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- Why choose cloth diapers?
- Why choose organic cotton?
- Is it really cheaper to use cloth versus disposables?
- Is it true that cloth diapered children potty train faster?
- Cloth diapering terminology
- How many diapers and covers will I need to get started?
- Do I need to wash the diapers before first use?
- What detergent should I use?
- Will the diapers shrink?
- How do I wash cloth diapers?
- Is it possible to cloth diaper without a washer?
- Is it unsanitary to have poopy water in our washer?
- What if there is a strong urine smell coming from the diapers when I wash?
- How to wash and dry your covers
- Natural stain fighting methods
- Diapering away from home
- What if my cloth diapers are leaking?
- Using cloth diapers while meconium passes.
Why choose cloth diapers?
- More comfortable
- No harmful chemicals or gels
- Fewer diaper rashes
- Babies tend to potty train sooner
- More economical
- No landfill waste
- Can later be utilized as a burp cloth, dust rag, shoe shine cloth and to polish precious metals...
Why choose organic cotton?
- Organic cotton is grown with minimal impact on the environment. Organic production replenishes and maintains soil fertility, and reduces the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers and builds biologically diverse agriculture!*
- Organic cotton uses NO harmful chemicals; conventional cotton uses approximately 84 million pounds of pesticides each year!*
- Organic cotton uses NO synthetic fertilizers; conventional cotton uses over 2 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizer every year!*
- Organic cotton uses NO carcinogenic pesticides; the Environmental Protection Agency considers 7 of the 15 pesticides used on conventional cotton in the U.S. to be "possible" or "known" carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents!*
- It takes about 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough conventional cotton for one T-shirt!*
- Organic cotton is the purest and softest for baby.
- *Cotton facts from the Organic Trade Association Fiber Council.
Is it really cheaper to use cloth versus disposables?
- Yes, it's true. Most people can save $1700+ by using cloth diapers, this includes using organic cotton diapers! Oftentimes, the diapers will make it through 2 children, cutting the cost even more!
Is it true that cloth diapered children potty train faster?
- Yes. The child feels the wetness and is able to associate it with the full bladder feeling prior to feeling wet after he/she urinates.
- It has been said that they train, on average, 6 months faster. So, they do learn quicker.
Cloth Diapering Terminology
- Contour diaper- a diaper that is shaped somewhat like an hourglass. It is wider in the back than in the front. The diaper needs an outer waterproof covering to hold wetness in and prevent leaks.
- Snappi®-a safe, hypo-allergenic diaper fastener that has revolutionized cloth diapering by replacing the diaper pin. It is made from stretchable, non-toxic and biodegradable plastic material which is T-shaped with teeth-like grips on the ends. The teeth hook into the diaper fabric ensuring a quick, snug-fitting diaper.
- Wick(ing)- this occurs when a cloth diaper is at its absorption limit. The diaper "wicks" moisture onto the cover, clothing, etc.
- Blowout- this describes a poopy mess that has escaped the diaper and soils the cover/soaker as well.
- Wrap/Cover/Soaker- these are made of cotton, wool, or synthetic fabric and are used to cover the diaper to hold in wetness.
- Doubler- this describes a type of cloth pad that is sewn together. Usually it's made of terrycloth and fleece that is put in the diaper for extra absorbency. It works great for heavy wetters, at nighttime, or whenever extra absorbency is needed.
How many diapers and covers will I need to get started?
- This depends on how often you intend to do laundry.
- The average newborn goes through 8-12 diapers every day. The average baby 8-9 months and older uses about 6-8 diapers each day.
- In order to do laundry every 2-3 days, it is recommended to have about 3 dozen diapers and 5-7 covers in each size.
- Don't forget, wet diaper covers can be dried out and used more than once before washing.
Do I need to wash the diapers before first use?
- Yes, Organic cotton contains natural oils in it that repels water causing the urine to roll off and leak.
- It is recommended that you wash and dry your new diapers 4-5 times prior to first use.
- The organic cotton diapers should reach their maximum absorption level by 10-12 washes.
What detergent should I use?
- Any "free and clear" detergent should work well. Our favorites include Shaklee®, Mountain Green®, and Seventh Generation®.
- Please remember, do not use Dreft®, Ivory Snow®, pure soap or any fabric softeners as these products put a coating on the diapers making them water-repellent causing the diapers to leak.
- The diapers will shrink most after the first wash and dry.
- They will continue to shrink a little for a few more washes.
- Shrinkage was considered when the diapers were designed.
How do I wash cloth diapers?
- Dry Pail method: When the diapers are wet or soiled just put them into the diaper pail without water. (Soaking the diapers in the diaper pail isn't needed and is a drowning hazard.)
- If they are especially soiled, shake the solids off into the toilet or rinse the diaper in the toilet before putting it into the pail. If baby is exclusively breastfed, it isn't necessary to rinse the diapers in the toilet, just put them into the pail until wash day. (poo from a breastfed baby is like yogurt and washes out without any problem.)
- Machine Washing: Two washes should be sufficient.
- Put the diapers into the washing machine. First, machine wash cold. (cold water helps to get out protein stains i.e. poo)
- Next, machine wash warm
- It is recommended to use only 1/2 the amount of detergent in each wash. The diapers will get clean and this will help prevent any detergent build-up.
- You can add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar into the last rinse cycle. (Vinegar is a natural fabric softener, mildew inhibitor and helps reduce detergent build-up.)
- You can add 1/2 cup baking soda to either the first or second wash to help freshen the diapers, if needed.
- An extra rinse cycle helps to get any extra detergent out of the diapers. But this step is up to you and if your baby is sensitive to detergents.
- Drying: Put the diapers in the dryer and dry on medium heat. (The dryer helps to soften the diapers.)
- Or, hang the diapers on the clothesline to dry in the sun. (The sun is a natural whitener and sanitizer.)
Is it possible to cloth diaper without a washing machine?
- Laundromat washing is simple. The only thing that tends to be a "chore" is carrying the heavy pail.
- If you wash twice per week, you can get a large, waterproof pail liner for the diaper pail.
- When ready to wash , simply pull the draw string and go. Dump the diapers in for a cold wash and then a second warm wash and you're done. Just dry them and head home.
Is it unsanitary to have poopy water in our washer?
- Actually, the water from the washer and the toilet go to the same place.
What if there is a strong urine smell coming from the diapers when I wash?
- There should not be a strong urine smell after two washes. The following are good ways to help if there is a strong urine smell:
- You could use 1/2 cup baking soda in the wash, followed by 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar in the final rinse
- Or, just add 1/2 cup vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
- It is recommended to only fill your washer 2/3-3/4 full so the diapers can agitate properly. (We have found that a super capacity top-loading washer will take a maximum of 24 diapers.)
How to wash and dry your diaper covers?
- Eco-Fleece Covers: Machine wash warm. Tumble dry low or lay flat to dry. Avoid using chlorine bleach, or any other whitening agents or laundry additives.
- Nylon covers: Machine wash in warm water and hang to dry. Avoid using chlorine bleach, or any other whitening agents or laundry additives.
- Wool covers: Untreated, organic wool needs to be washed as little as possible to help retain its natural lanolin properties. When it becomes wet, just let it air dry. Small soiled areas can be rinsed under the faucet with lukewarm water and gently rubbed away. When necessary, gently wash in lukewarm water by hand with a wool lanolin-replenishing soap. Remember do not use cold or hot water. Cold water shocks the fibers and hot water causes shrinkage. Gently squeeze the water out by hand. Then place in a towel and press out excess water. Give it a quick, brisk shake for the wool to regain its form and elasticity. You can place it over a mild heat source, like a running dryer. NEVER tumble dry. Also, placing the wool in direct sunlight may cause discoloration of the natural, organic wool.
Natural stain fighting methods:
- Place damp diaper on grass in direct sunlight, or place the diaper on the grass with the morning dew. This really does work! We have found that about 1-2 hours in direct sunlight is all it takes. At times, it may be necessary to flip the diaper over to the other side to get those stains out.
- Put lemon juice on stained area. Then put in wash.
- Put some hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes and wash as usual.
- Try white vinegar in the wash.
- Use cold water in the wash or rinse the diaper with cold water before placing into diaper pail.
Diapering away from home:
- Away for a few hours: A small, waterproof tote bag is the best. Just put the wet diaper in the bag and stick it in the diaper bag until you get home. Then, put the diaper in the diaper pail until wash day.
- Away for a few days: If you know that you'll be gone for a number of days and you don't have enough diapers to last and no washing machine available to wash the diapers, then you could get more natural disposable diapers such as Tushies gel-free or Seventh Generation chlorine-free. If you have access to a washer and dryer, it's easy. If you cannot take the diaper pail with you, then you could purchase a large, waterproof tote bag and put the wet or soiled diapers in it. As needed, just wash and dry as usual.
What if my cloth diapers are leaking?
- Cloth diapers should not leak. Leaky diapers can be attributed to a number of reasons. The following are the most common:
- Not changing the diaper frequently enough. This is very common especially for those parents who have switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. Cloth diapers need to be changed about every 2 hours or as needed. Heavy wetters and newborns may require more frequent changes.
- Detergent build-up or using the wrong detergent and/or fabric softener. Remember, do not use Dreft®, Ivory Snow®, pure soap, or fabric softeners. These products put a light coating on the diapers causing them to repel water. It's a good idea give the diapers an extra rinse cycle with hot water without detergent to help remove any excess detergent build-up.
Using cloth diapers while meconium passes
- Meconium is the black, tar-like poo that newborns will have during the first couple weeks. If you are concerned about the meconium staining the diapers you can cut an old cotton T-shirt into rectangles and place a piece on top of the diaper as a soft liner during this time.