Thursday, May 8, 2014
Cloth Diapering | 5 Things for Using the Wet Method
When I looked into cloth diapering I also looked into the different ways to clean them. There is a dry and a wet method. I use the wet method and like it. Cleaning diapers is not always fun, and though it does save money to use cloth diapers there are times when I have a dirty diaper to wash out that I really wish it had been a disposable one instead of a cloth one! I wrote a post called Cloth Diapering | My Thoughts at Two Weeks In where I talked about why we're using cloth, which diapers I'm using, and how I wash them. I also wrote the post Cloth Diapering | My Thoughts at Two Months In where I go over some thing to consider before cloth diapering.
I'm writing this post to share a few things I find necessary to using cloth diapers. When I was doing my research, a post like this would've been really helpful if I had found one since there is more to doing cloth diapering than buying the diapers themselves! Here are five things or sets of things I use every week while cloth diapering:
1. A 5 Gallon Bucket. This is essential in using the wet method! We bought ours at Walmart for about $2. You will be filling this bucket with about a Tablespoon of blue Dawn dish soap, 1/2 cup baking soda, and really hot water every other day or so. (UPDATE September 2014: You may also want to get a plant saucer to place under your bucket if you will not have it sitting in a bath tub. The baking soda water can wear away at the finish on your floors. I just picked up a cheap one at Walmart, but it looks similar to this.)
2. Hangers & Clothes Pins. If you don't have the luxury of owning a clothes line or clothes drying rack, this is your next best option. Hanging diapers in your doorway's every other day or so will be a regular part of using cloth diapers. I have about 25 hangers and 10 clothes pins set aside specifically for the cloth diapers so I don't end up hanging clothes on them. I have a rod in our laundry room where I store these hangers when they are not in use. The clothes pins stay on the hangers. Keeping everything together and in one place helps you not have to hunt them down every few days and makes the whole process easier.
3. Homemade Laundry Soap. For me, homemade soap is what I've always used. I've never purchased store bought laundry soap and don't use it. Homemade isn't hard to make and lasts our family of three about four months (with just two people it lasted longer, but now I have Little Man's clothes that always need washing and I wash diapers two or three times a week too). Check out my Homemade Laundry Soap recipe for more details. I use 1 cup of laundry soap each time I wash diapers (which is probably a bit much, but it doesn't hurt to have so much soap in all those dirty diapers.). I've found the best way to get out the yellow poop stains is to bleach the diapers. I try not to use bleach on every load though because it will eventually wear down the diapers and they won't last nearly as long. Read more on Getting The Stains Out.
4. Bleach, Dish Soap, Baking Soda, White Vinegar. These are the other products I use in cleaning the diapers. Baking Soda and Blue Dawn Dish Soap are used in the 5 Gallon bucket to help keep them from smelling while they are waiting til wash day, and the soap helps with the stains. I sometimes use white vinegar in the diapers if they are particularity smelly on wash day. I don't use it very often though, maybe 3 loads a month. Bleach is used to get the stains out of the diapers. Again, I don't use this every load because it will wear down the durability of the diapers. (UPDATE September 2014: I have recently discovered that Dawn dish soap can strip your washer parts of grease and eventually it will break. That is what I have heard/read online -sorry I don't have any links for you on that- so I no longer use that in my wet pail.)
5. Patience & A Routine. You can't buy these, but you'll need them! Rinsing out dirty diapers, washing diapers, having diapers in your doorways several times a week...it can be trying at times, but you just focus on getting through one day at a time. I have a pretty loose routine. I have the clean inserts in stacks of 10 on the changing table shelf. When I get to the last stack that is the day I wash diapers. It takes about a day to get the diapers washed and air dried. This happens about every two days at our house so every week I wash diapers on a different day than I did the week before. I like to have at least 10 diapers sitting on the shelf so I have time for the next diapers to finish drying before I need them.
These are the five things I find most useful in cloth diapering with the wet method. I attempted two days of not using the wet method and it was awful! I hated it. The diapers didn't smell nearly as clean after I washed them in the washer either. After that short-lived experience I have been faithful to using the wet method. I have several friends who use the wet method and love it as well.