Wash routines

Cloth Diaper Mythbusting: Can you use mainstream detergents or not?

by shethinksmedia

mythbusting,cloth diapersCan you use mainstream detergents to wash your cloth diapers?

This week we tackle the next hurdle in a good wash routine, which is detergent choice and amount.

Now, I know throwing in links is an easy way out of this topic, but we have taken time to write up solid and thorough articles on our website and our blog. So, I am going to link you to one article, and then copy/paste the other. Our easy detergent chart and information can be found here:
http://www.abbyslane.com/Cloth-101_ep_42-1.html#Q13

After taking a peek at that, you may be saying “but EVERY manufacturer doesn’t recommend mainstream detergents!“, to which I will answer “but they DO! And we have proof!“, in our article here:

Wash problems generally fall into two categories, tonight we are tackling the problem of the diapers smelling out of the dryer. This is usually caused by one of two problems

1) Wrong detergent

or

2) Not enough detergent.

Let’s start with number one, the wrong detergent. Here are some cliff notes for choosing a detergent:

  • 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.

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:

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.kanga-care.com/Cloth-Diaper-FAQ_ep_42-1.html#howto

GroVia (over 10+ years in the business):
https://www.gro-via.com/detergents.html

And for giggles, back when we opened in 2004 we (Abby’s Lane) 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. In our first link we discuss some “green” detergents that work well, including Country Save and Planet, many of our eco-friendly households use those with a good amount of success.

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 a load of diapers).

On January 24th, 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.

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.

Email us with questions! Next week we wrap with final rinsing and drying!


Cloth Diaper Mythbusting: Washing diapers, Do you need a pre-rinse?

by shethinksmedia

mythbusting,cloth diapers

Washing Tips and the pre-rinse cycle!

This week we start a series on washing issues and the “right” routine for you and your baby.
To do this, we will tackle each step in the wash cycle, this week focuses on the prerinse. The prerinse cycle is a short 2-3 minute cycle that sprays down your diapers and spins the water out. No detergent is used, or should be added.

We advise that our customers do a WARM prerinse to begin their wash routine. In years past, 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 “just above cold” 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.

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 pre-rinse, if your machine is water efficient using as many rinse cycles as you can will help in the water-efficient wash cycle.

Bummis has a great article for some of the science behind the warm pre-rinse:
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 pre-rinse set in stains and make it much harder to wash the fresh feces and urine out of the diapers. Switch your pre-rinse, see if it helps. If your water heater doesn’t get very hot, consider doing a hot pre-rinse to boost those temps a little.

Next week we go past the pre-rinse into the wash routine itself.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Cloth Diaper Mythbusting: Do you need to prep or pre-wash certain natural fabrics?

by shethinksmedia

mythbusting,cloth diapers

This week I want to start a series of “Cloth Diaper Mythbusting” articles, to ensure our customers are getting good information on how to use and treat their cloth diapers, and also make it easy and fun to do so.

This week I want to focus on the topic of…

PRE-WASHING NATURAL FIBERS

A topic that can be very confusing and overwhelming for a new customer, especially if you are purchasing a mix of fabrics. If you have bamboo, Cotton, Hemp or other combinations of these 3 fabrics, your diapers are considered “natural fibers” and ideally should get 1-2 pre-washings with your household items before using/washing them with the rest of your stash. You will read on other websites about very complicated ways to pre-wash things 6-7 times on hot with lots of detergent, or these “oils” will rinse out of your new natural fibers onto existing diapers and cause everything to leak.

Let’s start with a few points to remember:
1) If it is stay-dry, it isn’t natural. Polyester fabrics such as microfleece or suedecloth do not require any pre-washing at all, if you wish to do so once to wash off manufacturing residues or fluff them up,  that is fine, but technically they are good to go right out of the mailer.
2) If you completely forget pre-washing steps, it can be fixed. There isn’t much you can do to your cloth diapers, short of cutting the up or setting them on fire, that isn’t fixable. Just send us an email and we will figure it out 😉

For years now I think “they” have scared new customers into overestimating the powers of natural fibers in diapers and inserts. “They” referring to online support forums for cloth diapering families, even manufacturers and other retailers. One, two, three and four new natural fiber inserts or diapers just do not have the power to completely ruin an entire stash of diapers. Could they possibly not be in peak shape to absorb themselves?  Possibly, but I have seen too many people pre-wash one or two inserts 6-7 times before using them, which is a huge waste of time and water. If your wash routine is so sensitive to one or two inserts coating your existing 15 other diapers in the washing machine, you do not have a good wash routine. By the time you introduce a good detergent, hot water and several minutes of agitation, those tiny, tiny amounts of natural oils aren’t going to do anything to your diapers.

-PLEASE, DO NOT BOIL ANY OF YOUR DIAPERS-

There are far easier and less hazardous ways to prewash your diapers. Boiling will melt snaps, melt elastic, melt PUL, and greatly shorten the life of your fabrics, PLUS, it introduces a potentially dangerous situation trying to boil fabric on your stove. Take your diapers and/or inserts, wash them with your household laundry once, then after that wash and use them with your other diapers. There are VERY few exceptions to this, at Abby’s Lane I would say those exceptions are GroVia soakers and Sloomb/Sustainablebabyish Bamboo Overnight Fitteds. Now, do the exceptions listed there get 6-7 washings? No way, 3-4 is fine, and truly if you are using them during daytime periods where you can change as needed, do them 1-2 times and get them going in your rotation. They will get better with age.

For pre-washing, no detergent is needed, just warm to hot water, these temps combined with agitation will do the trick, which is why washing them with household items is ideal.

Now, some of you will follow this advice and start seeing leaks on your diapers? If this is the case, before you think your other diapers are repelling due to natural fiber oils and need to be “stripped”, please read this article on our blog, I am even going to copy/paste the relevant part for you below.

Stripping: We are going to cover how to strip the diapers.
Stripping refers to an action of doing something to the diapers to disinfect or strip them from detergent buildup, ointment buildup, old feces or urine buildup, fabric softener, basically anything that is hindering absorbency. Today I am going to review what does need to be stripped versus what doesn’t.

Many times, truly most times, when a customer thinks the diaper needs to be stripped, it is actually a scenario where more absorbency is needed, or the fit is incorrect for the baby. You do NOT need to strip if:

  • The diapers leak, but more than 30-60 minutes has passed
  • The diapers leak, but the entire diaper/fitted or insert is wet
  • The diapers leak but do not have odors to them

If you are having leaking but find that the above fits, you likely have an absorbency or fit issue, not a need to strip. Very, very rarely will buildup occur without an accompanying odor. If you have enough buildup left to hinder absorbency, you will be trapping old feces and urine, and it will stink. What may be a cause a need to strip is:

  • Odors out of the dryer, or once freshly peed in.
  • Leaking within the first few minutes of the diaper being on.
  • Leaking and the diaper is wet in spots only.
  • Use of creams, and you can see and smell spots where ointment has been.
  • Use of the wrong detergent, this is also evident when you take the diapers out and they have a sticky or tacky feel to them, almost like they are coated with something.

I like to highlight the odor key in all of this, remember you cannot ever mask the smell of poop. You can spray perfume on it, put bleach spray on it, it will smell like perfumed and bleached poo. It is incredibly rare when we see buildup not accompanying odors, it can happen, but really is very rare. If you suspect buildup and do not have any odors, we will first go the route of more absorbency/checking the fit. If you strip and it is an absorbency or fit issue, you won’t solve anything and be right back where you started with leaky diapers.

I do want to throw one more tidbit in,I see websites promoting the “water drip test” to see if your diapers are repelling. The idea being you dribble a few drops of water on the diaper, if it doesn’t sink in right away the diapers need to be stripped. The truth is I can do this on my perfectly fine pocket diapers and you won’t see it sink in, the pressure of the baby against the diaper pushes urine into it, so don’t rely on that test to see if you have buildup and need to strip.

There was a method that was very popular a few years ago in stripping, and I sincerely hope it has completely died out but I know some still recommend it. It involves using your dishwasher to strip the diapers. Now, this is a fire hazard, and will render your snaps and elastic pretty useless, so under no circumstances should you ever put your diapers in the dishwasher, please please please.

Another popular method is to put Dawn dish soap in the washing machine. We don’t recommend this either, your washing machine wasn’t made for dish soap, it is high sudsing and can clog the hoses. If you have a new washer under warranty you could void it. We have had customers who used Dawn, and when their machine broke and the repairman came, it was very easy to tell soap had been used, and the warranty was voided, so please take note of those problems if you go the Dawn route.

What is safer for you and the machine, is to bleach the diapers if you have buildup. 1/3 cup of chlorox in the detergent cycle with clean cloth diapers, and hot water, will take care of the problem. If you have cotton print diapers, dyed fitteds or prefolds, or cotton outer wet bags, you can use color safe bleach. That is the best method to strip, and safe for your machine. For disinfecting purposes, color safe bleach may not be appropriate as it uses hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine to bleach, but for residue purposes it can work.

Make sure the diapers have been washed and dried, if they are soiled the bleach won’t do much. Once in a blue moon bleach is fine on your diapers, it is when it is used on a regular basis that you see premature wear and tear, just like you would on your clothing. PUL is dye fast and will not bleed from bleach.


How to use and care for your Wool diaper covers

by shethinksmedia

Last week we started our Wool 101 series by discussing the “why” of wool, this week we go into “how” and “seriously I have to handwash it?”

The second part of that sentence was a big reason I steered clear of wool for so long.wool 1

Wool is really very easy to care for, I am going to outline my very easy, no fuss wool care washing system. I do ours maybe once a month, Lucy is a very light night wetter now, and her wool rarely gets wet, when she was a very heavy wetter, once a week I would do this routine.

First, do all of your wool washing outside of your sink. You don’t want lanolin in your pipes, look at it in the cooled version, and imagine it sitting in your drain. Use a rubbermaid basin, an old pitcher with a wide opening, a metal baking tin, sometimes I used a cake pan, easy to wash and it wouldn’t absorb the wool care products (be careful using anything plastic, the scents or your wool care products will soak in).

-Fill your container with warm water, and about a tablespoon of liquid wool wash (CJs is fantastic, you can use Eucalan, in a pinch liquid dish soap will do, but on a regular basis this can really wear on the wool fibers). If you are using a bar, you will scrub the wool lightly all over after you wet it. Compress the soaker into the solution, and let sit for about a minute, swishing it with your hand to work the water/soap into the soaker.
-Have an old towel nearby, take the soaker out and lay it in the towel. Roll the towel up, and press on it, don’t wring it, but press it to compress the water out.
-Dump your first basin outside, and refill with new warm water
-Take a coffee mug, microwave it full of water for about a minute

IF USING LIQUID LANOLIN:
-When you take it out, squirt about 2 pea sized drops of lanolin in it, or Lansinoh, and mix it up quickly with a fork or knife. This is really the only part that you have to move quickly, you have to dissolve the lanolin and use it fast, or it will reclump back up as it cools.
-Pour the coffee mug into the basin, and quickly press your soaker down into it. Gently swish it around in the basin, then let it sit a minute

IF USING A WOOL REVITALIZER, LIKE CJ’S
-Spray the revitalizer in the “wet zone”, specifically right in the crotch from front to back, flip inside out and spray as well

THEN:
-Repeat the towel trick, compress the water out, and hang to dry.
-Toss the basin water/lanolin outside, and allow the soaker to dry a day or two.
During the winter, I have mine in my laundry room so it doesn’t freeze, if you have a really large soaker, or longies, lay them flat to dry instead of hanging to preserve their shape. If you need a wool soaker overnight, get two so one can dry while you use the second.wool 2

This whole process takes maybe 5 minutes to do, and is really very easy to get the hang of. As some of my babies became lighter wetters at night, I would skip lanolizing altogether. Wool is super absorbent on its own, so you can see if you really need to lanolize your wool if you have good absorbency underneath.

It looks like a lot of steps written out, but truly it can be done in less than two minutes, what takes a while is air drying :)

During the winter, I have mine in my laundry room so it doesn’t freeze, if you have a really large soaker, or longies, lay them flat to dry instead of hanging to preserve their shape. If you need a wool soaker overnight, get two so one can dry while you use the second.

Next week we finish our wool series, let us know if you have any questions at AbbysLane@aol.com

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


Cloth Diaper Washing, Which detergent and how much?

by shethinksmedia
Print

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 :)

 

 


Washing Routine, Hot or Cold? Does it matter?

by shethinksmedia

This week as part of our washing series we are going to go over the actual wash part of this whole process.

Our entire washing article can be found below:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=997

We have gone over troubleshooting ammonia, stripping, and the pre-rinse. This week is short and sweet.

Wash on hot, not the sanitary, not the “whitest whites”, but the regular hot cycle which is about 120 degrees on a standard water heater. *Your wash cycle will be about 10-20 minutes depending on your machine.

We have worked with customers who did not have access to hot water, and despite our tips on washing in cold could not get the diapers clean, and a great solution is a portable washer:
http://www.laundry-alternative.com/index.php/the-wonderwash.html

This is also fantastic if you don’t have access to a machine washer, or only have access to expensive shared facilities as in some apartment or townhouse complexes. You add hot water manually, put the diapers in and use the handle to wash your diapers. Works for clothing, too, we don’t sell it but have referred customers to it for close to 10 years now with excellent feedback.

Even though your diapers are filled with urine and feces, there is no need for the sanitary cycle. If your diapers are getting clean, they are not harboring bacteria, and you can’t mask the smell of fecal bacteria (honestly, all you will get is perfumey smelling poop). If you trust your hot water to get your bed linens and undergarments clean, trust it to get your cloth diapers clean, we don’t throw away clothing that has vomit, urine, blood and other bodily fluids on it, the machine will be able to do the job.

Next week we tackle detergent to finish our series, have a wonderful week everyone!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


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 solving cloth diaper ammonia problems!

by shethinksmedia

Last week we wrote a rather lengthy article on Ammonia 101 in our advanced washing tip series, today we will keep it more brief with a solution to solving your ammonia problems.

For any sort of bacterial rash or odor issue, the solution that we advise for your diapers is to disinfect them. Your child may or may not need medical follow up due to these issues, but that decision is best made by your pediatrician. For the diapers though, the solution to ammonia is first to disinfect, then to change the wash routine.

Again, I am going to reference our fantastic washing article on our blog:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=997

To strip and disinfect the diapers, we recommend using bleach. Chlorine bleach is the only proven disinfectant for bacterial issues, and is safe to use on any of your synthetic fabrics, prefolds, coves or AIOs. The only diaper chlorine bleach can fade is any cotton fabrics that are prints or dyed, but depending on the severity of the rash, it may be a risk you need to take for the safety of your baby’s skin and health. If you have some of these diapers in your stash, you can bleach them with color safe bleach (which uses hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine to do the bleaching), but if it comes back you may need to consider using the stronger, regular bleach. To bleach your diapers, wash and dry them as normal, then separate into piles of 12 diapers. You want to use 1/2 cup of bleach per 12 diapers per load, so you may need to do multiple loads. No detergent needed in this cycle, then rinse and dry as normal.
There are a number of methods you can research and google that suggest you can use essential oils, vinegar, oxi bleach, natural sunlight, plain hot water, or even drying on high heat to kill bacteria. Our official stance after years of research,working with hundreds of customers over the years, and continual reading on these method is that they are not as effective as chlorine bleach, and again, depending on the severity of the problem, may be the only thing that can fix the problem. A number of manufacturers approve bleach and recommend it for these issues.

I realize bleach isn’t “green”, but it is the more eco-conscious solution than disposable diapers, and when battling bacterial issues you really cannot work around the problem without disinfecting the diapers.

Additionally, we also recommend this treatment be used with any pre-owned diapers you purchase. Yeast and bacteria can live in diapers, and if you are buying from someone other than a family member or friend you know well, it is a process I highly recommend to avoid any contamination to your own child.

Next week we go over the wash routine itself in more detail.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Cloth Diaper Washing 101 and Beyond

by shethinksmedia

This week we are diving into wash routine 101 and beyond.

Washing and stink issues continue to lead the majority of our customer service emails and calls, so we know help is always needed in these arenas!

We have our comprehensive overview on or blog here:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=997

Rather than go point by point as we have done in the past, I am going to go over the most common questions for washing that can be solved using our techniques in that article linked above.

The most common question we get from customers who need help with washing is in reference to ammonia. Now, the first question you have to really answer is whether it is ammonia or strong urine. Many customers we talk to who think they have ammonia will troubleshoot to no avail, then when true ammonia hits they always say “Oh, I had no idea how strong ammonia really is!”

Ammonia will sting your nose and smell very chemical-like. It almost always causes rashes, and can also burn your eyes if you get too close to it. If you can ever whiff cleaning ammonia, it smells pretty close to what diaper ammonia is.

A little Ammonia 101: Our human bodies cannot tolerate ammonia internally, so our bodies convert our urine to other byproducts. When our urine exits our body, and begins to break down, that is when you can get that “strong ammonia” smell. Now, if you combine urine that has exited our body with bacteria (could be internal bacteria, external, old feces from the pail, old feces on the diapers), you get ammonia. You *can* have ammonia in otherwise clean diapers, we have seen this time and time again in toddlers who wear disposables at night and have ammonia present in the morning. The bacteria needed to create that ammonia smell could be present in or on your child.

That all being said, the first step we walk customers through who have ammonia in he diapers is disinfecting the diapers, and re-evaluating the wash routine. 99% of the time this fixes the problem, and for that 1% that are still getting ammonia in perfectly clean diapers, increasing absorbency to break down the concentration of the urine and time the baby is in that diaper is the solution.

TIMES WHEN AMMONIA CAN BE NORMAL, AND ONLY THESE TIMES:
*BUT, please note:  Ammonia burn, rash or chafing is *never* acceptable, it is something we work with many customers to fix, usually by fixing the wash routine or increasing absorbency/breathability depending on why the child is sensitive to the urine.

1) in the diaper pail, when you lift the lid, ammonia wafting can be normal.
2)in the morning diaper. When a diaper has been on for 8+ hours, it can smell of ammonia in the morning.

If your baby pees early in the night, that is 8+ hours of urine sitting in a nice, warm, moist environment, so it will smell in the morning. Adding absorbency to break down the concentration will help, we can also troubleshoot the wash routine, but it still may be the norm for your baby.

To see why the nighttime diaper can smell like ammonia, imagine peeing on a tee shirt (similar to your fitted/prefolds/pocket inserts), wrapping it in a plastic bag (cover/pocket) then leaving it for 8 hours, it would stink to high heaven when you opened the bag, on the flip side, if your had your 2 month old pee in a little tee shirt and did the same thing for 3 hours, the stench wouldn’t be nearly as much, hence why your newborn never had this problem but at 17 months does (volume/concentration/age factors)

For the pail, it can vary based on lots of things, if you keep an open pail in a broom closet and wash toddler diapers every 3-4 days, your odors will be very different from a closed pail in a larger ventilated room washing every 1-2 days. Buildup-free diapers still do this in pails, it doesn’t matter how clean they are going in, if you have the right combination of volume and age in urine, it can produce the same effect just given time. I see “have an open pail” as frequent advice for preventing ammonia, but air doesn’t do anything to prohibit bacterial growth. A closed lid pail isn’t airtight, even if it has a lockdown feature, unless you vacuum seal it after each time you put a diaper in, you allow lots of air flow in the pail to open and close the lid every 90 minutes to a few hours, plus the lid itself doesn’t seal air out, so it is fine to have a closed-lid pail (this is beneficial for other reasons than containing odors, like keeping out bugs-yes it does happen-and exploring little children).  When you have an open pail, the odor just has more room to dissipate in, and not hit you in the face when you open the lid, so if you are happy with your closed-pail lid there is no reason to switch~

Phew! OkY, so we tackled what ammonia is, when it is normal, and when it isn’t. Next week we will get into more washing 101 and beyond tips!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


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

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