June 14, 2011

What No One Tells You About Cloth Diapers

I'm beginning to think cloth diapering is like childbirth. You can never really understand the concept until you're experiencing it -- and all throughout the process you're asking yourself, why didn't anyone tell me this is how it is?

Don't get me wrong. I am glad I made the switch from disposable Seventh Generation diapers to cloth diapers, waiting, until, as Dr. Sears advised, baby starts solids and poops solid. However, my son's poop is not at all solid and no one tells you how to handle a messy cloth diaper, which has been a comedy of errors for the last several months. Put it this way. One of the chapters of my book that I will write one day will now be entitled: "Poo under my fingernails."

I guess I simply wasn't prepared for the very intimate relationship with poop that I was signing up for when I decided to cloth diaper. I had no idea that I would be scraping it, shaking it, shooing it and swirling it all around my bathroom. I always thought toilet water was something you didn't touch until I realized I had no choice but to rinse diapers in it.

I just recently made a trip to the dollar store to buy rubber gloves, and spatulas, which were tips I heard about from other moms. So now I will scrape said poop off of the diaper with a spatula and hope this makes the process somehow more palatable.

And forget buying prunes if your wee one is constipated. Simply put him in a brand new shiny and fluffy cloth diaper and you can rest assured he'll soil it up quick! Cloth diapering is like the Vegas of motherhood... you gamble with the odds -- "Should I use a disposable insert until he poops for the day?" While we're on the topic: the disposable inserts that come with hybrid systems like gDiapers and Charlie Banana are ingenious. However, cloth diapering by nature is supposed to rule out any disposable waste, and the one-time use liners aren't cheap. Go big, or go home as they say. If you're going to commit to cloth, commit.

So, I want to know what all of YOU cloth diapering mamas do with the poo. As of now, here's my regimen:

1. Big Poop! Wince, wince, wipe wipe.
2. Take diaper to toilet, scrape off poop and swish and rinse in toilet.
3. Soak diaper in OxiClean in sink
4. Hang dry diaper
5. Add diaper to dry pail with other soiled diapers
6. Put diapers in washing machine on rinse cycle, then add detergent and wash on heavy soil setting.

Can anyone enlighten me as to an easier or more efficient system? Or are we all in this together?


Mrs EyeCanSee said...

First of all....youve chosen to cloth diaper during the worst possible phase. Peanut butter poop. That gross. Messy. Disgusting stage that happens shortly after starting solids. Believe me. It gets better! These days I literally plop and go. TMI? Sorry. Once you get the bulk of it off there's really no need to soak before washing. I don't. Haven't for 10 mos and have had no issues with my diapers not coming out clean.

Stick with it! And if you ever have another baby...before solids is easy! No rinsing. Swirling. Dunking. Just straight into the washer! I miss those days! :)

Clarissa said...

If you install a diaper sprayer you won't have to dunk and swirl. Simply remove the insert if there is one, hold the diaper inside out over the toilet, and spray the poop off into the toilet. I just throw it in the pail after spraying and then wash like normal (a cold wash followed by a hot wash). If you wash your diapers at least every other day you won't get stains and if you do, leave them in the sun for a few hours and they bleach out. I've been cloth diapering for over 2 years now, from newborn to toddlerhood and haven't ever had much of a poo mess with using a diaper sprayer. Good luck!

Bridget Daffinrud-James said...

THANK YOU! Finally, an honest post about how gross cloth diapering can be. I like to think I am as green as they come to mothering styles but cloth diapering seems to be much more work then led on to be. I've found myself throwing them out too when, no matter how much I wash them, the smell doesn't completely come out.

raspberrymama said...

1. Big Poop! Wince, wince, wipe wipe.
2. Take diaper to toilet, dump poo and liners in toilet and flush.
3. Spray damp area of diaper with a mixture of tea tree oil and water, or vinegar and water.
4. Add diaper to dry pail with other soiled diapers
6. Put diapers in washing machine add gentle detergent (such as Rockin Green, or Borax)and wash on heavy soil setting.

You may be breaking down the fabric and elactic in your diapers by using oxiclean.....

Stephanie - Green Stay at Home Mom said...

I'm with Clarissa about getting a diaper sprayer. Absolutely wonderful invention. Makes getting poops out much easier, although you want to take care that any toddlers in the house don't discover it.

flyabuv said...

I second those that say flushable liner, and no need to soak either. The liner catches most of the poop, but if it misses and it is messy, the most I have done is using a little tp to wipe the poop off into the toilet. No soaking, just put it in the dry pail. Just make sure to wash within a couple days! I hope these hints help you!

Alyssa said...

I agree with Ms Eyecansee - no need to soak. Honestly, I get off the ick that will come off easily & toss in pail. Do a wash cycle on cold then a hot cycle with free detergent & maybe some borax if they have been stinky.

Petite Planet said...

Thanks for your insight and advice, everybody! When you mention flushable liners, are you referring to the gDiapers liners? I am looking for a less expensive alternative or trying to do away with liners entirely. And I hadn't thought about OxiClean breaking down the diaper fibers, so thanks for mentioning that, raspberry mama! Thanks again, all!

Paper Lilies & French Toast said...

I guess I am lucky my monster has fairly solid poops, so scraping is rare. Usually, a toss is all it needs. But for the gross ones, I find that I can "peel off" the chunky (excuse the expression, but it's too true) stuff in the toilet. wash the dirty batch of diapers every day, I learned not to wait or the pee ones get stinkier than a kitty litter. I found that OxyClean did not work very well for me, so as an additive to my natural-scent-free-detergent, I use Borax or Baking Soda. I have a sanitizing cycle to my front loader, which I use every time there is poop. I know some people use 2 to 3 cycles to wash the batch... Crazy! I think using hot water at some point helps with the smell and bacterias.

Good luck! Poops only get bigger!

Krissykatmyint said...

Gpants have a liner to put over the cloth insets that are flushable. 104 liners for $8.00 on diapers.com. Then they have biodegradable/flushable inserts..but they are 2 different things. The inserts are roughly $50.00 for 160. I use the gpants w cloth inserts & liners when home all day & the biodegradable inserts if I'm out. I would def recommend using a liner over the cloth..poop comes right off & into toilette! HTH!

Erin said...

Hey, this is late in the game, but I thought I might add my tips for making it a bit of a nicer job.

I've found the potty pail to be a lfie saver. It's a diaper sprayer (made from heavy duty meatal fittings and not cheapo plastic) combined with a pail that you place on top of your toilet with a drain at the bottom. it as hooks on the side so you literally stick the diaper on the hook, spray all the nasties away without any gross overspray (thanks to the bucket) and when done, you just do one more spray around the bucket to rinse out any dirty water.

If you do this soon after said poop then you can easily have a practically clean diaper after this process. So I then just throw the diaper in the pail, and since we wash every other day, no soaking or drying is necessary.

As far as better liners, when we travel I use flats and handwash them, and then I use GroVia liners whch aren't too expensive on Amazon and really contain it all well. Hope this helps!