Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cloth Diapering and my homemade detergent!!!!

So we cloth diaper. Some people might think it's gross or a hassle, but for all the money we save, let me tell you, it is SO worth it! So here is how we do it, lots of pictures on this post and my homemade detergent and even a big foamy mess where my husband came to the rescue!!!

We also know what the on and off peak hours of our power company are. We wait for the off peak hours to wash the diapers and it saves even more money. We also wash all the dishes and clothes during the off peak hours. Our on peak hours are from 12pm-7pm. By using most of our electricity during off peak times we keep our power bill down. Contact your power company to find out what your peak hours are and save money!!

The diaper brand we use is bum genius. I am not advertising or getting paid to say that we use them, I just prefer how easy they are.

Where we put the diapers. It's outside on our back porch and stinkyness isn't an issue. We do use regular diapers overnight because our babies pee a TON for some reason at night so we put those there to go to the big trash can. My husband does that, I mean it's not a LONG walk to the big trash can but its all rocks and he's so nice to take them out for me.
Actually, he does most of the diaper stuff. I make the detergent and sometimes put them in the washer and I change the kids, but he cleans out the diaper pail and refills the wipes and lays the diapers out to dry after they are washed. You do not dry your diapers or cloth wipes in the dryer.
You can lay them on the floor with the fan on over night to dry them out, or if it's nice and sunny, lay them out in the sun, it bleaches out stains if there are any :)
We forgot to pull the diapers out last night and it wasn't super sunny so my husband laid them out to dry on the deck. I know this seems like a lot of work, but it's not that much more when you get a system and seriously the money you save is AMAZING!!!!

Here is where we store the diapers, I know, classy and hidden right?

Next to my hot pink shoes is the first style of diaper. It's stored in the brown bin, stuffed and ready to go, totally unsnapped because our kids are in what is a normal size 4 now.

These are the 2 sizes of inserts, they both come with one exterior diaper when you buy a diaper. So you don't have to buy all the inserts and shell separately, make sense? But they do need to be removed from the diaper before washing. (It's easy, you hold the clean part of the diaper exterior and shake the inserts into the bucket)

The larger insert comes with 2 snap options to make it smaller or one segment to be thicker for more absorbency

For our kids, we don't snap the insert. We stack them like so for maximum absorbency.

Here is the empty diaper shell with the inserts set up how we want it to be absorbent for our baby girl(lots of absorbency in the middle)

And here is how you stuff it, easy! Just grab the top and shove them in the hole and straighten out how you like.
Remember I was talking about shaking out the inserts into the pail? You want to grab that nice clean yellow part on the left side of the picture and hold it over the pail and shake and the inserts will fall our of the place where you stuffed them in! Easy and not gross or dirty.
Now, if your baby does poo, you just take the diaper to the toilet and tip the mess out before putting the diaper in a pail. It there is a blowout, which does happen, we tend to hose off the diapers outside and spray shout on the diaper so there aren't stains or residues.
Here is a regular full size diaper snapped up to fit a smaller kid and snapped on the side to show you how easy it is once you've done the diaper stuffing, its just like changing a normal diaper!
We choose to use cloth wipes because we can just throw those in with the diapers and it also saves a ton of money!
I buy the fabric at goodwill on their half off Saturday sales, its the kind of fleece that doesn't fray so you don't need to sew them, just cut up a cute cheapo blanket and you are set!
Recipe for wipes:
2 squirts of baby wash, 1/2 inch COLD water in wipes container, and about 2 teaspoons olive oil, mix it up in the container and take stacks of wipes and stick them in the solution, squeeze them, then do some more stacks until all the solution is absorbed. Then stack your wipes back up like Ken did here!
Ken also mentioned that he puts the wipes container into the dishwasher once a week to keep bacteria away!!!

This is the other style of diaper we have, stored in the blue bin 

Instead of stuffing this diaper, it has two inserts that are attached on one end each as seen here. The only problem with these is that lint gets into the opening of the insert flap and there have been a few times I thought it was poo. Never fear, Ken came to the rescue and it was only lint. Thank goodness!

This diaper is nice because it has seams that you can fold, as I have done here. I folded the first flap that will be in the front of the diaper in half then just pulled the other insert right over. This folding system is great because this is set for great absorbency for boys, or I could fold both flaps/wings/inserts whatever you want to call it in half and have maximum absorbency for girls.

It has the same snap system as the other kind. These diapers can go from newborn up to 35 lbs
 so they are great for our foster kids! especially because we mainly do babies!

Now, how to clean them!

Mix equal parts washing soda and borax in a container. We use an old Gatorade container.
I'm about to make another batch, I only have to do this maybe once every 3 months. And it makes this soooooo cheap!!( as in $5-10 dollars a year detergent. AWESOME!!!!)

You only need a tablespoon of the powder for each load.
Now for the wet ingredients, these go in an empty detergent container.
Now I just kind of eye this part because I've found it works just as well when you eye it as when you measure it. But you need Original Dawn blue Dish soap to strip diapers.
Stripping a diaper means that it's not as absorbent or a bit crusty, so you just wash all the diapers and inserts and squirt dawn original dish soap in for about 6 seconds. ( I know, I measure in squeezing seconds, I'm awesome like that)

This is the level that I put the special dawn soap in. I know sorry, not a real measurement, but that's how I role.
(Seriously I didn't follow the directions to the T in my organic chemistry class and I got the highest percentage of actual aspirin out of everyone else in the class who measured to the T, so there you have it. I had an 85% yield while most people got around 47%)
REAL rules for this recipe are:
For every 1 Liter container, use 3-4 tablespoons original dawn dish soap
1 tablespoon shout- I like the free and clear but I don't know if it really has less intense ingredients or not, I just know it works.
Then fill the rest of the liter container with water.
But I'm not using a liter container.... so I just guesstimated.
Maybe you can see a huge mess coming.... I did not:( 
Now I'm adding non concentrated soap. This is a bit of a new experiment because I haven't used this powerful special dawn but I'm excited, I think it will make a difference. Also I basically got it for free because I coupon.
Here is the level of both the dawn soaps.
Here's where I made a big mistake.
Ken said it would have been better to put water in first, instead of soap..... but that was when I yelled for help as I was watching a volcano of my awesome new soap explode all over the sink!
So here is Ken, using a slow water flow to not lose all my soap. He's a life saver. You should have seen the sink before he stepped in.....
And here is where I stopped the water level.
This is obviously highly concentrated soap, so you just use the lowest line for small to medium loads of diapers, and if you have a really big load, use the medium line.
Then put the tablespoon of powder solution inside the washer.
Wash the diapers in hot water on a double rinse in super heavy duty mode.
Here is how we store our chemicals since we are foster parents, and our laundry room locks.
And here is my Gatorade container full now with the tablespoon on top next to my newly mixed diaper solution. We also have regular detergent for normal clothes, but sometimes I will wash the kids clothes with the diaper combo and it seems to get rid of grease stains.
About once a month we wash our washer with hot water and bleach. Just to be safe and get rid of any odd smells that could creep in.
Full Recipe:
For a 1 liter bottle:
3-4 tablespoons ultra dawn dish soap, 1 tablespoon shout
For powder mixture:
equal parts borax and washing soda
To wash the diapers:
Take the pail and dump the diapers in the washer
 (make sure they are mixed around and not on one side of the washer or your washer will make a scary banging sound)
Put the dishwasher level one higher than what you have.
(example, if you have a small load, put it on medium water)
Put the settings on Super Hot
Add Second Rinse
Put setting on heavy doubly duty if you can
To dry:
Lay flat all diapers and cloth wipes on the ground with the fan on, or dry them outside in the sun on a line or on a table or something
To Strip the Diapers:
Use a 6 second squeeze of blue dawn dish soap with no other detergents or powders. Dry the same way.
Wipe Recipe:
1/4-1/2 inch water in your wipes container
2 squirts baby body wash
 2 or so teaspoons of olive oil
swirl around mixture, put small stacks of wipes in, squeeze out the excess and repeat until you have used all the solution, then put your mini stacks of wipes back in.

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