Cloth Diaper Tips & Tricks

Stephanie’s Newborn Diapering Tip for New Moms or Moms-to-be

by shethinksmedia
stephanie

Last week we went over some of my personal favorites for newborn diapering, based on my experiences with my most recent newborn this past summer.  We have an article on our blog worth a read for parents-to-be, I wrote it last year based on customer feedback and my own experiences with my previous babies.  You can find that article here.

What I did want to go over this week is a few other “how to’s” with newborn diapering, if you are a first time user of cloth stephaniediapers. My first baby, now 10 years old, was not in cloth diapers until about 4 months. When my second daughter was born, I had been doing diapers for about 2 years, but had never handled a newborn in them. It was a bit daunting, but over the years and subsequent babies, I have picked up a few tips and hints I would like to pass on, all personally tested and also appreciated by our customers.

Many of our first-time-moms we meet intend to have their babies changed at a location other than their own bed. Whether in a nursery, or a changing table in mom’s bedroom. Now, some will do this, taking the time and energy to change the baby at a location that requires standing up, being coherently awake and walking. However, if you find yourself taking power naps at red lights while driving with your newborn, and decide that diaper changes may take place closer to your pillow, here is what I advise.

  1. Set up a mini diaper station on your night stand. It is a very simple set up, 2-4 diapers, a stack of a few dry cloth wipes, hand sanitizer, a dish of water, a small plastic bag or wet bag and a light source.
  2. You could pre-wet the wipes to avoid having to wet them down, but toss whatever you don’t use in the morning in with the dirty diapers so they don’t get full of mildew.
  3. Baby changing can happen in the bed, one tip I do like is placing a large prefold or changing pad under the baby, in case of a surprise tinkle or poo-burst from the little darling on the clean sheets.
  4. In a perfect world, mom would wash her hands in the sink, then go back to bed to clean off after a change. For those of us living in a far-from-perfect world, I see enough science to suggest wiping your hands down with a clean wipe and water, than a dab of hand sanitizer is perfectly sufficient for what tiny residues may be left behind on your hands until the next time. And although this may be pushing the “TMI” envelope, if you are like me and postpartum nights bring night sweats, the usual postpartum rushing of fluids, some baby vomit running down your neck and some tears for good measure, a little baby poo added to the cocktail was the least of my worries.

Don’t be scared by that last sentence if you are a mom-to-be, not everyone has that experience, and even if you do that gorgeous newborn staring back at you has no idea you are a hot mess, and he/she will look so deliciously cute you really won’t notice it…much.

Next week we will continue with our conclusion of newborn tips and tricks, let me know if you have any questions.

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Cloth Diaper Washing, Which detergent and how much?

by shethinksmedia
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This week we are finalizing our washing series by wrapping up with one of the hottest topics in cloth diapering…which detergent to use? By far this is our longest article with regards to washing, but good info if you are having problems~
All of our past washing articles can be reviewed here:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=997
I will reference what we specifically suggest for detergent, with some extra information below:

  • Powders generally rinse out easier than liquid
  • The more natural the detergent, generally the less effective it will be with very few exceptions
  • Free and clears, especially liquid ones, can be notorious for buildup.
  • Mainstream powders and liquids are *fine* to use, you do not have to use a cloth diaper detergent to get your diapers clean.Print

What Detergent should you use?

Over 9 years of troubleshooting wash issues with thousands of clients, and our own 6 babies, we find one detergent leading the pack over and over again. Tide.
Tide?  Before you shoot the idea down completely, take a peek at who else recommends Tide:
Happy Heinys (over 10 years in the business):
http://www.happyheinys.com/care-and-sizing/cloth-diaper-detergents
Fuzzi Bunz (recommends Tide Free, over 10 years in the business):
http://www.fuzzibunz.com/faq.php#wash9
Tiny Tush (over 10 years in the business):
http://www.tinytush.com/How-To-Wash-Cloth-Diapers_ep_51-1.html
Rumparooz (over 5 years in the business):
http://www.rumparooz.com/faqs.php
GroVia (over 10+ years in the business):
https://www.gro-via.com/detergents.html
And for giggles, back when we opened in 2004 we started to advise Tide:

http://web.archive.org/web/20041021193833/http://www.lovebums.com/faqs.php

That being said, if you hate the idea of Tide, try another mainstream store powder, even a generic one if it fits the budget better. Worst case scenario, you strip and start over.

How much detergent should you use?

The second part of this equation is using enough detergent. Unless you are using Rockin Green or Thirsties Super Wash, 1-2 tablespoons will not cut it. You have to use enough detergent to get them clean ( I use to the 3 line on my Tide powder ultra scoop for two children in diapers).
On January 24th of this year, Bummis (over 20 years in the biz) had on their Facebook page:

Had a wonderful discussion with Steve “the detergent guru” again. We discussed how many people recommend using so little detergent and recommend Dawn to strip detergent residues from “suede cloth”, microfiber and other synthetics.

He does not believe it is a “detergent” residue that is causing repelling or stink in these synthetics. He believes what is really happening is that consumers are crea…ting a self-filling prophecy by not using enough detergent. This leads to microscopic soil being left behind. In fecal matter there are oils/fats from digestion. Polyester loves fats and oils and forms a chemical bond with them. If you are using too little detergent to release this soil, you will then get a microscopic build up of oils on the surface of the fabric eventually causing it to repel or stink.

While great at releasing grease on solid surfaces (think dishes) Dawn is not super effective on fabric. Hence it would work with a mild build up of oils causing repelling/stink but not on all cases. Best to avoid oily build up by using enough detergent to release oils from synthetics and enough rinsing/water to get rid of all detergent/soils left behind in the wash cycle.
-End of Bummis Article-

Make sure you are using enough, remember that seeing suds does not mean you are using too much. Some detergents are more sudsy than others, unless you have odors with the diapers out of the dryer or once freshly peed in, don’t sweat the suds! Really, if you don’t smell anything, don’t lift the lid, don’t even peek at the rinse cycle. If they smell great out of the dryer, and once freshly peed in, don’t worry about suds.

Now, all that being said, I realize (as many customers have emailed us over the years), that Tide does not get any awards for being “green”. If your natural detergent works for your diapers, then keep using it, and yes, it can seem odd to choose a less-than-eco-friendly detergent to wash your cloth diapers. However, working with many more customers who are not getting their diapers clean with earth-friendly detergent, we have concluded that these customers either have to change their detergent brands, or switch to disposables. It simply is not safe to put stinky diapers on your baby. Stink=bacteria, and you just don’t want bacteria pressed up against their genitals 24 hours a day. Between the evils of disposables and Tide, I say go with Tide, as water is a renewable resource, and landfills are not.
Do some babies react to Tide? Of course, but we don’t see any more reactions to Tide than other detergents, and we see far more babies reacting to bacterial rashes and skin issues from unclean diapers. Tide has enzymes, which eat organic matter. Great for diapers, and when rinsed properly does not pose a problem to the skin. That being said, any product used on children has the potential to cause a reaction, typically a reaction to detergent will be wherever the diaper touches, and quick to show up.
ALTERNATIVES TO TIDE:
-If your baby is sensitive to fragrance, Tide Free and Gentle is a great “free” detergent that works well for diapers. In HE formula, it only comes in liquid, which we see working well for customers.
-Planet is a “green” detergent we see working well, is available in most grocery stores, and is very eco-friendly
-Country Save can be found inexpensively on Amazon, and works well, too.

For our customers with hard water, you need more detergent. For soft water, generally a little less detergent. For those with *really* soft water, even if you have a regular machine, use an HE detergent. They are formulated to be easier to rinse out, and will not harm your machine. You can regular detergent only in a regular machine, HE detergent can be used in either type of machine. HE users also make sure you have your water  level as high as you can go, but do not add it manually as it can throw off your drum.

Questions? Email me at AbbysLane@aol.com, we will work through it together :)

 

 


How to fine-tune your cloth diaper wash routine

by shethinksmedia

After tackling ammonia for the past two weeks, we are moving onto to nitpicking a great wash routine. Like we have previously said, if your routine is working for you, don’t even bother reading on, but if you have odors sneaking up when your child pees in a clean diaper, or out of the dryer, we can work on fixing it. Today we are going over the start of the wash routine, the pre-rinse. Your pre-rinse cycle is a 2-3 minute process that wets the diapers down, then spins them out to loosen solid or semi solid soils, as well as giving urine soaked diapers a good rinse through.

The best routine we have found for diapers is

  • Warm or hot pre-rinse (see notes below)
  • Hot wash with good amount of detergent (not the sanitary cycle, your regular hot cycle, your water heater should be set to 120 degrees F)
  • 2 cold rinses. Your machine will do one automatically, add another if you can.

For years we actually advised doing a hot pre-rinse, the reason for hot being that many water heaters didn’t get up to 120 in the pre-rinse, so setting it to warm gave you room temperature water, setting it to hot gave you the higher temperature that is needed. In recent years with more sophisticated machines, we are adjusting our advice to say warm pre-rinse, not hot or cold.

Bummis recently had this article as well for some of the science behind the warm prerinse:
http://blog.bummis.com/2011/10/laundry-science.html#!/2011/10/laundry-science.html

In our practical experience and lots of testing with our customers, we found the cold prerinse set in stains and make it much harder to wash the fresh feces and urine out of the diapers. Switch your prerinse, see if it helps. If your water heater doesn’t get very hot, consider doing a hot prerinse to boost those temps a little.

If you don’t have the option for a warm or hot pre-rinse, you can do a little trial and error to see if your water conditions make it better to skip the pre-rinse completely ( I would advise using a diaper sprayer to rinse the poopy diapers individually before going in the pail if that is the case), or using a cold pre-rinse. Depending on how “pre-cleaned” the diapers are from your sprayer, many customers found they could eliminate this step completely, however if you don’t have that option or are running into issues getting them cleaned, opt for the cold. I would say for HE machines, go with the cold over opting out of the prerinse, if your machine is water efficient using as many rinse cycles as you can will help in the water-efficient wash cycle.

Next week, onto the wash cycle :)
Any questions? Email us at Abbyslane@aol.com


Tips for common summertime cloth diaper yeast rash

by shethinksmedia

Last we went over our Swim Diaper 101, and were excited to get several emails for customers taking the “plunge” into reusable swim diapers!  This week we are going to switch gears and get into some common diaper troubleshooting issues.

The most common rash issue we tackle is yeast, especially in the warmer summer months. Below is our advice on what to do if you are diagnosed with yeast, next week we will get into some detail as to how to prevent it, troubleshoot it for children who have multiple bouts with it, and other random tips we have discovered over the years of working with our customers.

Yeast is a fungal infestation in the skin of your baby, which is encouraged by dark and damp environments ( ie: diaper area), and should be diagnosed by your pediatrician.

When you get the diagnosis:

  1. Your doctor will likely prescribe nystatin cream or gentian violet orally, other anti-fungal creams may be used depending on the severity of the rash.
  2. When using one of the above products, we advise moving into disposables until the skin is completely cleared for at least 48 hours. IF the rash is really stubborn, I would advise stretching this to 3-4 days.
  3. During this time, you need to disinfect your cloth diapers. This needs to include cloth diapers, cloth wipes, inserts and other cloth diaper accessories. To do so, wash and dry as usual, then wash with just hot water and 1/2 cup of clorox (we used to advise 1/3 cup, over the past year we see more success with the 1/2 cup mark). Chlorine bleach is what can and will disinfect the diapers, color safe bleach uses hydrogen peroxide, which has not shown to be as effective.
  4. If you have PUL pockets, AIOs and covers, the bleach will not fade them, as PUL is dye fast. If you have cotton print products, and do not want them to fade, you can sort these out and disinfect with a color safe bleach. HOWEVER, if the yeast comes back I highly recommend using chlorine bleach to disinfect them, you don’t want to fungus to keep regrouping and coming back, for the health of your baby (it can be miserable when it is a strong strain).
  5. Once baby has been clear for at least 48 hours, they can go back into disinfected cloth, make sure over the next 1-2 weeks you change frequently to promote air flow to their little bottoms to keep yeast away.

As always, please email us at abbyslane@aol.com with any questions or concerns and we’re happy to help!


Let’s talk about poo!

by shethinksmedia
This week we are going to take a page from my 2 year old’s playbook and talk about poo.

The infamous “number 2″ is one of the biggest reasons families are hesitant to jump into cloth diapers, and is the most frequently asked question at our Cloth 101 orientations. The first thing I say to these families, once you have been vomited on a few times, in my opinion, poo is no big deal.  If that doesn’t help ease your worry about the soiled diapers, we are going to go over the 3 ways to deal with bowel movements below.

Until your baby starts solids, bowel movements can go right into the washing machine with your dirty diapers. If you trust your bed linens and undergarments to get clean, trust the diapers to get clean. Breastfed babies will typically have liquid bowel movements until solids are introduced, formula fed babies may as well, it just depends on how they metabolize their food.  If your baby has liquid bowel movements, trust our washing instructions to get them clean, a sniff out of the dryer will definitely show if they are clean or not:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=997

Three Methods for dealing with POO!

If your baby is transitioning into solids, you will enter what we call the “peanut butter poo” stage.  Neither solid or liquid, it is a sticky, tacky substance that holds on tight to the diaper lining.  At this stage it cannot go straight into the washing machine, so we advise using one of these 3 methods:

1) Dunk and Swish: Completely free and easy to use, flip the diaper around so the inside lining is hanging down, hang onto the edges, and dunk in the toilet and swish around.  Flush the toilet (make sure you hang onto it so you don’t need your neighborhood plumber’s services), and repeat if needed.  If you have tiny remnants hanging on, don’t worry about them, they will come out in the wash cycle.  You can master this quickly without ever getting your hands wet, have your pail or wet bag in your reach to put the soiled diaper into after dunking/swishing.

2)Flushable Liners: We sell a variety of flushable liners in our store, these are made from rice paper or other plant origins, and are public septic safe. If you have a private septic, you may want to throw them away rather than flush them, depending on how sensitive your tank is.These are an incredibly popular item, and a small cost to try them out (around 10 dollars for 100 liners). They lay inside the diaper to catch the semi solid movements, then you can pick up the edges and flush, putting the diaper right in the pail. These are not to be used with diaper creams, when creams get warm against baby’s skin they will melt right through the liner, you need to use fleece or flannel liners for diaper creams. There are two drawbacks to these liners, which I myself and others have experienced. One, you have to lay them in with each diaper change, and by this age most babies are pooping 1-2 times a day, so it is an extra step at each change. Two, sometimes they can bunch and shift if your diaper isn’t completely snug-fitting, and miss the semi solid waste completely. However, the majority of our customers love them, so definitely worth a try if they make this stage easier!

3) Diaper Sprayer: If you or your partner is handy, your local hardware store can give you the parts to assemble your own sprayer. If you are like me, and prefer a box with a kit and all the pieces, directions and a number to call if things go downhill, we have two great brands of sprayers in our store. They attach to the clean water supply in your toilet tank, and draw on completely clean water to do the job. If you have a sprayer in your kitchen sink, you will find they work the same way, with trigger pressure and a controlled spray head. Sprayers can be moved from toilet to toilet, or taken with you if you move.

Once your child is fully on solids, their bowel movements will show more adult-like formation, and can be rolled off into the toilet. However, until your baby potty trains, you will need to use these methods again whenever they drink too much juice, go on antibiotics, get the stomach virus, eat lots of blueberries, (you get the idea)…. Don’t retire your liners or sprayer until the diapers are safely stored away .

Let me know if you have any questions, have a great weekend!
Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com

Cloth Wipes, Don’t just sit there…Try them!

by shethinksmedia

Cloth wipes are today’s topic, which is great for those starting with a newborn, or at any age. We did address this topic briefly a few weeks ago, but we received several emails asking for more details.

If you have been using disposable wipes, consider some of the advantages to cloth ones! With my first daughter I used only disposable wipes with her. I hadn’t really considered cloth wipes, and was getting the “hang” of this diapering idea, I was overwhelmed with another change to my routine. However, having done both, I realize I was creating more work for myself with disposable wipes, in addition to the added expense.

When you use disposable wipes, you have two options:

1) throw the soiled wipes in with the cloth diapers to wash/dry
2) dispose of the wipes on the trash can

If you go with option 1, you run the risk of the wipes completely disintegrating. Brands will vary, and depending on the agitator in your washing machine they may not come out intact. If they don’t, you have a snarled mess of fabric intertwined with the diapers on your hands. Especially if you use aplix closure cloth diapers, if your wipes fall apart they can take a lot of time to unwind from the diapers. If they don’t fall apart, you then have to find them stuck to the diapers (which is hard to see if you have white inners on your diapers), and it becomes one extra step to do at laundry time.

If you dispose of them, you run into two problems. One, finding a bag to put them in, knot it up, put in the trash can, or, if you are just putting them straight in the trash, remembering to take the trash bag out before it starts to stink.

Some of the benefits to cloth wipes:

1) save $$
2) save time
3) less chemicals/irritants on your baby
4) less trash in the dump

The best cloth wipes for newborns are baby washcloths. They are cheap (many baby stores sell 4-6 for $1.00 or just over), and perfectly tiny for newborn’s little bottoms. You will usually get a few dozen at your shower, and since you only need 2-4 to bathe your baby, save the rest for cloth wipes. As babies get older, I love bigger wipes, they get the job done in one swoop as opposed to 2/3 baby washcloths or disposable wipes, and they protect your hand MUCH better than a disposable wipe.


Wipes only need water to clean your baby. While you can google the web for “wipe recipes” that involve essential oils and mild cleansers. While you can certainly experiment with them, we recommend plain water. If you store your wipes in a dry basket or container, just run them under the sink when you have a diaper that needs to be changed. Free, easy, nothing to mix or buy ingredients for. On the go, just store dry wipes in your diaper bag, as long as you have a water bottle handy (or you can swipe a sippy cup from your toddler), you can change diapers on the go. If you do use a wipe recipe, watch for any irritation on the skin. If you have a good wash routine the tiny amount of oils you use shouldn’t affect anything, we tend to see more irritation on babies than in the wash routine.

With regards to wipe warmers, our stance is they just aren’t needed. If you do use one, make sure those wipes stay always damp (fire warning), and you change out the old ones daily to prevent mildew.

Have a great weekend!
Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Cloth Diapers and Accessories, What do you truly need?

by shethinksmedia

We are continuing with our newborn discussion, but this also applies to a new family to the cloth diapering scene in regards to “additional equipment”. My personal stance, all you need to cloth diaper are cloth diapers. The rest are truly “accessories”, and many household items can work in their place. If you are facing a tight budget, invest in your diapers, below we are going to outline some of these additional items and how you can work around them.

1) Diaper Pail: Budget or no budget, the pails made for disposables are out. Diaper Champs, Genies, their capacity is small, the liners are expensive and the openings will be tight for toddler diapers. The best pail is a 13 gallon trash can, with a close-top lid. You can often find these for around $10.00 at your big box stores, they are easy to clean if needed, and keep odors contained.

2) Pail Liners: If you can’t invest in pail liners, use your kitchen trash bags. One bag will last for 1-2 days of cloth, take it to the washing machine, dump it in and toss it. If you can invest in reusable pail liners, you would want 2 (one to wash while using the other), if you have a smaller pail, buy the bigger pail liner. It is ok to have a larger pail liner than pail, the extra material will just bunch at the bottom and expand when you take it out.

3) Wet Bags: In a pinch, reuse your plastic grocery bags, you can always bag your soiled diapers in a plastic bag, come home, break open the bag and the diaper falls into your pail. If you can invest in a reusable bag, usually one medium size wetbag (or “regular) in the Wahmies brand) is perfect for the average day with a few errands. If you have two in diapers, a longer trip, taking diapers to daycare for the day, invest in the larger bag. Out of all of our diaper accessories, my wet bag gets the most use. Past baby years, you will use them at the pool for swimsuits, swim diapers, and even well into the school years, when your child becomes ill in the car, you will always need a place to store wet or stinky things while containing the odor and mess. Gross, sure, but you will be so grateful you have that wet bag during stomach virus season!

4) Diaper Sprayers: For my first two children, dunking and swishing was our method for solid waste removal. You get good at it quickly, it is free to use, and available wherever there is a toilet ( While I don’t “dunk” in a public restroom, but I do use them for dumping the solid waste into). If you need a cheap way to get semi solid waste off your diapers at home, flip the diaper facing liner-in towards the toilet. Grab the front and back together, dunk into the toilet water a few times to loosen the mass. Hold onto the diaper (key thing here, otherwise have the plumber’s number handy), flush 1-2 times to get rid of the waste. If tiny residual pieces hang on, don’t sweat it, repeat as needed. You don’t get your hands dirty at all, or wet, have your pail right next to the toilet to toss the dirty diaper in. If the budget allows, diaper sprayers are great, they can be moved to a different toilet if you move, and have fantastic warranties on them.

Many of our customers report the best way to get these cloth diaper accessories on a tight budget is with a holiday or birthday registry. If you are set with clothing and toys, and especially if you have a “green” minded family, many have found their families loved indulging in a few extras to ease the cloth journey :) If you don’t love the idea of a registry, but you feel comfortable asking for gift cards, they are an instant gift from our website, and without any expiration dates gives you the time to asses what is needed most.

Let me know if you have any questions, at AbbysLane@aol.com, have a great weekend!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Diaper Chatter: Getting Started with Cloth Diapers and a Newborn Baby.

by shethinksmedia

I know on our Facebook page, we have lots of pregnant families who are excited to start using cloth diapers with their little one. Many of them have older children, but this is their first baby in cloth. I am going to go over some tips that helped me through the years with my 5 littles, and hints we have found helpful to customers both online and in our store over the years.

The first thing I tell new parents is to not be overwhelmed by trying to start cloth diapers right away. Is it feasible? Sure, for many families it is, but for some it isn’t going to be, and you should not have a shred of guilt about spending a few days or even weeks in disposables. If the thought of bringing home a new baby and cloth diapering from day one is causing any anxiety or worry, put it on the back burner. I would much rather see a family take 2-3 weeks to get the hang of the “we have a new little person running our lives” system, and when they are ready, be energized to use cloth for the next two years.

Many relatives and friends will give you disposables at your shower. Hold onto them, if you need them they are there, if you don’t ever use them, you won’t have any trouble donating them to a local women’s shelter. That being said, the newborn phase is a great time to try a few fluffy cloth diapers. Because newborns don’t roll, twist or try to claw your eyes out during diaper changes (oh yes, that precious newborn will be a feisty toddler someday), they are a sitting duck for any attempts at prefold folding, fitted snapping, cover adjusting or pocket securing you want to do. Newborns also tend to sleep. A lot. If you have the luxury of a partner or family member keeping up the house when you are recovering, take advantage of sleep time to play with the diapers, you will gain confidence using them for longer periods, and learning your baby’s wetting habits and what fits best.

Newborns will poop at night for the first 4-8 weeks, whether using cloth or disposables you will be changing at nighttime, so you will need a little bedside station to do these nighttime changes. We have found some of our customers will get up or ask their partner to use the changing table with the full setup, and I did this with my first as well. Baby number 2 and on did not have that royal treatment, mama was too tired to lug out of bed, and daddy was too busy getting a glass of water and taking the older toddler potty all night.

What I found to work best, on my nightstand I hang a wetbag (I hung mine on the edge of a small drawer that pulled out, the Rumparooz wet bags are great for this with their loop that snaps, as are the large planet wise or Wahmies wet bags). I also kept a small basket of dry wipes, and a small bowl of water. Add some hand sanitizer and 4-6 clean diapers, and you are set. I changed my babies in the bed, I did like having a little changing pad to lay under them (the Planet Wise ones are perfect, thin and don’t take up much space), little boys especially love to tinkle on you, and sometimes sleepy mom didn’t catch it before I felt a warm dribble running down my hand. Change baby, wipe off hands with fresh wipe and water, then use hand sanitizer to cleanse any germs. Baby goes back to bed, dirties go in wetbag, everyone can stay put.

My last little tip this week is in regards to wipe warmers. I tend to advise against them, many are not designed for cloth wipes they are just too small for the quantity you need for the day. If you decide to use one, make sure you clean it out every day. If you leave cloth wipes in, they will mildew, and a warm,wet environment is perfect for breeding any bacteria that may be present. Also, make sure they stay wet, as you could also have a potential fire hazard with the fabric being stored inside. With newborn cloth wipes, if you have room temperature water, and squish it in your hand a few times, it warms up just fine to use on baby.

Next week we will chat about some more tips, as always if you have questions email me at AbbysLane(at)aol.com!

Have a great weekend everyone!
Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Tips for keeping your diapers in great shape longer!

by shethinksmedia

We got some great feedback from last week’s frugal diapering article, several of you replied that you could now have leak-free solutions with items you had on hand, which is money in your pocket and dry sheets ( a win/win!)

In keeping with this line of thinking, here are some tips to keep your diapers looking their best longer:

Here is what we see being big culprits of wear and tear on diapers:

1. Bleach:
Once in a blue moon bleach won’t hurt anything. If you have cotton outers, they will fade, but PUL is dye fast and can hold up to a bleaching or two over time. Microfiber you could likely soak in bleach for 6 years and it would still be fine. In some health issues, bleach is needed. Yeast, staph, MRSA, and other bacterial or fungal issues will need bleach to keep your baby from being reinfected. If you are bleaching in every wash cycle, or pre-soaking them, or for some customers even on a weekly basis, you will wear those diapers out faster. They are cloth, and just like if you were doing this to your favorite tee shirts, you will see wear on them. Vinegar and oxygen bleach will wear on PUL the same way bleach does, so be careful if you use these in your wash routine as well.

2. Stretching out elastic while it is hot:
When you take your pockets or pocket AIOs out of the dryer, let them cool before stuffing them. I know you are right there and if you put them down it will be two snacks, one potty break and one nap time later before you get back to them, but this really goes a long way. Hot elastic does not like to be stretched, it will wear out faster so let them cool first.

3. Infrequent washing:
Many of you are going to say “Washing wears them out, too!”. Yes, there is a fine line you have to walk between your schedule, your quantity of diapers, and how your wash cycle works in your house. That being said, letting diapers sit 3-5 days can cause a host of problems. One, they are soaking in ammonia for some time, which will wear down your fabrics (remember, urine + time + bacteria= ammonia). Second, it will be harder to get them clean after letting them stew in a warm, dark pail for that long of a time, and you usually have to resort to laundry aids, or bleach, to get them clean. Washing every other day is best, save the money you would be spending on twice as many diapers to wash every 4 days, and start building your stash for the next size up. It will be easier on you, and easier on the diapers.

4. Making your own laundry tabs:
If you have a washing machine with a rougher agitator, and you notice your laundry tabs are wearing out, it is easy to make your own. Get a roll of velcro at a fabric store for around $2.00, and cut into 2 inch squares. Throw away the “hook” side (the scratchy side) and save your two inch “loop” (soft) sides. Put in a little plastic bowl near your diaper pail, when the dirties go in, stick them on, when they come out of the dryer, put them back in the bowl. Nothing to fold back, and they won’t dislodge.

5. Proper Storage:
Between babies, or between sizes, keep your diapers in a temperature controlled environment. Hot summers and cold winters can wear out elastic and notions, my favorite way to store diapers is a sterlite bin n closets or a temperature controlled basement. A lid is important to keep out bugs and moths who love fabric.

Have a great weekend!
www.AbbysLane.com


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