This past month I made my first purchase of cloth diapers to see if they would work on the two boys in preparation of using them with the new baby when she arrives. I just couldn’t fathom having to dish out $100/month on disposable diapers for three little ones when every penny is needed to go toward grocery inflation.
For less than $100 I was able to purchase a set of 20 solid-colored diapers with a 3-layer bamboo insert for each from an online site I read about on a blog I follow. The same company is still selling the solid diapers for $4.79 each and offer free shipping when you spend a minimum of $49. My goal is to save up so that I can purchase at least another 20 diapers for baby girl before she arrives this summer.
Since then I’ve been testing out different systems to see if I could make using cloth diapers just as convenient on my schedule as disposable. I researched the different cleaning methods online but found the simplest one works best. The first cleaning experiment was rinsing the dirty diaper immediately after changing and placing in a bucket filled with cold water. A tight, locking lid is kept on top to prevent smells from leaking out or little boys from getting in. 🙂 The diapers were kept in the water until I had enough for a full load (or I ran out of clean diapers to use).
My second cleaning experiment was rinsing the dirty diapers immediately after changing but this time I placed them in a dry bucket with a locking lid between laundry days.
Although I read online that you can add baking soda to your water to cut down on the ammonia smell, you would need to add vinegar to your extra rinse cycle in order to restore the pH level in the diapers. Failure to do this would cause the baby to get diaper rashes very easily. Makes sense to me, but I wanted to see if I could get away with using NO extra cleaners and still get clean diapers with a regular washing.
In the end, the diapers that were stored in a wet bucket came out smelling fresh and clean after a regular wash using ordinary detergent and a normal setting with no extra rinse cycle. The diapers that were stored in the dry bucket between washes came out stinky after the first wash cycle. I ended up having to wash that load THREE times before I was satisfied that they no longer smelled.
I’ve gotten it down to a science with the steps to cleaning and storing. After changing the soiled diaper, I pull my bucket of water over to the sink and open the lid. Then I dump any solids into the toilet before heading to the sink to give the diaper a good rinse. As each diaper component is rinsed, I ring it out good and throw into the water bucket making sure it is immersed in the water. Finally, I wash my hands and sink with soap and water, lock the lid back on top of the bucket and slide it back underneath the shelves out of the way. When it’s full and ready for the laundry, I take the entire bucket to the washing machine and ring out each diaper before throwing into the wash. Then I take the bucket of dirty water back to the bathroom where it is drained and cleaned before refilling with cold water. Again, no extra cleaners or chemicals are needed for cleaning the diapers! There is a slight ammonia smell to the water bucket, but NOTHING compared to when the diapers are stored in a dry bucket.
As a side note, the manufacturer recommends washing in cold water with NO fabric softeners added and hang drying. I’m sure that process would prolong the life of the diapers, but washing on warm and drying on a gentle cycle have been working fine for me so far. Haven’t had them long enough to really say if it is adding more wear and tear on the diapers. I just know it saves a lot on time.