When my first baby was on his way in 2015, I wanted to do the absolute best for him. It was an overload of DIY organic baby purees, the complications of cloth diapers and the unfortunate discovery that toxins were in everything. The entirety of this information was so overwhelming that I changed nothing and used products that I now know are not the best for my growing family.
Live and learn.
It wasn't until my second was a year and a half old that I started really digging in and baby stepping my way into cleaner living.
The one allusive thing that's been challenging is diapering and with my 3rd baby, I'm determined to figure it out!
Granted, my boys grew up in a well known brand of diapers covered in the scent of what we're told babies should smell like. At the time, green diapers were rare and expensive. Greenwashed diapers were just coming on the scene with my second and were being endorsed by celebrities I wasn't quite sold on.
Now that we've had our third, green diapers are easier to find, but they still come with a price tag and blowouts seem to be a recurring issue. Cloth diapers are hailed for their anti-blowout design, so I figured I'd give it another go.
Here's the issue though: cloth diapers don't like plant-based laundry detergents, or so general consensus seems to say.
You can't boast about cloth diapers being a healthier alternative to chemical-laden disposable diapers when cloth diapers are being washed in chemical-laden detergents. If detergents "wash off" in the washer, then why do we have eczema approved detergents? There's always something left behind, leaving behind fun ingredients known for causing respiratory and skin irritations, endocrine disruption and even carcinogens.
Getting lost in this search led to me to believe safe cloth diapering wasn't possible and my laundry soap was highly not recommended, though no one could absolutely say why except that it was a "soap" and not a detergent.
Blowouts made me circle back.
I purchased a plant-based detergent that was recommended on multiple cloth diapering boards and blogs and was sorely disappointed.
I popped my fingers and got to work. Here's my cloth diapering routine:
Before I get started, I have a disclosure, apparently cloth diapering has a lot to do with your machine and your water hardness. I have a Whirlpool top loader and 50pp hard water. If you have a different washer, then further research is needed to understand your washing machine. I don't have answers at this time if your water hardness is different than mine.
I cloth diaper part time, so when I wash, I'm washing around 8 diapers at a time.
I use a bamboo liner
to catch poop so it's less I have to clean off.
On wash day, the liners and diapers go into the washer, cold setting, heavy, deep water wash and 2 rinses. They get a squirt of laundry soap (link below) and about 1/4 cup of the laundry booster below.
When done, I check the diapers for any residual that might need to be scrubbed off. I use this toothbrush
and the stain remover below for any residue.
The diapers get another round in the washer with the hottest setting, normal wash and 1 rinse. A squirt of laundry soap and 1/4-3/4 cup of laundry booster (harder water will need more booster on the second wash).
I dry on the lowest setting twice.
For the most part, I don't worry about stains. They don't cling to the diapers like they can the inserts. If they concern you, then just put them in the sun for a bit until the stain fades.
Why do I need a laundry booster? You might, you might not. If you're water isn't hard, you don't need a booster. Harder water needs some softening to it. I add some extras to mine:
1 box of Borax
1 box of Super Washing Soda
4 1/2 cups Epsom Salt
1 1/4 cup Baking Soda
30 drops DiGize
(FYI, this one smells funky to a lot of people, but you can't smell it after the wash, it helps break down the soil on the diapers)
I use a large KitchenAid mixer to mix this, but you can use a large bowl. Divide in half if you need to mix in smaller batches. Store in an airtight container, preferably glass. Use 1/4-3/4 cup per load.
Cut cleansing soap into quarters, put one quarter in squirt bottle and top with filtered water. Let sit for a few days before using. This lasts FOREVER! Squirt onto stain and rub in with bamboo toothbrush before putting in the washer.
Divide laundry soap and household cleaner (this is plant-based and safe to be used with laundry, it boosts the cleaning power) evenly between glass pump bottles. Swirl bottles around until mixed.
Note: I usually double this and it fits in 3 glass pump bottles.
Use 1 squirt per load (yes, that's it!)
Here's a question I'm often asked: Are essential oils safe to use with babies?
I can't answer this question. Essential oils are a personal choice for parents as are any products they use on and around their babies. All I can speak of is my personal use of essential oils. I choose these oils
and their household cleaning line with their commitment to the highest standards. This means they control the process from the seeds they use to the bottling of the end product. There are no chemicals anywhere near these plants or in the distillation process. Because of this, I know that the oils I'm using are 100% plants.
If you chose to use a different different essential oils and/or cleaners, I cannot speak to their effectiveness or safety so I don't recommend using my method if you choose a different brand.
If your concern is safety, I would start by reading the labels on the products your currently using. Simply do a web search for "dangers of _____" and start searching the dangers of the ingredients to determine if there are any. If there are dangers, you have to decide if you're okay with using them.
Clean living doesn't have to be hard, but it can be overwhelming. If you want to learn more about switching out your products for clean alternatives, text CLEAN to 318.367.1746 and I'll baby step you through the process.
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