One of my first few posts...way back when...I wrote about the small steps we take in our house to try and reduce our trash output with cloth diapering being one of those things. I'm hoping to lay out what we do and how we do it in this post but you may want to read this in sections as this is a really long post!! Also, I've tried to link up to several other blogs that also have great cloth diapering info too!!
Making the choice: Considering diapers are a huge source of waste that is going into our shrinking landfill capacity, cloth diapering was one way we felt we could reduce the amount of trash our home generates. The hubs and I also have SUPER sensitive skin and were both cloth diapered as babies due to pretty severe reactions to disposables. I know times have changed and disposables have come a long way but I still had a hard time imagining the chemicals that are used in some disposables resting against my girl's tush on a daily basis. However, cloth diapers are not all rainbows and butterflies, and they certainly aren't free although some consumer experts estimate that you could save anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 using cloth diapers vs. disposables.
All in Ones, Pockets, or Pre Folds??: I read a lot of websites about the pros and cons of cloth diapering and did some research on which type of cloth diaper (all in one, pockets, prefolds) would work best for us. Based on what I found, the hubs and I selected the all in ones mainly because of their ease of use. I wanted a brand with organic cotton and also preferred the snap closure versus velcro because I felt the snaps would hold up over the years (I am hoping to get at least 2 kids through these diapers and from what I've read that's entirely possible). I found everything I was looking for in the Bum Genius Elementals, which are also great because they are a "grow with me" style diaper that are designed to fit children from 7 lbs to 35 lbs by simply adjusting the snaps. We've been successfully using these for 8 months and other than the incredibly long drying time (about an hour and a half) I have 0 complaints. I love that the cotton used in these diapers is organic and we've had no issues with diaper rash or leaking (other than when operator error is involved). They come in all sorts of fun colors and often times eliminate my need for a diaper cover under Addie's sun dresses. They are a tad bit bulkier than disposables but we haven't found it to create any issues when it comes to clothes fitting or hampering her ability to get around. A few of my blog friends are a bit more adventurous than myself and have used various types and brand of cloth diapers so check out Natalie, over at From Corporate to Domestic here and Mrs Eye Can See, over at the The Juice is Worth the Squeeze here for more info on different types and brands of cloth diapers. I also follow Rachel, over at Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean, who's had great success with the G Diapers and has a wonderful post all about them here.
What do I need to do this? We started with 12 cloth diapers, 48 cloth wipes, a box of Country Save detergent, a diaper pail, two Kissaluv diaper pail liners, and a diaper sprayer that attaches to the side of the toilet. While I was home with Addie, the 12 cloth diapers worked well but after returning to work, I purchased 12 more and 24 seems to really work well for us. We split our purchases between Cotton Babies and Diaper Junction, both online cloth diaper stores and had wonderful experiences with both! I estimate that our total up front costs were about $650.
What worked and what didn't:
Bum Genius Elementals - LOVE these - they have worked wonderfully and I hope these will last until we are no longer diapering little bambinos.
|just the diaper|
Country Save Detergent - This is the detergent I started with and really had no complaints. It seemed to work fairly well however, after coming across Vaska detergent one day while shopping at Target, I switched to Vaska for all of my laundering needs. I've been happier with the Vaska and I personally prefer a liquid detergent to a powder detergent so this is what we're currently using!
Diaper Pail - not much to say here, the flip top is nice and does seem to hold the oders in well.
Kissaluvs Antibacterial Diaper Pail Liners - These are very sturdy and have held up very well despite cycling through the wash with the diapers. I do recommend owning at least two of these so you always have a liner in the pail - even when you're washing a load.
Diaper Sprayer - This was not such a big hit in our house. After receiving the kit, we found one of the pieces was defective, which the manufacturer quickly replaced however, this is not sturdy and could easily lead to flooding your whole bathroom if you're not careful with the water cutoff. We actually don't ever use this either - see below in the "laundering" section for how we get all of the dirtiness out.
Laundering: Whenever I tell people that we are cloth diapering this is always the topic of conversation that arises. And personally, I expected much worse...but it really hasn't been bad. Obviously the wet diapers are a non issue and I just throw those in the diaper pail and go on with it. For those that are dirtied, the treatment is slightly different. Depending on what Addie's been eating, some diapers we can simply shake off and put in the pail but others require slightly more work. For those, I usually turn the diaper upside down so the cloth liner is facing the water in the toilet and let it soak out for about 30 minutes. Generally speaking, after about 30 minutes I can pull the diaper out of the toilet (by grabbing the exterior liner which has not been in the toilet water) and shake gently to remove any remnants. I then place the diaper in the pail until it comes time to do the wash. I wash the dirty diapers every other day and have not had any problems with that schedule thus far. To wash, I simply empty out the diaper pail liner into the washing machine, set it on "normal" and also add a "prewash" and "extra rinse" cycle. This cycle lasts about an hour and 20 minutes and I then remove the diapers and either hang on the line for the sun to work its magic or if the weather is not cooperating I throw them in the dryer for about an hour and a half. And when I say the sun works magic...I mean it does...it removes all of those stains on the diaper - its crazy! After pulling the diaps off the line, they can be a bit stiff but a couple of minutes in the dryer will soften them right up!
Please, please feel free to comment on your experiences or share any favorites you have when it comes to cloth diapering - I'd love to hear about it!! I'm hoping to be a little more adventurous when it comes to baby #2 and maybe try some of the pockets and prefolds.