Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers can be a little intimidating but there are so many different ways to do it that you'll soon figure out what works best for you.

Here's my routine for my LG Wave Force WT5101H top loading HE Washer:

(I just copy and pasted from my sign posted by my washer for those that may be helping me with laundry once baby comes so let me know if you have any questions)

1.    Put in all diapers & wet bags (check diaper bag)
*Make sure nothing with desitin, a&d, resinol, etc on it goes in*
2.    Take inserts out of diaper & fasten velcro tabs to laundry tabs on backside of diaper
3.    Add 1 T. of Country Save detergent in tray with a small amount of Rockin Green's Funk Rock
4.    Hit Special button (under screen) until on Rinse & Spin
5.    Start (Play button on right) (takes about 25 minutes)

1.    When that's done, add Country Save (to line on blue scoop in box) to tray
2.    Turn washer dial to Heavy Duty
3.    Push Wash/Rinse button to Hot/Cold
4.    Push Extra Rinse button TWICE
5.    Start (takes about 1 ½ hours- don’t let them sit in washer overnight!)

 There are many different ways you can wash your diapers but these specific cycles & times I've found to work best for me.  Basically I do a prewash in cold water - just rinse and spin and then a HOT wash with 2 extra rinses (3 rinses total).  

You do want to be sure to include a prewash, hot wash and most often at least 1 extra rinse.  If you have an HE washer, your wash routine tends to vary and get a little trickier since it uses less water and doesn't have the agitator in it.  I however haven't had any issues since I started this wash routine.  Some people say to add a soaked towel in with your diapers to trick your washer into adding more water - I haven't found the need to do this as long as you use either the Heavy Duty or Bulky/Bedding cycle.

You don't want to use just any detergent when washing your cloth diapers.  As you can see above, I chose to use Country Save detergent - this is basically because it's so cheap that I can use it on all my clothes and not have the confusion or necessity of buying different kinds of soap for different needs.  I bought mine on Amazon a year ago and I got 4, 10 lb boxes (160 HE loads) and still have not run out.  As I said, I use it on ALL our clothes and still have 1 box that's not even open yet so I spent about $60 on all our detergent for the past year and still used cloth diaper safe detergent on our diapers.  (Pretty good deal I think!  I find this site to be an excellent reference on what detergents to use/not use.  Also if you look around it, there's tons of other helpful information there too!  

I started out using Rockin' Green Classic Rock and really liked it until I switched to the HE washer - then it didn't work well.  We also moved at the time though and got really hard water, so I'm sure that was part of the problem.  However, it's much more expensive than Country Save so I'm glad I switched anyway!  I've heard of lots of people using Charlie's Soap, Ecos, and the make your own detergent as well with good results.

Here's a make your own detergent that was shared on my cloth diaper group on Facebook: (I haven't used it so can't give you any helpful hints - sorry!)

Powder detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
I  cut my bar into slices then ran through the blender or food  processor then when it looks smaller than rice I dumped it into a bowl and added the washing soda  and borax and mixed till it was combined really well.
Use 2 tablespoons per full load!

Liquid detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

I hope that at least gives you a little overview of what to expect when it comes to washing. I tried to hit the basics but also give you a few tips along the way for those that might be trying to troubleshoot so hopefully it helps you out. If not, post a comment and I'll see if I be of any assistance!


You will want to wash about every other day - to cut down on number of diapers you need to buy and also to cut down on smelliness and chance of ammonia issues occuring.

The recommendation is to wash no more than 24 pieces in one load - but I usually wash about 16 pockets (plus 16-25 inserts) in each load and have not had problems - again I'm sure this depends on your washer.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Personal Cloth Diaper Stash & Reviews

Many of my expectant friends have expressed an interest in cloth diapers and want to know what I use....So here it is!

My go-to diapers:
Mostly my stash consists of BumGenius 4.0 one size pockets. These were recommended to me by my good friend, and I've been pretty happy with them.  They are a little bulkier than the sized diapers because obviously they're one sized so there's a little extra fabric in there when it's snapped down on smaller babies. However I like the one size because it's way easier on your budget - you buy 25 or so of them and your stash is complete. You don't have to buy 25 more when it's time to size up, and then size up again...  You can choose either hook & loop closure (Velcro) or snaps. I have both & love the convenience of the hook and loop but some of M's diapers are showing wear at 16 months, and I am in the process of replacing some of the laundry tabs. Also she's figured out how to take off these dipes and still can't take off the snaps - so if I had to do it over, I guess I'd probably get mostly snaps.  (Although the velcro is easier on grandparents and others that might assist in diaper changes once in awhile)
M's diaper drawer - this is all BumGenius 4.0s or Rumparooz
(RaR's are the bright yellow and purple on the middle left) 

Another of my favorites right now are Grovia's hybrid diaper which is a shell (or cover) with a snap-in insert.  I like these because they are definitely trimmer than the pockets but probably not quite as absorbent. There are different inserts you can get for these - organic cotton or hemp & I have both; however, I definitely prefer the organic cotton. For some reason, the hemp ones seem to be the ones that cause leaks if there ever are any.  These also have the choice of hook and loop or snap closure. I only purchased the snaps because of my issues with the BumGenius (BG), so I can't tell you how the Velcro holds up, but I've heard it's very good!  Also Grovia's have the option of using disposable inserts for those times when you need the added convenience or have to battle diaper rash.  The disposable insert is not as absorbent as a disposable diaper which seems like they can suck in anything, but it's nice knowing that it's made of renewable resources and doesn't have the nasty chemicals of regular disposables...  I use these sometimes when M has a bad diaper rash and I want to use a non-safe cloth diaper cream like Desitin or A&D to treat it.

We also have a few Rumparooz one size pocket diapers that are in regular rotation.  I like these a lot and love the double gusset however they are a little bulkier, so I mostly use them at home instead of haul them around in the diaper bag.  (Note: They are not really that much bigger, but I like to take advantage of every little space in my diaper bag :) )  Also they seem to have a lower rise so I had to size up on the snaps sooner than on the BumGenius however she still fits into them fine at 17 months and 24 pounds so we'll see if she outgrows these sooner or not...I'm not sure why the fit is different!

Other diapers I've tried:

Fuzzibunz one size pocket - I really like the trimness of this diaper - it is less bulky between the legs which is nice however we've had a hard time sizing it right and seem to get leaks.  These not only have a resizable front like the BG's but you can also resize the elastic around the legs and in the back.  I really want to like these but just haven't gotten the hang of it I guess.

GoGreen Diaper - These are also a one size pocket diaper - they have different colored snaps on the front to help get both sides snapped the same.  Inside - the pocket is open in the front and back and they also have double gussets which helps to reduce leaks.  I find them a bit bulky however and don't really care for them.  I'd sell it but my husband likes using it so I just go ahead and use it to - no big complaints really.

Baby Beehind bamboo fitted - M is a very heavy wetter, so I had to try a few different things to get a system that works for me.  I bought one of these and put a wool cover over it as that was a system that was suggested to me by many people.  I thought it worked pretty well, but M seemed to begin waking up during the night needing changing, so I don't think it's quite absorbent enough for her.  Love the diaper though - think she just outwets it!

The Sleepy Sheep wool cover (over Baby Beehind fitted for overnight).  This took me a long time to try as the wool intimidated me for some reason but it was really easy to care for actually and did work pretty well.  I didn't fall in love with it like many seem to but maybe it's just because my daughter is such a heavy wetter.  This brand is from a WAHM in my town so I don't know if other brands would work better or the same but this is what we went with - no longer use it though.

Flip hybrid system: both Organic and Stay Dry inserts.  I bought these to try as well as many people raved about them.  We tried the organic insert for overnight which worked for awhile when she was around 9 months old probably.  It however is SUPER bulky and I felt bad having her wear it all night.  The Stay Dry inserts are not as absorbent as I'd like them to be and usually only get used when we are running low on diapers.  They are very trim however so if you're willing to change more often, they're a great option; however, I definitely prefer the Grovia hybrid system over this one.

All the diapers we own including the cute little newborn diapers we haven't gotten to try yet! :-)
So that is what I've tried and my reviews.  Obviously all of this is just my personal opinion so feel free to take it as you wish.  I do think I'd like to buy a few of the Fuzzibunz sized diapers for this new little one to take along in diaper bags, for pictures, etc where a trimmer diaper would be nice to have but I haven't done this yet.  Also I am going to cloth diaper this baby sooner than I did M.  With M, I started at around 6 weeks when she fit into the BG 4.0s so this time I'm going to start with GMD prefolds and Thirsties covers and probably begin either as soon as we get home or get into the swing of things.  I'll let you know how that goes once I have the experience.  :)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if you have any questions for me.  I can let you know what I've tried or what I've heard others doing or hopefully at least send you to a good resource.  I love to hear what others think of their cloth diaper experiences and am happy to help newbies get started as I love cloth diapering!

I am going to do another post on my wash routine and how I've converted mostly away from the microfiber inserts that come with most one size diapers and why.