Diaper Chatter

Cloth Diaper Life Expectancy, How long will they last?

by shethinksmedia

We are talking about the life expectancy of a diaper, many of you ask about how to make your diapers last for more than one child, so here are tips and advice we have:

-If you are saving your diapers for more than one child, store them in a temperature controlled room. Not the attic or unfinished basement, extreme heat and cold will rot your elastic and make aplix brittle.

-The diapers that will last the longest, through several children, is prefolds. If you want to invest in a system that is economical and lasts for quite some time and many washings, prefolds and covers are the way to go.

-Many mamas ask how many children their one size diapers will last through, and some are disappointed when their one size pockets only last from one child. We tell customers to expect them to last through one child for the size range of that diaper. Do you get lucky sometimes? Yes, we have had several brands of diapers last through 2 children partway, but usually halfway through the second child they are retired. Sized diapers will typically last through two children, but think of it this way:

A one size diaper, if started at birth or shortly thereafter, is washed three times as much and used three times as much as a sized diaper. Your cost is triple, too. You can buy a sized-diaper brand in small, medium and large and have them last through 2, possibly 3 children if cared for properly, but you have spent three times as much as if you had a one size pocket last for just one child. Being soaked in urine and feces, washing in hot, machine drying, being stuffed and worn puts wear and tear on a diaper over time, so keep in mind realistic expectations for your one size diapers. I know I used pockets as examples, the same can be said of one size fitteds versus sized fitteds. PUL covers seem to wear better, they aren’t soaked in urine and ammonia to the extent that absorbent diapers are, and they aren’t stretched out after drying so covers in general see more life than the actual diapers. Wool covers can last for quite some time if you keep them away from moths and wash them carefully.

-So reading the above, which do you recommend? It really is six of one, half a dozen of the other in the case of one size vs. sized diapers. It is up to you, if you prefer the fit of sized diapers, invest the money since you will love you fluff all the more, care for them and store them properly, and they will last. If you want the simplicity of a one size pocket, expect them to last for one child (if you start half way through with one child, expect some life in a second child), and enjoy your fluff. If you really want your diapers to last and last, invest in prefolds, wool covers and take care of your PUL covers in between.

-Always remember, cloth diapers are fabric, and how you care for them is important. Frequent bleaching will shorten their life span, as will regular vinegar use or abrasive cleansars. Now, sometimes with various washing situations you need these items, but using them sparingly will keep your diapers in the best condition~

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, email us with any questions at AbbysLane@aol.com

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

-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

-Spray the revitalizer in the “wet zone”, specifically right in the crotch from front to back, flip inside out and spray as well

-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!

Why choose wool for your cloth diapering needs?

by shethinksmedia

This week we are going to chat a bit about wool, taking highlights from our previous blog articles.  First, we discuss the “why,” next week the “how.”disana cover

Why wool? The first time I saw a Disana wool cover I literally laughed out loud. Why some sadistic mother would put a urine soaked dog sweater on their child’s sweaty bottom was beyond me. It looked huge, uncomfortable, and the idea of hand-washing something made my stomach turn. (Never mind I was a big dummy and didn’t actually feel it to see it was really pretty darn soft).

Then I had my second daughter, little Camille, who as a petite and tiny baby had a bladder that could take on any racehorse at the track. Every nighttime and naptime solution I tried failed. The poor child would have a bottom that extended four feet off her rear and it still became saturated and would leak. In desperation I thought I would give this wool thing a try, I have not turned back.

Wool by nature is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. The lanolin naturally present in fresh wool, and present when you re-lanolize it, works with the properties of the wool to self-clean it. When you use it and urine gets on it, if you flip it inside out and let it air out throughout the day, press it on your nose at night you will not smell one thing.

Wool is truly hugely absorbent in and of itself. An easy way to see this is when you wash it, compress it down into a basin of water, and that little soaker will suck up everything in the basin. You can also enhance its “waterproofing” abilities with lanolin, by coating the fabrics with a slick, waxy substance to really give it some oomph in working for a heavy wetter.

The neat thing about wool, while most customers use them over fitteds or prefolds, is it is 100% breatheable, and truly can be used over anything you want. No different than putting pajama pants over a diaper, I have even used my wool over PUL pockets stuffed with lots of absorbency, you will not be trapping heat, so for the heaviest of wetters you have a failproof solution.

Wool is great to a point, but you do have to have adequate absorbency underneath. Make sure what is under it can handle your baby;s wetting needs, or you will get compression of urine outside of the wool, we can certainly help troubleshoot and find the perfect combination for your baby.

Let us know if you have any questions!


An interview with Stephanie of Abby’s Lane!

by shethinksmedia

I thought it would be fun to further celebrate Abby’s Lane’s NINE YEAR Anniversary with a fun interview so I put together some questions for Stephanie.

Want to know what started it all?  Has Abby’s Lane ever been named something else?  What does Stephanie have planned for the future?  Read this cute interview and find out!

Nine years in the cloth diaper industry is a long time!  How has your business changed or evolved over the years?  Have you always been Abby’s Lane?

The Abby's Lane kids in 2012

The Abby’s Lane kids in 2012

I can’t believe it has been 9 years. My “baby” I started our business with is a mature and sassy “tween” now, and has 5 younger siblings under her.  I started with a bookshelf full of products, hoping it would be a hobby that would eventually help with financial extras in our household. Now we have about 2000 square feet of merchandise condensed into several rooms. We also had a storefront for about 2.5 years in a 3600 square foot space, it was a great deal of fun to work with our local community through classes and our very educated staff. Being back online though I am blessed to have 4 of our best employees still working with their babies in my home, it is a great dynamic!
Our business actually began under a different name. We obviously didn’t do enough research into similar names and the one we originally chose was close to an existing diaper brand, so about 3 months in we changed to Abby’s Lane (named after my daughter, Abigail Elaine). I wanted something that wasn’t limited to just cloth diapers, to give us room to expand over time into other product lines.

Stephanie, Owner of Abby’s Lane

The first cloth diapers I used were my youngest brother’s birdseye prefolds, pins and rubber pants that my mother had held onto-LOL! They were about 20 years old at the time, but they still worked quite well. The covers were awful though, so my first official purchase was a Prorap cover and a Snappi, I thought they were the best invention since sliced bread. I used those prefolds through most of her diapering, we were on a very tight budget, so we had to make it work.

What was the first cloth diaper brand you carried?

We started with several brands, some of which are not in business anymore. Let’s see, I know Babykicks was a must, we also had Proraps and Snappis (of course!), some mama cloth and menstrual cups as well.

What made you decide you wanted to get into the cloth diaper business?

I wanted to get into the cloth diaper business because I absolutely fell in love with the products…AND…I got completely ripped off by the first retailer I bought from! We were very short of funds, and an established retailer I bought from didn’t deliver the products for several weeks, then kept asking for more time. It was an ugly experience, eventually that retailer went out of business and we did recover our funds. I knew I could run a “tight ship”, providing fast and accurate service to our customers, and making sure I knew all I could about every product I carried. To this day we do not sell one thing I have not tried on my own children, to sell it I have to know it like the back of my hand, I want my customers to have confidence in what they buy.

Are there any accomplishments for Abby’s Lane that you’re particularly proud of?

I am truly proud that we are here celebrating 9 years! I have the luxury of being the original owner and founder, and over the years have seen so many businesses come and go, I am very grateful to our customers for keeping us in business for almost a decade. I am proud that we have been able to support thousands of customers over the years with their purchases, whether for environmental, financial or health reasons, we have been able to make cloth easy and fun for many families. I am proud that for close to 3 years we had the chance to work with our local customers in a storefront, and bring cloth diapering to new families in that way. I am proud that our business has provided employment for moms with young children, and their children get to work with them. It is really fun to see newborns turn to toddlers, then go to school with the same employees that we have kept through the years :)
I am also proud that my own children have been such an integral part of the fiber of my business. They get to see a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom handle both taking care of them and running a business, and also see dad come home from work and plunge into the household needs as well as taking care of the children. It is satisfying to know my children can see both mom and dad juggle both roles, which sometimes leads to a lot of crazy in this house 😉

What does the future hold for Abby’s Lane?  Can you share any possible exciting changes or improvements you have planned for the near future?

The future for Abby’s Lane is exciting and e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g. I would love to add 3 new product lines every month, if I can meet that goal that means over 30 new lines a year! We are starting in October with Tula Baby Carriers, Bentoware (made in the USA reusable lunch boxes and supplies), and Sili Squeeze reusable food pouches. More brands of baby carriers, including wovens and water carriers, are in the works, and of course we are excited to see what new diaper lines come out next month at the trade show! I absolutely love what I do, and look forward to another 9 years with our fantastic customers.

What’s IN and what’s OUT at AbbysLane.com!

by shethinksmedia

This week we have an extensive review of “what’s in, what’s out” at Abby’s Lane!

Take a look below for new additions/closeouts:elite_spearmint200

  • BabyHawk Oh Snaps are now discontinued/clearance priced
  • Bummis Easy Fits are now discontinued in Pooper Hero, Nature Girl and New York prints. Bummis is also discontinuing their Super Lite covers as well.
  • Fuzzi Bunz discontinued in all current colors
  • Grovia: All current prints are discontinued, which includes Peacock, Robots, Bicycles and Woodlands. Solids will remain, new prints coming in October
  • Blueberry/Swaddlebees: The prints of Stars, Messy Hands, Baby Blooms and Dinos are discontinued in all products
  • Thirsties:  All aplix diapers in current version and pricing, these will be coming back soon, however the Duo Diapers are a discontinued product, and will not be coming back

CJs has decided to streamline their production, which means we will have easier accessibility to the most popular products sold to our fan base, we will not be restocking any items on the discontinued list, what we have will be it.

Discontinued products that we carry include:cjs sticks
Bug Banisher
CJs’ Small Stick of Butter
Also, the following scents are discontinued, once we sell out of them they will not be restocked:
Caribbean Therapy
Lemon Grove
Summer Sunrise
Tea Tree
Bamboo and Lotus Blossom
Cucumber Melon
Love Spell
Persian Pear
Sea Spice
Sweet Memories
Viva La Juicy

Mid to late October will bring Tula Baby Carriers in regular and toddler sizes! We are very excited to bring in this popular line-

Mid October will bring Sili Squeeze reuseable lunch pouches for toddlers and older children, we will be carrying both the Sili Squeeze and the Sili Squeeze with Eeeze for the big guys 😉

Late October will bring Bentoware products, we are still narrowing down which products exactly we will be starting with, these are some of the best reuseable lunch items on the market, and all made in the USA!

Great stuff always happening around here, we than you for your support and business .


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

by shethinksmedia

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.


Newborn Cloth Diapers: TIPS from a mama who has cloth diapered FIVE newborns!

by shethinksmedia

After a very lengthy series of posts the past few weeks on washing, we are switching gears and chatting about cute, squishy newborns and the cloth diapers they love.
My little Ollie was born in late June, so he is now just over 2 months and right at the 16 pound mark (a happy, very chubby baby-LOL). Ollie is my 6th baby, but my 5th newborn in cloth diapers, as my oldest didn’t go into cloth until the 4 month mark.

Next week we will go over a more detailed newborn overview, but below are some of my highlights.
As a refresher, take a peek at a previous article regarding newborns and the umbilical cord stump, and why it isn’t a worry with cloth diapering.

I had a chance this time around to test some of the newer newborn diapers on my little lug, and here is my take on some of them:
Newborn Simplex, and Newborn Basix (by Swaddlebees/Blueberry): I loved these for Ollie when he was first born at about 8 and a half pounds. They fit right away, I especially loved the Basix for the stay-dry inner (but that is a personal preference, if you like natural fibers than Simplex is your diaper). Everything stayed contained, no red marks left on his legs.

Bummis Tini Fits: One of my favorites, fit right away, had a longer size range as he put on some weight, and easy to stuff with their booster for extra “oomph.”

Tiny Tush Minis: My overall favorite. Fit from birth, lasted until about 14 pounds. Great for accommodating two small microfiber inserts for heavy wetting. They were the bulkiest option of the newborn diapers, but for the cost lasted the longest size wise.

Now, for many babies we see one small insert holding a newborn until they poop, which is usually pretty frequently. Diaper changes are occurring under that 2 hour mark, unless at night, so absorbency is not usually an issue. However, if you have a particularly heavy wetter, and your standard AIO absorbency, pocket with one small insert, newborn fitted or infant prefold is leaking out, here are some tips:
-For prefold users, double up! You can do this by trifolding your prefold, or folding a preemie prefold in half, and laying it in the middle of the bigger prefold to wrap around the baby. Flip the one in the middle up over the belly before you twist/fold the second prefold underneath, so the one in the middle doesn’t get twisted up in your folding style.
-For fitted users, upsizing to a bigger size may help, however if your baby is very tiny still, a small joey bunz on top, or a stay dry doubler may be a good fit for what your fitted is. If your lay in is too big, put the doubler or insert under the fitted, between the fitted and cover.
AIOs users, see above for the fitteds 😉 Since you can’t lay them underneath, you are limited to what you can fit on top, email us if you have specific combinations you are curious about and we can troubleshoot how they will fit
Pocket users, double up on your small microfibers first, before moving to a small/big microfiber combination. The big ones you have to fold can cause wonky fits, or you can try moving up your size rise settings an notch to accommodate the larger size range.

My biggest piece of advice to my newborn users, don’t be afraid to move up a size. Some babies will outgrow their newborn stashes very fast, especially if they are tall/at a bigger size range. If your newborn is a heavy wetter, you may need the extra length of a bigger rise to catch everything. To show how this works, at about 4 weeks, my Ollie moved into a Flip cover fully opened up, and a size 2 Thirsties duo fab fitted, only snapped down one setting. It was up to his nipples, but it worked great, and no leg gaps. Also, little boys need to be pointed down, or they will out-wet the top of the diaper and leak before you have a chance to absorb downward.

Let me know what questions you have, at AbbysLane@aol.com

Cloth Diaper Washing, Which detergent and how much?

by shethinksmedia

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:
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):
Fuzzi Bunz (recommends Tide Free, over 10 years in the business):
Tiny Tush (over 10 years in the business):
Rumparooz (over 5 years in the business):
GroVia (over 10+ years in the business):
And for giggles, back when we opened in 2004 we started to advise Tide:


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.
-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:

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

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:

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.

*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!


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