Here we are at part five of my complete cloth diapering guide – you're up to speed on the pros and cons to cloth diapering, learned about the different types of diapers and the brand and quantity to purchase, the accessories you'll need and now you'll learn how to keep those nasty puppies clean!
If you shop long enough online for cloth diapers, you might start to feel mesmerized by all the beautiful patterns and colors, picturing your baby always crawling around with nothing on (even if it’s 30 degrees outside) but a pink flowered diaper while birds sing more sweetly because you’re making the world a better place. A couple hundred dollars later and a pretty little package arrives on your front stoop, and you’re ready to take on the world as a renegade cloth diapering enthusiast.
Then, your cute, cooing baby drops a big freaking load in that pretty pink flowered diaper and you're like, “WTF am I supposed to do now?!?!” Your pretty little diaper is now smeared with, well, you get the picture. This is the not-so glamorous stuff you don't read so much about, except here! Because my life gets messy.
Dealing with poops is the worst part of cloth diapering, and it kept me from doing it full time for a long time. Even now I still use disposables on days when I just don't have the energy to clean them. The only exception with this is when your baby is 100% breastfed and their poops are then water-soluble and do not have to be rinsed in the toilet.
How to Clean Up a Poopey Cloth Diaper
There is only one way to take care of those nasty nappies – in the toilet. Yep, you've got to look it, swish it around a bit, and squeeze that bad boy out. Not fun, especially if you're pregnant and the faintest smell of anything unpleasant sends you running to the toilet (speaking from experience). Plus, you really don't want poop particles floating around in your washing machine to clog up pipes and smell things up.
Now, there are two ways I know to clean them in the toilet. First, is the frugal, old-fashioned way my mom and mother-in-law used to do, which I incorporated. Buy a pair of rubber gloves and keep them near your toilet. Use them to swish the diaper around and get it clean, then wash the gloves off when you're done, rub them down with some hand sanitizer, and store. This process is made infinitely easier when I remember to put a diaper liner (buy here) in that catches the poop, keeps most of it (not all of it, sometimes) from sticking to the diaper, and you just throw that in the toilet and flush.
Or, do as my husband does during warmer weather, and take that brown mess out on your deck and spray it off with a high-powered hose! This is a daily occurrence in our house.
The other way is to use a diaper sprayer (buy here), which costs $40 to $60. I've heard great things about these, but haven't bought it…yet. It's really not that expensive considering all the emotional trauma it will save! These little hoses attach to your toilet and you squirt them on the diaper to rinse the poop off into the toilet.
Smelly Diaper Pails
No matter what stores tell you, your cloth diaper pail will smell just like your disposable one does, no matter how much essential oils and baking soda you use. The only way to make the smell go away? Put them in the washer. Washing them every day or every two days keeps the smells down to a minimum. If the actual trash can or pail itself gets really smelly, put it out in the sun for a few hours and it'll smell like new! Works for me every time. I do the same thing with the trashcans around the house.
Your Husband May Not Understand Your Love of Cloth
Many husbands I know of do not like dealing with poopey cloth diapers. When mine is home by himself, he often uses disposables more than cloth. It's a compromise I'm willing to make considering he happily cleans the dishes, vacuums, and takes care of the kids!
I had read on various forums that cloth diapers prevent rashes, but that has not been the case for me. Before I made my own homemade diaper rash cream, Desitin was the only product that could prevent diaper rashes for my kids, and you cannot use Desitin and a cloth diaper at the same time. It never comes out of the cloth and even prevents the cover from being waterproof. So, now my homemade version works wonderfully at preventing and healing rashes and washes out of the diapers!
Essential Oils Really Help and So Does Air
Another thing you can use to treat rashes and irritation with cloth is Vitamin E oil (buy here), which you can buy at any drug store (I got mine at Rite Aid). It does work to reduce inflammation, but did not get rid of the rashes for me. So, I started adding essential oils to it, like Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, Frankincense, and Gentle Baby (a blended oil) (where to buy high quality essential oils). Another solution? Air. Yep, let them run around for a little while lettin' their moon shine!