Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cloth Diaper Info and Cloth Diaper Making Info

UPDATE::: See Diaper sprayer and wetbags for out and about and bio-soft liners.

When I became pregnant with Grayson I never knew that I would change in some of the ways that I did. All of a sudden I was wary of the microwave and leaving the room when it was in use and I was way more concerned with the environment and what we are doing to it and how we will leave it to our children and our children's children.
Don't get me wrong I was always caring of these things to the point that my previous boss called me "Green Peace" because I took her recycling home when she refused to change. :) Yes, I know. But whatever I digress.
Suddenly I was caring about things like diapers and how many I would consume if I had the 4 kids I would like. Roughly 20,000 by the way! That number to me was just staggering. One day I was flipping through a Cookie Magazine and saw an ad for G diapers. I immediately ran out and bought a starter kit to play with the flushable inserts before I was even 4 months pregnant!
After Grayson came and I had been using G's successfully for a while I decided I could use cloth in them. I loved that! Instead of having a pile of flushables (by the way- the pic on that page of little feet- ARE Grayson's! :) at the end of the day to flush I just put the cloth inserts in a diaper pail and washed every few days. One thing led to another and I decided to learn from a friend to make cloth diapers and use a combo of homemade cloth diapers, Bum Genius one size and G diapers.
The rest is history. I have taught many of my friends the ins and outs of cloth and shared my knowledge in lengthy emails and conversations. I decided to try and compile this information into one place so that I can point new comers, like my friend Erin who has sweetly asked me for this information a time or two... sorry again friend! Luckily she has a few months still. :)
So with out further ado:(Just in case someone doesn't know- anything in this blog that is a white word is CLICKABLE)
To start cloth diapering you will need:~ A diaper pail. I got mine at the container store for $14. I like the step on flip lid kind because I can be hands free. But any lidded can will work. You need a lid to keep in any smells. It makes a difference, believe me. (and later for keeping out tiny hands)
~ 2 Wet bags for in the can. I bought mine from a popular cloth diaper trading site and got them used for much cheaper. I recommend 2 so you immediately have one back in the pail while one is in the washer with your diapers.

UPDATED: for out and about I use the smaller version of those. These. I have about 4 so I can have some in the pail to be cleaned and some ready to be used. They can obviously be reused until they get soiled or stinky.

~Diapers. I recommend you try and think in advance about your washing habits. If you wait until one day a week to do all your laundry then you want more diapers, if you wash every other day, you can get away with less. I wash when my pail is full but I have enough to go two weeks really if I wanted to with all the inserts for the g diapers too. (But that is gross, too long to wait to wash cloth diapers!) I go about 5 days usually. Many of my friends wash every other day. The average cloth diaper should be changed every 2-3 hours. (disposable users often go longer but really who wants to sit in their poo or pee that long?!) so with an average of 10 diapers a day (more when they are little- less when they are older and sleep more at night) and the how often you wash or want to wash... 10 diapers a day washing every other day, you would need a min of 20 diapers. I am not always good at getting them washed and dried and put away all in the same day so a few extra of whatever number you figure out is good. Or if you get addicted to Diaper Swappers (link above) and you buy tons of cute ones to "try" or make a million of your own... this number goes out the window cause you end up with so many in rotation. :)

~ Wipes. I prefer cloth wipes with cloth diapers because its only one disposal, as opposed to throwing away yucky wipes open in a garbage or separately flushing flushable wipes. Cloth wipes just go in the pail along with separated* diapers. I have never rinsed out my wipes before washing just an FYI. Just wash as normal. I prefer a smooth fabric on one side: minky, flannel, velour or something of the like. And a rougher "grabby" side: terry, chenile, bamboo, hemp... the options are really endless and can be sooo cute! I love many of the ones on ETSY.COM. Go check them out. I have made some of mine but I am still trying to figure out the serger so they are not on my etsy cart yet.

~ Diaper solution. You can use water on your wipes but depending on your wipe fabrics it can make them slide awkwardly on babies buns. I recommend Ribbits Royal Heiny wash.

On their site its about $9.50 for 3 oz which will make about 60 cups of wipe solution. I found mine on DS for about $10 for a medium deli container. It has lasted me about 2 years and I am half way through- maybe. (not sure what the oz are I have...) but I have found that I can use one of the "bits" and then dilute further for longer use. It doesn't seem to affect anything. You can also just put a tiny bit of liquid soap in water and put that in your wipes warmer or your stray bottle.

~Wipe warmer, or spray bottle to spray wipe solution on wipes before use.I use a warmer. No cold butt for my boy! I like to have my wipes ready and a bottle is just another step to me. I make up my wipe solution and fill a bottle (mine is glass from goodwill cause it was pretty :) and have it next to the warmer for when the wipes run out.

~UPDATED: Diaper Sprayer. I use the one from cotton babies website but you can make one using the directions here. This is good for spraying on stuck on poo. (Who knew I would ever write that line!) Note: New Born BREAST MILK poo need not be strayed. It is water soluble and can be put right in the washer, where it will be completely washed away.

~UPDATED: Bio soft diaper liners. I used these too for helping to catch the poo. They are flushable and very easy to use. There are a variety of brands and textured and I am pretty sure I tried them all. I like these the best as they feel like cotton and are very soft and thin. You can also use a fleece liner you make but that was more work to me and I had to spray still. Might as well not bother in my world.

ALSO: Don't use common diaper rash cream (desitin, A &D etc) on cloth diapers without a liner! It can ruin them and hinder the absorption. I use lansinoh (like for breast feeding...) or a natural cream of the like. Burt's Bees makes a great one.

~For in the diaper bag I use flushables wipes mostly but I am trying to get better about carrying a small spray bottle and dry wipes. Fingers crossed.
*Separated diapers- if you use a pocket diaper you will need to take out the inserts for washing for them to be properly cleaned.
The hardest thing I have found about cloth diapering is finding a diaper bag big enough to hold them and all the junk I seem to accumulate. I made this one

and I love it but it still isn't big enough. I am a pack rat so that might have something to do with it. I bought the pattern for this one but considering its called the WEEKENDER it might be a bit much... neahh.

To buy diapers I love these sites: ~that is my diaper site. :)

The sites I love for diaper making fabric are varied. I use minky in mine so I either get it from a coop on (will list below) or from The Fabric Depot which is local to me but they have great sales and are online too. If you get their email announcements its often 40-50% off. And they have a ton of minky. Don't use dot minky, its a pain to sew with and the dots get all wonky. PUL (the plastic coated outer layer in most cloth diapers) has to be obtained from a cloth diaper supply company or a coop. ~my snap press is from here. I make one size diapers so this is necessary otherwise you can get away with out one. great for snaps (if you have this press- many are NOT compatible with others) and touch tape ~this is the chat site for the very baby site. Much useful information here! ~great hard to find fabrics, decent prices ~a large selection of PUL and good sales ~a place to search out something that you can't find specific to cloth diapers. though it is an advertising sight so you may have better luck searching on google and changing your search a few times.

A coop is a group where one or a few gals take every ones money and order and put it toward designated purchases to get the best price available for everyone. The ones I am listing here are ones I have personally used with no ill effects. These are people who I trust but make sure you do your own research and keep good records of where you send your money so you can make sure to get things coming to you. Coops can take a LONG time so be sure you are willing to wait and know that just because they say it will be here in a month doesn't always mean a month. There are many steps things take before they get back in your hands and if anyone of them is lagging it can take longer. That said many are pretty fast. If you are still interested in coops (LOL) here is the info: (Please tell them Jaimey Buquet sent you so they know you are not a spammer)

This End Up ~Denise the owner of this coop is AMAZING! She was so generous with me after I found out about Jonathan (her son's name she later told me) she held an auction on her coop and raised $600 for my family and another $150 for Now I lay me down to sleep. org. She has never met me or talked to me on the phone. She just felt a heart tug and had to help and we are still awed by her generosity and forever grateful for her kindness. I have done many coops with Denise and she is by far my favorite and the most organized.

By the yard and more ~ often has PUL and minky.

Cloth Diaper Fabrics ~Angie has been great and I highly recommend her as well. I have only bought once from her but super easy and fast.

Cloth Diaper Supplies ~ Stacey gets a bit grouchy sometimes but she runs a good coop and things are always great quality.

SMD Presales ~Okay, this one has a story. But let me preface it with the fact that I was on here for over a year buying fabric with never even a slight bump. Apparently, before I was on her coop she had some problems. I don't know anything other than what I have read. This is a use at your own risk and definitely don't do too many buys at once just in case but Again, I never had a problem and I would estimate I did at least 10-15 coop buys with her without incident.

Okay, I guess the only thing left to mention is my washing routine. I know if you have stumbled on this blog and you a FT cloth user you are probably shaking your head at my fumbling around but most of my friends that are interested in this are very new to the whole cloth idea so its good to be very general. Thanks for bearing with me!

I have a top load washer. I use do a COLD quick wash to get out the main yuckies and pee before the main wash. In this cycle I put a 1/2 scoop of oxyclean and a few "rounds" (round the rub while squirting) of Bioclean- Bac Out I get it from because I love the owner, Audrey and she is local but also because she will refill my gallon jug for cheaper. After the cold wash, I run a HOT wash for the normal time I wash everything else, on my machine its 10 (I guess it stands for minutes though I never really noticed if it is that long or not) with it I put a scoop of Charlies Soap (laundry powder- also on a coop for about half the price) and two rounds of bac-out. When that is done I do a final rinse to make sure everything is out.

I rarely have any issues with ammonia but when I do I strip the diapers by washing in hot water for two cycles. (if they are dirty you still need the cold wash first) When the water is done filling on the first cycle, add a few rounds of DAWN dish soap the plain blue one. Do this until it just starts to make bubbles. Then for the next cycle do nothing and rinse until the water runs completely clear. Ammonia build up means there is something "sticky" in your diaper fibers for the ammonia attach to.

I tend to do an abbreviated version of stripping about every third time I wash, which means I just do the DAWN in place of Charlie's and rinse until clear.

You can either line dry or use the drier for most diapers. I use a dryer cause in the Pacific NW the line really isn't an option in the winter. In the summer or anywhere warm year round, the sun is great at bleaching out those tough to get poo stains that might accumulate.

Okay!? Still with me in this novel?

That's all I got to say about that. (forest gump)

If you have any questions feel free to email me...

1 comment:

eireann said...

WOW. so much information and i for one am SO THANKFUL for it. i am sending to hubby also, so he can see how easy it is, because he is skeptical and i think he is just going along with the whole cloth diaper thing just to humor me. :)