Monday, November 15, 2010

Dirty Laundry

The title makes it sound like this might be some juicy gossip, right??
Well, wrong.
This is literally about dirty laundry--cloth diapers, in particular.  If you don't want to read anything to do with bodily functions of babies, then stop reading.  And if that's you, I'm guessing you're not a Mom, cause we're pretty immune to gross-outs.

I may have just lost some readers.  But for those of you who decided that you came to read and might as well continue, I thank you.

People are always asking me about my decision to use cloth diapers.  They're curious about the cost difference, how they affect diaper rash, and whether or not I have to touch poop (for the record--no, Silly!).  The thing I get asked about the most is how much extra work they are and how I keep them clean.  Today, I'm gonna fill you in on my simple wash routine.

First of all, if you know me, you know I would never do ANYTHING that was extra work!  I have three kids, and I think that's plenty of work in and of itself.  So when I say that this is simple, you have to trust me that it really is.

We use pocket diapers.  For those of you who don't have much experience with cloth (face it, most people), these things are literally pockets.  See, clever name, isn't it?  They consist of a cover with an outside layer made of some waterproof material and an inside layer of something soft to go against baby's bum, usually microfleece or suedecloth.  Between the layers, you stuff an insert into the "pocket."  Ours are mostly made of microfibre or hempcloth.  All these materials work together to wick moisture away from the baby's bum and into the absorbent insert, and all is kept from leaking by the waterproof layer.  Ours are mostly closed with easy snaps, and Velcro (or Aplix) is also an option.  They are just as easy to put on as a disposable diaper, and they are just as easy to deal with.  I promise.

Say you've got a dirty diaper situation.  All you have to do is take it off the baby (duh.), pull out the insert, and place insert and cover into a wet bag.  This is ours:

If there's any poop, I do not touch it (silly).  I really don't know how this idea came about, but that's kind of gross, folks.  If it's a newborn poo from an exclusively breastfed baby (mine), you do nothing to it.  NOTHING.  Just throw it in the bag with the rest.  EBF poo has no smell and washes easily.  Once a baby starts solids, things get...well...more solid.  Just dump solids it in the toilet, then put the diaper and insert in the wet bag.  You can spray it with a diaper sprayer if you need to.  Yes, they make these, and we have one made by BumGenius.  And it is genius.  No touching of nasty stuff, and if you do, we might not be friends.

And that whole process seems to be where people take issue.  Dumping things?  Really?
And were you aware that you are supposed to do that even if you use disposable diapers???  HMMM??  On disposable diaper sites and packages, you can often find words along the lines of "IMPORTANT:  When disposing of soiled diaper, empty contents into toilet.So, you should be doing this already.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want that sitting in my trash can OR in a landfill, so I've always been a dumper.  How appropriate.

After I get two or three days' worth of diapers in the wet bag, it's time to wash.  I take the bag to the washing machine, dump all the diapers in, and throw the bag in.  I first do a cold/cold wash and rinse to get rid of all the stuff those diapers have been soaking up.  Then it's time to really clean them.  I put in 1 tbs. of Charlie's Soap:

This stuff rinses clean.  Most detergents stay in your clothes.  That's not good, especially for sensitive skin.  You can test it out sometime--just throw your clothes in the washer with no soap and wash it, and you will definitely see soap suds in the water from leftover soap.  Charlie's Soap rinses out completely, so you won't have this issue.  I also use this on our kids' clothes, as they all have sensitive skin.

I have my water heater cranked up just before I wash (make sure to turn it back down for safety purposes), and I just program my washer for a hot wash/cold rinse/heavy soil with an extra rinse at the end.  And then I walk away.  That's it.

When they're done washing, I either hang them to dry or pop them into the dryer on a low heat for a while.  When they come out, I stuff those inserts back into their appropriate pockets and I am all set to diaper for the next few days.  Here's what Sawyer's stash looks like, minus a couple days' worth of diapers. 

They're ready for me to quickly grab, taking no more time than a disposable diaper.  An extra load of laundry every few days is also not much work.

I don't want to argue for or against cloth in this fact, I don't want to argue it ever...but just show you that it's much easier than people believe.  If Lazy Jennifer can do it, so can you.  I fully admit that I do not cloth diaper 100% of the time (nights I use 'sposies, usually, when Sawyer was in-between cloth diaper sizes I used them, and my firstborn didn't ever use cloth!), which kind of leaves me in the middle of the two extreme parenting positions...again.  Kinda hanging out there on my own.  Which is one reason I'm the Middle of Mommyhood.


  1. You are the best little mama. I am going to LOVE reading your blog.

  2. Thank you, ma'am. I don't know about the best, but I do appreciate the compliment! Supportive mamas rock. And you know that you're one of the guilty parties who nudged me into writing down all this stuff in my head, right? Just so we know who to blame one day...

  3. Thank you for this Jenn. I often wondered what all cloth diapering entailed. Conner has been out of diapers for quite some time but we do hope to have another baby some day and it's nice to know the options. I still have the whole rubber pants and buckets sitting next to the toilet stuck in my head from when we were babies and hadn't realized how much things have changed. I'll admit (I'm shallow) the whole visual image did not appeal to me when I thought of having to use the white cloth diapers with the funny looking cover on my child but after seeing how cute cloth diapers are now and how easy it can be it'll definately be an option next time.
    I know that cloth diapers can be expensive though so I was wondering if you had done a comparison to figured up whether it is cost efficient?

  4. I'm so happy to hear you found it useful!! I haven't done a cost analysis myself (unless you count the fact that I do realize I've bought all my diapers either on major sale, won them in raffles, or bought cheaper brands to begin with--and then instead of running to the store when I need more diapers, I just wash them!), but here's one I found:
    Seems about right to me. I haven't even invested all this comparison says you might invest, and I have successfully resold diapers after we were done. I just sold off Brynn's girly print diapers (saved her gender neutral ones for Sawyer) when she learned to potty and made back nearly $200. And if you buy the one-size ones that adjust, you don't even have to sell them right away, just snap them to the next size!

  5. I so want to CD with the next one, if there is a next one. Sometimes I regret not doing it with Joshua, but being a new mom to begin with was so overwhelming I couldn't even begin to think about it when I was pregnant with him. The more I think about it, though, the more I want to do it.

    (AND THEY ARE SO CUTE! Which, let's face it, is a major reason I want to CD.)

  6. Miranda. Girl. I still get overwhelmed. When Sawyer came home from the hospital, I did not CD him for the first couple of weeks. Then I did with some prefolds and covers, which he quickly outgrew. So then, back to disposable diapers until he got big enough to look like he was mostly baby, not mostly diaper, in a size small. At night, we still put him in a disposable. The whole point is to do what works for your family, and I try to keep things as convenient as possible. Most of the time, that means cloth for us, but sometimes it doesn't. But you're so right---they're definitely cute, and I am not gonna lie that I get a CDing high when I buy new prints!

  7. Where do you buy the Charlie's Soap? The kids and I have super sensitve skin and i'd like to give it a try.

  8. I've bought mine here: (site is under construction right now, but you can still order, I think) and a couple of other places online. I've never bought it in a brick-and-mortar place, only online. It is GREAT!