(without losing my mind)
If there is one aspect of parenting I excel at, I’d say this whole cloth-diapering-thing is my mic-drop-worthy task. Generally speaking, when I tell someone (crossing guard, gym babysitter, rando grandma-like lady in the grocery store line) I cloth diaper my two babies, I get a dropped jaw and shaken head in sympathy as a response.
Which is totally unneeded.
Here’s a little secret: the diaper laundry is my favorite household chore.
How is this possible, you may wonder. Maybe I’m just a masochist in the homemaking sense. The reality is no other task is as satisfying as seeing and smelling the sloppy mess that is a wet bag go into the wash, and taking it out of the dryer a few hours later clean, white, and fresh smelling. Nothing compares.
I’m not an expert by any means, and my wash routine came from fluffloveuniversity.com, but I’ll share with you how a typical diaper wash day goes at my house.
The wetbag is stored at the top of our basement stairs, on a nail. I usually have a smaller wetbag in the bathroom with the diapers our daughter has pooped in too (poops from food, not just milk, must be rinsed off in the toilet before going in the wash). I take them down to the wash, dump all of it in our top-loading HE machine. The first several months of cloth diapering I would have to go through the mess to pull the inserts out of the pocket diapers I use, but I finally learned to extract the inserts the second I change a diaper. That way I don’t have to touch a single soiled diaper.
I use the “Quick-Wash” setting, set all the buttons to ‘hot’ ‘heavy’ and ‘high-spin’ (oddly sexual seeing those settings all typed out). I put it a full cap of detergent (usually Kirkland Ultra, but sometimes Tide). That’s another thing; I am dealing with literal sh*t and piss, so using “gentle chemical free detergent” is not happening in this house. Give me the chemicals, the science please. I totally am in sync with keeping unneeded chemicals out of things I ingest, but I trust the folks over at Kirkland Signature as experts on what works to get my clothes actually clean and I say to them; “more chemicals, please!’
After about an hour of the quick wash, I go back downstairs, add another capful of the evil-chemical-filled detergent and do a “Heavy Duty” wash. This wash takes about an hour and a half. Then, depending on the weather and usually my motivation level, I dry the diapers. Hanging them on the line to dry outside is ideal. I know I was just bragging on science but the Sun does wonders on cloth diapers. It bleaches them and makes all those annoying little poop stains fade out. It’s been awhile since I’ve sunned diapers, though, so usually, I just put them in the dryer and in an hour or so I bring them upstairs to fold.
Folding the diapers is tedious. It’s the hardest, thus easiest to blow off task. I try to avoid procrastinating on it by allowing myself the most ultimate of guilty pleasures while stuffing the diapers: Real Housewives of (insert whichever city is in season here).
It never fails, as I shove microfibers and cotton into the pockets of the diapers, I smell them deeply and marvel. I pretend I’m in a Tide Commerical. That dad who’s daughter wears a princess dress everyday? HA! I put the diapers through the wringer every other day, covered in so much nasty and since I don’t want to put off the readers here, I won’t attempt to describe them, but anyway they come out smelling and looking like new! (usually. I’d say there’s a 95% success rate. The odd diaper or two has a stain. I’m okay with that)
Once diapers are folded and on display on the bookcase I use to store them, I channel Marie Kondo and thank them. The bulk of my stash is Kawaii brand, and I’ve used them practically every day for two years straight. They now cover both my daughter and my sons butts over and over again and they do an incredibly good job at it. Every diaper washed represents up to 25 cents saved of a disposable diaper I didn’t use. Every diaper washed and dried and folded up represents a full circle, deeply satisfying.
How do I cloth diaper 2 under 2? I just do it. It’s just laundry, after all. A double-wash every 2-3 days. Anyone can do laundry, and this does increase the load, but like I said before, there is something rewarding about this ritual of wash-dry-fold that hasn’t faded over the years.
My daughter is going to turn two next week and I’ve planned on toilet training her very soon. Going down to just one fluff butt to cover means less diapers and until H is six months old or so, I won’t need to worry about rinsing poop off, which will be awesome. But, all in all, the cloth diaper ‘lifestyle’ (haha what a lifestyle, I just have to giggle at that) is one that works great and I’m a naturally messy, disorganized scatterbrained lady so if I can do it, I know you can too.