Cloth Diapering: Washin' the Lil Guys

Before we get into washing, I should tell you that there are two different methods to use in your diaper pail. One is the wet method, where you fill your pail with water and some baking soda and toss your diapers in as they dirty. The benefit of this is that the stains don't really have a chance to set, because they are always soaking. The downside is that it can get pretty stinky having a pail of stagnant water and poo/pee soaked cloths hanging out in there. There's also the potential dangers of a baby drowning. I don't use this method, because the Bumgenius (or any other all-in-one) calls for the dry pail method. Basically, you have a dry pail and you toss your diapers in.

The Bumgenius tell you to pull the insert out of the diaper and separate it from the liner before it goes in the wash. I skip this step, because I really don't think it needs it, and it is pretty gross when the diaper is full of pee or poo to stick your fingers in and start pulling out a liner. I just throw the whole diaper in the pail (making sure to close the laundry tabs...this will stop the tabs from getting "pilly").

I have also read online to scrape the poo into the toilet, or swish it around in the toilet etc. Again I skip this step. I use a disposable Kushies cloth diaper liner (it comes on a roll like toilet paper and you can buy it at Sears for about $7 for a roll of about 200), and put that inside the cloth diaper before it goes on the baby. If they poo, you can pick up the whole liner and throw it in the garbage, poo and all, or flush it down the toilet. The liner catches most of the poo, but even if there is some poo on the diaper itself I don't worry about it (I learned this from my friend Carla.)

Okay, now that your diaper pail is full of dirty cloth diapers, you are going to want to wash them. This pail is about $9 from Sears and hold 12 Bumgenius or about 24 regular cloth.

Take the whole pail, dump the entire contents into your washing machine (drain the liquid first if you are using wet pail method).

I wash on warm with Tide Nature Free and a cup full of Javex 2 to take care of the stains.

Once the wash cycle is done, I actually put it on for another cycle with a bit more Tide. I just started doing this not too long ago, because I felt one wash wasn't really doin' it to get rid of the poo/pee smell. Carla if you have anything to add on how you wash your dipes that would be great.

The diapers don't need any special drying instructions, except that your plastic diaper covers for the old school diapers can't go in the dryer.

That's it! If I'm really lazy I will toss all the clean diapers unfolded into Eva's diaper drawer.

If I have some time (or I'm not being lazy), I will fold all my diapers and put the inserts into the Bumgenius so they are ready to go.

Either way it works....if I don't fold them before they go in the drawer, it just means taking an extra second to put the insert into the Bumgenius before I put it on my baby.

I hope I shed some light on cloth diapering. If you weren't already considering it, I hope it sparked your interest. If you were considering it, I hope I have showed you the ins and outs that you needed to know.


Vanessa said...

Hey Kindra! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial on cloth diapers. Nialle and I will be going to cloth diapers once baby #2 arrives - my mom found a great deal on cloth, so we will be sewing the diapers ourselves (gleep!) A lot of parents our age think I'm crazy for going to cloth I'm glad to meet someone else who's already experienced in the area!

Carla said...

Hi, I have a few follow up comments. I use Bumgenius 2.0 and love them! (Thanks Kindra!) I always take the inserts out before laundering but I never really thought of skipping that step. I have a front loading washer and use a long (2 1/2 hours) sanitization cycle which heats the water extra hot and cleans them extremely well. Front loaders use less water so warm water didn't clean the diapers as well. Bumgenius and other brands caution against using bleach because it breaks them down. I was told that the occasional 1/4c here and there for stains was okay. For smell I have read that a 1/4 cup vinegar in a laundry ball or fabric softener compartment (if your machine has one) during the first rinse does the trick. Many web sites also recommend an extra rinse after washing to ensure that there is no lingering detergent to irritate little bottoms! The instructions with Bumgenius suggest using a low drying temperature to avoid extra wear and tear. For some white cotton diapers I had when my baby was a newborn I just put them in the summer sun. They bleached out and dried quickly.

kindra said...

Vanessa I can't tell you HOW many times I heard "wow, you're brave!" was kinda annoying because it really isn't THAT brave. It's barely harder than a disposable. I don't regret using cloth at all, and even if we aren't poor with our next baby I will still cloth diaper :) And if you are using regular cloth I DEFINITELY recommend the Snappi!!

Carla thanks for your input on cleaning. Luckily I haven't had too bad of a problem with staining, but I definitely did find that my regular cloth do stain so much easier, and Bumgenius pretty much never stain. My only problem has been with still smelling slightly like urine, but I have found that the extra wash cycle fixes that. I didn't realize that extra hot water would clean them better, so I might start using that rather than the warm water cycle.

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