Unique perspective to Cloth Diapering

Posted by  | Monday, June 2, 2008  at 10:44 AM  
Hey there,

I’m Shannon, and Hollie asked if I would write a post on the current topic of Cloth Diapering. My approach to cloth diapering is a little different since we do not have a washer and dryer in our home. Until recently, when my 2-year-old started getting serious about potty-training, I had two girls in cloth. We are pretty much a pre-fold family, because we have found using pre-folds and covers simple and inexpensive.  Here I am with my two sweet girls.

When I was diapering both of them, I kept Lilly’s pre-folds on one side of the changing table, and Maggie’s pre-folds on the other. And I kept Lilly’s covers on one side of the top-drawer, and Maggie’s covers on the other. It really was easy, and not confusing. Jeff decided we should have Lilly’s things on the LEFT, since her name begins with “L”. (He’s so helpful.) J
I don’t want to simply repeat all the very informative things these other moms have said, so in this post, I’m going to focus on
1. Different Options for Diaper Covers
2. How to CD if you Don’t Have Your Own Washer and Dryer.
Let’s tackle the big issue first. We live in a small, 2-bedroom apartment. And while I still pray every day to have our own house with our very own cute little washer and dryer, I am still trudging to the end of our apartment building, quarters in tow, to use the public laundry room.
I don’t have the luxury of letting my diapers sit in a washer and soak, and I can’t really do several washes (I mean using cloth is supposed to be economical, right?), so here’s what I do:

- I use the same micro-fleece liners Leah mentioned, to keep as much poop off the cloth as possible.

- I wash about every other day, to keep diapers from sitting too long

- If I have a messy diaper that really needs rinsing I do it in the tub (Yes, I clean the tub afterwards) We are looking into a diaper sprayer

- I have also soaked the diapers in the tub in cold water for a few hours before washing, but I only do this when really needed, as it is quite a chore to wring them all out and carry very heavy, wet diapers to the laundry room!

- I wash first in COLD with a cup or more of vinegar, so stains don’t set

- I wash again in HOT with a small amount of plain blue Dawn and about ½ cup baking soda

- Once or twice a week, I also add borax to the HOT wash, as an alternative to bleach

- I dry TWICE (these dryers are not very efficient.)

- I hang covers and fleece liners in the girl’s room, on the back of the door to dry; I put these through both COLD and HOT wash, but NOT through the dryer
Here are some Challenges to my Method:

- Walking back and forth the laundry room with two small kids. I often try to wash after Jeff gets home, or during their naptime. Otherwise, we make it a fun adventure, and it takes about 15 minutes just to switch the clothes over. J

- We cannot line-dry our diapers, or even lay them outside our apartment to sun because of strict rules in the complex. So if I have stained diapers, I have to take them to a friend’s backyard to sun. (Just an opportunity to visit, right?)
Here are some Things that have Helped:

- We don’t CD at night.

- We don’t CD on trips or at church, etc.

- I don’t chastise myself for not going 100% cloth. These exceptions keep me sane, and make cloth diapering not only do-able, but very enjoyable!

- We don’t use the special soaps highly recommended for washing cloth diapers simply because they are not available in my area, so I use what IS available and in-expensive.

- We DO often put tea tree oil in the wash for a clean, fresh smell.

As you can see, cloth diapering IS possible, even if you don’t have a washer and dryer right in your own home. If WE can do it, so can you. If you have any suggestions for me, I’d LOVE to hear them!!

Okay, on to Diaper Covers. There are many out there. Here are some favorites:

I love Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Pro-wraps because they are easy, durable, trim, and cheap! We have used ours heavily, over and over, and they’re still holding up strong.

Wool Covers:
Another great option is WOOL. Click here to read more about the benefits of using wool. These covers are more expensive, but a good investment, and you can find them used on Diaper Swappers. If you’re crafty, you can use wool yarn to crochet or knit your own diaper covers. I did whip up a few of these for my own girls. Hollie told me how to use old wool sweaters to sew cute diaper covers. The possibilities really are endless.

Some downsides to wool:
- More expensive
- Must be handwashed
- Must be occasionally re-lanolized (very easy to do though)
- Takes a day or more to dry

Here's Lilly in some wool pants.

Fleece Bottoms:
Made of micro-fleece, these can be wraps, pull-on covers, or even shorts/pants. Here are some ups and downs to fleece:
- Easy to wash, and dries fast
- Can be thrown in with the regular laundry if it’s not diaper day
- Some fleece will pill, making the cover look worn over time.

That’s what’s being used around my house. But I love hearing about what other people are using. What are your favorites?


Christina said...

Great info! Thanks! Love the plug for wool. It really is a great option! I just lanolized ours after a long hiatus and I'm excited about using it again!

Question about the wool - anyone know if you can "over lanolize" it? I think I used too much lanolin...I had some new liquid lanolin that I got and didn't know how much to use...The wool feels funny and I'm worried it will hurt the diapers. Any suggestions from those that use wool?

Hollie said...

I use wool too and boy do I love it! I love how cute Laney looks in them and that they don't retain a urine odor, even if they seem saturated. The saturation just dries up and disappears. About overlanolizing them...hmm...that's a good questions. My gut feeling would be that it will be okay. But I'll do some research. Which liquid lanolin do you use? I just put a cup of water in the microwave for one minute. Squeeze about an inch of lanolin from the lanolin I used while breastfeeding, also adding a drop or two of Laney's bath soap. Then I run a luke-warm sink in the bathroom, put the wool in the sink inside facing upward (or on the outside) and pour the lanolin mixture into the water, turning my wool once or twice to get the lanolin all mixed up in there. I leave it for about 30 minutes or so. After 30 minutes has passed, I lay it in a towel and roll the towel up with the wool inside...a wool burrito if you will. Hee-hee! Then I stand on it and bounce a few times, stepping all over the rolled towel. Then, I hang it up somewhere in the house to dry. One thing to note, you don't want to put wool in the sun, like you do cloth diapers. I remember reading that while researching and really happy I ran across that because I would have put it in the sun. And lanolizing doesn't need to take place but only a few weeks at a time, maybe up to a month, depending on how much wool you have. Maybe I should have made a post out of this. I think I will, with some pictures of Laney in wool. Now, I'm really excited to get her hiney in wool!

Christina said...

It's called Face of the Wave. It's just liquid lanolin that I ordered from Abbyslane.com (one of my fav sites). I used to use the regular lanolin and melt it with really hot water - but I ran out and decided it would be easier to buy liquid. (Price is cheaper I think too.) It definitely says you only need a drop or two. I probably used 5-6, AT LEAST. Oops...It was the first time I lanolized with liquid...

Melissa said...

you ladies are all so clever making the wool covers and soakers. I have a sewing maching and would love to try it - did you find a pattern anywhere or just by trial and error? I'm not too great at figuring those things out myself...

Thanks for the post Shannon! I always love reading your comments so it was great to hear about your take on Cding!

Hollie said...

I usually just wing it and sometimes they turn out great and sometimes they turn out less than ideal. More times than not they are smaller than I had intended them to be, so if you aim big, you can always alter them and make them smaller. Give it a try!

Shannon said...

Thanks, Melissa! I googled "recycled wool longies" and found this site:

There are tons of tutorials on the web, and I used my girls' pants as an estimate for size. (Making them a bit larger so the cloth diaper would fit.) My first mistake was not making the rise high enough. But really, you can't go wrong with these. Even when you hack sew them, they are adorable! And affordable!! Have fun with it.

Greene family said...

I posted a while ago about switching to cloth diapers and....I did it!! I just ordered a few Bum Genius one size diapers and they came today!! :) I'm so excited because I think Noah, my son, will be so much more comfortable but I'm nervous about the laundry. Eeek!! Thanks for all your ideas on laundering.


Teesa and Bill said...

Thanks, Shannon! Very informative. Since I'm just getting started, I'm sure I'll have a lot of questions for you in the near future! I love Lilly's chubby arms - Sam never had that!

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