The Magic of the Sun

UV rays make stains disappear (they also help kill bacteria)!

smartbottoms

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Stains happen. Even the most faithful cloth-diaper-laundresses are not exempt from this unsightly truth. Cloth diapers, and all clothes for that matter, will get dirty and they will stain. That’s (laundry) life.

In such desperate times, many will turn to bleach. However, this is definitely not the safest option and we cannot in good conscience recommend it to our nature-loving, crunchy mamas.

  1. It’s not good for the environment. Though it is up for debate whether dumping it into your machine is actually harming the environment, the bleach-making process is extremely detrimental (read up here: http://bit.ly/19rE486). This is enough reason for many tree-hugging parents to avoid buying it altogether.
  2. Bleach is bad news bears for you and your baby (well, for basically any human being). It can cause problems in your respiratory and nervous systems and can cause pretty nasty burns. Ick. And that’s just bleach as a solo artist…

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Hidden Diapering Costs

When considering whether cloth or disposable is right for you, one of the main reasons why people chose cloth is because it can save you money. You will find countless breakdowns online of how basic cloth diapering set-ups can save you a ton of money compared to disposables but there are also some hidden costs on both sides that you may not have considered. Some of these include:

Diaper pail refills (disposables only)

Diaper pail (disposables or cloth): one time purchase but in either case, it can be as inexpensive as you make it

Garbage bags (disposables only)

Garbage collection fees (disposables only): some municipalities limit the number of bags per week, or charge more per bag

Gas (disposables or cloth, depending on where you buy): will be more for disposables as you need to buy them more often and may need to make ’emergency’ trips to the store when you run out

Shipping (cloth only): save by buying more at once to qualify for free shipping

Wasted diapers (disposables): when the sticky tabs break as you put a fresh one on, or baby soils it within minutes

Wipes (disposables or cloth): will cost more for disposable wipes

Laundry/water use (cloth): how much will your utilities increase?

Diaper repair (cloth): velcro may need replacing as it wears out (but this is cheap and easy)

Addiction (cloth only): can you really resist all of those adorable prints?

All of these things really depend on your own personal usage so there is no magic number in how much savings can be attained going one way or the other. Consider your own situation and how these hidden costs will factor into your diapering solution!


Learn More:

http://paddedtushstats.com/2012/04/30/the-hidden-costs-cloth-diapering-and-disposable-diapering/

Lil Joeys Review

Reblogging this because I won’t be able to review these anytime soon myself!

theclothlife

Prior to Sweet-T being born we decided to rent some newborn sized cloth diapers. We knew that not all babies are born the same shape and size… Let’s face it, some are long and thin, others are short and chunky, and others are a happy mix. So, when we decided to rent ALL Lil Joeys instead of a good mix, it was a real gamble on our parts.

First thing I have to say about Lil Joeys is how adorable they are! The prints are bright and vibrant, and super fun. (Because if you are going to change a diaper, it may as well look fun…) I am particularly fond of Quinn and Dexter, which is the newest prints for Rumparooz. So, I was super pleased to open my rental box and find that Tami at Kissed by The Moon had magically known I wanted those prints with all…

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CD Sales!

Today I stumbled upon a few sales that are currently on at some of my favourite retailers. In case you are in the market for cloth diapers or just have an addiction and want more.. check these sales out first!

*I have no clue if any of these sales are also available in the USA but at least at the time of publication, they are available to us in Canada*

Bum Genius – Buy 5 BG 4.0, Get 1 Free! 

This sale has been on for a few months now and can end at any time. It is available at most retailers.

AMP – 15% off diaper covers until July 1st!

Available at Cozy Bums

Charlie Banana – 15% off all CB diapers and 6 packs until July 1st!

Available at Cozy Bums

Some Thoughts on Detergent

laundry

I have a lot of cleaning supplies in my laundry room!

I have Purex HE, which I was using on my clothing for the longest time because it was cheapest option per load at Costco. I have been going through less than 2 bottles a year and it is really nice to not need to buy it on a regular basis. I also have Clorox bleach HE which to be honest I don’t really use because I find OxiClean works much better. I use OxiClean on any load with a lot of stains or whenever I wash my white bedsheets. I love OxiClean!

Then, I have Tide Ultra HE powder and Nellies. These products came into my home for cloth diapering purposes. If you are just beginning to learn about cloth diapering, you will see countless recommendations for cloth safe detergent and cloth-specific detergents and it may be confusing to know where to start. Truth is, I cannot tell you! One detergent really does not work well for everyone but here is why I ended up with both Nellies and Tide in my laundry room.

I like to save money!

I had a hard time jumping on the Rockin’ Green bandwagon because of the price. 90 loads would cost me almost $23 (tax inc.) which would cost close to 25 cents a load. Most other detergents designed specifically for CD cost about the same. I am trying to ‘save’ money with cloth diapering, not spend it. Considering my Purex was costing me only 10 cents a load, I did not want to pay much more than that, even if one bag would last me 6-9 months if I used it solely on cloth diapers. I needed something cheaper by the load and kept hearing rave reviews on Nellies. Nellies is a more natural detergent than your average grocery store brand and it was cheaper than RNG. I found some at Winners for $6 a bag for 50 loads. With tax factored in, it was just over 13 cents a load. I picked it up and it worked fine on everything I tried it on but then, Winners sold out and I could not find anymore. The only place I can get it now is online and since I like to be cheap, I want to buy it based on whatever deal gets me the cheapest per load cost. That was Costco! For $95+tax you can get 1100 loads! That is less than 10 cents a load but leads to another problem… I may not want 1100 loads because I could possibly get tired of it after 100.

This is why I ended up with Tide Ultra HE. Yes…TIDE! I am sure some of you may already be grieving my diapers assuming that they will be ruined in no time as Tide has enzymes and fragrance in it, but many manufacturers and retailers are now recommending it (see links below). Enzymes and fragrance, after all, are not bad for your cloth diapers but they are discouraged because *some* babies will be sensitive to them (especially if not properly rinsed out). If my baby seems to be sensitive to Tide then I guess I will break down and buy a lifetime supply of Nellies but since neither my husband or I have ever been sensitive to any laundry detergent, I think I will take that gamble for now and go with a detergent that I can easily get for a reasonable price*.

You are probably still thinking: Tide will not work and I will get build-up. I believe that the main reason we get build up is because of fabric softeners, using the wrong detergent for your water type and using the wrong amount of detergent. You can get two types of build-up: from detergent (too much or insufficient rinsing) and from ammonia or left over soiled matter (too little/wrong type of detergent). It is not because of enzymes! In fact, enzymes help clean your diapers because they help break down soiled matter that causes diapers to stink (http://www.thechangingtimes.com/Rumparooz_Care.html).

Moving on from why Tide is safe, I also want to talk briefly on my opinion of cloth-specific detergents and why they are pushed so hard when one of the easiest to find detergents is much cheaper. It is is a simple reason in that cloth-specific detergents are sold by CD retailers! They want you to buy the detergent that they sell instead of going to Walmart or Costco and buying plain old Tide because they make money off of CD-specific detergents and no money off Tide. It is the same reason why when you buy from an electronics store they push so hard for you to buy the extended warranty – because they make more money this way.


Still not convinced? Here are the retailers and manufacturers that I know of that recommend Tide in some capacity: 

Kanga Care (manufacturer of Rumparooz)

AMP Diapers (manufacturer) – says that many people use Tide with no problems

FuzziBuns (manufacturer) – recommend Tide Free

Grovia (manufacturer) – lists it as recommended by their customers and has suggested it on their Facebook page

Happy Heinys (manufacturer) – used to recommend Tide but now features Country Save (it does not discourage Tide however)

Padded Tush Stats (CD statistics site) – One of the highest rated detergents

Nature Bumz (retailer)

Jillian’s Drawers (USA retailer) 

Tiny Tush (USA retailer)


*Price of Tide: In my case, I can get a box of 120 loads for $20+tax. This works out to over 18 cents a load so it is not a huge savings compared to RNG unless you cut down the amount you use. I believe that when it comes to regular (ie. not ‘natural’ variety) detergents, many of us can get away with much less detergent. When I first bought Tide, I measured 4 TBSP to the first line and started out only using 2 TBSP per wash. The amount certainly gets my clothing clean no problem so in very least I can cut my cost per load down by half! In lightly-soiled loads (ie. clothing that is being washed just because it was worn), I only use 1 TBSP. My clothing never smells or looks dirty and in fact, it seems cleaner than the Purex I was using. If I find I need more than the 2 TBSP when washing CD then I have still saved a lot of money over all.

Excuse me while I shake my fist in anger

Eye opening blog post! Worth a read!

Diaper Parties by Crystal

Every once in a while a great idea just presents itself to you.  I had this moment not too long ago after reading a highly disturbing article about low income families who, when faced with the decision of choosing between buying food or buying diapers they bought food (obviously!) and then cleaned up or dried out the used disposable diaper and reused it.  I was horrified.  Having a 7 month old baby myself it broke my heart to think of what a fellow mom must feel when making this choice…watch your children go hungry or put a diaper full of dried piss (or worse) back onto your baby’s bottom.  Being a cloth diapering mama myself I thought, “Well, how simple is this problem to solve?!  They need cloth diapers!”

A few days later I read another article, this one about how Finland gives a box to every expecting mama that…

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Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper (Part III)

Reblogging this because it is so informative and easily understood!

Dream Diapers Blog

We’ve talked about the different types of cloth diapers available and how to get the right fit. Now I’ll explain different fabric choices. Once you find the right fit, the fabric used in a diaper is what really makes it work.

Microfiber: 

Microfiber refers to synthetic fibers, usually made from polyesters. This is the most common, or standard fabric choice for most “modern” cloth diapers, including all-in-ones, pocket diapers, and hybrids. If a diaper comes with a soaker (whether sewn-in or removable), then chances are that soaker will be made from microfiber. Microfiber fabric is often used for other products, like athletic wear, because the microfiber material wicks moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer cool and dry. So, it also make a great fabric for wicking moisture away from your baby’s bum.

Organic Cotton:

Here’s our first upgrade.  In many cases, the modern diapers you choose can be upgraded…

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Snaps vs. Velcro?

Thirsties Duo Wrap (Size 1 Storm Cloud) in *Snaps*

Thirsties Duo Wrap (Size 1 Storm Cloud) in *Snaps*

Most cloth diapers and covers come in either snaps or velcro (also known as aplix or hook and loop). Everyone will have their preference but like anything else, there are pros and cons of each type.

First of all, most all adjustable-size diapers and covers will have snaps to adjust the rise (vertical size) of the diaper. Some come in two settings, some come in more but most all of them have snaps. It is in the waist size and closure that you need to make the decision on whether you want velcro or snaps. Here are some things to consider when making this choice:

Snaps:

Pros: last longer, can be easily replaced, looks better, harder for a toddler to undo

Cons: can fall off (but most don’t), not as adjustable, may be harder for somebody not accustomed to CD (like occasional care givers), some daycares only want velcro

Velcro/Aplix/Hook & Loop:

Pros: very adjustable, easier to secure, easier for occasional caregivers and those who are not knowledgeable in CD

Cons: must secure to laundry tabs before washing (or you will get a diaper chain), wears out faster, harder to replace (sewing required), easier for a toddler to undo

Personally, I feel like more people choose snaps and that is why my whole stash is snaps. We all know that the more velcro gets used, the less sticky it can be and this is a problem true to CD as well. If you are handy with a sewing machine it should be no problem to replace the velcro when it wears out but if you are like me, and don’t even own a sewing machine, snaps may be a better option for you! They rarely fall off but if they do, they are simple to replace and you can get replacements at any fabric store.

There is one major draw to velcro however! I’m told it is much easier to get a good fit on baby with a diaper that closes with velcro. Sometimes babies are too big for one snap setting and too small for the next. I do not really have a solution for this problem, but if anyone has any great ideas, I would love to hear them. Nonetheless, most snap users love them and have no problems.


What do you prefer, snaps or velcro? Why?

Save Money on Cloth Diapers!

dollarsOne of the primary draws to cloth diapering (CD) is saving money! At least, that is the reason I became interested. I would love to say it was for environment reasons but when it really comes down to it, money was my main motivator. That is why I want to dedicate this post to ways I have saved money on my cloth diapers and accessories, as well as other great ways to save.

I am not talking about the actual savings in comparison to disposables! If you are reading this, you likely know all about that (if not, you can read about it here). I am not even talking about what diapers to buy that will be the cheapest for you (you can find that answer here). I am simply talking about ways to get the most bang for your buck!


Great ways to save:

Buy used: It seems that some people think they are going to use cloth diapers so they run out and buy a whole stash and then change their mind before they have ever put one on their child. Or, they try a bunch of brands and fall in love with one of them and don’t want the rest. There are lots of cloth diaper fanatics out there who have cloth diapered all of their children to the potty training stage and just simply do not need their diapers anymore. So for these reasons, it is easy to find cloth diapers for sale second hand (some of them have never even been worn). Try looking on your local Kijiji or Craigslist sites or check out http://www.clothdiapertrader.com. Don’t forget about accessories – these can also be readily found second-hand!

Close-out sales: Another thing to look out for is close-out sales! Sometimes retailers go out of business or change owners and this is prime time to shop! When I first started ordering my diapers and accessories, I came across a website that was in the process of changing owners. They were selling out all of their inventory before restocking under new management. Selection was spotty but I did score some amazing deals. I bought Grovia hybrid shells as well as disposable inserts (which I only wanted for emergency), cloth-safe diaper cream, pail liners and a number of other items. I saved about 25% on each item for a total savings of about $50 on my order.

Make your own diaper sprayer: A diaper sprayer is not a necessity but it sure is nice to have. I spent $50 on mine, which is about the going rate for most of them. Truth is, now that it is set up, I realize that it is nothing more than a sink hose (like the kind that pulls out from the kitchen sink). You can easily make one yourself by picking up a sink hose and attaching it to the water intake for your toilet. There are plenty of tutorials online, so let Mr. Google help you.

Make your own re-usable liners: If you go to the accessory page of most online cloth diaper retailers you will see ‘stay-dry liners’. These are liners that are used to turn any cloth diaper into a stay-dry diaper. Normal price is about $1 each. If you plan to use them regularly, you could need quite a few. Instead of spending that money on liners, it is is very easy to make your own. Here is how: go to Walmart or any place that sells fleece blankets. Find one that says it is ‘mirco-fleece’. Go home, cut it into rectangles and then wash (or the other way around if you wish). Done! I bought a $5 micro-fleece blanket from Walmart and I ended up with over 30 liners. They are re-usable but at that price, if a few get too disgusting to wash, I won’t be sad to have them go ‘missing’.

Re-use disposable liners: Most of the disposable liners you can buy can withstand a wash or two in the washing machine (or so I am told). Dispose of the poopy ones in the toilet/compost and reuse the ones that have just been peed on. You can try them in your washer (a lot of people have success with this), but if you are paranoid like me, you can also just throw them in a bucket and when you have a small collection, rinse them by hand with some warm soapy water (use gloves if pee scares you). Just make sure to get the suds out so it doesn’t irritate your little one’s skin. They will dry in no time and you can get another use out of them.

Sell your diapers: I am not saying right this minute but when all of your children have moved onto big-kid underwear and you no longer need your diapers, try selling them to recoup the cost. Anything that is still in good shape should sell no problem. Check out Kijiji, Craigslist or http://www.clothdiapertrader.com for the going rates on the brand/style of diapers you are trying to get rid of. Anything in good used condition often sells for about 50% of the original price and anything that was only lightly used can sell for even more!


Have you found other ways to save money on cloth diapering? If so, please share your ideas in the comments!

Disinfecting Diapers

I frequent a popular baby website on a daily basis and cloth diapers regularly come up. One of the questions I see asked on a regular basis is “how do I disinfect/sanitize my diapers?’. A lot of people think that human waste is full of diseases and that anything that touches is must be thoroughly disinfected in order to not spread disease. The truth is, unless your child is ill, simple washing with detergent after each use is plenty to remove the soiled matter and bacteria on the diapers.

This blog post explains clearly why disinfecting is not needed on a regular basis: http://www.ecobabysteps.com/2009/08/05/do-i-need-to-disinfect-my-cloth-diapers/

If you do find yourself with diapers that do need disinfecting due to illness or infection in the diaper area, there are lots of easy things you can do! For most bacteria, UV rays are enough to kill them, so sunning you diapers is an excellent idea and this has an added bonus of whitening those stains. If your problem is a little bit more complicated (yeast rash for example), refer to this awesome chart by CD manufacturer Thirsties: http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/how-to-disinfect-your-diapering-products/