Sunday, June 22, 2008

Waste Management

I'm guessing that the biggest question on any potential cloth diaper users mind is, "Will I have to touch poop?" The answer is no AND yes. I'll explain...

You will of course still be wiping the poop off of baby just like you would using disposables. But beyond that, there are ways to never have to touch poop when using cloth diapers. For starters, with babies that are exclusively breastfed, the poo is so runny that a run through the wash cycle takes care of it. Simply remove diaper from baby and throw into diaper bin until cleaning time. Six months of easy-peezy diaper changes. Things do change once baby starts eating solids. With some solid-fed diaper changes, you simply drop the poo out of the diaper and into the toilet. (Something disposable diapers actually say to do in their instructions as well.)

Of course, not all baby poos are happy little cow patties. There are those slimy, sticky ones. (Apologies to all non-parents who are getting grossed out.) But, fear not there is an answer... And that answer, my friends, is a toilet phone. Basically, it is a kitchen sink sprayer that is hooked into the water in line of your toilet. When you have a poopy diaper that doesn't just plop, simply whip out your sprayer and hose it down. Nothing to it. (Disclaimer: I am not so lucky to have one of these yet as my hubby hasn't completed this project. I'm still dunking which isn't all that bad either.) Our good friend William has all the installation details here. He is a super smart man and I'm hoping maybe I can convince him to install one for me. (Not really though. He's got bigger things to worry about.)

Alright, so now we've managed to dispose of all solids properly in the toilet but we still have a bag full of icky diapers. How do we launder them?

For starters, I suggest you use a waterproof bag like this one. It makes transferring the contents from bin to washer sanitary and oh so much more pleasant. Dump the diapers into the washer and toss the bag in as well. Make sure that they are spread throughout the bottom so the washer doesn't get off balance. Yes, this requires some touching but usually I manage with just two fingers. I don't even unfold them.

On to the washing... For us, it is a 3-cycle process.*

Cycle 1- Cold Wash (full cycle) with no soap. Oxi-Clean Free is occasionally added to this cycle.

Cycle 2- Hot Wash (full cycle) with 1/4 to 1/2 regular amount of soap. We use Purex Free and Clear but there are other options. We chose Purex because it is cheap and readily available.

Cycle 3- Cold Rinse (only rinse cycle) Some vinegar can be added to this cycle if there are lingering odors although if there are lingering odors, I tend to rewash.

The washing is now through so all that's left is to toss them into the dryer with regular heat.

So, that's our personal cloth diapering style. There are lots of different options out there but I hope that this maybe enlightened some people to how easy cloth diapering really can be. And, if you are thinking of trying, don't hesitate to ask me questions. If I don't know the answer I can certainly try to find it.

[* These cleaning instructions work for Chinese prefolds of diaper service quality. Do not use these instructions for laundering other types of diapers without first consulting the manufacturer.]


Chelsea + Jonathan said...

Hurray! I can't wait to make it work when we have kids, and it's good to have you guys figure out some tricks! :)

Tracey said...

Glad you love cloth so much! We found gDiapers with our third child and they were a happy medium for us (a flushable, biodegradable insert in cloth covers). Every diaper used that isn't a disposable is one less in the landfills!