Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Return of the Wet Pail!

Back in the Day when our Mothers and Grandmothers cloth diapered, wet pails are where  our dirty diapers were kept. As cloth diapering left and then evolved and came back, we have left the days of wet pails behind.

You may even wonder what a wet pail is! In case that is you, a wet pail was a bucket of water, often with some added cleaner (they were more likely to use bleach then the mamas of these days are). When cloth diapering evolutionized, we ditched the wet pails for pretty dry bags. With a mentality that the way it used to be wasn't good anymore. Many thoughts go to stinky, smelly and who knows what else may enter your mind. I've been there too. But more and more I have seen wet pails mentioned once again. When I took the time to think about it, I had to reassess WHY  they were used to begin with. While cloth diapers have gotten so much better and easier, the old wet pail shouldn't necessarily be a thing of the past. Here are the two main reasons I like wet pails:
  • Wet pails help fight staining. 
When we get a stain on our shirt, what do we do? We rinse it off and let it soak with a cleaner. Why wouldn't we do the same with our dirty diapers? We all want those soft diapers to stay smelling nice and stain free.
  • Wet pails help fight stink.
Our first thoughts of stink doesnt need to be so. In fact, soaking your diapers till wash day helps prevent stink. Think about this, you can add what you want to your diaper soak. There are different things you can add. I like to add OxyClean and few other things to mine. It helps neutralize the oders that other wise would be sitting and festering in a dry bag.

Not bad huh? They are really simple to use and you don't need to rush out and buy anything special. All you need is a pail ( I used an old small trash can), water and your favorite additive(s). Some additives for the water you could use are Oxy-Clean, Tea Tree oil, grapefruit seed extract,  or even a little laundry soap.

Come wash day, simply take your pail and pour it into the wash. This works on both top loaders and front loaders. On front loaders, the water simply drains straight out so no worry of water overflowing. Then run your first water only rinse. You will notice, after you have that first rinse (if your crazy like me and like to smell your dipes each step of the way) that your diapers smell amazingly cleaner already. Then continue with your normal wash routine.

If your curious what I use, here it is:

1 bucket of water
1/4 scoop Oxy-Clean
1/2 cap full tea tree oil
about 2 table spoons laundry detergent

and picture of my soaking diapers in their wet pail

These amounts can vary however you'd like. Its just what I like to do. Rest assured, I do NOT measure things out exactly each time. I'm a "lets see what this does" type of girl ;)

The old wet pail has made its way in my home and has been a fabulous new addition to my washing routine. I believe in this case, and many cases, just cause its old doesn't mean its broke! I like the wet pail and you just may too! Let me know in comments what you think and if you decide to give the wet pail a try !

Saturday, November 13, 2010

RLR Stripping with a Front Loader Washing Machine

Awe! The joys of stripping cloth diapers! I used to strip using Dawn dish detergent, but those were the days of a top loading washer. I now have a nifty HE Front Loader which I LOVE! However it does change some of my old cloth diapering washing routine. For one, I can not use dawn dish detergent any more due to the fact that it suds like crazy and Im not interested in ruining my Nice HE washer. Ive heard rumors of RLR working wonders so I decided to give it a try.
Last week I purchased some RLR from Moms Milk Boutique because they had free shipping and I love that!

It arrived yesterday. I decided to document my experience step by step for you all to see. Hopefully this will help someone out there :)

My first concern was the fact that I wasn't sure if it is safe for my HE washer. After all this is the reason Im trying it out instead of Dawn dish soap for stripping.

So I decided to check the "Suds Level" of this stuff.
I placed a pinch of RLR into a plastic container then added water. Here are the results:

There were definitely suds there. Not as much as say Dawn dish soap, but yes, there were indeed suds and they really did not dissipate like I had hoped.
My curiosity then peaked and I wondered what my HE detergent would do under the same test. There were suds upon impact of the running water but they immediately dissipated.

What was left within seconds was a filmy residue.

Then I had to try one more thing. I had a all natural soap which boasted little to now sudsing so I HAD to try this one to.
I had similar results as the HE made detergent. It suds upon impact of the running water but quickly dissipated but not quite as fast. But still fast.

I was once again left with a filmy residue in the water.

After doing all this, I did decide to still use RLR with my front loader, however I still had some concerns after seeing the clear difference in "Suds Level"

Step 1:
Load washer with your diapers. I decided to go ahead and put all my dirty diapers in as well as my clean ones. The directions said to "wash as usual with detergent..." so I did :)

Step 2:
Pour RLR into your powder section of your HE Washers Cleaner dispenser.

Step 3:
Start your wash as usual. I spent a good amount of time watching for sudsing after this. There never was a significant amount that I could see.

Step 4:
Do as many extra rinses as you need till your rinse water runs clear. Here is what I was seeing after 2 extra rinses after the initial wash cycle.

I ended up doing 3 rinses on top of the original regular wash cycle.

The results:
Diapers looked and smelled nice. I had a few "shot" diapers that I was pretty certain were way past what stripping could do for them. I was right. They still had funk smell issues. However my regular stash of diapers that had regular funk smell going on, they were nice and clean and smelled like... nothing. Just clean.

So all in all, I'd say mission accomplished. I don't think its a miracle cleaner. It does help with up keep and when you start getting a smell even though you've been washing regularly. You should remember that the best way to prevent funk is regular upkeep of your diapers. DON'T LET DIRTY DIAPERS SIT! I will be posting more on this really soon.

About this blog

To blog or not to blog? This is the question that has been going through my mind for ages now! With so much great content already out there, I wondered if I should even bother. But, as you can see, Ive decided to blog! I will be writing what you need to know about cloth diapering and other natural parenting tips that I have learned along the way.

I have been cloth diapering now for nearly 5 years and it has been a wonderful journey that introduced me to all kinds of other natural parenting treasures. Just 5 years back I had no children and had no idea cloth diapering had been modernized. I thought no way would I breast feed and baby wearing, well lets just say I thought that was when you put your baby under your jacket on a cold night. :)

Ive come FAR since those days and you can often find me rambling on to a stranger at the store about the the benefits of natural parenting. Be it cloth diapering, breast feeding or baby-wearing, I cant help but share. After all, I once found my self in a place of not knowing. I'm so glad to have had wonderful women to share with me the joys of natural parenting. These are the things I hope to give back.

I am Crystal. A wife, friend and mother to 3 beautiful children. I am the inventor and owner of Tushie Ties Cloth Diapers.

I look forward to where this blog will take us.