Friday, June 8, 2012

Prepping Cloth Diapers

I had been holding off on prepping my cloth diapers for a couple of reasons.  First off, I was hoping to have our new well plumbed in prior to baby, and prepping the diapers in the nice, new, clean water.  That didn't happen.  Secondly, I had been unable to make a decision on a cloth diaper detergent.
Those of you who know me know two things about me for sure-I research everything to death, and I am extremely cheap!
For these reasons, I had been avoiding choosing which laundry detergent I was going to use for my cloth diapers.  With over $450 already being invested in my cloth diaper stash, I know it is important to take good care of these diapers so that they can last through multiple children.  The problem is, however, that there is sooo much information out there on what the best detergent is to use.  Each cloth diaper company seems to have its own detergents that they market, and many will not warranty the diapers unless you use their detergents.  Others recommend different detergents based on the type of washing machine you have (top load vs. HE front load), along with variances in water type (hard vs. soft water).  Every company is extremely secretive about what they put in their detergents.
To top it off, living in a remote area, very few "cloth diaper friendly" detergents are available close to home.  This means that I would have commit to a detergent and pay ridiculous shipping costs to have it delivered to me (which totally defeats the money-saving aspect of cloth diapering).
Anyways, over the several weeks prior to Carter's birth, I had been reading some blog posts on homemade detergents.  I have made my own detergent for my regular laundry for over a year, and was curious whether I could make something for my cloth diapers as well.  Several companies warned against homemade detergents using really scary words like delaminating, degrading elastic bands, repelling, and voiding warranty.  What I also noticed, however, is that for every company that posted about the dangers of homemade detergent for cloth diapers, there were hundreds of comments from consumers that had successfully used homemade detergent with no adverse effects.  After reading hundreds of posts and comments, the worst that I had come across was a child who reacted to an ingredient in the homemade detergent, resulting in a diaper rash.  I wouldn't wish this upon my child, however, I reasoned that thorough rinsing would eliminate this risk as no detergent should really be left on the diapers anyways.  I also reasoned that delaminating should not occur, as I have been washing a PUL wet bag (which we use for our dirty dish cloths) in homemade detergent for months, and it still appears waterproof.
I finally decided to make my own detergent, and settled on a recipe from the Eco Friendly Family Blog which is made up of 1 cup borax, 1 cup laundry soda and 1/2 cup oxy clean.
My Bummis pre-folds and covers were new, so didn't have to be stripped.  The inserts did, however, have to be washed and dried three times with hot water and detergent to remove natural oils that inhibit absorbency as they are made of natural fibres (organic cotton). I only washed the covers once, and hung them to dry on my indoor drying rack.
For my Thirstis Fab Wipes, I washed them once using my homemade cloth diaper detergent, and dried them in the dryer on medium heat.
Finally, for my used BumGenius diapers, I opted to strip them to get rid of any detergent residues left over from the previous user.  This involved a hot wash with 1 tbsp. of blue Dawn dish detergent, followed by two more hot washes.  I would have loved to line dry them all, but it started raining so I had to throw them in the dryer on medium heat.  Let me tell you, these diapers must be absorbent, because they took forever to dry!  Luckily we have a good stash of 24 so with every other day washing, we shouldn't run out while waiting for them to dry.
All in all, I have to say that getting these diapers ready for use was just as fun as I thought that it would be!
BumGenius diapers ready to be stripped.
Stripping the diapers.
All of my cloth diapers ready to go.  At the back, I have 3 BumGenius 4.0 AIOs, the Bummis covers and pre-folds and the Thirsties Fab wipes.  At the front are the Bumgenius 3.0s in small.

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