Learning how to wash cloth diapers by hand is essential. In addition to considering cost, environmental impact and what will be most comfortable for your baby's skin, you should also consider what is involved in laundering or disposing of all those used diapers.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers
There are as many different ways to wash cloth diapers as there are types of cloth diapers on the market. In time, and through experience, parents of a cloth-diapered baby come up with the method that works best for them.
There are some things that are basic. After changing your baby, wet diapers can be tossed directly into the diaper pail until wash day. Soiled baby cloth diapers should first be rinsed into the toilet. Some parents choose to do this by swishing, others prefer to use a sprayer that attaches to the toilet, making the process much cleaner and neater.
After rinsing, the soiled diaper goes into the diaper pail until it's time to wash. When wash day arrives, you can just toss the diapers into the washer. Always use a very mild detergent on your baby's diapers. Avoid fragrances, brighteners, additives and softeners. These things can be irritating to baby's skin, and can also leave a residue on the diapers that will make the diapers repel moisture instead of absorbing it. To avoid stains, run the diapers through a cold wash first, then through a hot cycle. Some parents prefer to do an extra rinse cycle. Many parents find that washing diapers is much easier than they thought.
Proper Use of Disposable Diapers
While considerably more expensive than cloth, disposable diapers are easier to deal with when they're dirty. Wet diapers can be taken off and disposed of in a trash receptacle. For soiled diapers, first empty any solid waste into the toilet, then fold up the diaper and put it in the trash.
Odor-absorbing trash can liners are a must, especially in the summer months. You may find it helpful to have a separate, small trash bin with a top that closes securely to hold used diapers until they can be picked up. Don't keep bags of soiled diapers or your diaper bin outdoors, where they will attract animals and insects.
While this may be convenient, there is the question of where the diapers go after you throw them away. Critics of disposables express concern over the amount of space disposable diapers take up in landfills, as well as the amount of time it takes for them to break down.
Yet another alternative for parents are combination diapers. These diapers have a cloth outer cover with a waterproof liner and flushable inserts. When you change your baby, you remove the insert, which can then be flushed or thrown away. The outer cover is washed the same as cloth diapers.
No matter which type of diapers you choose for your baby, proper laundering and disposal is essential for keeping both your baby and the environment healthy.
Whether they're piling up in landfills or getting washed every week, diapers present environmental challenges.
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