ThereÂ aren’tÂ many things that create more controversy than the argument over cloth diapers. While most will agree that they are better for the environment, the gross factor still keeps many from giving washable bum covers a passing thought.
Well, if you like the environmentally, and budget, friendly characteristics of cloth diapers but just canâ€™t get past the gross factor hereâ€™s the straight poop.
Fear Number 1: I Have to Touch It
The single biggest fear most people have about cloth diapers is getting the poop off of them. Come on, you know it is. No one wants to get poop on their hands â€“ itâ€™s just icky.
Good thing that you probably wonâ€™t have to any more than the parent of a baby wearing disposables. Breastfed babies donâ€™t really have anything in their bowel movements except a few soft milk curds so there is no reason to pre-rinse.
You will want to use a pre-wash setting on your machine but you can toss all of those diapers in there without ever having to scrape baby poop off the diaper and risk getting it on your hands.
Older babies are a bit different and the contents of the diaper will need to be removed before laundering. Luckily you can buy environmentally friendly diaper liners that flush down the toiled along with the offending matter. You still donâ€™t have to dunk or scrape.
Fear Number 2: Stinky Diaper Pails
Diaper pails can be a problem but they are one that is easily solved. Diapers donâ€™t need to soak until washing so using a dry pail method works to keep the odor down as well. To do this you simply get a pail, preferably metal because plastic will absorb odor and it will build up over time, with a tight fitting lid.
Line it with a trash can liner and throw the used diapers in, making sure that they are free of the majority of the solid waste. Every couple of days dump the diapers into the machine, put it on a presoak, and wash them as usual. Throw the old pail liner away and replace with a fresh new one.
Nothing hard about that.
Fear Number 3: Diapers Leak
Todayâ€™s diapers are not the same ones that were around when I was a baby. No huge rectangle of cloth to fit between those tiny legs or fold like an origami expert to get the right fit.
Todayâ€™s cloth can be found fitted, with elastic in the leg and at the back, as well as with adjustable closures to keep them fitting for the longest possible time. They use things like polar fleece to wick moisture away from baby and keep it contained in the deepest confines of the diaper soaker itself.
In fact, most people who use cloth feel that they leak less than disposables.
Fear Number 4: Stinky Diapers
After a while the diapers themselves can be pretty odiferous, even when they are clean. This is usually due to detergent residue and buildup in the diaper but can also be due to using the wrong detergent, or not enough of the right one.
Never use anything with softener in it and donâ€™t put dryer sheets in with the diapers. It reduces absorbency among other diaper crimes.
Use a low sudsing, natural detergent with no artificial anythings. You will probably only need half the amount. Use a cold pre-wash and a sanitizing or hot second rinse. Every couple of washes try to dry them in the sun to kill any lingering microbes that may be in the fabric.
Gross is just one of the adjectives that is attached to the noun, parent. Diapers are not fun no matter what they are made from. It is what the diaper wraps up that makes it all worth it.
photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik