It has now been one week since I started cloth diapering my 17 month old in an effort to be more health and eco conscious, and to prove to myself simply that I can do it. Here is an update of the happinesses and headaches of a fluffy-bummed child.
Happiness: 1. I am indeed pleased with the decrease in the ammount of garbage coming from the nursery. 2. There is a small joy in knowing that there are no chemicals or toxins coming in contact with my toddler's delicate (and often sensetive) skin. 3. I am already saving money by nixing disposables (except when we have been out for the day). 4. The extra work I am encountering with cloth is not quite so much work as I expected.
Headache: 1. I already know this particular system is not the system for us. Let me reitterate that because I am entering this challenge with no up front cost (ie: the diapers and cover were loaned to me), I didn't get to choose what type of cloth diapers to use. 2. This actually goes along with number 1: the Kushies system we are using at the moment is not very travel friendly. 3. If I do end up cloth diapering for good, I will DEFINITELY invest in a diaper sprayer.
One concern I had before starting this challenge was the stink. Honestly, it's not that bad. I keep our diaper pail in the bathroom next to the toilet for convenience and so that the curious little one doesn't get into it. I decided to use the dry pail method, so I just rinse any matter out of the diaper in the toilet, give it a little wring and stick it in the pail. Every once in a while I sprinkle a little baking soda into the pail just in case. I have been washing the diapers every other day (that gives me a half load in our large capacity washing machine) and hanging them to dry. My method for washing: put diapers in the washer with 1/4 cup of baking soda and let the tub fill with cold water. I then stop the cycle and let the diapers soak for a few hours (I started out letting them soak over night, then moved to about five hours and the last load I only had time to let them soak for two hours, which still worked just fine). After soaking, I continue the cycle. Once the first cycle is done, I then switch to a hot/cold cycle, put detergent in (a bit less than what is recommended on the detergent label), and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener cup. I read on a cloth diapering forum that adding vinegar restores the ph of the diapers after soaking in baking soda. My results? The diapers are very clean coming out of the washer, they dry relatively fast on the line, then I throw them in the dryer for five minutes just to soften them up. There is NO STINK! The baking soda and vinegar works very well and I have not had to use any amonia or bleach to remove odors or stains. The only thing I could complain about is that there is a slight lingering vinegar smell in my washer now, but it doesn't seem to effect other loads of laundry.