Monday, May 05, 2008


When I see my future with my baby, I see....laundry. This is mostly because we are doing cloth diapering and I know we'll be doing a load of nasty diapers pretty near every two days or so, in addition to dirty clothes, burp cloths, etc. Our one dilemma, though, is that we are really torn about what kind of detergent to use with the diaps. Powdered? Liquid? We do have a front-loader washer, if that makes a difference. I am casting a net out to cloth diapering mamas to ask what works best, what their laundry routine is, etc. The whole diaper pail thing is stumping us, too. We scored a $20 Simple Human slimline trashcan that we love, but will it keep out the stink?

So many questions--and I know we'll develop our own methods as time goes on, but I at least want a starting point. Suggestions?!


Anonymous said...

we've been CDing since mr. e was about three weeks old. here how it works for us.

-we have a cheap pail ($2 at Target) that has a flip top.
-the pail is lined with a PUL diaper bag (purchased at A Child's Garden in Noho).
-we pour in some baking soda to help with the stink.
-stink hasn't been too much of a problem.
-we bought a hose that hooks up to the toilet to easily spray off the poo. I LOVE it!
-we use Charlie's powdered detergent (as bought at ACG).
-we dry everything in the sun when we can and this DOES get any stains you have out.
-we wash every third day. but i just bought 15 more dipes so i am hoping to get at least one more day between washing.

it's a lot easier than i thought and the people at ACG will help you if you have questions (even if you didn't buy your CDs there - and i think it's once a month that they have a CD workshop - for free).

good luck. it's worked really well for us!

ms.bri said...

We have an HE front loader and use Charlie's liquid. Sometimes we throw in some Bac-Out for stains or smells. We wash every 2-3 days. We have a SimpleHuman can too and it keeps the smell in quite well. The can itself smells awful, though. We need to take it outside and let it be washed and aired but the weather is just now getting good enough. We use a washable bag/liner thing we got on... some diaper site. It goes in the wash with the diapers, so there's no touching of poop. Or not much. It is SUPER easy when they are just breastfed as that poop just goes away in the wash (I was convinced of this the day I had to handwash diapers and saw it just dissolve before my eyes - very cool). Solids... add a new dimension. I am just now (almost 9 months in) starting to have the kind I can plop into the toilet which is great.

Caitlin said...

I think you'll be amazed at how little smell there is with diapers of breastfed babies, if you're planning to go that route. The wastebasket you have will probably work fine with a liner (preferably PUL or cloth). I think you're going to find the first six months or so will be a breeze.

Jude said...

Here is how it goes for us:

We got a diaper pail, waterproof bag, and these nifty things called deodisks from It was a little spendy and you already have the can, but i liked that these little deodisks fit into the pail.

We wash every 3-4 days. When she was a newborn we washed more often (she went through more diapers). We haven't had much of a stink problem because the pail is contained, and I wash the waterproof bag when I wash the diapers. Sometimes I put some baking soda in the bag, sometimes I don't.

When they are getting really stinky (maybe every 3 weeks?) I throw some vinegar in a downy ball and throw it in the washer with the diapers and the stink goes away.

A lot of people swear by Allen's or Charlie's soap. I will probably get some of that eventually but we have been using the same box of Trader Joe ...Next to Godliness powder since she was born. (She is 10 months old.)

We don't have a HE washer, though. I am no help with that.

Good luck and e-mail if you have more questions! There is some good stuff at A Child's Garden but they are a little spendy, FYI.

Anonymous said...

Just curious - have you looked into gDiapers? They are compostable, flushable, or tossable.

We're planning on going with a mix of gDiapers for when we're on the go and cloth for when we're at home. Sorry, I don't have any advice just yet on cleaning stinky cloth diapers.

jessie said...

cloth diapers are so damn cute!

Anonymous said...

Our system is pretty much the same as all the other posters. We have a generic metal foot-pedal trash can with a plastic bucket liner. Into that we put our PUL wetbag (pail liner). True rigged up a very handy method of tucking the wetbag into the handle of the bucket liner so that the lid closes completely, thus trapping all the funk.

We have two wetbags (so when one is in the wash, we can immediately put in a clean one) & do a diaper load every 3 days or so. We use washcloths as wipes & toss those into the pail as well. (Here's a little tip: because the pail will inevitably trap moisture, you'll get condensation - we just drop a wash cloth into the bottom of the plastic bucket to help absorb some of it; then, when it's time to do a load, we use that washcloth to swipe the underside of the lid to keep things relatively clean. Ish.) I think at the moment we're using ECOS detergent - the important thing is to make sure that whatever you're using is detergent and not soap as soap can leave an icky film. We do a prewash in cold & then a heavy wash on hot with a cold rinse (we do have a frontloader). Since Ribbit was born in the winter, True rigged up a nifty 6 line clothesline right in our laundry room in front of the window, so that's how we've been drying. We're hoping to move the whole drying process to outside soon, now that the weather's better. Oh, and yes, we sprinkle in baking soda after any particularly odiferous dipes.

I have to say that the washing is no where NEAR as gross as I had anticipated. I know the game can change once solids are introduced, but thus far, I'm really, really loving cloth diapering. There's just something magical about taking a smelly, poopie diaper & making it clean & pretty again!

Jess said...

Hi, delurking here,
We don't have CDs to wash, but I have to say that the mini shower you can find on most of the webstores is totally worth it, gets off all of the yucky stuff right into the toilet and you don't have to wipe or scrape.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You absolutely must have this:

It's the mini spary that connects to your toilet to wash off your diapers before putting them in the rinse cycle.

Charlies detergent works well for us. Good luck, it's a great decision and not as difficult as we thought!

asianpixie said...

Very ambitious to use cloth diapers! Not to mention environmentally friendly. Good for you guys...I cannot say that MKD and I will have the same amount of patience and discipline to use cloth diapers. Sad but true.

dlvc said...

We've waffled between a wet pail and a dry pail (We've CD'd our now potty-training 22 month old the whole time (prefolds/covers)). It sounds like most of your advice is from dry-pail people. In general, we've found that diapers come much cleaner with a wet pail, especially if bac-out is in the soak, which also keeps down any pail smell. That said, we're doing a dry pail right now since we hate carrying heavy diapers to our basement washer. With the dry pail, we find we have to soak the diapers (we usually do overnight) to keep the ammonia buildup down. It's different with a tiny baby though, since you wash more often (we do only weekly now, if that) and their "product" is so much less troublesome...

Kathleen said...

I don't know what kind of basement situation you have, but I stumbled across this method that I really like: pail-free. I hung a clothesline of sorts in my basement and hang the dirty diapers there until I wash them. I decided that, for me, the grossest thing was the pail and how, even in a dry pail, they all sort of just stewed in their own juices. I like that they dry out a bit, and the smell isn't horrible. A caveat: we do EC, so we don't have a TON of diapers, and we have very, very few poop diapers (actually now at 8 months down to pretty much none) - which makes CDing so easy. Having tons of poop might complicate the hanging system, although I did this when she was younger and had more poop too. But will second E on the sun thing - I was shocked by how well the sun got out stains. Also use Charlies and occasional bac-out.

giggleblue said...

i found this chart when i was searching before about detergents for cloth diapers, in an effort to over prepare myself for mommyhood.

they have two charts: one for HE machines and one for regular machines.

a lot of pepole swear by the charlies, but i haven't been able to find it anywhere by our house. i think a good alternative is the arm and hammer essentials line. at the store, i also noticed that purex has come out with an essentials line too. both are in a clear green bottle and are very reasonably priced, and appear to do the job according to this zany zebra site. HTH!!

Anonymous said...

You are so domestic!

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