Cloth Diapering Part Time
Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Even using a couple on the weekends saves money and helps the environment. I am so glad I found a way to use them that I can feel good about and that works for my life!
*Important disclaimer here- this experience is only with my 100% breast fed baby. When foods enter the picture…I have no idea what will work and may be giving up entirely.*
When I got pregnant I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, the problem was (and is) we are renting and do not have a washer. We do have a teeny tiny drier which can dry 4 towels in about 2 hours. I let this bother me for months and thought it meant I wouldn’t be able to cloth diaper at all. We looked for another place to live, but the price of our current rent is so inexpensive we just couldn’t bring ourselves to move if we could make the space we have work.
Thankfully I have found that cloth diapering doesn’t need to be all or nothing.
I put a few cloth diapers on our registry with the hopes that we would move, or at least by the next kid we would have in home washing available. The few I were gifted were super exciting to me so I bought a few more with some gift cards, I just couldn't resist.
When Graham came along he pooped 348 times per day, as newborns do, but soon enough his poops were daily and more manageable. At this point I wanted to try one of my cloth diapers out so I figured I’d just pop one on after a poop, so hopefully he would only pee in it, and then wash it by hand. Then I figured since I was going to have to wash one, I might as well do a mini load by hand and see how they work. He wore about 5 and I washed them in the tub two days later after watching a few youtube videos on how to hand wash. I figured it would probably be a pain and I’d only do it once but wanted to try them out.
It turned out to be super easy- and I can be quite lazy when it comes to deep cleaning stuff. Now Graham wears cloth diapers one-two days per week and I wash them by hand in the tub. As I mentioned, we do have a drier, thank God, so drying isn’t bad at all. Although I do prefer just to stick them on a drying rack in the sun, that doesn’t quite work as well in the winter.
The process doesn’t take too long (or I wouldn’t be doing it, lets be real). I usually put on a podcast and/or pop Graham in a seat in the bathroom and he is very entertained by it. Here’s what I do:
Rinse. By the way - I wear cleaning gloves this whole process. Highly recommend it. Now I always want to do things the fastest and easiest way so I only rinse off the diapers with poop on them. (Hallelujah last week somehow all the clothies (as I like to call them) were pee, so I totally skipped this step) I use cold water and hold them under the faucet of the tub and kind of rub the diaper together to agitate it and rinse it thoroughly.
First wash. I put all the dirty diapers in the tub and fill with hot water a couple inches up. I sprinkle a bit of borax and tide. Right now I am using liquid tide because we have it, but when it runs out I think I'll switch to the powder. I then spend about 5 minutes agitating the water with my gloved hands. This is a bit of a work out, so I also consider it working out for that day. I pay particular attention to any poo stained ones and make sure they get extra scrubbing in there. I then let them rest/soak in the water. It depends on what else I am doing but that is usually about 10 minutes.
Second wash. I drain the tub and do the exact same thing as the first wash with barely any borax and tide this time and a little more lazily since I usually think the first one was pretty thorough. Again I let them rest 10 minutes and then drain the tub.
Rinse. Since the second wash doesn’t have too many suds there isn’t a ton to rinse off. I hold and gently squeeze one at a time under the faucet for about 10-15 seconds. I then squeeze them out (not by twisting) and pop them into the drier or hang them on a rack in the sun. If my husband is around he does the squeezing for me. That’s a good day.
So far this has been working quite well for us! Shockingly I don’t mind the washing and am happy to eliminate at least some disposables, but I am still dreaming of one day having a washing machine and a regular size fully functioning drier. If, when food enters the picture (scary day), I figure something else out, I will report back!