LAUNDRY & SOAP
The chore of laundering cloth diapers is the trade off for all the money you save from buying case after case of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are kinder on the environment, too, but the fact that they are laundered and therefore use more water is something I worry about in our drought-plagued Valley. You do the best you can.
Cloth diapers have to be washed in a very specific kind of laundry soap that won’t leave a residue and therefore interfere with the absorbent properties of the diaper. The good news is that using ‘special soap’ doesn’t have to be more expensive. It certainly can be, and each diaper manufacturer either sells laundry detergent or has their recommendations.
I use Charlie Soap, which is effective and affordable. The drawback is it’s unavailable at the big box store and must be ordered online (although I have heard some specialty stores sell it). You pretty much can’t switch back to regular detergent while using your diapers because of the residue problem, so find a detergent you can commit to. I always wash my diapers with hot water.
WEAR, SMELLS & STAINS
Isobel is about as poopy as your average kid and we haven’t had any problems with smell. It all comes out in the wash, as they say. I’ve rarely had an issue with stains and the times I have they’ve bleached out after a couple of hours of sitting in the sun. After a year the fabric on the diaper tends to pill, but that problem is simply cosmetic. The only wear that’s an issue is with the Velcro itself. This is what the diapers look like after one year of heavy use:
I really don’t have enough cloth diapers so I do a load everyday. I did daily laundry pre-baby as well, although that probably wasn’t the best environmental practice. The loads I do these days are much fuller with the addition of diapers. I have no qualms with dumping the whole diaper pail liner full of soiled diapers into the wash with my clothes. I just don’t. I wash them in hot water with soap and have never had a problem. Urine washes right out and solid poop is flushed down the toilet. I know some people have issues with soiled diapers in the wash, but every thing comes out clean, and frankly, I think that’s a little silly.
I personally think Diaper Genies are gross, and had I not already been poised to use cloth diapers, one look at the Diaper Genie and I would have run to the internet for cloth diaper resources. Storing weeks of soiled diapers in a compressed pellet in your baby’s nursery, with its foul chemical ‘air freshener’ smell, is a far more offensive thought to me than washing diapers in a washing machine.
But to each their own. I can’t fault anyone who doesn’t have the resources to afford the initial investment of cloth, or the parents who can’t handle the extra laundry, or even the parent that does not mind the Diaper Genie. That is their choice, and I salute them. I can’t help but roll my eyes and sigh, however, when a parent tells me that washing my cloth diapers with my clothes is gross.
Regardless of whether you chose cloth or disposable you will have to deal with the smell of poop eventually. We do have a garbage can in the nursery, of course, because Mama Juani, who cares for Isobel once a week, prefers disposable and we use disposable diaper wipes. (Isobel also wears disposable diapers when she stays the night at Grandma Livia’s house. My MIL actually wholeheartedly supports our using cloth diapers, but we simply don’t have enough diapers to send away with her for the weekends.)
I take out the nursery trash once a week unless there’s a diaper in there or some major stinky poop happened. Since I do the laundry once a day (or thereabouts) the laundry itself does not make the room stink (again, unless there’s been some thunder down under, and then I am sure to wash a load soon).
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