Repelling

leaky #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

This is the first mailbox Monday of 2012. On Monday, I publish a reader submitted question, and ask my readers to weigh in! I’ve only received one other submission, but I’d love to continue Mailbox Mondays into 2012. If you have a question, please send it in!

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Lindsey says:

In desperation I used Triple Cream on my baby and continued to cloth diaper her. I knew I shouldn’t but I did it anyway. Now they are leaking. I have stripped them so many times but still they leak. My prefolds are not affected, just my pockets with the fleece.

Thank you for your help!

Hi Lindsey! You said you have stripped them, but you didn’t say what you used to strip, so forgive me if I’m telling you something you’ve already tried!

You could try using dawn dish soap directly on the diaper inners, scrubbing with a nail brush (or similar.) Then rinse them as much as you can in the sink before putting them through hot wash after hot wash until you don’t see bubbles.

What I would also try is a soak in the hottest water you can get, with a scoop of Oxiclean, followed by (you guessed it) hot wash after hot wash.

If they are still repelling, it may be zinc oxide causing the leaking. Soak the diapers in white vinegar, then rinse like crazy!

Do you have other ideas for Lindsey?

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getting diaper cream out of #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

Every Monday, I answer questions readers have asked, and ask my other readers to weigh in too.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Lindsey says:

Hello! I use a mix of pocket diapers (mostly Fuzzibunz) and prefolds/covers. My daughter had a bad case of diaper rash and in the search for a cure I used Desitin, Balmex and Triple Paste on her and continued to use cloth. I had read about those diaper creams being a no-no with cloth but I just hate to use disposables. Well, lesson learned. Now my pocket diapers are leaking. I have stripped and stripped with no effect. I’ve also scrubbed them individually with dish soap and stripped again. Do you have any advice on how to get the diaper cream out of the pocket diapers?

Thank you so much!

Oh noes! I hope the diaper rash is all cleared up, and of course you know now to use a thin layer of “cloth safe” diaper rash cream, or use fleece liners!

You said you have already tried scrubbing with dawn; my first thought would be to put them in a sink full of very (very) hot water, and put dawn directly on the areas where the cream has gotten onto the diapers. Scrub the insides and outsides of the pockets with a nail brush and rinse, rinse rinse.

If you’ve already done this and they are still repelling, it may be the zinc oxide that’s causing it. Try soaking the pockets in white vinegar, then rinsing them again in hot water.

If this takes care of the repelling, but there’s still some discoloration, try hanging them in the sun while they are still wet.

Has anyone else had repelling due to diaper rash cream? What worked for you?




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microfiber stink & #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

Have a question about cloth diapers? Every Monday, I answer reader questions, and also ask for your advice!

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Sif says:

I am expecting and have decided to cloth diaper my baby. I have heard much about the problems that can develop with microfiber such as repelling and smell, and I was wondering if I should just be overly cautious and not buy any microfiber to avoid this altogether. I do not have hard water where I live and so hopefully if I do invest in some microfiber I won’t have too many problems with it?

Yes, microfiber inserts are notorious for being stinkier than their natural fiber counterparts! I’ve battled some microfiber stink (and won) and I still wouldn’t let that deter you from using microfiber. It’s affordable, easy to find and easy to use.

I was finding that about every 1-2 months, I needed to wash just the inserts with about 1/4 cup of bleach (for a full load) and then rinse, rinse rinse until the water was clean. A few months ago, I started using a small amount of Oxiclean in every load (I have soft water & use about 1/4 the lowest line on the scoop to a full load of diapers) and it seems to have solved my problems!

That said, I love natural fiber inserts too, and I love it when they come with a diaper. However, I haven’t gone out of my way to spend the money to replace microfiber with natural fibers, or to avoid diapers that only come with microfiber.

So how about the rest of you? How do you feel about microfiber? Have you dealt with the stinkies? How did you fix it?


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>

cloth diaper detergent

In my opinion, wash routine and detergent are the biggest hurdle in cloth diapering.  My personal motto is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  If you have a detergent and wash routine that are working for you, stick with it.  After trying many different detergents, I’ve been using about 1/4 the lowest load line of Tide powder, with an extra rinse.  About once a month, I notice a slight ammonia smell or funk to my inserts, so I wash just the inserts with a dab of bleach, and rinse until the water is clean and the bleach smell is gone.

So why am I messing with it?  I was sucked in by the new Rockin’ Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer, thinking that maybe by using it, I could eliminate the monthly/semi-monthly bleaching.  I decided to also buy a bag of the mighty mighty marshmallow classic rock detergent to use along with it.  Lucky for you, I bought an extra bag of each to give away to a reader!

rockin green scoop

magnetic measuring spoon magnetic rockin green scoop

I also snagged one of the magnetic measuring scoops that sticks right to the washer!

mighty mighty marshmallow classic rock

I don’t know if the mighty mighty marshmallow smells exactly like marshmallows, but it smells sweet and yummy!

soaking diapers overnight

The Funk Rock package suggests first soaking the diapers overnight in 3T of Rockin’ Green, so that’s what I did.  I followed that up with a full wash/double rinse, and at least two more full washes/double rinses.

funk rock ammonia bouncer

Next, I opened up the funk rock.  The package says to initially use 4T and soak 30-60 minutes.

ready to rock

I soaked for about two hours, then followed with a full wash/double rinse, and two more full wash/double rinses.

getting ready to soak

After that, the diapers stunk.  Not like ammonia or funk, but like poop.  Like they hadn’t been washed.  I did another wash with 2T of Rockin’ Green, with more full wash/double rinses.  In all, I had been washing/soaking for a full 24 hours+.  I did at least 8 or more full washes, all with double rinses.  I reviewed a sample of Rockin’ Green back in April, and learned that you need to soak and rinse like crazy when first switching.  That the switch can bring all the funk to the surface.
 
To be honest, after a full day of washing (and this was only half of my diapers!) I was ready to throw in the towel.  I was sniffing them after every wash to see if it was getting any better, but it wasn’t.
 

stinky diapers waiting to be washed in tide

So, at the time I’m writing this at 10:40 P.M., my stinky diapers are being washed in Tide.  Hopefully the detergent police don’t come after me, but I won’t stray again as long as it’s working for me!
 
We have mountain spring well water, a water softener and an HE washer.  Even if you have exactly the same, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  Unfortunately, that’s just how washing goes!  So, even though this didn’t work for me, it may work for you.  Who knows, it I’d kept washing for another day (or three) maybe it would have worked out.  Right now, I don’t care to find out.  I’m having a moment where I’d like to pretend my laundry room doesn’t exist!  I’m having flashbacks to a month of constant washing battling stinkies!

I just want to be clear that Rockin’ Green has worked wonders for so many people, especially the Hard Rock version for those with hard water.  I still wholehearedly recommend trying Rockin’ Green if you’re having trouble.  It just isn’t the right detergent for me!
 
Giveaway: I have another 45/90 load bag of Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Mighty Mighty Marshmallow scent and a full-size bag of Funk Rock to give away.  Combined retail value is $26.90.



giveaway prize

 
Here’s how to enter: All entries go in the form below.  Mandatory entries are name & email addressOptional bonus entry for following this blog.  Just like last time, you pick GFC, RSS, Email, “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.  I want you to choose what will get you to come back and keep reading!  Especially with 5 days of huge giveaways coming up  with the Merry Fluffy Christmas Event and several more diaper giveaways after that!


I will accept entries until Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 9:00 P.M. Eastern. I will select a winner using random.org’s true random number generator and notify him/her by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before the prize is forfeited and a new winner is chosen. View my giveaway rules page for complete details. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.


I love comments, but comments do not count as entries. Feel free to comment about detergent/wash routines, or just to remind yourself that you entered!  Post will be updated daily with the # of entries received.

Please note: This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or approved by, nor affiliated with Rockin’ Green or any retailer.

# of entries received as of November 30th at Giveaway Close: 197

https://spreadsheets.google.com/embeddedform?formkey=dEtuMktfbHZOUXd3WWxoOGNRS2V4cWc6MQ
 
FTC compliance: I paid normal retail prices for all items, I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.

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>This may be long, but it’s very relevant and I want to get my entire story out there.

I’ve mentioned before that detergent is a hot button issue for me because it was the only thing that prevented me from cloth diapering earlier.  So, I’ll start from the beginning.

When I chose the diapers I wanted to try, I knew I wanted to start with just a few to see how it went.  I also knew that I needed a “safe” detergent.  Googling led me to a chart with stars, that rated detergents based on their ingredients.  The one I was looking at rated detergents from 1 to 4 red stars.  None of the “4 star” detergents were available at any of our grocery stores, Target, Wal Mart, or anywhere else I could think to check.

So, I started looking into ordering some.  At the time of my research, there were 4 or 5 detergents that I could order online, that had 4 red stars/thumbs up ratings.  I eliminated the detergents that were reported to give babies burns, as well as those with so-so reviews.

Now, keep in mind that I’m cheap frugal, so my maximum price for detergent was $2.99 for a 32 load bottle, and I’d only pay that much if we desperately needed it.  My “stock up” price was closer to free, or pennies.

A single bottle of the “thumbs up” detergent was about $12, then add shipping.  I could potentially buy a case to bring the price per bottle down a bit, but yikes.  All this for 3 diapers I didn’t even know if I’d like?  So, that’s where it ended.  I gave up on cloth diapering.  I couldn’t make 3 diapers a $75 experiment.

When my son’s rashes (clearly caused by disposable diapers since they disappeared when we switched to cloth) were so bad that it hurt to look at, I decided I was going to do this darn it!  One way or another.

My poor husband searched high and low at every store within a 30 mile radius, in at least 3 cities and two states.  He finally found a 4 star/thumbs up detergent at an Organic store we had just discovered.  He bought it and I ordered my diapers.

I googled the chart again (I hadn’t bookmarked it) and was shocked to see that the detergent he had bought had only a single red star, not four!  What?!  Had I made a mistake??  It didn’t take me too long to figure out that there are two different charts out there that look very much the same, but one uses 1-4 red stars, and the other uses 1-5 stars: red, black or gold.

I was upset.  I had ordered the diapers and was anxiously awaiting their arrival.  It had been 5 years now since my first interest in cloth diapering (before my daughter was born.)  I turned to the ladies in a cloth diaper group I belong to, to get advice and find out what they did.  They all recommended one work-at-home-mom made detergent.  Shipping was included, and while still quite expensive to me, it was cheaper than the alternative, and highly recommended.  I ordered it and just washed the diapers in the Method detergent I had while I was waiting for it to arrive.

That WAHM made detergent worked for a while and stopped working after a few months.  I started using Naturoli Soap nuts (another brand of soap nuts are listed on one chart; no soap nuts are listed on the other.)  They stopped working after a while too.  I used a sample of Rockin’ Green that I received, then I began using Tide after seeing it was used successfully by so many Moms.  I figured if it didn’t work on the diapers, I could use it on our clothing, and while far more expensive than my standard detergent, it was still inexpensive compared to others.  The amount of money I had already spent on diaper washing items sitting in my laundry room, was just ridiculous.  I cannot keep spending $15-$20 (or more!) on things that don’t work.   (side note: I’ve also been very successfully using a different WAHM detergent for several days recently.)

So, the charts.  How are they made?  Well, there are common “no-nos” for diaper detergent, including optical whiteners/brighteners, fabric softeners, fragrance and enzymes.  These charts were compiled based on experience, right?  Nope!  They were compiled solely based on what ingredients detergents contain.

How does one get listed on this chart?  Beats me.  I suppose you’d have to contact the maker of the chart with a list of your ingredients, proof that you test regularly to ensure PH balance (or whatever else they are looking for.)  Who knows what else.  The little guy loses again.  Rockin’ Green is probably the biggest name in WAHM detergent, yet it was JUST listed on the charts.  Even so, if you buy scented Rockin’ Green, wave buh-bye to a star (and potentially your warranty.)

Well, they have research to back up the fact that those ingredients would damage diapers, right?  Nope!  In fact, several diaper manufacturers recommend using the standard “no-no” detergents, which contain enzymes.  They say they from their experience they do not damage diapers, and in fact get them clean.

The optical whiteners/brighteners and fabric softeners make sense to me.  They would bind to the fabric of the diapers and potentially cause repelling.  But, worst case, you strip and start over.  Fragrance and enzymes (in  my opinion!) have more to do with the baby’s bottom than with the diapers.  Even in my soft water, I am not usually able to smell the detergent after rinsing, and if I’ve accidentally used too much and can smell it, I rinse again.  My diapers are rinsed clean, and my son’s poor sensitive hiney was never bothered by the enzymes in the detergent either.

It is my humble opinion that someone interested in cloth diapering should find the most highly recommended detergent, which is also affordable, available locally, and that they wouldn’t mind using on their other laundry, should it not work on the diapers.  Use it.  If it works, sweet.  If it doesn’t, well, strip and try again.  You’re out a couple bucks, and can use it on your other laundry.

So what is the problem?  Certain diaper manufacturers may not honor their warranty if you have used a detergent that isn’t “5 stars” on the chart that they recommend. 

Maybe I’m too analytical, but where is the evidence that fragrance (etc.) will damage a part of the diaper that would otherwise be covered under warranty?

How about a controlled study.  Take 30 identical washing machines, supplied with identical water.  30 brand new, identical diapers, each washed with a different detergent 200 times (or whatever they consider to be the lifetime of the diaper.)  In fact, each diaper should be “soiled” from the same “supply” between each washing, right?  Since the ammonia in urine could affect the results.

Photos and scientific testing should be done after every x number of washes to evaluate the elastic, aplix, laundry tabs, inner lining, waterproof outer, and any other part of the diaper that would be covered under warranty.

Only then should they be “allowed” to void a warranty based on the detergent used (quotes around “allowed” because I know they will do whatever they darn well please).  I would think that the bleach they (the company I am thinking of) say is OK to use once per month, would be much more likely to damage diapers than fragrance.  I was discussing this with my husband and he kept interrupting me, outraged.  He said (the man comes out in him here!) it would be like Ford saying that your warranty was void if you didn’t use Shell gasoline.  I said, yeah but if they said that there was an ingredient in Exxon gasoline that would damage your engine…  He said, “Then Exxon should sue them!”  Where’s the proof?

So, what do I do?  Spend potentially hundreds of dollars having pricey “safe” detergents shipped to me, hoping they will work?  What if none of them work?  Warranties don’t cover staining, repelling, stink or my baby’s rash.  Should I just stick with disposables? Or should I find a detergent that works, and stick with it, rules be darned?

I am a strict rule follower, but I chose to be able to cloth diaper my son.  Save his tush, save the earth and save my wallet too.  Unfortunately, that may mean that an issue I’ve had with a couple of diapers, will not be covered under warranty.  The same problem, if experienced by someone using a “5-star” detergent, would be covered.

There were two diapers that are bad enough to be sent in.  Two packages of “safe” detergent would cost about as much as those diapers.  So, I will enjoy my clean, stain and stink-free diapers, my son’s rash-free tush, and all that extra $ in my pocket can buy two new diapers from a different company.

A truly good product will hold up just fine with typical use.  Meaning, average use and washing with a number of detergents that are affordable, and available at any grocery store.  If your product requires delicate handling and pricey detergent, how good is it?

I would love to see fluff on every tush, but if detergent is such a hassle for someone who wants to cloth diaper, it’s not going to help our case in persuading people who are on the fence (or on the other side of it!)

Silent *SCREAM* so I don’t wake my son.  :-)

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