Archive for the ‘Cloth Diaper Care’ Category
What does “Dry Pail” mean?
Well for me who first did cloth diapering 20 odd years ago with my first, I thought the only method was a wet pail, where you soak the diapers in a solution before washing them in a washing machine.
A dry pail means that you store the soiled diapers until washing in a pail that has no water. It is much easier to me than the wet pail method I used with my first all those years ago. A wet pail system is still a good choice for those who have seriously hard water or a HE washer that will not rinse the diapers properly. If you do have a wet pail be sure to store it safely as it can be a drowning risk. Back when I did it, I kept the pail up in the laundry sink. I also had a lid on it that would be extremely difficult for a toddler to remove. I drained the pail in the sink and then transferred the diapers to the washer that was right next to my laundry sink.
When I set up my dry pail system, I did quite a bit of research on line to figure out how it all worked. So I have put together for you my system and what I looked for in a diaper pail. This FAQ does not cover washing diapers. Refer to our Washing Diapers page for more information on that. Note that these photos are my actual diaper pail that is in use, so it does have diapers in it.
I use two pail liners in my system. That allows for one to be in used in the pail while one is in the wash. I bought a 13 gallon/54 quart trash can from a local hardware store for less than $20. I shopped around quite a bit looking for the perfect trash can for the job. I wanted to be able to easily close it, and open it, and I wanted the pail liner to be able to be easily placed in it. Some of the more expensive cans that I looked at, had the lids connected in such a way that I would not have been able to place the pail liner over the lip. Ironically, the pail I found that was perfect for the job was the cheapest! Ideally when you shop for your pail, take your pail liner with you so you can check the fit. The pail liner you see in the pictures is the second one I bought. While the first one fit, I didn’t like the lid on the first, and its now being used in another part of the house.
If you want a nicer looking diaper pail, then the Ubbi is a great option. It is made of steel so it wont absorb odour, has it’s own pail liners. And it comes in fun colours. It also has a locking lid to keep out toddlers and pets.
As you can see from this picture of my diaper pail without the lid, I can easily place the pail liner into the pail. The fit is quite tight, but not so tight that my oldest son can’t do it. The lid comes totally off the pail so that it is easy to take the liner out when its full of diapers, and place a fresh one in. A lot of the time I don’t even bother to put the lid on unless we get a smelly poopy diaper in there, then the lid goes on.
The lid easily opens with one hand. Extremely important when your other hand is carrying a baby. This one I just push on the button and the lid flips up. My first pail the lid was a swing top, and I found I would get poop on it when I was trying to put the dirty diaper in it. So that is why it was retired to normal trash duty. I did find a trash can that had a lid that opened when you stepped on the opening mechanism at the base of the trash can, but it was far more expensive, and it had a piece at the back of the can at the top that didn’t allow the pail liner to sit properly in the can.
Is there much clean up with the dry pail system? No. Not for me. Occasionally I will spray the pail when the pail liner is out with Bac Out and let that dry before putting a fresh liner in. But the pail itself never really holds odour, unlike the diaper dekor I used with my previous child. The disposables stank the place out. This system has little to no odour. Because the liner goes into the wash with the diapers, anything that has contact with the dirty diapers gets washed. And then if you do have odour issues, some pail liners have a little white patch on the inside where you can put a couple of drops of essential oil. If they do not, then a couple of drops of essential oil on a wash cloth placed in the pail works as well. There is also some great pail dusts to make the pail smell good as well. When I do that, my master bathroom, where the change station is in our house, smells very pleasant! It’s quite something when your diaper pail is making your bathroom smell good!
My friend, Crunchy Shannon, generously gives me her daughter’s clothes for my (eek!) almost one year old daughter. Crunchy Shannon used cloth diapers and has the best wool soakers, skirties and longies. I have been having so much fun using them with my diapers but I have been so fearful of washing them. I mean look at them! They’re so cute!
After much hesitation I took the plunge and bought some Eucalan wash. Eucalan wash is made for washing wool and other delicate clothing. It is a lanolin rich washing agent. Lanolin is the conditioning agent naturally present in wool. Lanolin is actually from the sheep’s glands and keeps a sheep wool dry and soft. When you wear and use wool, especially with cloth diapers, you don’t have to wash it frequently because it naturally has anti-bacterial properties. At the time I decided to wash my wool it had been quite some time. I don’t use wool daily but when my son was in cloth diapers I used wool soakers at night. It can go a long time between washes.
With Eucalan you can hand wash or use it in your machine. When using it in your machine you’ll use cold or lukewarm and set it on the delicate/gentle cycle; during the cycle open it up and let it soak. Then do a spin cycle and you’re done.
When you hand wash with Eucalan you fill a tub or basin with cold or lukewarm water. Add the Eucalan to the water and add the wool to the water. Gently work the Eucalan wash through the wool and then squeeze the wool to get the excess water out.
Wait what?! What about rinsing it? No, you don’t have to rinse it out…Eucalan is a non-rinsing wash. How great is that? Oh and if it smells? It’s normal. Maybe it’s just my washer and water but I laundry room smelled like a beauty salon doing perms.
I am inspired to write this after a customer was in our store this week with problems with her diapers getting stinky and her baby getting a diaper rash from them. This time she brought in one of her diapers. Asked us to smell her diaper. First thing that hit me was the smell of the perfume that you get with big box commercial detergents, you know the kind, the ones with all the extra scents in them.
So I ask her, have you been using something like Dreft? No shes been using one of the detergents we sell, additive and scent free. She then informs us she line dries around 80% of the time.
I ask her, Do you use Dryer sheets when you do dry your cloth diapers? No, no dryer sheets on the diaper loads. Ahh, so you do use dryer sheets on your clothes? Yes, but not on my cloth diapers! Culprit found!
Dryer sheets leave a residue on the drum of the dryer. So even though she was not using them on her diaper loads, it was coating the inside of her dryer, and the diapers were rubbing up against them and getting coated with the residue. This is why they stank, and why her little one was getting a rash.
Our suggestion, was to cut out the dryer sheets all together. Wipe down her dryer drum with vinegar and then run a few loads of towels or sheets before running her diapers through the dryer again. If she absolutely had to use dryer sheets, then be prepared to clean the dryer, or to only line dry her diapers. I then told her there is more arguments for getting rid of dryer sheets altogether. And here are the reasons:
The Chemicals In Dryer Sheets
This information comes directly from NonToxic.com.
ALPHA-TERPINEOL- Causes CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders and is highly irritating to mucus membranes.
BENZYL ACETATE- Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer).
BENZYL ALCOHOL- Causes CNS disorders. It is irritating to the upper respiratory tract” causing “headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure.
CAMPHOR- Causes CNS disorders.
CHLOROFORM- Toxic. It is an anesthetic and carcinogenic.
ETHYL ACETATE- Narcotic. This product is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.
LINALOOL- Narcotic. Causes DNS disorder, respiratory disturbances.
PENTANE-”Danger-Harmful if inhaled; extremely flammable.
If you’d like to read the original EPA report on these hazardous chemicals (their report covers 31 common household items including, of course, dryer sheets and fabric softener), you can download it here.
So now you say, but I like my clothes nice and soft? Here are some alternatives to dryer sheets:
Dryer Balls – 3-4 of these in your dryer will help soften your clothes/diapers, reduce static cling, and reduce drying time by up to 25%. You can even drop a few drops of essential oils on the dryer ball, so your clothes smell good too!
Scented Dryer Sachets – Put one of these in the dryer to help make your clothing smell good.
Vinegar – Add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash. It will act like a fabric softener. A word of caution here. Do not do this on your PUL covers and pockets. Vinegar is an acid and it will ruin the waterproof properties of your PUL. Also if you have super hard water, this can make fabrics like microfiber retain the stinkies.
Ecover Fabric Softener – This is a plant based fabric softener. A far greener choice than many on the market. Again, another word of caution. Please do not use this on your diaper loads. Any product that coats the fibers, can coat your diapers, and can cause diaper rash.
How to treat cloth diapers when you’re battling the yeast beast!
So you’ve decided to use cloth diapers. You did your research when you were pregnant; you understand the environmental and financial benefits. You navigated the complicated variations of brands and styles to figure out what kind of diapers you wanted, and now you’ve got the perfect diaper system for your baby. You started using cloth diapers shortly after the meconium passed, and things are going great. You’re helping the environment, saving money, and feeling pretty good about yourself
Then your baby gets a rash.
Nothing seems to help. You air your baby’s bum as much as possible; you try every type of rash cream that’s safe to use with cloth diapers. But the red, raised skin just won’t go away. In fact, it’s getting worse.
Finally you consult your pediatrician, and the verdict is clear: your baby has a yeast infection. He gives you a topical anti-fungal cream. But since you’re not sure if the cream is safe for your cloth diapers, you decide to switch to disposables. Just until the rash clears up. Sure enough, within a few days your baby’s bum looks better. After a week of anti-fungal treatment, his skin is clear and perfect again, so you switch back to your cloth diapers.
Twelve hours later, the rash is back.
This is the point when many families give up on cloth diapers. Some parents decide that their baby must be allergic to cloth, or that cloth simply won’t work for them. But the problem isn’t your diapers–it’s the yeast. Even after you kill the yeast that was infecting your baby’s skin, the fungus can linger in your diapers. This doesn’t mean you have to quit cloth, and it doesn’t mean you need new diapers. With a little treatment, you can clean the yeast infection out of your diapers as well as your baby’s skin. It will take a little time and work–but when you compare it to the work and expense of buying disposables from now till your baby is potty trained, you may decide that it’s worth the extra effort.
1. Wash your diapers. Use a detergent that’s recommended for cloth diapers and the hottest cycle your washing machine allows. A sanitary cycle is best.
2. Strip your diapers. Do this by washing them again on the hottest cycle possible, but with no detergent added. Then run at least three rinse cycles with as much water as possible, using the hottest water your machine allows.
3. Use four drops of tea tree oil in place of detergent, and run one wash cycle with cold water. Rinse with as much water as possible.
4. Use four drops of grapefruit seed extract in place of detergent, and run one wash cycle with cold water, rinsing with as much water as possible.
5. Use oxygen cleaner in place of detergent, and run one hot wash cycle with the highest water level possible.
6. Strip your diapers a final time, using at least three rinses with the hottest water possible. Add white vinegar to the first rinse; use plain water for the second and third rinses.
7. Dry on high heat or hang to dry in full sun.
You may be able to clean the yeast from your diapers with a shortened version of this protocol. If the yeast infection was mild and you’re eager to get back to using cloth, you can use either tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract (you probably don’t need both), and you can skip the second stripping as well. However, if you want to make sure your diapers are really cleared of yeast before you put them back on your baby, you can add another step as a last resort: bleaching with chlorine. Bleaching is not recommended for cloth diapers, but doing it once won’t ruin most diapers, and if it’s that or give up on cloth, you may feel it’s worth the risk. Generally, it’s safe to bleach prefolds, white fitteds, and flat folds, but all-in-ones or pockets may be damaged by bleach. Check with the manufacturer of your diapers before you try this step.
If you do bleach, then strip your diapers again afterward to make sure no bleach is left when you start using them again.
It’s safe to repeat this process a week later if the rash returns. However, if the rash was really caused by yeast, then this protocol should get rid of the rash for good.
Reference: “Killing the Dreaded Yeast Monster“
Lisa C. Baker is a full-time mom and part-time writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about green parenting topics at Organic Baby Atlanta andteaches workshops on cloth diapers and elimination communication. She’s been a mom since 2008 and has never bought a disposable diaper; she hopes she’ll never need to!
If you’ve been cloth diapering for any length of time then you’ve no doubt come across flushable and/or biodegradable cloth diaper liners. They’re generally sold in rolls that have one hundred sheets. Some brands even boast that you can take their sheets and cut them in half if you’re cloth diapering a newborn and get two hundred sheets out of each roll.
There are bio liners lovers and haters. Some feel that having to buy something cancels out the reasons for using cloth diapers in the first place. Others feel that they’re worth it and they swear by them. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide if the extra .04-.06 cents per diaper change is worth it.
So what do they do? They make cloth diaper cleanup easier. The tissue paper/woven liner essentially gives the poop something to stick to. Sometimes they get bunched up for whatever reason but sometimes…they catch it all! It’s those catch it all scenarios that make them worth it.
Whatever they catch you simply take the cloth diaper to the toilet and toss the liner (plus whatever is attached to it) into the toilet and flush. You may be able to eliminate the need for a sprayer at times and you’ll have less of a need for extra rinse cycles and much less staining.
I read of a brilliant idea recently, a mother lined all her diapers for the daycare center with flushable liners. When she got home from daycare and took the diapers out of the wetbag, she could relatively easily take the poo and the liners and flush them. This is an important convenience since daycare providers are prohibited from dealing with the “poop factor.”
I recommend you treat yourself to a roll. Give them a try and see for yourself if they’re worth the added expense. Watch the video below to check out liners in action and see just how easy they can make waste disposal.
Guest Post by Bert
You use cloth wipes but there’s a little part of you that wishes you could still use disposable only for the “pop-up” effect in the dispenser. Well, never fear! We have a photo tutorial for you right here on how to get your cloth wipes to pop up through a disposable wipe dispenser. So grab your freshly clean wipes out of that laundry basket and let’s get folding!
First things first you’re going to need a used wipes dispenser, your cloth wipes and a spray bottle. If you don’t have a wipes dispenser ask a friend who uses disposables if she has one laying around the house that she isn’t using.
Next, lay one cloth wipe on the floor and place another one on half of it so that the bottom wipe can still be seen. You’re going to be making a stack that will go into your dispenser.
After that you’re going to fold the bottom wipe over the top so that the bottom wipe covers half of the wipe that’s on top of it.
Then place another wipe on the already folded bottom wipe so that the second wipe in your stack can easily be folded over the next wipe. Repeat this step, by alternating which half of the previous wipe needs to be folded.
Your wipes stack should look like this:
Place your stack of wipes into the dispenser so that you can easily pull one wipe out.
Pull the wipe out, grab your handy spray bottle (filled with either water or a wipes solution) and spray away.
See…easy as 1, 2, 3!
A new mum came into the store on the last day of August, 2010. She carried in her arms, little Jaxon, who was a month old. She told me that her husband was out of work, and they were living with relatives, so money was limited, and they needed to cloth diaper little Jaxon on a very very limited budget. Could I help? I said I would do my best! She said all she had in her purse was $240. And she didn’t anticipate more funds being available in the future to buy more.
We started by weighing little Jaxon on my shipping scales. He came to 10 pounds, and that gave us a starting point for our mission. Our goal, to make these cloth diapers last as long as possible! And hopefully make the system easy enough for dad to use.
First off we checked out the Bummis starter kit. These kits are a great kit to get started, but there was one flaw. The smallest version would only fit little Jaxon until 15 pounds. Jaxon’s mum asked me, how long till that. Well, how long is a piece of string? That was not an answer I could give. I told her every baby was different. My last one didn’t hit 15 pounds until he was 8 months old, but other friends babies were that weight by the time they were 2-3 months old. Predicting weights is not something I can do :)
So then she said, what if she went with the next size up that started at 15 pounds. Could she stuff the cover to make it fit. I pulled out a medium cover off the shelf, and showed her just how big that cover was next to her tiny little Jaxon. No this would not work. Perhaps continue with disposables? I pointed out that the cost of disposables till 15 pounds, would be far more than the cost of the tiny baby starter kit, so she would be best getting both. However, funds did not permit her to get both.
So I sat down at my laptop and started to work some mathematical magic. I call it magic, because math is not something I am good at!
With some back and forth, we were able to come up with a package for Jaxon that even included detergent! And it would fit him until he was 28 pounds! And our package used an easy to use diapering system, even for dads. It was not just a simple cover and prefold system.
This is what we put together:
Doodlez Tuck and Go Covers
|Bummis Fleece Liners||5||1.00||5|
Liners Size Small
|Large Wet Bag||1||18.95||18.95|
Draw String Wet Bag
|Rocking Green Detergent||1||14.95||14.95|
So for around $230 we got her 24 changes, so she only has to wash every two days. She has plenty of covers to last that period of time. She also got detergent to wash her diapers with. The large wet bag was to store the soiled diapers in. Ideally at some point she would need a second, but she can get by with the one. The Draw String wet bag allows her to have a bag to put soiled diapers in while out and about. Her covers will fit her baby from 12 to 28 pounds, which is well beyond most baby’s first year of life. The covers, are also good ones that hold the prefolds and G-flappers in place, which makes it easier for other care givers to change the baby.
So yes, you can diaper a baby on a limited budget and not have to settle for the cheapest covers. And you can make the system last through a long weight range too! And it can be simple enough for other caregivers too!
When I had my first child over 20 years ago, I used what is called a wet pail method to store my soiled diapers until I was ready to wash them. It worked well, I kept the pail with its lid on, in the laundry trough/sink. I used a product called Napisan (an Australian Nappy Soaking solution) in the water, and I would wash the diapers every two to three days when the pail was full. I would empty the contents of the pail into the sink, let the water drain away, and then don a rubber glove and transfer the diapers into the washing machine and wash with no detergent. I would then line dry my diapers (I didn’t own a dryer until Lauren was well out of diapers!)
So when it came time to cloth diaper my second son, who was born here in the US, I thought that I needed to use the same system. And this house was not built with a sink in the laundry. Something I find odd, even my smallest flat (apartment) back home had a sink in the laundry. I also find the lack of a rotary clothes line in backyards odd to, but that is a whole other blog post. :)
When I had Braden, I used gDiapers with flushables on him, because to me that was a great compromise. A bio-degradable insert with a reusable cover. Much less impact on the environment than the standard disposable diaper. But as I was hanging out on the gDiapers yahoo group, I learned that not only had cloth diapers come a long way, so had the methods used to wash them. I learned about the dry pail system and the fact I didn’t need to soak my diapers before washing. That I didn’t need to store soiled diapers in a pail full of solution.
The main thing that makes a dry pail possible is the pail liner. I bought a Wahmies pail liner. And then I took it shopping. Yes I bought the pail liner before I bought the pail. This turned out to be the smart thing to do, as I was able to find the pail to fit my pail liner. No need to sew or get a custom sized one. I actually found my pail at Lowes for around $13. It is just a cheap trash can with a flip lid. The cheaper can actually worked out better than the more expensive ones because of the cheap way the lid worked. It is simply placed on top of the trash can, rather than attached. This means that it is easy to place the pail liner into the can.
Worked great, but I quickly found one pail liner does not work. You really need TWO! Once you put your pail liner in the wash, then you need to put a clean one into the pail. So another pail liner was bought.
The beauty of the pail liner, is that once you have placed the diaper into the pail, you do not need to handle it again. Once the pail is full, we take the diapers out inside the pail liner, and then take the bag down to the washing machine. We shake the diapers into the machine, and then throw the pail liner in with the diapers to be washed.
I now stock several different brands of pail liners. Different sizes and different qualities of PUL. I like the elastic of the Wahmies one because it fits my pail well, but you may prefer a draw string for your pail.
If you are challenged for space and do not really have room for a 13 gallon diaper pail, you can get a door knob pail liner. You can hang this one from a door knob. Or you could use large wet bags and hang them from a towel rail, your change table or door knob. The same principle applies, when full, just take the diapers to the machine and empty the bag into the machine, and throw the bag in afterward.
The pail liner has prevented my diaper pail from getting stinky. Much better than the disposable pail that my previous son used which reeked so bad we had to keep the door shut to our bathroom where it was stored all the time. Oh and for the record, the diaper dekor disposable pail actually fits a Wahmies Pail liner in it! It’s a bit baggy but it works.
So what is your diaper pail system? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
So I had my friend Heather and her husband for dinner late last year. They came with their two beautiful daughters, one of whom is cloth diapered and a similar age to my youngest son. She had called me earlier to ask if there was anything she could bring, wine, dessert etc. I told her, just themselves. Well she brought me a hostess gift anyway, a two pack of RLR that she had managed to find at her local supermarket. I was thrilled, I wanted to try this stuff out, as I had heard great things about it. I couldn’t find it locally at all! Who needs a bottle of wine?? Not me :)
I stripped my diapers with it the very next day. And wow it worked great. Better than Dawn with far less rinsing afterwards. So then I was on a mission to find where I could get it wholesale so I could stock it in the store. I had already been asked to do so by a few loyal customers.
Finally I got some in stock and I decided as it had been a couple of months since I had done that stripping with the RLR I would do ALL of my diapers. They were getting that ammonia smell when I opened his pail, so it was time. Well it is at this point we find out just how many diapers Braden has, THREE loads worth! So there I was with my friend Ashley (who also cloth diapers), hanging over the washing machine, taking photos for you all. My husband was looking at us like we were mad women the way we were clucking over the washing machine. Braden has been wearing said diapers for the last week, since I did the RLR strip and they all smell great again. No more ammonia smell when I open the pail.
So here is what I did. Note that I have a top loading machine, but my friend Heather has a front loading machine and RLR works for her too.
I rinsed the diapers on cold first, to remove any poop debris, wash away the pee etc.
I filled the machine with warm water. While it was filling I added a whole packet of RLR. At this point I observed a bit of bubbling up as the machine was filling.
I left the lid up on my machine. My machine does not drain the water unless the lid is down. I watched it agitate a heap of scum and suds to the top. I was thinking OMG, this is going to take a huge amount of rinses to get rid of all of these suds!
I let it soak for around an hour or so before lowering the lid and letting the machine finish its cycle, which was a cold rinse. I did note that the suds did settle while I let it soak, but the water was a gray murky colour.
I ran the machine again on a hot cycle. I left the lid up because I wanted to check the status of the suds. And I was amazed, because the huge suds had rinsed away in the previous cycle, and there was only a little bit of suds left. My machine does a cold rinse with its hot cycle. It was done. It was winter, so I had to run the diapers through the dryer. But if it was summer, I would have hung them out in the sun.
In conclusion, this is not the cheapest way to strip the diapers, Dawn is much cheaper. However, it seems to me to be the most effective. So if you have bad stinkies, then this is worth trying.
When I moved to America, for the first time in my life, I didn’t have an outdoor clothesline. Even when I lived in a flat (apartment) in Australia, there was a clothesline, even if it was one for all the tenants to use. When Lauren was a baby, I didn’t even own a dryer, I line dried all her clothes and nappies, and in the winter, I dried her nappies (diapers) over a clothes horse. I must confess I did wish I owned a dryer in the winter time back then. I didn’t own a microwave until she was about 4 years old either.
Here I am in Texas, with sunshine most of the year, even in winter we have days of sunshine, and no clothesline! It just felt wrong. Well, it is wrong. And then I found out, it is even against our homeowners associations rules to have one! How unevironmentally friendly is that???
Well when we went with cloth diapers for Braden, I really hated having to use the dryer for them, so I finally gave in and went hunting for a clothesline on line. The hills brand one from Australia I really wanted, was rather pricey, but I found a great compromise. This one from Amazon was cheap, and it is like an umbrella, folds up when you need to take it down. So if the homeowners association ever bothered to tresspass into my backyard, I could prove to them that it was not a permanent fixture.
So we I ordered this clothesline, for less than $50, and shipping was free too! I had Greg install it. He had to get some concrete to set the sleeve into the ground. Which he did slightly crooked, so my clothesline leans to the west a little :) It is alot more flimsy than most clotheslines we had back home, but it does the job. You wouldn’t want to be really tall though. As the height on mine is not adjustable, and it is rather low to the ground. Perfect for me at 5’2″, but not for my 6’3″ husband. (Like he needs any excuse to avoid doing the washing). The one I have linked here says it adjusts though. I couldn’t find my exact one again on Amazon. I did find there is some affordable choices though, and be sure to look for ones with free shipping, there are quite a few that will ship free.
Sunlight is great for getting rid of stains on diapers, especially those viralent orange exclusively breastfed baby poop ones. It does however make clothes a little crunchy. Growing up in Australia, I am used to this, but if it bothers you, a quick spin around the dryer will soften them up. Clothes always smell better from drying in the sun, and no icky chemicals needed to make them smell good either.
So now I save money, energy and gain my daily vitamin D hanging clothes on the line instead of putting them into the dryer.