Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition

Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a "backwards edition" of WFMW this week. So, we are supposed to pose our "toughest questions" for those in the blogosphere to answer rather than leaving actual tips.

My latest news is that I am officially switching to cloth diapers!!! The diapers are currently on their 5th wash in the machine as we speak (they need to be washed and dried 5-8 times before use). Wow, have I learned a lot about the intricacies of cloth diapering! And, whew - there is a lot to learn - including the above pre-washing that is necessary! Jennie, Alix, and Tara have graciously helped me and have already answered a zillion questions. I have also been all over the internet plus have read a manual that came with the diaper order.

The thing about the diapering that is stressing me out the most is the laundering and detergent issue. So many different options are out there! I of course do not want to wreck or wear out my diapers or covers, but I also am not sure about buying a special detergent online that I have to start washing all of my other clothes in too... I feel it would be wasteful to throw out all of the detergent sitting in my basement! (Many places that sell diapers explain that the build-up of other detergents in your machine can wreck your diapers).

The other thing that scares me is the poo factor... Some say rinse, others say no. Liners, special sprays, wipes, rinsing hoses - agh!

So, for my backwards WFMW I am asking all of the bloggers out there: What is your best cloth diapering tip - inexpensive supplies, folding technique, laundering/detergent, nighttime and out-and-about solutions, websites, etc.? And, I wouldn't mind any encouragement anyone is willing to give!

Jennie has been great in reminding me what a blessing the diapers will be to both Evelyn and Jason's paycheck! :-)

Don't forget to check out the other WFMW submissions and have a splendid day!!!


nottryingforaboy said...

Oooh, cloth diapering is so much fun! Congrats on taking the plunge. It is a little intimidating at first, but soon it will be old hat.

We're strictly using fuzzi bunz. To rinse poop, I dunk it in the toilet and swirl it around. Though I have seriously considered getting a sprayer this time around (#3 is in dipes now).

Then I do a cold water soak/rinse in the washer with no detergent. Though at our old house where the washer sucked, I did squirt a little bit of Dawn (yes, the handwashing stuff) in the pre-wash soak cycle.

Then I hot wash with a small squirt of Allen's Naturally detergent. We have HE front loaders now so I'm using about a 1/4 of a push. Try what is recommended for your washer and adjust as needed.

After the hot wash comes a cold rinse and then a second rinse.

Special sprays made my second dd break out so we just use water on cloth wipes.

For out and about, we have a couple small bag that can be washed with the dipes (from Mother of Eden).

Good luck!

Jenni said...

eh, it's not half as hard as it sounds before you get into it. Dump solid poop into the toilet. Don't worry about soaking them - just stick 'em in a dry pail. When it's time to wash, throw them in and run a cold rinse - this helps prevent poop stains and gets rid of the pee water. Now launder it - I usually did a warm wash/warm rinse cycle with Charlie's Soap and 1/4 cup of baking soda, then 1/4 cup vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser.

For laundering, get some Charlie's Soap. It's cheap, CDing parents swear by it, and it has free shipping. Go to www.charliesoap.com

Good luck! Feel free to email me at makeshiftmama@gmail.com if you have any more Q's!

Awesome Mom said...

We use the Costco brand of liquid detergent and it has worked just fine, no need for special soaps in my oh so humble opinion. We also do a dry pail with no dunking or spraying.

My best tip is to learn to knit. My boys are in wool covers most of the time now and I love it. Wool is actually pretty easy to care for once you get a routine down. Plus you can make covers that are unique and super cute. If you get good enough you can sell them to other cloth diapering moms and maybe make a bit of money on the side.

Oh and you should also check out DiaperSwappers.com if you have not already.

silver said...

Solid/formed poops fall of the diaper into the toilet easily enough. Poop from a baby that is nursing exclusively can go into the washing machine as is (it dissolves). You could use liners for the in between stages. Or you could hold it in the toilet and flush.

I use Purex F&C. It has not caused any problems with my prefolds, PUL covers, pockets (fleece and suedecloth lined), or microfiber inserts. I use slightly less than I do with normal clothing loads. You really do want to use enough detergent to get them clean. I figure it's better to do an extra rinse to get extra detergent out than it is to have dirty diapers not get clean.

And if you're only using prefolds, don't worry about it. There is very little that can be done to mess up prefolds. Cotton prefolds get clean easily, the don't hold on to detergent, they can be dried on high, they can be bleached if needed.

Jolanthe said...

I do use liners (especially when I know there is a poopie coming on!). Those get put/rinsed in the toilet and I do pre-soak by filling a mop bucket with water and some oxi-clean to keep the stains out. I keep the bucket hidden in the bathtub behind the curtain. :)

I pour it all into the washer, use our regular detergent and run an extra rinse cycle at the end. I do not put our wraps in the dryer, but our cloth diapers are fine to go into the dryer. With our first two, using the dryer wore out the waterproof stuff.


lifeasamama said...

i love love love love cloth diapers! email me if you ever have any questions, i could talk about it all day!

i would say the best advice i can give is to go to pinstripesandpolkadots.com and read the pages on detergents, care, etc.

i also highly recommend wetbags for when you're out and about. have at least two, so you can wash one and use one. i also have two pail liners for the same reason.

Jeni said...

I'm just starting cloth diapering, too, on my 17 month old daughter. We've been doing it for about 5 days now. The only problems I've had are with leaking at night, since she's a heavy wetter.

I've been putting my diapers in a dry pail, and doing the cold rinse/hot wash/cold rinse to launder them. Hanging them out to dry (weather permitting) also helps, as the sunlight will help remove any lingering stains.

Sarah said...

Invest in the sprayer! It makes everything so much easier. Use a dry pail as others have suggested. I use Purex, regular and free & clear. They both work great on diapers. And remember you only need 2 Tablespoon to no more than 1/4 cup. I know that seems like it's not enough, but you only need bubbles to break the surface of the water, not make suds. Suds=too much detergent. Too much detergent also makes the covers less effective and can make the diapers stink. Hope that helps.

Jenn said...

Congrats!!! Cloth is the best and I love using it. It's not as bad as you think. Very soon you won't even notice that you are washing them. It just becomes part of your routine.

My small piece of advice is to not use too much detergent.

I have the same problem with my extra "regular" detergent. My MIL stock piled me (with out my wanting her to), and I don't want to waste it. I am currently using what I have (Dreft and Baby All) on our clothes until it is gone. I am using the natural detergents for the dipes and baby clothes.

Another thought would be to donate to someone who will use it. In fact I might just take my own advice. My sister could probably use some Dreft.

Again Congrats!!! Remember that you are doing a wonderful thing for your baby, your budget and the environment!

~Rhen said...

Congrats on taking the plunge to cloth diapers!! I did 3 kids ago and have never looked back.
I have a clear tub with a locking lid that I use to keep the dirty diapers in. They stay moist so they wash easily. I empty the solid waste into the toilet before I put the diaper into the dirty diaper tub.
I make my own detergent. It works wonderfully to clean them yet be gentle on them as well. Not to mention it only costs me about 1 cent per load for detergent. Woo Hoo!
For nighttime I double up my inserts. I travel and am a very active parent with cloth diapers and it is never a problem.

The Koala Bear Writer said...

I can't help, as I'm using a diaper service to provide cloth diapers (I live in an apartment with a laundromat, so washing them myself wouldn't be worth it). It's neat to see how many other people are into cloth diapers, so good luck with it!

Nikki said...

Don't use Dreft on anything cloth diaper related. Don't use Desitin or ointment that is like Desitin (like generic ones). They leave waxy build-up leading to less absorption and more stink.

Do not use liquid detergent on fleece.

Use distilled white vinegar in the rinse to balance the ph and neutralize the smell.

Fleece pockets have been a lifesaver for us-- especially with poop. (They're very cheap and easy to make. VERY EASY TO MAKE. If you can sew a straight line, by hand or with a sewing machine, you can make them.) Pull out the prefold and doubler, toss them in the diaper pail, shake off any poop on the fleece pocket, or rinse and dunk if non-shake-off-able. Then you're not dunking a whole huge diaper.

A sprayer? We've had a shower sprayer for the last year and a half and it definitely has come in handy spraying poop off. Our toilet is right by the tub and so I just lift the lid and seat, turn the cold water on in the sprayer, and shoot the poop off into the toilet when necessary.

We do the dry pail method nowadays. And with two in diapers, it is definitely a blessing. We get enough diapers and wipes that we can get a load in just over a day. That's not long enough to grow a big stink.

I'd love to ramble on and on but I don't want to overwhelm you. So if you have ANY questions whatsoever, please email me at

My name is Nikki and I'd be honored to be your cloth diapering guide.

Cloth diapering since June 2002. We've definitely got our money's worth!

Kris said...

I found your blog randomly twice this week, so I thought I should say hi! (once for WFMW and once through my college friend SarahCool)
I have a 5 month old and we have been using cloth diapers since she was about 2 weeks old. I really enjoy it and haven't really had any problems so far. Thirsties covers over prefolds are our favorites. I use a hot cycle with All Free and Clear to wash, and usually dry hot too. I'd like to try drying them outside when it gets warm though. Oh, and I do reccommend the toilet sprayer!
(by the way, I see your next post is about Anastasia, one of my favorites!)