Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm gonna go there...and talk about poo.

When I got pregnant, I noticed a trend. Lots of moms were using cloth diapers. We've been on this slow path of living more frugally and greener, and cloth diapering intrigued me. But I didn't think we'd really do it.  But one day I asked Rob, fully thinking he would shut me down immediately and I could stop thinking about it, and he said "Sure." Really, ok, wow. And the research began for real.  Because we do not have a washer or dryer.  What we do have is a laundry room in the building with coin operated machines.  We also have 3 laundromats within a block of our building.

Wearing a pre-fold with a Bummies Whipser Wrap in front of the fire at my cousins house.
I didn't know what kind of diapers would work for us, but I wanted to give it a real go with pre-folds and covers, with some pocket diapers on hand for baby sitters.  And Flip diapers got great reviews as an easy system.  Through a great online moms forum in my neighborhood I got a full set of size small g-diapers with a couple of packs of disposable inserts.  I bought 6 BumGenius 4.0 diapers.  We got a set of Flip diapers (6 inserts, 2 covers). And I finished off with 18 Chinese pre-folds, 18 Indian pre-folds, 2 Econobum covers, 2 Bummies whisper wraps, and a Thirsties Duo cover. (All this around $250)

We started cloth diapering at 2 weeks old when we ran out of disposables from the hospital.  And now 6 months later I really can't imagine using anything else. I wash every 5 - 6 days.  The diapers we use have changed a bit, but our washing routine has stayed pretty much the same.

When I was researching I was getting really stressed out about washing, because all the sites are like oh, two washes and triple rinse.  Who has the money for that!?!  So I did a little more digging and what I found was generally this.  Cold wash, no detergent.  Hot wash with detergent.  Ok, I can pay for a double wash once a week.  Then I talked to a mom in my neighborhood and she said just do a Hot wash with detergent and be done with it.  Ok, even better.

Detergent, I got a few to try.  Charlie's Soap - this one seems to be hit or miss.  Some rave about it, others hate it. I don't love it, the diapers have to get really dry in the dryer or else they smell. I do use it on our clothes and have no problems. Rockin' Green is great, and it smells nice. And Trader Joe's brand. This one has optical brighteners, which is a no no for cloth diapers, but it works and I like it.  We've had no leaking or repelling issues.

And the poos.  Breastmilk or formula poo is completely water soluble, so I could just drop those in the wet bag and dump in the washer.  Now that we've started solids, but the poos are still not totally solid, they don't shake into the toilet yet, so we use the diaper sprayer.  Rinse off in the toilet and then wring and drop in the wet bag.

Our washing routine - one HOT wash with Trader Joe's powder every 5 days or so.  Dry inserts and pre-folds, Line dry covers and pocket shells.  Every 3-4 washes I use Rockin' Green.  If I'm doing a billion loads I'll use Charlie's so as to carry fewer things to the basement.  Every month or so, or if it's a particularly stinky load I will do the COLD wash, HOT wash routine.  Honestly, I don't notice that much of a difference. So I may stop double washing soon.

It's totally doable.  The one downside I've noticed is staining.  The diapers are clean and really I don't care all that much what they look like, but there is staining on most of our diapers.  If I cared (and it was warmer out) line drying on the balcony would let them bleach out in the sun.

So six months in I really can't imagine not using cloth.  It just seems natural now.  And about that poo.  There was one day a few days into solids, where I started to question if I could do this.  About that time, Rob had plugged the kitchen sink to let some dishes soak. Stick with me this is connected.  Rob is the primary dish washer, but I was going to wash and I saw the dirty dish water.  And I asked Rob to please come empty the sink.  He was all like "What?"  And my response. "Seriously, I would rather deal with all the poo than put my hand in that dirty dishwater."  And I figure if I'd take the poo over the dishes that surely I can stick it out until we get through this phase to true solid poo that shakes off.  So we are.  And a month later, the diaper sprayer and I get along fabulously.

Stay tuned and I'll share what works best for us how we use cloth at daycare.


  1. So, does one hot wash really get them clean? What about detergent residue from it being a shared washer? Do you have an issue with that. We have a shared HE machine, and I have an awful time getting mine clean and we use flats. I miss my tiny toploader in our old house.

    1. To answer this question here: I think yes. I only occasionally have any stink, and that is usually do to not letting the dry all the way. As for residue from the shared washer: When I started out I was washing a load of clothes first then the diapers, but that stresses me out now with the planning or if I only have time to run the washers once. The only time I've noticed residue is actually with the Rockin'Green if I use too much. Our machines are industrial, like in a laundromat, so if you're shared machine is a commercial model that could make a difference.

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