regular part of my house maintenance.

A change in our ritual

During this same trip to Rosie Posie, the shop keeper talked to me about possibly using something different at night than during the day. She showed me a bamboo diaper by TotsBots and diaper covers by Thirsties; I bought two natural-colored diapers and one cover in an adorable owl print, all should last us through potty training. The diapers also come with a optional bamboo liner for even more absorbing power, which I think it nice. I will try using just the diaper and keep the liners aside for just-in-cases. On top of that, I think they will fit much trimmer than the FuzziBunz with three liners inside that we've been using.

For the future...

I love that we are building ourselves a nice stash of diapers that will be pretty much ready for when we have another kid. I hope to have Daniel potty trained before our next one is born, as I'm not planning on even trying to get pregnant again until after he's 3. Right now, we have a huge stash of pre-folds that I plan on using with fasteners and diaper covers (they are SO inexpensive, I had no idea!) and then the 12 FuzziBunz and 2 TotsBots for night time. I wish I had been more confident in my ability to cloth diaper from the beginning so I could have used the pre-folds with I had so many of them, but, here we are.

My diapers are finally done stripping and I hope, after draining the Pacific Ocean of its water after all the wash cycles I've done in the last 24 hours, that the leakage is done. It's been a very interesting experience doing all of this, so at least I'll know better for next time.

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