Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wipes and Solutions

Cloth wipes are so easy to make or buy. And, contrary to belief, wipe solution is not that difficult either!

You can get cloth wipes a couple of different ways:
  • Buy the cheap, thin 8 pack of Gerber washcloths at the store. I personally like the thin cloths because I can get into all the crevices when wiping (amazing what a person will blog about, huh?).
  • Cut up old receiving blankets and sew a hem around the edges to keep from fraying. I did not have good luck with this because the receiving blanket that I used did not absorb my wipe solution, and it would roll off onto the carpet. By the way, olive oil droplets on the carpet stain...
  • Buy cloth wipes online. I have had great luck with, and I bought their flannel wipe pack. A little pricey, but guaranteed to work.
  • Buy wipes in the store. Babys R Us now sells bamboo wipes along with a cloth wipe warmer. I haven't tried them, but I just gave them as a gift, so I am looking forward to seeing how they work. Again, a little pricey, but they make a great gift.
  • Basically anything you can think of that you have lying around the house that would make a good wipe. A cut up T-shirt from the rag bin, an old sheet, the wash cloths you got as a wedding gift that you will never show on display because they are a hideous shade of hot get the idea!!!

Wipe solutions can be simple, complicated, and anything in-between!

  • My recipe has 4-5 ingredients. Simply mix all ingredients together.
  1. One cup of filtered water
  2. 1.5 Tbsps of olive oil (conditioner for skin)
  3. 2 drops of chamomile (cleanser for skin)
  4. 2 drops of tea tree oil (cleanser plus anti fungal for skin)
  5. Occasionally I will add 2 drops of lavender. Sometimes the smell of lavender can be overwhelming to me, so I often will leave this for the diaper pail air freshener. But most people are not like me, so go ahead and add it in as it is a great cleanser.
  • Basically, a wipe solution should have the ingredients listed below. You can use your imagination as to what you would like to use. Some use baby wash as the cleanser and baby oil as the oil.
  1. Water
  2. Cleanser
  3. Oil (this is important because it helps you make a smooth wipe without the friction that can be irritating to baby)

There are many different ways to apply the solution to the wipe:

  • Spray it on the wipe with a spray bottle.
  • Use a disposable wipes container and pour solution onto wipes.
  • Use a squeeze bottle to pour solution on wipes.
  • Dip wipes into solution that is in a container.

My system includes pouring the solution in a squeeze bottle. I then shake it to mix the oils and water and pour it onto wipes that I have placed in a disposable wipes container. I don't do all the wipes at one time because I don't want to leave wet wipes in the plastic container for too long. I usually just wet a little more than I think I will need.


How Do You Wash Cloth Diapers?

Washing cloth diapers is very simple. The easiest thing to do is follow the directions from the manufacturer. Or if you have a mix of different ones, there are just a couple of simple rules to follow:

  • Use the right detergent: Nothing fancy, just do not use detergent that contains any dyes, perfumes, whitening enzymes... has a great chart that tells you which detergents are bad, good, and great. I use Purex Free and Clear, not the best but not the worst.
  • Cold rinse: Hopefully you have a wet bag that you can just throw into the washer with everything else, including your diapers, cloth wipes, and any covers you may be using. Start by rinsing the dipes on cold.
  • Wash on hot: Use about 1/2 of the manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent. I know it sounds gross, but believe me, you do not want detergent residue on your diapers. It makes them smelly and less absorbent. The diapers do come out very clean with just 1/2. If you have an HE machine, please use HE compatible detergent. Pinstripesandpolkadots also has choices for HE machines as well.
  • Rinse on warm or cold: I usually add an extra rinse cycle at the end of the wash, just to make sure that the detergent has rinsed out of the diapers.
  • Dry: You can line dry or dry in the dryer on medium heat. Sometimes high heat can hurt elastic if your diapers contain elastic. DO NOT add a dryer sheet or any kind of fabric softener. This will cause your diapers to fail. Drying on the line is nice in the summer time, but it can make your diapers stiff. You can throw them in the dryer to fluff to and soften them.

You may have some diapers that stain. Check this out: if you lay them in the sunshine for a bit, the stains will come completely out!!! I thought that was the coolest thing ever when I first tried it!

Creating a Diaper System

In order to make cloth diapers manageable and easy to use, here is a list of items to have on hand:

  • Your stash: I recommend at least 2 dozen diapers to use cloth full time; maybe more for newborns. I personally have about 30, and I comfortably wash diapers every other day.

  • Wipes: Cloth wipes are a lot easier to use because you throw them in the diaper pail right along with the diapers, just like you were using a disposable system. I recommend at least a dozen wipes.

  • Wipes Solution: Cloth wipes need to be moistened. You can store pre-moistened wipes in a waterproof storage container (I use an empty disposable wipes container), or you can store the wipes dry and have your solution on hand to moisten as needed. You can store your solution in a spray bottle, squirt bottle, etc...

  • Diaper Pail: Back in the old days, parents used what is called a wet pail, which was a container that had water in it where the dirty dipes could soak. You don't need a wet pail, and in fact, if you use waterproof cloth, a wet pail can ruin your dipes. You can purchase a wet bag, which is actually a dry, waterproof bag that can be thrown into the wash with your dipes. Wet bags can be purchased with zipper closures, drawstrings, elastic to go on a kitchen trash can (what I have), and other ingenious ways to store dirty dipes. Or, if you really want to go cheap, you could try a pillow case in a laundry basket (I'm not sure about the smell though)! I recommend 2 wet bags, one for holding dirty dipes while the other is in the wash.

  • Detergent: Diapers don't need special detergent, and yet they do. The reason I say this is that cloth dipes should to be washed in "free" detergents, that is free of perfumes, dyes, softeners, and whitening enzymes. You can find these detergents in the store, although there a lot of really good detergents you can order online. I use Purex Free and Clear because it is cheap, and I can use it with the rest of my laundry. All Free Clear is a good one too.

  • Wet bag for diaper bag: I talked about a wet bag for the diaper pail, but it is a good idea to have a small one for your diaper bag. That way you can use cloth if you run to the store and need to change the cloth dipe. Here is a picture of mine. It has a zipper closure and is completely waterproof. Isn't it pretty?

  • Fragrance (optional): I only add this because I think that whether or not I would have used disposable or cloth, I would need this. I have the nose of a bloodhound. I use lavender essential oil. I find that this seems to cut the urine smell better than others. I put a couple of drops in diaper pail after every washing. I personally put it on the tag inside the bag, but you can also put a drop or two on a wipe cloth or on a cotton ball (just don't wash the cotton ball, or you will have lent all over your dipes).

  • Diaper Sprayer (optional): A diaper sprayer is probably the most complicated part of the next generation of cloth diapers, but I think it is worth it. A diaper sprayer is basically a kitchen sprayer that you hook up to your toilet so that you can spray off poop into the toilet. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you don't need one because breastfed poop washes right out in the wash (it's magic!). If you have introduced solids, and the poop has become like a crunchy peanut butter consistency, you need to do something! If you don't have a sprayer, you can swish it in the toilet. Older babies have "ploppable" poo, the kind that just rolls off into the toilet with no rinsing needed. A sprayer makes getting rid of poop that sticks to the diaper very quick and clean. This part of cloth diapering turns people off, but seriously, it's not that bad.

  • Of course, you don't need all of this. Some flats, some wash cloths and water is all a person really needs if going really really cheap. These items I noted are for those who want cloth diapering to be as simple as disposable. Once you get a routine going, you will never want to go back!

Comparing Types of Cloth Diapers

So which cloth diaper is best for you? That is for you and your family to decide! Here is a comparison of all the types I've written about.

Flats and Prefolds:
Very inexpensive
Chances are you can find the cheap ones in a store near you
Can easily be turned into burp cloths, everyday towels, dusting rags, etc...
Need a diaper cover
Compared to disposables, they can be difficult to use
Need a fastener and not very Daddy friendly

Still cheaper than AIOs and Pockets
Excellent absorbency
They come with fasteners (snap or hook and loop)
Need a diaper cover
Can be very bulky

All In Ones:
Still cheaper than disposables
No need for a diaper cover
Very easy to use-Daddy and daycare friendly!
Take forever to dry
More expensive than prefolds and fitteds

Still cheaper than disposables
No need for a diaper cover
Less drying time than AIOs
Very easy to use-Daddy and daycare friendly!
More expensive
Extra step of stuffing an insert
You have to pull out insert when wet or dirty

If you are trying to figure out what is best for you, I suggest trying at least one of each. I suggest prefolds and/or fitted for newborns, but some AIOs and pockets may fit. If you aren't sure about spending the money on them until you like them, a lot of brands have a try it first policy, where you can try them and return them if you don't like them (cleaned, of course!). Or, you can buy used or even ask around to borrow someone else's. is a huge for-sale-or-trade site that you can find good deals, as well as support forums for just about everything.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers are yet another type of diaper that does not need a diaper cover. Pocket diapers make up most of my stash, although there are pros and cons to these as well. Pocket diapers look like an All in One in that they are contoured like them and have a waterproof outer layer.

The inner layer is not sewn into the diaper, however. Instead, it is an insert that you stuff into a pocket in the diaper.

Pocket diapers come in all sizes as well, including one-size-fits-all. These pictures here are of a Green Acre Designs brand of pocket diaper. They have TONS of sizes to choose from. It can get confusing! Most of my daughter's diapers are one-size (also known as OS), and they can adjust with your baby as he/she grows. Some adjust more than others, dependent on the brand. BumGenius does an excellent job of this. Pocket dipes, like AIOs, also have either a snap closure or hook and loop.

The great thing about pocket diapers are that they allow you to choose your absorbency level, and they can sometimes be more leak proof than some of the AIOs. They dry much quicker than AIOs because you pull the insert out of the pocket when you throw it in the pail. Some pocket diapers, like the brand, Pocket Change, have openings on the front and back so that the insert comes out on its own during agitation in the wash. Nice. Pockets are also easy to use. My husband and the daycare use them with no complaints. However, the daycare does not remove the inserts. I do that when I get home.

The problem some find with pocket diapers are that you do have to pull out the insert. Yes, you have to touch it when it's dirty!! Most of the time, I don't touch wetness or poop because I don't let it get so soaked that it gets wet in the back (where you pull it out from), and with poop, there will almost always be a clean spot you can touch (although not all the time!). Also, you do have to stuff the clean diapers, which is an extra step. My daughter loves to help me with this. However, there are so many different inserts that go with specific diapers, I don't trust anyone else to stuff them. So that's probably a down side if you have multiple brands, although I don't mind stuffing.

Pros and cons of pocket diapers:
Pros: No diaper cover needed, great absorbency, versatile, easy to use, less drying time than AIO.
Cons: Extra step of stuffing diapers,and pulling insert out of the diaper before washing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

About Crazy For Cloth

Originally from a small farm town in Indiana, I am currently working part-time as a certified guidance counselor in the greater Cincinnati area. I am a Christian, the wife of my best friend and the mother of an amazing daughter that keeps us all on our toes!

Crazy for Cloth is basically me and my opinions on cloth diapers, "green" products, and living for Christ. I grew up in a loving household where, if you could use something over again, you did. We lived in a rural area about an hour away from any major city, so our way of living was not much of a choice. After getting my Master's degree in Counseling Psychology and marrying my college sweetheart, I have been a counselor for 7 years. However, my passion came to me just a little over a year ago in the form of a tiny, beautiful baby daughter.

Now that I am a mom, I have gotten a bit crazy (according to some) about doing my part to save the environment. Cloth diapering is probably the most radical change I have made in our household, although my husband "pulled the plug" on my idea to unplug the T.V. when not in use. :-)

Those who have seen my system have been impressed most of the time. I will always have the naysayers, but those who have been awed or inspired by my cloth diapering have suggested that I teach others about it and start up an informative website. This is what gave me the idea for crazyforcloth. I hope that through this blog, I might be able to answer any questions about cloth diapers or other products as well as be an inspiration to others by sharing the joy I have in simple living.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

All In One Diapers

Yet another kind of diaper is the All In One diaper, otherwise known as the AIO. Here is a Dry Bees brand.

AIOs are similar to fitteds with two major differences. AIOs have layers sewn into the diaper. Here is what it looks like turned inside out.

The biggest difference is that AIOs do not need a diaper cover, as they have a waterproof outer layer sewn onto the diaper.

So basically, some genius figured out how to combine a prefold and a diaper cover. Sweet!

AIOs are probably the easiest cloth diaper to use. You use them the same way you use disposables. Slap it on the baby, take it off the baby, throw it in the pail. The difference: wash and dry instead of throw away! Dads and daycares are big fans of AIOs. AIOs are similar to fitteds in that they come in different sizes: small, medium, large, etc...However, some brands also make AIOs in one-size fits all. AIOs also have either snaps or hook and loop as fasteners. By the way, I had no idea what hook and loop meant when I first started this. it's Velcro, only Velcro is a brand of hook and loop. Kind of like when we ask for a Kleenex, but what we really want is a tissue! Is that a Midwest thing? Not sure.

So, why doesn't everyone use AIOs as cloth diapers since they are so much like disposables? There are a few drawbacks. First, AIOs are sometimes not as absorbent as fitteds. Although some parents may disagree with me. I think my child is a heavy wetter. I have never used an AIO for overnight, but I'm sure some parents do. Second, some experts say that the waterproof layer can wear out quickly after multiple washes. I have never had this happen to an AIO, although I did just experience this with a diaper cover. It happened overnight too. Fun times...

The biggest complaint about AIOs is that they take forever to dry. And when I say forever, I mean a crazy long time. On humid days, I have had an AIO take 2-3 days to dry! That's air dry. It takes me 2 drying cycles to dry it in the dryer. Turning them inside out helps. They are also more expensive than fitteds and prefolds.

So that's the down low on All In Ones...
Pros: Super easy to use: Daddy friendly, daycare friendly.
Cons: Slightly more expensive than fitteds, and a very long drying time.