*I usually try not to buy ultra-girly things that I know both Bryan and I will be using, but these pink ones were honestly the only ones at the store that looked thicker than a piece of paper. So Bryan has proved his true manliness once again by donning the pink rubber gloves to wash poo off of Olivia's diapers. My hero.
We'll get back to the rubber gloves in a minute. First let's talk about why we're all so freaked out about washing cloth diapers. Why is it that we squirm and quickly offer up excuses for why we couldn't possibly do that?
It's because we've never actually done it before.
Or maybe you had a bad experience or maybe you've done it and you just genuinely prefer never to do it again. I totally respect that. But in my case, I was worried about washing cloth diapers because I had no experience with it.
I imagined it to be this terribly disgusting thing. I imagined it to be hard and labor-intensive. I imagined it to be--dun dun dun--yucky. But I am happy to report that all that was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. Washing cloth diapers--even the mushy poopy ones--is no worse than it is in a disposable diaper. Or at least not any worse than dealing with it in a disposable diaper twice. Let's talk about it as I explain how we wash our cloth diapers.
So now let's talk about what happens between using the wipes and putting the soiled items into the laundry bag.
Prepping Soiled Diapers for Laundering:
If the diaper is just wet:
We unsnap the front of the diaper, take the liner out, unsnap the liner, and it all goes into the laundry bag as-is. Easy.
If the diaper has tidy little nugget poop in it:
We unsnap the front of the diaper, pick up the tidy little nugget poop with a cloth wipe, drop the nugget poop in the toilet (and flush it away), put the dirty wipe in the laundry, take the insert out, unsnap the insert, and it all goes into the laundry bag as-is. Easy.
If the diaper has nasty mushy smooshy poop in it:
We unsnap the front of the diaper, take the liner out, unsnap the liner, and put the liner in the laundry bag as-is. Then we wipe Olivia down with the cloth wipes, set the soiled diaper (minus the insert, of course) and wipes aside (we just put the dirty wipes in the diaper), and put a clean diaper on Olivia. Then, once she's down from the changing area and playing and safely on her own in the living room, we take the dirty diaper and wipes and head to the bathroom. We don the hearty pink gloves. We lift up the toilet lid and seat. Then we take the wipes and--holding them in the toilet water--rub away as much of the poop as we can. Mostly it just falls off and whatever's left is minimal and will come off in the wash. Then the wipes get put in the laundry bag. Then we take the diaper and do the same thing we did with the wipes. Holding it down in the toilet bowl water, we scrub at it with our hands (inside the protective pink gloves, of course) to get most of the poop off. Any residual poop usually comes off by holding the diaper in the water and scrubbing it while the toilet is being flushed. We do this as much as we need to until we're satisfied that we've gotten as much of the poop out as we can. It takes about two minutes max. Then the diaper cover goes into the laundry bag as-is. Easy enough, right? I think so.
We did our first load of diaper laundry yesterday. Want to see the biggest (and only) stain we had?
Washing Cloth Diapers in the Washing Machine:
Now let's talk about how to wash the soiled-and-previously-rinsed-out-as-much-as-they-needed-to-be diapers. People say washing cloth diapers is an art. And after one go at it I don't presume to have perfected it, but I feel confident enough to share the little I do know. Especially since it seems to have worked just fine. Here we go...
This is how we wash our cloth diapers:
-1 full wash cycle on cold with laundry detergent (1/4 the amount needed for a regular load)
-1 full wash cycle on hot with no laundry detergent
-air dry on drying rack
Let's begin with laundry detergent, shall we?
So, with all the soiled diapers in their awesome laundry bag, I grab my handy dandy little bottle of laundry detergent and I'm ready to do a load of diapers. Like I mentioned above, I wash the diapers in one full cycle on the cold setting with the appropriate amount of detergent. Then I wash them one one full hot cycle.
They're surprisingly not wet when they come out of the washing machine, which is nice. I thought they would be sopping wet, but they're not. It's nice. So then I just put them back in the nice fresh laundry bag and bring it all back up to the apartment.
Thanks so much everyone for joining in on all the fun during Cloth Diaper Week here at Notes From A Very Red Kitchen! It's been fun sharing a little of what I know with you. And I learn so much from all the helpful comments you leave. I hope that any of you out there who have been wondering what cloth diapering is really like have a little better idea now of whether you'll like it or not. I know that so far we love it! And, as always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any suggestions you may have in the comments.