Your lovely diapers have arrived. You have prepped them (for every type except cotton, it’s only one wash and dry cycle), little one has worn them, and now you have to wash them. On top of that, your lovely little peanut has, horror of horrors, pooped in them!!
Those nice, new diapers…used! What’s a Momma to do??
First, let me assure you. You do not have to wash each diaper by hand. Nor do you have to wash each diaper immediately when it comes off of your little one’s bum.
If the diaper is wet, you can rinse it, which will allow you to have longer breaks between washes, or you can wash every day or every other day without rinsing. (Going longer than that is a recipe for stink!)
Where exactly will you put those diapers until wash day? Well, you have options!
Hanging Dry Pail-Just toss them in (maybe add a drop or two of essential oils on a strip of fabric if your pail has one), and then wash them come wash day! You’ll also want to wash the “pail,” too, since the odors can cling to the fabrics.
Dry Pail-Buy a pail liner and a garbage can with a lid (flip-top, swinging, doesn’t matter). Put the pail liner inside, take it out with the diapers, and wash! The lid on the garbage can will help keep odors at bay, but you can also use essential oils on a fabric strip or a baby washcloth (or cloth wipe).
Wet Pail-This can be anything from a bucket to a plastic box to a garbage can with a lid. Fill with water, add some baking soda, and just add the diapers as they come. You’ll want to change the water with each wash as well as keep your child away from the pail (either by having a locking lid, locking the pail up in a room, or any other method).
Combo-Another idea is to have a hanging dry pail or dry pail and then soak your diapers in a wet pail for at least an hour before you wash. This allows the urine and poop to break down without having the wet pail out for long periods of time.
But what about the poop?
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, just handle those diapers the same way you handle wet diapers. Rinsing will help with stains, so some moms choose to do that, but it isn’t necessary.
If things are a bit more serious *ahem* then you do need to deal with the poop before adding the diaper to your diaper pail. Again, there are several options.
Diaper sprayer-This is an attachment for your toilet that has a head similar to a sink sprayer. It allows you to spray any solids off into the toilet. Some consider this an essential tool for cloth diapering There are several commercially available brands, such as BumGenius. It is also possible to make your own, using parts found at your local hardware store.
Scrape it off-Some people keep a dedicated spatula or other tool next to the toilet, scrape the poop off into the toilet and move on.
Dunk and swish-This is what Melissa does (Jeniffer has yet to deal with solid poop ). Hold onto a relatively clean corner of the diaper, and dunk and swish it around in the toilet until most of the solids are off. Sometimes it helps to flush the toilet if you are having a hard time getting all of it off. Just hold onto the diaper really tight! You can wear gloves if it makes you more comfortable. It really isn’t as bad as it sounds!
For all of the above methods, I would bring the diaper pail into the bathroom with you, so that as soon as you are done you can just drop the rinsed diaper into the pail. If it is particularly fragrant, a sprinkling of baking soda or commercially available pail deodorizer can help until wash time.
Now that you have your storing method, and you’ve dealt with most of the poop, you’ll want to look at laundry detergents. The bad news is that because there are so many factors that play into how effective a detergent is for your situation, no one can tell you exactly what will get rid of stink or how to keep it at bay. Some women use Original Tide with no problems while others can only use Rockin’ Green or Crunchy Clean. Some families swear by Charlie’s Soap while others complain of awful rashes it can cause.
You will want to look at how hard your water is (soft, normal, or hard?) You will also want to consider if your family has skin sensitivities. Both of our families do, so most scented detergents as well as anything not labeled “Free and Clear” or “Hypoallergenic” are out of the question. And, no matter how many families swear by Original Tide, all diaper companies will tell you to use a detergent that is free of any additives. Diaper Junction has a great guide to choosing the right detergent for you as well as a chart that shows which detergents are great for cloth diapers and which ones are horrible!(You can also make your own by following our recipe!)
On to the fun part: washing your diapers! If you’re like us, you may not get regular laundry done every time, but trust us: you will wash your diapers! Even if you don’t feel like it…which never happens to the Sisters. Diaper Junction’s tutorial on washing your diapers pretty much covers it all, so have a look around!
Of course, if you really want to, you can also wash your diapers by hand. Jeniffer’s post on hand washing covers the process from beginning to end! Look for it on Friday!
While drying your diapers in the dryer is an option (on low), another way to dry your diapers it to sun your diapers! It’s a great way to get rid of stains, stink, and bacteria! (The UV rays kill bacteria in the diapers.)
And if your diapers get that crunchy diaper feel from drying on the line, just wring them out. Crunchy feeling gone! And you just saved on your electric bill, too.
We hope that you aren’t nearly as intimidated by washing your diapers, even the poopy ones, now! And even if you are, relax! It gets easier with time. You will find what works best for you, promise! And when your little stinker throws another curve ball at you, you will be able to figure out what to do. Just ask your Sisters!