Baby cloth diapers were often used back in the day before the invention of disposable diapers. Due to the convenience that disposable diapers provided, cloth diapers quickly disappeared.
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 too far ahead of cloth diapers when it comes to benefits.
Moreover, new parents can save a fortune by using cloth diapers instead of buying disposable ones that cost a hefty sum. Multiply that sum by the number of years you will have to use them before your baby gets potty trained and you will be shocked.
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Disposable Diapers Contribute To Land Pollution
Furthermore, disposable diapers are significantly contributing to landfill overflow. One agency estimates that nearly 28 billion disposable diapers end up in landfills in 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 twenty diapers ready on hand per day, and that means you will have to wash them regularly.
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’s 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 have to treat their baby’s diaper rash at some point. Diaper rash can occur for several reasons, including infrequent diaper change and yeast infections that quickly happen in moist conditions. Diaper rash from disposable diapers usually occurs in children under the age of 18 months. These rashes cease with the introduction of solid foods to the baby’s diet. With more solid foods, there comes a change in the acidity of the baby’s bowel movements.
Diaper rash rarely occurs on its own. It occurs in a combination of factors such as friction from a baby’s movements and skin irritation that arises from the acids in urine and solid excrements. However, some diaper rashes 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 excellent skin breathability, and parents tend to change them every hour. Parents know that cloth diapers do not absorb as well as disposable diapers do, so frequent changes are a must. Regular diaper changes ensure 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, in the past, many mothers went for an all-in-one cloth diaper. These diapers are straightforward to use and come with a diaper liner sewn in the diaper.
The diaper can be fastened using Velcro snaps while the inserts usually are 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 more comfortable to wear and remove, especially for first-time moms.
In addition to these models, parents can find a wide range of other cloth diapers. Other models include training diapers and a completely flat piece of sheet that you will need to fold yourself.
How To Machine Wash Cloth Diapers?
Most cloth diapers come 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. Then all that is left is to 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 ten minutes. You want the diaper soaked enough to drip.
- 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
Hand-washing cloth diapers is a little more time consuming and harder on your hands. You have scrub hard to get stains out.
With hand-washing cloth diapers, the sooner you do it, the better. This way, the stain will not have time to set and will be 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 steps one and two
- If the stains are out, then soak the diapers for about five minutes in the mild washing detergent. Then proceed to wash the cloth diapers as normal
- Air dry them preferably outside
Remember never to use bleach or chlorine-containing cleaners. These cleaners tend to break down natural fabrics, hence cutting down the diapers life span drastically. Plus, chlorine, ammonia, and bleach can severely 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. These softeners significantly reduce the absorbency level of 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 clean on the hottest setting
- Do not use fabric softeners
- Use baking soda for the natural bleaching effect
- Use lemon or vinegar for disinfecting and getting rid of stains
Remember to use a baking soda and vinegar solution to pre-treat extra smelly 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. Also, you can use this formula instead of a diaper spray for pre-treating the cloth diaper.
Diaper sprays make cleaning cloth diapers a little easier. Sprayers allow you to rinse solid waste down the toilet before you toss the cloth diaper into the washing machine. However, not all parents need them. Hence it is entirely up to you to decide. This article should give you clear information on how to wash cloth diapers. We hope you will now have a much more smooth experience with them. Plus, remember that not only are you saving money, but you will be helping to reduce overall land pollution. Thereby making a small contribution to a sustainable future.