It’s time again for Mailbox Mondays! If you have a question (cloth diaper related or not) email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject line!
I have used cloth diapers for my son since birth, and I have made the switch to reusable menstrual products for myself (DivaCup and homemade pantiliners). I clean around the house with old holey socks, washing them a time or two and then tossing them. I rarely set the dinner table with napkins, but I am working on getting a set of cloth dinner napkins. I use a mixture of cloth handkerchiefs and disposable tissues, depending on what I have handy. I wish I could stop buying paper towels, but I usually use them for greasy jobs like cleaning or oiling my cast iron pans, or greasing baking pans. I am afraid to put very greasy items in my washer for fear they would ruin the whole load of wash, or that I would accidentally throw an item with residual grease in the dryer and it would combust. I also have not switched to “family cloth” (cloth TP) in the bathroom, because I think my husband would flip, even if I didn’t make him use it.
My question to you (and other blog readers) is: what reusable products do you use and why; which ones would you like to use, and what is holding you back?
Hi Hannah! Shamefully, I don’t use as many reusable products as I should.
What do I use? Cloth diapers and wipes of course, along with dish cloths and microfiber towels in lieu of paper towels for cleaning and dishes. We also use cloth napkins, reusable mop pads, reusable bags, containers and napkins in my daughter’s lunch box. Even my daughter’s baby alive has gone green.
So, what haven’t I tried that I want to? I’ve been wanting Made in the Red Barn unpapertowels and a paper towel house for a very long time. It takes us months to go through a roll of paper towels since we only use them for really icky stuff. Unfortunately, if we have “guests” we can go through a roll in the course of a day. It just kills me to see someone dry their hands on a paper towel and throw it away! Especially since I have clean towels right there, that I replace with a clean one several times per day!
I also very much want to try mama cloth. There are some amazingly talented WAHMs that sell great Mama cloth on Hyenacart, and of course, I want one of each!
Also on my wish list are Better for Grownups organic tissues. They also sell family cloth! I don’t think we go through much toilet paper, since we use only 2-3 squares at a time. Oddly enough, writing this made me remember a dream I had about seeing half a roll in the potty and freaking out. Man, are my dreams ever exciting. Anyway, when we have guests over, like paper towels, a roll of TP can disappear in a few hours. I would definitely not want to wash family cloth that people outside my immediate family had used, but I’d be willing to start with using them for “#1.” I’d probably only use them myself though, since my daughter would probably accidentally throw them in the toilet, which would not be good for our septic system, if it managed to get down the toilet at all!
We produce very little trash. Since we started using our Nature Mill Composter we typically have less than one 5.2 gallon bag of garbage per week. Even so, I’d love to use even more reusable products. So, what’s stopping me? Money.
For most people who pay full price/nearly full price for things like tissues, paper towels and feminine products, their reusable counterparts will “pay for themselves” in no time. For me, I only “buy” these products when they are free, nearly free, or (in the case of my CVS shopping) “better than free.” So it is really prohibitively hard on my budget to try to buy reusable products. Especially since it’s not a matter of a $2 investment if you don’t like the product.
How about you gals? What reusable products do you use now? What would you like to try? What’s stopping you?
I want cloth to be easier. I know that if I just gave away all of my cloth diapers when I was finished with them, I’d still be ahead financially. However, I’d like for minor repairs on diapers to be easier for people like me. I can sew a button and so forth, but I don’t have a sewing machine, and I’m really rather intimidated by the idea of diaper repair.
I have a post in the works to do a step by step Bumgenius refresher using just a needle, thread and scissors. I am OK with the Velcro replacement, but I’m thanking my lucky stars that my elastic doesn’t need to be replaced!! With the Bumgenius 4.0, Cottonbabies somewhat acknowledged this by making the elastic slightly more easy to replace. It still scares me. My Fuzzibunz “one size” diaper actually came with spare elastic and you can replace it with no sewing and no seam ripping! I would love to see more diapers like that!!
When thinking about closure tab replacement, I’d love to see the tabs and Velcro strips of diapers (securely) snap or hook on and off. This way you could swap them out for new as they became worn and swap Velcro for aplix as it suits you and your baby. I wish I were skilled at photoshop so I could demonstrate exactly what I mean. I’ve seen a WAHM diaper who had snaps applied through the Velcro strip on the front of the diaper, so you could secure the snaps or secure the Velcro, but that’s not quite what I mean. I imagine the front of the diaper having say, male snaps. The Velcro strip would have female snaps on the back, so you could snap it in place. The snap closure tabs could be removed and replaced with Velcro tabs as you wished. Then the Velcro could be removed and go back to snaps.
Lastly (I think) I want more diaper companies to recognize that washing needs to be easy. The only reason I didn’t cloth diaper my son from birth was the detergent issue. Not everyone has “safe” detergents readily available to them. Shipping them becomes quite costly, and even if they were available locally, the first detergent you buy won’t necessarily work for you. My max price for detergent stockpiling pre-cloth diapers was about $2.99 at most. So going to $10-$15/bottle was a huge leap. Not to mention then having $100 worth of detergent that didn’t work sitting in my cabinet, or having to “waste” it on regular clothes!
I would love for companies (or someone with lots of time and money) to put diapers to the test in many mainstream detergents. Truly put them to the test, not just say they are a “no-no” because of some chart made based on ingredients. There are a few companies out there that specifically recommend “regular” detergents, but most say it will damage your diapers and/or void your warranty. Who wants that?
I have spent a lot of time and money on detergents, followed by battling the stink that ensues. I firmly believe that the right detergent is one that gets your diapers clean and stink free, doesn’t cause them to repel, and doesn’t give your baby a rash. Obvious ingredients to stay away from are bleach, fabric softeners or anything that may eat away at the PUL or Elastic.
My other thought was that diaper manufacturers should offer a low cost “sampler” of detergents that they recommend, so you can try them before you purchase. The problem is that it has taken me several weeks (sometimes months) of using a detergent before it became clear that it wasn’t the one for me.
If you didn’t cloth diaper all of your children, or didn’t start right away, what stopped you?
Motherlove Herbal Company makes fantastic products for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, as well as for baby. They have everything from pregnant belly salve to sitz bath spray. I seriously wish I had known about the belly salve when I was pregnant! I was up half the night trying to claw my skin off to stop the itchiness during my pregnancies!
Motherlove sent me a jar of their diaper rash and thrush salve to try.
It is cloth safe, and is rated zero (zero toxins) on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
The simple ingredients are 96% certified organic.
The salve is fairly solid in the jar (I’d expect it to become softer in warmer weather, as a similar product I have does.) The 1 oz. jar seems fairly small, but a little goes a very, very long way.
Lightly rub your fingers on the surface, and the salve melts onto your skin. It doesn’t really have a smell. I practically stuck my nose in it, and it just smells very lightly of the ingredients.
I get terrible eczema in the winter, where my knuckles, the joints of my fingers and the backs of my hands crack and bleed. It’s not bad yet, since winter weather is really just beginning here. For giggles, I thought I’d try the Motherlove salve on one such spot.
It did not sting or burn, so I wouldn’t hesitate to apply it to a sore baby bottom.
The next day, there was a noticeable difference!
We’re lucky that we don’t deal much with rashes since switching to cloth. However, my son does get a bit red sometimes after he dirties a diaper. The other day he pulled what I call “the stealth poop maneuver.” He hates having his diaper changed, and sometimes he manages to hide all evidence that he needs to be changed. I didn’t see, hear or smell anything that made me think he needed a change, and I was surprised with a stealth poop the next time I changed him. I do change diapers about every two hours, but he might have been sitting in it for a while. I applied a thin layer of Motherlove salve, and by the next change, the redness was gone. You could also apply it at every change as a preventative barrier.
The 1 ounce jar Diaper Rash and Thrush salve retails for $9.50.
Motherlove also sent me a sample packet of nipple cream. Breastfeeding my first child was anything but sunshine and roses for sure. Fortunately, nursing my son was far easier (maybe because only one of us was a noob!) but I still had some soreness for a few days. Luckily, he’s a champion nurser now at 18 months old!
Motherlove nipple cream is made with 100% certified organic ingredients, contains no lanolin, and does not need to be washed off prior to nursing. Like the diaper salve, it’s also rated zero (zero toxins) in the EWG database.
Yep, you’re getting nipple cream action shots, tee hee! It has a nice texture, that melts easily into skin, and very little is needed.
Don’t worry, this is my wrist, LOL! A 1 ounce jar retails for $9.95, and would probably last a long time!
Be sure to check out the Motherlove Blog for great articles on herbs, breastfeeding and more.
Giveaway: Motherlove is offering a full size, 1 ounce jar of Diaper Rash & Thrush salve to two winners! I’m offering bonus entries, so in the unlikely event that I choose the same winner twice, I’ll choose again. Here’s how to enter: All entries go in the form below. I love comments, but comments don’t count as entries. Mandatory entries are name, email address and what other Motherlove product interests you. You may receive a bonus entry if you “like” Motherlove Herbal on Facebook . Receive another bonus entry if you follow Motherlove on Twitter .
I will accept entries until Tuesday, December 21st, 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.
# of entries received as of December 21st at giveaway close: 107
FTC compliance: The pictured products were received at no charge for review purposes. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.