So here we are at part 3 of the cloth diaper series.  I’m sure your intrigue is growing and once you hear how easy it is to wash and care for the diapers you’ll be making your cloth diaper purchase immediately. 

I’m going to go over what works for our family.  Everyone has their own method that works for them so this is not an “end all be all” but we have found it to be simple, quick and clean. 

What you’ll need…

    1.  garbage can with lid (like a 13 gallon tall kitchen garbage can- we prefer a lid that flips easy – makes for easy baskets – you know when you’re tossing it from across the room and it makes the swoosh!)

   2.  reusable pail liner ( you can find these at most cloth diaper sites – I bought ours from Green Mountain Diapers and we like to have 2)

   3. 5 gallon bucket

   4. oxiclean

   5.  baking soda

   6. vinegar (optional)


Ok, so first you take your reusable pail liner and insert into your garbage can.  We have two liners, that way when one is being washed you have another one to use.  The liner is great for transporting the diapers from the pail to the washing machine.  You just empty the diapers into the washer and then throw in the liner too.  We pour baking soda in the liner to help neutralize the ammonia smell from the urine- this helps a lot (the lid is also a big help for keeping the smell out of the room).  So you see, instead of dropping your disposable into the garbage can you drop your cloth diaper into your diaper pail.  See how easy that is……

I forgot to mention – the diaper pail is only for wet(urine) diapers.  So you are probably more interested in what to do with the poopy  diapers, this is where the 5 gallon bucket comes in.  Fill up the bucket with some water (about 1/3 to 1/2 full and about 2 scoops of oxiclean- or some other oxygen based cleaner- these cleaners are safe to use with septic systems).  When you have a poopy diaper, shake off the solids into the toilet, sometimes you might have to swoosh around a bit in the toilet but try to get as much off as possible and then throw the soiled diaper into the bucket until you are ready to wash a load.  In the beginning when you have the seedy breastfed poops you can almost get away with just dropping it in the bucket without washing in the toilet first- but it may leave some stains on the diaper- so I suggest rinsing before dropping in the bucket.  Now, they do sell an attachment hose/sprayer for your toilet (to avoid having to swoosh your diaper around in the toilet) but I have not tried it so I can’t tell you whether it works or not.  So if the thought of swooshing your diaper in the toilet grosses you out – you might want to purchase this.  As I said in my first diaper post, once they start eating solids you can usually just shake off the solids into the toilet. 

Now you are ready to wash your first load…… since you have the reusable liner just pull that out of your pail and dump those wet diapers and covers into the washer and don’t forget the liner.  I should back up a bit….. I put all the covers in the pail with the diapers and if the covers have a little poop I soak them in the 5 gallon bucket with the poopy diapers.  Some don’t suggest washing your covers and diapers together- but again, I am always looking to make the process as easy as possible.  So back to washing, take the diapers and covers out of  the 5 gallon bucket and throw in with the other diapers and covers.  Do NOT dump the bucket in the washer (that water needs to be dumped in the toilet).  I start with a soak cycle with a scoop of oxiclean, on cold.  Next is a heavy cycle on warm/warm with biodegradable detergent (our detergent of choice is seventh generation free and clear or charlie’s soap).  Sometimes I run an extra rinse with a tablespoon of vinegar- I base this on the amount of heavily soiled diapers we have.  The rinse I run on cold. 

Because of Ryder’s severe allergies we can not line dry any of our clothes- we need to keep the pollen out of the house so it’s best to not line dry anything.  So we use the dryer on a low setting and we dry everything, diapers, covers, liner, etc.  Some suggest to line dry the covers- if you are worried about drying them you can line dry them (as well as the diapers).  It’s personal preference.  One of my girlfriends loves to line dry her diapers so in the summer that’s what she does. 

If you are concerned about the diapers not being clean enough, you can always run another wash cycle.  But in the 4 years we’ve been doing this, ours have always come out clean with the above method.  But again, it’s personal preference.

There you go, it’s that easy!  I’ve got some links to cloth diaper companies online- run over and put in your orders.  I look forward to hearing your stories about cloth diapering.  Please come back and let me know what you think about cloth diapers.  I would also love to hear what works for you and your family (if you are currently cloth diapering).

By the way – sorry for no pictures this time- my camera broke the other day and I just purchased a new one (my dream – my digital Canon SLR- I can’t wait to get it!!!!!)  So pictures to come.