Saturday, October 6, 2007

Those extra tips....

I've been officially (YEAH) using cloth diapers on my baby for just more than a year now. And I still enjoy it a lot every single day, I think by the time Maya will be potty train I am gonna have high fever !! What I am gonna do? I cant enjoy of changing her diapers and choose which prints or fitted-cover combo to choose! What a night mare! :) Anyway....... just to share an addict point a view... :D

So this is just to share my washing routines, and I got repeating questions about washing and what is correct to do and what is not. I am not an expert and still far from that. I just join a few numbers of Cloth diaper group and gather some infos here and there, and the most important is I try it my self . But again my needs and my baby needs are not the same like yours. So you should find what is work for you and suitable for your lifestyle too. You might find many tips over the internet about washing cloth diapers and you can try and adapt it too suit your needs.

The best tips that I got so far is: try the simplest routine and if it's works for you and your baby just stick with that. If you find some problem on the way ( rashes, smell, leakage) you might need to adjust your routine or change your detergent.

First is detergent, any detergent without additives like softener, bleach, brightener , enzyme will do fine. And make sure you use 1/4 of recommended amount. And the water level of the washing machine also must be higher than the load. Avoid to wash more than 12 diapers plus inserts at one time.
The detergent , of course , you must adjust if your babies have any reaction to any particular detergent. Some are just doing great with any basic detergent , but some find it too harsh on baby's skin. Some moms love Pureen HAD (not ABD) and they been using it for a while and both babies and diapers are doing great. :-)

Second is soaking vs not soaking. If you think you need to soak to remove any smell or stain you can do that. Soaking with baking soda will help to remove stubborn stain and odor. Personally I don't soak my baby's diapers. Just rinse if it soiled and put in to pail/wetbags till washing time.

A help full articles form diaper pin about baking soda & vinegar

Include baking soda when washing or soaking your cloth diapers.

If you use baking soda in the wash or soak, make sure to use vinegar in the rinse, This will help restore the pH of the cloth diapers. Otherwise your baby may end up with diaper rash.
The baking soda neutralizes acidic odors, removes acid and protein based stains, and softens the diapers.

About vinegar ( again from diaper pin)
You may be wondering if the use of distilled white vinegar is truly essential in your cloth diaper wash. After all, there seems to be such a good amount to remember as it is, and if you can cut something out of the routine, vinegar seems to be the most viable option.
Well, let us give you some of the attributes of vinegar. And, we are talking distilled white vinegar NOT apple cider vinegar or any other type of vinegar. (Apple cider vinegar will cause your diapers to discolor and become dingy looking.) If you use it at all, you must use distilled white vinegar.

"Heads-Up": The reasons to use vinegar:
o Vinegar will help neutralize the urine in cloth diapers.
o Vinegar equalizes pH balance.
o Vinegar helps eliminate soap residue/film build-up.
o Vinegar deters the setting-in of stains.
o Vinegar can help keep colors from bleeding.
o Vinegar can cut down on lint.
o Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and static cling reducer.

"Tails": The reasons to NOT use vinegar:
o In some areas with 'hard water,' there is a chance that vinegar can mix with trace minerals in your water supply, causing your diapers to smell acrid once urinated upon. In which case, you would want to cease using vinegar in your diaper pail/wash.
o If you notice a build-up of residue on your diapers or your diapers are not as absorbent AND YOU HAVE NOT been using DREFT or any other detergent with fabric softeners built-in, temporarily cease your use of vinegar. In this situation, vinegar might not be the culprit, but once there is a build-up on your diapers, they will need to be'stripped' before you should continue regular usage of vinegar.
o If you notice that your diaper covers are getting stinky, vinegar may be the culprit. Many of today's diaper covers have some polyester in them and polyester easily holds in smells. Vinegar's acidity can react to baby's acidic urine and together, they can release a very acrid smell.

Personally I don't use baking soda and vinegar everyday. I use it once a week. I use dettol into my wash every day, just a cap full. And I 've been doing that for over a year. My cloth diapers are just still great. I use the multi purpose dettol, the kind that been use in the hospital to disinfect linens.

Another tips about washing ( and to prolong your cloth diaper life span)
-If your inserts are not that white ( and that is normal) you can try to use 1/2 cup of lemon juice to brighten them.
-You might want to wash your clean diaper stash in the washing machine with hot water without detergent , just to remove any detergent build up or
-Washing them in the washing machine with a bit of DISHWASHING liquid . This will consider as strip washing, and can be done every 2 weeks or every month.
Otherwise if you strip wash like in my previous blog ( how to strip wash cd)
-Try to hang dry diapers under the sun or air dry over night under ceiling fan will do great for rainy season
- If you use fitted diapers, it will be better if you hang it horizontally, just to prevent the elastic be dragging down while it is wet and more heavy.
-if your diaper got "poo" stain, try to rinse it with cold water. Hot water will set stains in.
- I just read an interesting articles about using too much detergent actually can be the cause of cloth diapers smelling bad. The reason is, the old detergent residue stays in the diaper and mix with urine smell can produce a bad smell and when it is wash it will have more detergent and this will goes on and on...In contrary of the idea , using more detergent will get rid of bad smell, actually it will make it worst. The remedy: try to wash the diapers ( clean) without any detergent in the washing machine until the water run clear and no more suds. Hot or cold water will do.
And you can add baking soda or vinegar in the last wash. Or the next wash.

Diaper rash.

Most of the time diaper rash come from laundry's or wash routine.
You should pay attention on your routine or your detergent. Mostly is because of detergent build up. So strip washing usually will solve this. ( you can choose any of the strip washing method and see which is more suitable)
Try to avoid any thick cream diaper ointment to be use with Cloth diaper, if you must use this, you can use nappy liner, just to create a barrier between the cream and the diaper. The reason is the thick diaper cream will leave a creamy film on the diaper can cause diaper to repel urine and leak.

Some babies are allergic to synthetics fabrics. So if you stick to natural material ( like hemp or bamboo) that will be the best for those babies.

Baby's diet also might trigger rashes, if you baby is just into solid food you might want to pay attention to that.

Change your baby's diaper more often, use breathable cover ,like wool, or leave him without cover.

Some times the wet wipes can be too harsh on baby's skin. Try to use soft cloth wipes or cotton ball with water.

If diaper rash persist you should contact your pediatrician .

Experiment and learn from other moms or searching form the Internet can give your more ideas. I just been so greatfull that many moms wrote to me with questions and tell me what routine works for their families. It's just open my eyes and let me see from other's point a view .

Again this post is just from a mom to other moms out there and from the cloth diapering books that I have and read.I just want to share some tips and I gathered informations and share what it work for me and hopefully you will find it useful too.
I am not a cloth diaper's expert or what so ever...again far away from that :) I am just a cloth diapers lover and user. And I share these tips and write my blog just to share my passion about it, and wish to spread the words and goodness about cloth diapers locally. I think it deserves more attention . The most important is I am doing my part to protect our environment in a small tiny step.

If you got some more ideas and tips to share, or some more opinion about the products or that I carry I would love to hear from you. I couldn't be any better without your support and feedback (good or bad)

To learn is to change and accepted new ideas , I am still learning and just a beginner in the cloth diapering world compare to those wonderful Cloth diapers biz owner overseas and also in Malaysia and neighboring country . But I believe when most of Cloth diapers moms share and give extra tips, we can always find a better solution on our cloth diaper's journey and make in more pleasant.

Additional notes: if you find Dettol is to harsh for your baby you don't need to use that for every wash ,once a week will do. I just use a cap full of it , diluted in a high level of water in the washing machine. You can adjust the frequency according to your need
Have a great weekend with your love ones!

from me...