Since the toddler twosome were born they have been in cloth nappies (or diaper's as my American friends, and teen who watches too many American shows, would call them!) and i have had many queries about why i would want ‘to do that to myself!' Actually, it never occured to me to do otherwise and i have been surprised by how many people think i am slightly insane! It does take a little more work but with an easy system in place it can be less time consuming than you might think!
I am still lucky enough to be a stay at home Mum so i think this makes it a little easier as i don't have daycare and lots of outings to consider. Really though, i am just one of those people that love to see those little padded bums running around and nappies hanging on the line in the sun. I love knowing how much money i am saving and how many bags of smelly nappies we are keeping out of the rubbish collection each week!
I'm not overzealous about cloth nappies by any means…we do occasionally use the disposable nappy when it suits our purpose but overall i don't find washing and folding the girls nappies too much of a chore. The only time it begins to get a little on top of me is when we have had persistent rainy, cold days when nappies are hard to get dry and the folding is piling up around me.
For this reason i have found myself pushing my lovely modern cloth nappies with their snaps and velcro to the back of the shelves and going to back to the terry flats with covers. They are just so much easier to dry and when we are home most of the time anyway they are just as easy to use. I used them with my now nearly 16 year old and i still use them today in much the same way even though there have been many advances with all in one nappies and washing systems. The new PUL covers are so much better than the old plastic pilchers we used to use ‘back in the day' though (gosh now i really feel like an older mother!)
I have had a few people ask me how i wash my nappies and what folds i use with the flats and truly my system just couldn't be any simpler. You can read about my favourite terry flat fold if interested in this post..
I have a large bucket with lid (brought from Bunnings….plain but so much cheaper than your fancy baby buckets…i can't believe what they charge for those things…goodness, they are just for soaking poop!) that i keep up in my laundry sink. I half fill with cold water and add a splash of vinegar. Every few weeks i add a scoop of antibacterial soaker that i purchase cheaply from Aldi ($2.99…bargain!) just to give them all a good soak and freshen. Because i have twins i usually fill the bucket each day so at the end of the day i simply pour into the washing machine, add 1/4 cup of my homemade washing liquid (want to know more about making your own?…read this post), a little vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser and then a cold wash and rinse.
Preferably onto the line to dry in the sun and then sitting down at night to take 10 minutes with a cuppa to fold them up ready for the next day.
Wet nappies i pop straight into the bucket to soak…..soiled nappies i rinse into the toilet using my squirter nozzle (those things are gold….wish they had been around all those years ago!) The microfleece liners i make usually catch most of the mess and it rinses easily off them…saving the terry nappy from stains over time.
When i was pregnant and doing some research online about the new emerging world of cloth and modern cloth nappies i was so surprised at the number of forums and discussions that are everywhere…i became a little overwhelmed as i read about dry pailing and what you could and couldn't use to wash them. I read about people getting so stressed on how to wash the nappies and whether to soak that they gave up before they even started! There are always positives and negatives to every system and i think you just have to settle on what works best for you and your family environment.
I tried dry pailing which is where you just rinse the soiled nappy and throw in the bucket with a lid on even though it didn't really make sense to me…i am a little old fashioned i guess and ended up reverting back to the way i had used before…after all, it worked fine then..why wouldn't it now? I found the nappies seemed to have a smell that lingered even after washing and didn't feel clean to me…i noticed that many also said you needed to do a certain degree hot wash if dry pailing…i certainly didn't want to use all my hot water on nappies!
I know that many of the MCN companies recommend not soaking and not using essential oils or soap but all i can say is that i have been using these simple methods for nearly 2 years now….with twin bums and all of the nappies, both terry flat and mcn are still in good condition…no stretched elastic, no lessening of absorbency that i can notice and they have held their shape well. A little tip…i turn my mcn all in ones inside out to dry the padded insert quicker!
So…let's recap for those that may be interested in basic nappy washing but i have lost along the way…(sorry about that!)
1. Always use liners with your nappies…..you can cut your own up from microfleece or use some disposable dishcloth type liners cut in half (chux are good and you get quite a few washes from them before they begin to disintegrate) I like to make my own wipes as well…they are so easy! Find out how to make and use them with this post.
2. Rinse soiled nappies into the toilet (try to use one that is close to your bucket or laundry) A ‘little squirt' type product is great for this job.
3. Have a bucket with lid half filled with cold water…you can add a drop of tea tree or eucalyptus oil, a splash of vinegar, a scoop of nappy sanitiser or just leave to soak in plain water…whatever you are comfortable with…all will work!
4. Put your nappies in to soak for a day or overnight and then tip into your washing machine, set to a low wash, add a little of your washing powder (you can read about how i make my own washing liquid in this post )and make sure you include a rinse and spin cycle. Make sure you use less washing powder than you normally would for clothes as you don't want a build up of soap or that can make the nappies become less absorbent over time. To fix this problem you can do a ‘strip wash' which is a wash or two without powder but i haven't had to do this as yet and i think that is due to the ‘magic helper'.
5. Make sure to add some ‘magic helper' to your rinse cycle…i use about a 1/4 cup of vinegar to each cycle. This sanitises and softens your nappies and helps remove any soap residue during the rinse. Don't use fabric softener with nappies as it will lessen their absorbency….i know they smell nice but don't go there! There may be a slight vinegar smell after the cycle finishes but don't worry…it disappears as soon as they dry.
6. Try to dry on the line in the sun…this removes many stains and smells that may be lingering! If you can't dry in the sun try and have a few portable clothes horses around and if you really have to use the dryer my tip is don't try and load it up…best to break into a few loads as they will dry a lot quicker…try adding a tennis ball or dry hand towel to the dryer load as they soak up the moisture and help them to dry quicker!
That's really all there is to it! That's my system and it has been working well for me…i have a routine and this helps to keep the job from becoming overwhelming. Remember, you don't need to wash them everyday…i have double the nappies with twins so i usually have to but the world won't end if you don't get that load on…just make sure you have lots in your stash as a back up!
Think you could manage to handwash your nappies everyday? Scary thought to many of us i know but have a look at this challenge that Momma T is taking part in….i am fascinated by her progress and i must say a little in awe of her dedication!!
Linking up this post here….