Sunday, September 10, 2017


Call us crazy, but Tyler and I are cloth diapering. Partly because we feel like we need to do at least a small something to leave Sadie with some semblance of a planet and decrease our contribution to climate change when possible. But if we're honest, we have chosen to cloth diaper mostly because I am entirely too cheap to use disposables. After I've got the full stash of diapers, we will have spent maybe a grand on the whole set up to last us the entire time Sadie is in diapers...with disposables I'd spend about a grand in one YEAR.

We use gDiapers, and we both love them for the convenience but also for how stinkin' cute she looks in them!

In the interest of vicariousity, I thought I'd share my current WR (wash routine, for all of you who aren't up on the cloth diapering lingo). It is definitely a unique one and it's safe to say one that would make a lot of the moms in the CD (cloth diapering) facebook groups cringe.

The washing machine provided to us by the school. It's huge and awesome. Only glitch: not a word of helpful English on it.

Step 1: Rinse

After 2 or 3 days, it's time to wash the cloth liners that go into Sadie's diapers. Because they're covered in poop and pee, I rinse them a couple times before actually washing them.

10 points to anyone who can identify the "rinse" button. 

We were given a "manual" that translated what all the buttons on the machine mean, but little more clarification on how to use the machine. You'd think that with my washing diapers every two days I would have the buttons memorized by now, but I have to look up the guide in the manual every time. The second black button says "rinse" and the far left grey button sets the temperature to hot. The second grey button from the right sets it to "stubborn stains" so that it gives them an extra soak.

That takes an hour and 14 minutes.

Step 2: Wash only

The washer sings a happy little song when the cycle is finished and now it is time to wash. I fill the little cup with bleach-free, fragrance-free, sensitive skin powdered detergent (as is often recommended by the CD groups) and the first black button sets the wash cycle.

I use the grey buttons to set it to hot water and stubborn stains again and go about my business for another hour and 12 minutes. Now this is where I get confused because the manual says that the first black button "is for wash only," so I interpret that to mean that the machine suds up and that's it. No rinsing or spinning. I base this on the fact that usually when I just wash a regular load of clothes, this is what I find after I hear the little song at the end of the cycle:

But when the machine sings its little tune at the end of a stubborn stains cycle, this is what I get:

I dunno. So just to be safe, I move on to

Step 3: Rinse again

This time just on cold and non-stubborn stains. I get this:

A wash tub full of water and diapers. It doesn't even drain! I don't understand! Who wants to dig their hand around in a tub full of lukewarm water to fish out their soggy clothes? So, I move on to...

Step 4: Spin

This is kind of cool, actually. I can spin the clothes up to 5 times, so when I'm doing a normal load of non-diaper laundry, I have to wash, spin once, rinse, and then spin again, but I spin it 5 times because we have no dryer so I need to get as much moisture out of the load as possible.

Step 5: Dry

Now, the island where we live is ridiculously humid, so it does seem a bit illogical to dry clothes on a line outside. And during the summer months, you're right. Even with the sun in full force the humidity often means it can take a day or two for a load of laundry to dry. However, with cloth diapers, it's recommended to dry them in the sun because the sun will naturally bleach the poop stains out of the liners. That's a fact I never thought I'd need to know, but it's pretty cool to put out stained liners and bring in shiny white cloths at the end of it all.

Only problem is, as you can see in the photos above, my wash routine takes so long that often I miss the sun and end up hanging the liners out overnight.

Meh. She's got something to poop on at the end of (or in this case at the beginning of) the day.

Hardcore cloth diaperers would probably comment to tell me that I simply MUST test the hardness of my water and adjust my routine accordingly. Or that I should play with "the stew" (the ratio of water to suds to diapers in the wash) to make sure....actually I'm not sure what having the right stew does. It doesn't really matter because I'm an international cloth diapering mom, which means that even if my "stew" was imbalanced, I wouldn't know how to fix it because my machine speaks Korean. And even if my water was too hard or too soft, I probably wouldn't be able to find the tablets needed to get the right pH because that's not a priority in this culture. What's a priority to us is that our daughter has a clean place to do her business and we can have a clean conscience about the impact her bathroom habits have on the planet. For that reason, I'm A-OK with be a mediocre cloth diapering mama.

Vicariously yours,

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