Baby cloth diapers were often used back in the day before disposable diapers were designed. Due to the convenience that the disposable diapers provided, cloth diapers have quickly disappeared for at least two decades.
For a long time, cloth diapers were thought of as old-fashioned and uncomfortable for the baby. However, with time many parents started understanding that disposable diapers are not that great when you compare them to the many benefits that ordinary cloth diapers offer.
Moreover, new parents can save a fortune by using cloth diapers instead of buying disposable one that cost a hefty sum per annum. Multiply that sum by the number of years you will have to use them before your baby gets potty trained and you will be at least surprised if not shocked.
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Disposable Diapers Contribute To Land Pollution
Furthermore, disposable diapers are significantly contributing to the landfills with one agency estimating that nearly 28 billion disposable diapers end in garbage landfills around the United States every year.(Source)
On the other hand, cloth diapers are cheaper but will require some up-front investment from you. On average, you would want to have about 20 diapers ready at hand per day and that means you will have to regularly wash them.
Some mothers also prefer to purchase cloth diaper inserts that help keep moisture away from the baby skin and make the cloth diaper last a little longer. Moreover, before washing the baby cloth diapers you might want to use a diaper sprayer that will help wash out the excrements.
Also Read: Best Baby Detergent – Buying Guide & Review
Cloth Diapers VS Disposable Diapers
Most new parents will face the problem of diaper rash that can occur for a number of reasons, including infrequent diaper change and yeast infections that easily occur in moist conditions. Diaper rash from disposable diapers usually occurs in children under the age of 18 months because the gradually introduced solid foods cause a change in the acidity of the baby’s bowel movements.
Diaper rash rarely occurs on its own; instead, it occurs in a combination of factors such as friction from baby’s movements and skin irritation that occurs from the acids in urine and solid excrements. However, some diaper rash can also occur due to infections such as Candidal which is commonly known as yeast or fungal infection. As you can see, most diaper rash occurs when the skin is not ventilated and comes under attack by the acids in the excrements.
On the other hand, cotton cloth diapers offer great skin breathability and parents tend to change them every hour or so because they know that cloth diapers do not absorb as well as disposable diapers do. This ensures that the skin is always clean and dry hence yeast infections rarely occur in children wearing cloth diapers.
The Types of Cloth Diapers
Nowadays, cloth diaper manufacturers produce a great variety of diapers with many different designs. For example, back in the day, many mothers went for all-in-one cloth diaper because they are very easy to use and come with a diaper liner sewn into the diaper itself.
The diaper can be fastened using Velcro snaps while the inserts are normally cotton. Moreover, you can find other types of diapers called pre-folded or pocket type. Both of these will need you to buy the cotton inserts separately but are much easier to wear and remove especially for first-time moms.
In addition to these models, parents can find a wide range of other cloth diapers that include trainer diaper and a completely flat piece of sheet that you will need to fold yourself. Deciding on what type of cloth diapers you need will solely depend on you and the needs of your newborn baby.
How ToMachine Wash Cloth Diapers?
Most cloth diapers are made from natural fabrics such as cotton, fleece and flannel. These fabrics are breathable and help the baby avoid nasty skin rash. Plus, they are easy to clean as you would need to pre-treat them with a diaper spray to get the solid excrements out and then wash them in a washing detergent meant for sensitive skin of the babies. Here are the steps:
- Treat the cloth diaper with a diaper spray that will work to remove solid excrements. Leave the spray to work for at least 10 minutes and make sure the diaper is soaked up to a point it starts dripping.
- Toss the cloth diapers into the washing machine and fill the detergent compartment with baby washing detergent
- Pre-wash the diapers on a colder setting
- Then set on a washing cycle that is about 50 to 60 degrees Celsius as lower settings are unlikely to wash out the diaper.
- Air dry the cloth diapers preferably outside or toss them in the drier
How To Hand Wash Cloth Diapers
Handwashing cloth diapers can become a little more time consuming and harder on your hands as it will be more difficult to get the stain out. However, if you do not own a washing machine or it is currently broken, you could still try and wash them using your hands.
With handwashing cloth diapers, the sooner you do it the better because this way the stain will not have time to set and will much easier to wash out. Here are the steps:
- Pre-treat the diaper with diaper spray
- Let the cloth diaper soak for at least 10-15 minutes
- Rinse the cloth diaper under warm but not hot running water
- See if all stains are out and if not then repeat step 1 and 2
- If the stains are out, then soak the diapers for about 5 minutes in mild washing detergent and proceed to wash the cloth diapers as normal
- Air dry them preferably outside
Remember to never use bleach or chlorine-containing cleaners as they tend to break down natural fabrics hence cutting down the diapers life span drastically. Plus, chlorine, ammonia and bleach can seriously irritate sensitive skin and even cause chemical burns. However, some cloth diaper manufacturers do recommend using a quarter of a cup of bleach once in a month for disinfection purposes.
Also, never use fabric softeners such as Silan, Downy or Lenor because they significantly reduce the absorbency level of the cloth diapers.
How to Prolong The Life of Cloth Diapers?
To lengthen the life of your cloth diapers, keep these points in mind.
- Never bleach the cloth diapers
- Do not try on the hottest setting
- Do not use fabric softeners
- Use baking soda for natural bleaching effect
- Use lemon or vinegar for disinfecting and getting rid of stains
Speaking of smelly cloth diapers, remember to use baking soda and vinegar solution to pre-treat extra smelling cloth diapers before washing them. The baking soda works well because it cuts through the acids and the odor that result from urine and poo. Vinegar solution neutralizes the alkaline odors and stains.
You can add soda and vinegar directly into the washing machine or use them instead of diaper spray for pre-treating the cloth diaper.
Keep in mind that diaper spray makes cleaning cloth diaper a little easier because it allows rinsing solid wastes down the toilet before you toss the cloth diaper into the washing machine.
However, not all parents need them hence it is completely up to you to decide. Regardless of whether you are going to use one or not this article should have given you clear information on how to wash cloth diapers and we hope you will now have a much more smooth experience with them.
Plus, remember that not only are you saving finance but you will be helping to reduce the overall land pollution as well thus making a small contribution to a sustainable future.