Monday, April 2, 2012

cloth diapering twins, part two.

This is part two of my cloth diapering routine, and the most important: washing and care. If you're curious about what kind of diapers we use and how, read part one here.

Again, it seems like it should be easy. Wash dirty diaper, the end. But not really. There are so many different ways to store dirty diapers in between washings, and then you have to take care with the type of detergent you use, and the way you dry them...but once the legwork is done and you get your routine down, it's second nature. I promise.

How We Store the Dirty Dipes & Wipes:

There isn't one magic way to store your dirties. It's whatever works for you and your home setup. I've tried a number of things - using a diaper-genie type container, a small wetbag attached to the changing table, a big drawstring pail liner, and a round plastic basket/bucket. I switch back and forth.

Lately, the best for us has been using the big drawstring pail liner from GroVia. The drawstring close keeps the smells inside, and the bag fits all our diapers and cloth wipes. When it's time to wash, I can throw the bag, diapers, and wipes in all together. Since I'm paranoid about other people seeing me wash, I can slowly open the bag and dump the diapers into washer without taking any out (I think I may have a complex).

A disclaimer: my girls are just starting solids, so they still have water-soluble breastmilk poo and I don't have to hassle with the solid poos yet. My routine will change a little once this happens.

How We Wash in an Apartment Building:

In the dead of night, when no one is around. Joking...kind of. I don't know how other people feel about cloth diapers getting washed in communal machines. It is sanitary, because they go through a few cycles and are washed with detergent, but still. So I try and wash them when no one's around, and I set a timer so I can be there a little before the diapers are done so I can pull them into the basket and run!

Three times a week, I wash everything together. First cycle is a cold wash with no detergent. Second cycle is another cold wash with detergent, either Allen's Naturally or the bumGenius brand detergent.

After the wash cycle, the BG microfiber inserts and the Kissaluv's get dried in the dryer, otherwise the KLs get that crunchy feel. The BG shells are not to be dried, I found this out after I had been drying them for a few months. Whoops! I also don't dry any of the other covers. I lay them out on a small drying rack on our balcony or in the guest room with the fan on. If you have a yard with sun, all the better.

If I had my own washer, I'd do another rinse just for good measure, although sometimes I'll put on an extra hot wash with no detergent just to keep residues from accumulating. Brittany at The Pistachio Project wrote a post about how washing diapers in cold water with detergent is as hygienic as using hot water, and it's saved me 50 cents per wash, so I'm choosing to believe her. 

When we visit our parents or in-laws, I try to bring the diapers with us so I can have a wash-rinse-fest and a sun dry so they are extra squeaky clean.

How To Deal with Stink:

I've read that stink is usually caused by the diapers not getting completely rinsed in the wash, and the detergent residue builds up. This can also cause leaks.  

I dealt with stink at the very beginning because the family I bought the bumGenius diapers from used a soap that left buildup, only I didn't know until after I started using them. It took a good stripping of the microfiber inserts to get them all clean, and a switch to a bumGenius-approved detergent. The best way to know which type of detergent to use is to look on the company website.

To strip, bumGenius recommends a warm wash with a squirt of liquid original blue Dawn (the dish detergent) and a few rinses. What ended up working for me was adding 1/4 cup of bleach in a large hot wash load and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing.

About Cloth Wipes & Diaper Sprayers:

We started using cloth wipes from the beginning. The NICU had soft cloth-type wipes that we used with warm water, and we continued the practice at home. We keep disposable wipes around and use them, yes, but I made a whole bunch of cloth wipes out of flannel receiving blankets and we use those, too.

You can use warm water from the tap or in a spray bottle, or you can make your own solution.

We have a diaper sprayer ready to go for when their eating solids daily and their poo changes. You just spray it right off into the toilet, and store the dirty diaper as usual.

I've also read about people using flushable liners (like the gDiaper, GroVia, and Flip systems), or even plain cheap paper towels, and I really want to try some, or all, of these.

About Diaper Rash & Frequency of Diaper Changes:

I change the girls every 2 hours or so. Cloth doesn't absorb liquid like disposables do, so the babies know they are wet, which is good for future potty-learning! 

A commenter asked how often I change them and what I do about diaper rash. My girls haven't experienced much of a diaper rash, and if they do, I slather them with coconut oil and put a disposable on overnight. It seems to help keep it at bay. I also give them some coconut oil to suck off a spoon to help them from the inside-out.

If you're doing full-time cloth, there are approved diaper creams, like California Baby. Too much cream can leave residue on your diaper and cause buildup and stink, so just be careful.

More Helpful Links

Cloth Diapering 101 @ SimpleMom
How to Save Money Using Cloth Diapers @ All About Cloth Diapers
Diaper Junction has the option of trying out cloth diapers for 30 days before purchasing!
Cloth Diaper Basics
The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

Phew! Did I forget anything?

I like hearing what others are doing and maybe even changing it up around here! What's your routine?


  1. That whole two hours thing is one of the main reasons Trev was like, Uh no. Haha.
    Great informative post. This is so concise. I feel like when I was researching people tried to fit too much in. This is perfect!

    1. Thanks Krystle! Yeah, I totally get the 2 hours thing :)

  2. This was a wonderful post! I love the info on washing and the coconut oil! We had a problem with diaper rash after using disposables for the first time at night. Then of course we couldn't use the cloth diapers because the diaper cream would ruin them. It was a big, awful cycle. I do love the gDiaper flushable inserts though!

    1. Thanks Jenni! I really want to try the flushable inserts, glad to hear that you like them. Then you could still do the coconut oil still and not have to waste disposables!

  3. Where did you get that drying rack? I love it. We too live in an apt., cloth diaper, and use a drying rack to dry diapers.

    1. I'm pretty sure we got it at IKEA a few years ago - I love it too! It's worked perfectly.

  4. Janitorial Supplies at Janilink. U.S. and International source for cleaning supplies, industrial cleaning equipment, janitorial supplies and cleaning equipment. Now anybody can buy products at wholesale prices from our huge inventory .
    Microfiber Rags.


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