We switched our youngest child, Thomas, to cloth diapers back in October of 2018. We had some difficulty in the beginning but got on board soon after. I’d say (with potty training for 3 months in between the time) we saved about 1000 disposable diapers from landfill since then.
My regret is that we did not switch with child #1. We put 4 children plus (Thomas)1.5 years through disposable diapers. I had the idea and curiosity back with child #4 to switch to cloth to save money. But I did not have the will (ick factor).
I remember the first time with cloth diapers, using reusable liners, I thought to myself, what am I getting myself into!!? But you know, it’s not that bad! Really! You get used to it, and it becomes the new normal. You do what you got to do. Having access to soap and water makes it all a breeze (not of fresh air though, lol!). You get used to that too!
This is how extreme the other way I was before jumping to cloth diapers:
If one of the younger kids had a #2 accident, I would lay them on the floor, cut the underwear off them, peel it off like a diaper and toss it. No way was I making a mess trying to get underwear off or even touching or cleaning them! The blinders on me were huge! I would not even think about how I would possibly clean them! Such a waste!!!
- Dirty diapers sit in a container, inserts taken out so they can be easily washed of course. Poo diapers, recently, I just rinse off on the toilet bowl. I used to use the bathtub (after putting the poo down the toilet) to rinse the liner and reusable wipes, but the whole bathtub would then need a good cleaning. The toilet bowl is much smaller, there is already water in it (less water usage in my opinion), and it can always use a cleaning anyways. Though I must say, its not nice in the winter, the water is freezing.
- Once most of the diapers are used up I put them in the washer for a rinse cycle. I use cold water for this and on a medium load.
- After the rinse cycle, I fill the washer with hot water. I add some detergent such as liquid Tide unscented. I tried other detergents and even the lovley laundry soap from the farmer’s market, but I end up with a mineral build up and the liners do not absorb liquids anymore. Diapers stop holding the pee, and it’s a constant mess. The Tide liquid was bought as a slight emergency and a powdered version was not thought of at the time. Once the container is empty, I will switch to the powdered version, Super store has it in a box.
- I also add about .5 cup of Borax and 1 cup of liquid Oxygen Bleach. I do not want to use Oxi Clean as there are too many chemicals I am uncomfortable with for using, even the smallest amount. I also can not find it in a box form in Summerside, just the plastic container.
- I run this on the longest aggitation cycle with just the one hot water cycle. The second part of the wash is cold water and I finish with an extra rinse.
- Because I only have 13 cloth diapers, and I wait for almost all of them to be used before washing, I stick them in the dryer on low heat for about 45 minutes with wool dryer balls. I’m not set up with a clothes line, though I really really want one. The younger kids will not respect it and clothes will be on the ground. Pick our battles!
- I wash the diapers about every 36 hours.
- I pre fold them once dry, 2 inserts each and the reusable liner. Wipes get stored ready to refill the wipe container once empty.
The wipes I use are from am old sheet, though polyester. It’s what I had and used when I made them 10 months ago. Not ideal type of fabric, but I’m using what I had and saving money spent on other material. I started out using scraps of cotton fabric, but I felt they did not hold up to a good job wiping. Flannel would probably be better (fabric knowledge is not strong with me, yet).
So I cut the sheet to wipe size pieces. I have a long container by which I fill with about 3 cups of warm water, about 3 Tbsp of Down East dish soap and a drop of tea tree oil. I used to add coconut oil, but I don’t think it is necessary. I mix the water solution up and full it with the wipes. Now and then I flip the wipes in the box as the bottom ones are super soaked. They will drain to soak the now dryer bottom ones. Rotation. These wipes get washed with the diapers as well.