Sunday, November 14, 2010

Common Cloth Diaper Problems

Now even though I love cloth diapering and it has saved time, money and the environment, there are still some problems that I have encountered. In no way do I want anyone to think these problems outweigh all the benefits of CDing. They haven't. But just as there are downsides to using disposable diapers -having to drive to the store or remembering to buy them, blowout issues, chemical and environmental issues - there are downsides to CDing and not addressing them is failing to give an accurate picture.

One of the more common problems when using CDs is how to deal with diaper rash.

When The Good Daughter started cutting teeth, she developed a yeast rash and it lingered and lingered. We had to treat her twice with antibiotics. But we also had to deal with her diapers.

Yeast lives in cloth diapers so you will need to kill the yeast along with treating baby.

To treat baby, I would bathe her in lukewarm water with two very generous handfuls of baking soda. This would help relieve her irritated skin. I would rise her and not soap her up. I would also feed her yogurt twice a day. We also did lots and lost of naked time. We would even let her take a nap naked, having her sleep on several towels.

If the rash was particularly bad I would use Neosporin for overnights and California Baby Diaper Rash Cream and Diaper Area Wash with each change until she was healed.

To treat the diapers, I treat for yeast, treat for hard water (optional, but I live in an area with extremely hard water so it is a good idea to do routinely if you have hard water too) and then strip.

To treat for yeast, I fill the washer with hot water but stop the machine when the water is half full and add 2-3 pots of boiling water and some oxiclean. I wash as normal after that. The hot water will kill the yeast that would otherwise live in the diapers. If you don't want to do the boiling water method, you can also turn up the temperature on your hot water heater, allow it to heat for 10-15 minutes and then run the washer with hot water. I don't know how to change the temp on the water heater, so I do the boiling water.

To treat for hard water, I wash as normal but add a 1/2 to 1 capful of Calgon water softener. I do this once a month now since we have hard water. You can check to see if you have hard water here.

To strip diapers, the most labor intensive part by far, I fill kitchen sink with boiling water and I add a hearty squirt of regular blue Dawn dish detergent. Stir with a spoon to combine soap. Add diapers and submerge in soapy water. Allow the water to cool and you are able to immerse your hands into the warm water. Next, I use a short bristled nail brush with a little Dawn and literally scrub the shit out of the suedecloth, concentrating on areas that seem to be problems, such as the elastic around the legs. I then drain, rinse and wash diapers in the washing machine on a hot wash cycle adding about a 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn. I add one extra rinse and stop half way through to make sure all the soap has been rinsed. If there are no bubbles and the water is not filmy, then continue the rinse and dry as normal. However, if there are bubbles, rinse until gone.

I have stripped with Dawn 3 times I think and have used the Calgon treatment and LB's rash has gotten better. I also switched laundry soap to one that has no additives so it shouldn't leave anything behind.

The reason I had to treat the diapers so much was a combination of the wrong laundry soap, hard water and the initial yeast rash. If you don't have all three then you won't need to do as much work with your diapers.

3 comments:

Jen said...

you might try dunking your diapers in a bathtub of hot water and "swishing" them before doing the time-intensive dawn stripping. I've found that it works pretty well! I had some ammonia issues (after about 19 months) and just dumped some bleach in the washer. I rarely use it at all, but it got everything back to fresh smeelling!

Stephie said...

Do you mind sharing what laundry detergent you use?

The Good Wife said...

Sure thing Stephie. I had been using Arm and Hammer Free since it was the only thing I could find in the store. After the build up issues, I switched to Nellies All Natural Laundry Soda. I ordered it online.

You can see more about good laundry detergent here: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm