August 2, 2012

A Week Of Cloth Diapers: Conquering The Front-Loader, And Other Tales From The Crypt

It's Day Four (whew!) of Cloth Diaper Week hereabouts (also cowboy week, apparently), complete with giveaways! (That's right, I used an exclamation point. Because there's more than one giveaway!)

If you'd rather gnaw off your own arm than read about cloth diapers, there's a special giveaway just for you later on this week soon. Until then, why don't you go read something more entertaining?

(And you can still enter Monday's giveaway! And Wednesday's! More joy! More exclamation points!) 

* * *
Yesterday was all about my opinion. And then you sent me to school. Man, if only I had talked to you all about the bare necessities before buying them. I could have saved myself the cost of the wet bags.

So now you know how much I don't know. Secret's out. And in an effort to restore my credibility learn more from you, I present to you A Day In The Life Of My Cloth Diapers:

We keep our diapers in a drawer. A very tall drawer. The change pad goes on top of the dresser, and it takes some Olympic-worthy hefting to get Oscar up there these days, let me tell you.

Why yes, I did take this picture at night.
With either of the kids on the change table, we can reach into the drawer and grab a wipe (that's what the 492 baby washcloths are for), squirt some homemade wipe solution on it, bundle up the diaper (or, if we're unlucky, the diaper and the cover), grab the clean diaper (and cover), and send whichever kid it is on his or her way.

The homemade wipe solution is just a squirt of baby oil and a few drops of essential oil (currently grapefruit) in one of the two peri bottles my awesome midwife Sarah gave me after Oscar was born. We've been using it for a few months now, and it works great. Happy me.

The diapers used to get rinsed off in the ugly blue toilet, but then it got replaced with a low-flow monstrosity, so now we have a diaper sprayer. Seth says it's necessary. I say suck it up. (Or I would, except I'd be talking about rinsing poop off of diapers and using the phrase "suck it up" at the same time. And I'm morally opposed to that.)

The rinsed diaper sit in the (what I realize now is extraneous) wet bag inside the step lid garbage can for a day or so, until I get close enough to running out of diapers that it scares me, and then (dun, dun, DUN!) they get washed in our front loader.

It is at this point in my (totally riveting and not at all tedious) recitation that I must pause and confess that there was a while there that I despaired of EVER getting these diapers clean. As in un-stinky. Nothing worked, not soaking in the tub overnight, not soaking in a bucket overnight, not even soaking in the diaper pail overnight (are you sensing a pattern?). I even tried this:


Then, I went to the internet. And was enlightened.

I ran all of my prefolds through about six hot/cold wash cycles with a drop or two of Dawn liquid dish soap in the first one. I hung them on the line.

After than, I started using LESS detergent and MORE rinse cycles. I told the washing machine that the soil level was "heavy". I told it that I wanted an "extra rinse cycle". And it delivered.

Now I have clean diapers that don't burn my face off with ammonia stink. This is a good thing, worth celebrating.

Also worth celebrating: this very long summer that has included exactly two (2) days of rain, which means that I can hang my diapers on the line ANY TIME I WANT TO. And you know that makes me happy.

Since line dried prefolds are approximately as flexible as cardboard, I usually run them through a twenty minute air dry cycle in the dryer, at which point I leave them in the dryer until I need to put something else in there.

So that's my story, what's yours?

(Don't forget to enter Monday and Wednesday's know, if you want. Or whatever.)

This time last year: Thanks For Reminding Me, Cat. (No, I still haven't fixed it.)