Fluffy Butts: Cloth Complications

It goes without saying, that no matter what kind of diapers you use you’re going to hit the occasional snafu.  The following are just a handful of the things that can go wrong, and some simple ways to solve the problems, so you don’t go crazy!

Preventing diaper build up:  Some people never have to deal with build up, and others deal with it often.  Build up is exactly what it sounds like, a build up of stuff in your diapers.  Think of your hair, how it can get build up from conditioner and product.  When it’s got all that gunk in there, it doesn’t work the way it should.  Build up can happen many ways; non-diaper safe detergent, diaper creams, lotions, unclean diapers.   There are some things you can do to avoid build up:

Note that most diaper creams are NOT cloth diaper safe.  What this means is that the cream stays on the diapers while you wash them, and ends up causing build up within the diapers, which can cause rashes, stink, repelling (aka leaks) and did I mention stink?!

The best way to handle diaper creams is to use a liner.  I made our liners out of old cotton T-Shirts.  Basically, I cut them in the shape of a diaper, and lay them in the diaper (between the diaper and baby’s skin) to create a barrier.  Then, the liners can be washed separately from the diapers to keep build up from happening.  You can also purchase flushable liners from many cloth diapering retailers.

In addition to being careful with diaper creams, it is also important to use a cloth diaper safe detergent.  Although, I have to admit, I use that advice sparingly.  We do not use a cloth diaper safe detergent, but we don’t have a problem with it, and many CD families use it (Original Tide – the powder kind)  Along with detergent, always make sure you use enough water (we use a super wash), and rinse until there are no suds sitting in the machine.

Dealing with build up  The best way to handle build up once it’s happened is to strip your diapers.  Stripping is a form of deep cleaning.  Spring cleaning for your diapers if you will.  I recommend stripping once every few months, just to keep your diapers in tip top shape.  There are many different options for stripping:

– The Dawn method, involves squirting a tiny bit of Dawn (the blue stuff) into a hot wash cycle and following with as many rinses as it takes to have clear water (no bubbles.) Dawn is really really good at deep cleaning, but it has the unfortunate problem of suds, which means you have to rinse incredibly well.

– The boil method, involves boiling your diapers to both clean out any build up and disinfect.  You can also throw a few pots of boiling water in with your wash cycle to increase the heat of your wash and attempt to wash this way.

– The rinse method, is as simple as it sounds.  You just rinse.  And rinse.  And rinse. And rinse.  Until you see all of the suds (build up!) coming out of your diapers.

Google will prove to have even more options; including Bac-Out, OxyClean and more.

What’s that smell???  I hate to admit it, because it’s one of those negative things about cloth…but sometimes, they stink.  And not because all diapers stink, but because they aren’t clean.  Ack!  It’s a big concern when cloth diapering.  I mean, you want to make sure your dipes are CLEAN right?

Diapers can stink for reasons like build up above, but they can just as easily stink because they aren’t rinsed well, or cleaned well.  The best way to handle smells is a good stripping and lots of washing.  But even more than that, we use a bit of bleach regularly to make sure we’re killing all that bad yucky stuff.

Stains As you would expect, poop stains.  Especially that awesome breast milk poop.  This is where living in Arizona comes in handy.  The sun is without a doubt, the very best stain remover you will ever find.  During the summer, we do our best to hang out diapers outside to line dry because they dry fast AND come in looking brand new.  But, you don’t need the Arizona heat to do it.  Simply laying your damp diapers (or any stained item) in front of a window will bleach those stains right out.  It’s a miracle worker.

Leaks As baby’s grow, they’re output also grows, which can cause leaking issues.  With disposable diapers, as the child grows, you change the diaper size.  Along with diaper sizes, diapers will also increase the capacity for holding liquid as the diaper size increases.  Cloth doesn’t automatically make that switch for you, but it definitely offers up A TON of versatility for dealing with absorbency.  As I’ve mentioned before, there are plenty of different insert/doubler options for increasing absorbency.  We’ve changed our absorbency factors many times in the last 16 months.  Currently, we’ve found that the best way of dealing with Toddler Super-Pee is a natural fiber insert/doubler combined with a microfiber insert.

There are most definitely other kinds of leaks though.  Above, I discussed repelling leaks.  These are due to build up, and basically mean that you diapers can’t hold any liquid, so instead of absorbing, the liquid gets pushed out.  See above for help on that.  Another suggestion for leak issues, is to change up your sizing.  It sounds like an oxymoron, but just like disposable diapers, sometimes your cloth diapers will leak; not because they are too big, but because they are too tight.  When in doubt, go up a size!  As an alternative, as your child grows, you may notice that they trim up a bit.  We’ve had a few instances where Ariadne grew up, and IN, so we had to start snapping her diapers in a bit tighter on the waist than previously done.

Even dealing with complications every now and then, we still swear by our cloth.  In 16 months we’ve honestly dealt with less than a handful of issues.  And the issues we did have, were quickly solved with a few internet searches.   The internet is truly your friend when it comes to diapering!  One of my favourite resources in the last year has been the DiaperSwappers website.  There is a forum on that site that is just amazing when talking about cloth issues!

Well, that’s all for now folks!  I’ll be finishing up a final Fluffy Butts post later this weekend!

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