Mailbox Mondays

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 4/4/11

hand washing #clothdiapers on vacation via @chgdiapers

If you need cloth diaper advice, every Monday I will answer reader submitted questions, and ask you to add your opinions.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at 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.

Jess says:

Hi Maria! Love your blog! Thanks for all the useful info and reviews 🙂

I’ve been cloth diapering my baby girl since she left the hospital 9 months ago. I love using cloth and have never considered anything else. I’ve overcome any problem we’ve run into and it’s been going great! I’ve traveled with my diapers with no problem, but I’ve always had access to laundry facilities. Which leads me to my questions….

We’re taking a family vacation to Mexico in July (yippie!!). I will definitely be taking my diapers with me, but I will not have access to laundry machines. How do you handwash a load of diapers? I have no problem doing it and am kind of excited for the challenge. I feel like if I can do full-time cloth in Mexico for a week then how could anyone resist considering it? My plan so far is to use my regular pockets and A12s with flushable liners in every change to address the solids. But where do I go from there? Can I use my Rockin’ Green that I love so much? How do I make sure they’re going to be clean? (I should note that I don’t want to use disposable inserts). I’m assuming there will be a bathtub (will double-check with the resort before we leave) and line drying will be easy from our balcony.

I’ve read that handwashing flats is very easy to do and that they dry quickly (that would really help as opposed to the thick microfiber/A12 inserts). So should I reconsider my plan and get flats with some covers instead? Can I just lay the flats inside the cover or do I have to fold and use a Snappi to prevent leaks?

Thanks in advance for your advice!!

-Jess T.

Oh wow, how exciting!  I think it’s awesome that you will be cloth diapering on your trip!  In my opinion, microfiber is the most difficult thing to get clean, and it might be a chore to try to get them clean with handwashing.

Flats are definitely easier to wash and quicker to dry since they unfold, rather than being sewn as thick layers.  You can get a dozen cotton flats for as little as $20 (although hemp is much more, and some brands are more expensive than others.) They can also be very useful around the house when you’ve finished diapering with them.  Buying flats really wouldn’t cost much more than buying a week’s worth of chemical free disposable diapers/liners (which I know you don’t want to do anyway) plus you can reuse them

They are a little more time consuming to use, since you have to fold them.  Just like a prefold, you can snappi them for a more secure fit, or just fold and trifold them, then lay them in a cover.  You can generally use AI2 shells as covers, it will just be more of a tight squeeze over bulky diapers.  You can even use pocket diaper shells as covers, airing them out between uses to get two or so changes out of each one.

As far as hand washing, I would plan to use the detergent you currently use and wash in the bathtub, replicating your current wash routine. 

Submerse the diapers in cold or warm water for a soak, swish them around a bit, then rinse (may not really be necessary if you are using liners.)  Then fill the tub with hot water, add your detergent (swish to dissolve completely) and add the diapers.  Let them soak, agitating every so often.  Then drain the water and rinse.  It might be good idea to submerse the diapers an additional time with clean water, to make sure the diapers are rinsed clean.

I know I’ve been a bit all over the place, I think it’s awesome you are doing this, and I hope you have a great time!

So how about the rest of you?  Have you hand washed diapers?  Did you change your routine?  Use different diapers?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • April 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

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  • April 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

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  • April 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Perfect timing! We are going on a 4-day trip this week, and based on what I had read elsewhere I had come to this same conclusion. I am bringing flats and covers, but I only have 4 covers, so I am going to bring some pockets as covers plus my normal nighttime diapers. I will probably wash the flats in the tub and maybe do one load of diapers in the hotel laundry before we go home. I have washed diapers in hotels before and I just do a load of normal clothes first with a vinegar rinse, to try and get rid of any detergent residue- then I do my diapers and hang to dry. I have heard that people do use the dryer in laundromats without residue problems, but I didn’t want to risk having to strip my whole stash.

  • April 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I haven’t done this, but I agree with your sentiments. Buy some flats, grab a couple of snappis, and some highly washable/wipe out/reusable covers to rinse out between uses. Don’t forget to pack some pins or some other method of keeping your diapers from blowing away. This would have been my suggestion, too. Although, there MAY be some laundry facilities there that you could use at off peak times. They have to do laundry at a resort, right?

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