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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cloth Diaper Care

Cloth Diapers (especially when you make them my way) save you lots of money over the years that your little one is in them. Here is the way I take care of them to be as frugal and time saving as possible.

I keep an ice cream bucket next to the changing table where I can immediately throw the diaper when changing for easy transport to the bathroom later. I have a place where I can hang a few diaper covers in between changings. (I've used a portable bungee clothesline and a little hat rack thing) You do not have to launder a wool diaper cover after each use. Wool has natural properties which keep it from getting stinky quickly. So let 1 or 2 air dry in between diaper changes. You should wash the cover when it gets soiled or stinky. The covers should be handwashed separately with a lanolin wool soap. Here is a video and instructions on washing a wool cover.

Get a 5 gallon bucket and keep it next to the bathroom toilet or in the utility room that you will be cleaning the dirty diapers in. I know it sounds so gross initially to be thinking of dunking poopy diapers, but if you read the directions for disposables you are to get rid of the poopy from them too! Just dunk the poopy diapers in the toilet, flush while it is in there if it is being tenacious, and throw it into the bucket. You can either put in some water and baking soda or don't bother with the water at all. Dump the diapers into the bucket until you are ready to wash them.

I wash them nearly every day, sometimes every other day. I have recently read about a camping washer that uses no electricity to wash small loads, but since my baby is almost 2, I haven't gotten one yet. If I am able to have another baby, I'm buying the Wonder Washer, and I'll tell you how that goes.

I have read that using bleach and Borax degrades the material, so I just use my natural soap - Charlie's Laundry Powder Soap and Oxi Clean. I used to wash diapers all by themselves, but then I got over the heebeegeebees of having my clothes mix with dirty baby underwear and wash them all together now. I have seen no difference in the cleanliness of my clothes.

Have a clothesline. Tie a length of dollar store clothesline in between two trees if you have nothing better. (That's what I did; Later, I upgraded to the plastic coated wire which I would recommend if you are going to go all out and hang out all of the laundry - I used to hate line-dried jeans, but when using Charlie's Soap, they are much softer.) This will save you from having to use bleach; the sun is an excellent bleacher. Even things that bleach couldn't save came out when I placed the item directly into the sunshine! When it is rainy or yucky outside, I have a couple of drying racks in the house, they sometimes need a few minutes in the dryer to soften and finish up drying, but it is much cheaper than 60 minutes in the dryer!!

3 comments:

Noel Wright said...

I used to have a wonder washer and I loved it until the lid cracked. I thought it was because I used the wrong temperature and didn't measure exactly. I told a friend about it and she bought one and it did the same thing to her. Now, I feel bad for her! So, if you get one, let me know if you have better luck with it.

katesaab said...

Do you have to wash cloth diapers in hot water? I've always thought that in order to really CLEAN them you have to use hot water but someone told me recently that it doesn't really matter...

MJ said...

If you are thinking you need to do hot water to sterilize clean, then no, it doesn't really matter because your hot water isn't boiling water and therefore isn't hot enough to kill the majority of them.

But hot water's properties - like increasing solubility and chemical reactions does often help your detergent work better against breaking up dirt and stains.

To kill stuff you either need to use bleach or the sun.

I do run a load of hot water (generally with my diapers anyway) because of the gunk buildup in the washer. The service man says that when you switch all to cold, the hot water properties of breaking up the gunk is gone and your machine will need services more often.

Great Question, since I researched it to make sure I wasn't giving you bad info, I will post about it here shortly esp. since this is an older post and I don't want others to miss it, but I wanted to answer you if you were waiting on the answer.