Monday, 31 March 2014

DIAPER POLITICS? When did this happen?

I might be old hat to cloth diapering but I am very new to internet + cloth diapering.   Getting ready to sell my own wahm diapers means that I needed to find that online cloth community.   So I've started my own blog, been slowly finding others and its been fun.  I've also found a few cloth diaper boards.   I thought that would be fun....but not so very much.

The blogs have given me some idea that there are cloth politics but those boards showed it to me.  Being new to it I keep my mouth shut a fair bit.  Apparently on these boards each has their own flavor and views and any advice contrary to that is unwelcomed. 

The arguments tend to be around laundry (really,  talk about killing part of what can be enjoyable in using cloth).  So here (for cathartic release) is the opinions of an 18 yr cloth mama known as Mama Moss aka Beth Newell. 

Some fall short in solving ammonia / stink issues.  These ones blame how you use your washing machine.   Yep that can be the problem - sometimes.   But so can how often you change the diaper, how often you wash the diaper, you dirty diaper care and storage, fabric.  Basically all aspects of laundry. 

Some groups argue exclusively over detergents.  Back in the day when I started washing cloth diapers (18-13 yrs ago), I never heard of rules.  I also never heard of specific cloth diaper detergent.   So I used my regual detergent.  Of course not all detergents are created equal.  Know whats in your detergent and use something that's gonna wash but not leave behind unwanted stuff on your diapers.  enzymes, softeners, bightners, bleach. 

Some groups advocate barely any detergent.   Others advocate lots of detergent.   Neither is correct.  you need to wash it without having to rinse 6 times.  Which is a waste of water, a precious resource.  

Some advocate bleach.  Bleach is hard on the skin and breaks down fabrics and elastic.  It breaks down fabric in your clothes to.  It's a smaller issue in your clothes cuz you don't wash the same shirt every 2 days.  We do wash the same 20 diapers every 2 days. 

Homesteader washing:  How can people take issue with this?  Well apparently some can.  Now we all know I looked forward to boiling diapers regularly (over on occasion), but since I've added elastic to my prefolds it will remain a casual option.  I'll build a camp washer instead.  Why?  They work, just need the right meathod for the right diaper.  Don't believe they work?  Ask if grandma or great-gramdma had ammonia issues.  Home made detergent?  Of course it works, (see above grandma comments) .  Just need one that has good cleaning agents, not harmful or weak ones.  

Some promote laziness.  Yes you do need to wash often.  Yes you have to change often. And Yes you need to rinse off poop and rinse urine filled over night diapers.  Poop goes in the toilet .... by law.  It does not sit around your house in a diaper pail ands it does not go in your washing machine.  Come on, that's just the same common sense as changing a diaper.  the same common sense our grandparents had that in today's instant culture has disappeared and been caste as myth. 

Build up.  Yes its real.  Detergents of all kinds build up.  They build up in your hair from shampoo, in your dishwasher, in your shower stall, in your washing machine, in your clothes.   All these things even have specialty items for this very issue.  What makes it a bigger issue for your cloth diapers is (as I earlier said), your washing the same cloth diaper every 2 days.  Solutions?  Dont use to much, rinse if suds are present, add some vinegar to your rinse cycle or give a vinegar soak and stir before washing.  Know your water type (hard or soft).

Think Im wrong and all these sites and rules are correct?  Check out how ammonia tops these discussions.  How expert these people are in treating it (or stink as some prefer to call them).  I've never had ammonia. I've not got stripping experience.   I have clean laundry experience.   If the common wash routine your reading includes regular bleach use, or a wash routine that sounds like it takes forever or anything else out if the ordinary,  be assured that its a routine that is compensating for a problem.  

If someone is totally radical about an idea and wont allow other ideas then enjoy the community but ignore wash and care advise.  And use your common sense, ask questions, dont be bullied,  especially by the expert of 5 months,  or the expert who strips regularly it is treating non stop rash.  

Know your diaper and fabric.  Different styles and fabrics will require different wash solutions.   I use all cotton prefolds.  My fabric is natural and basic.  It will wash according to older meathods.  My diaper is of basic construction and relatively flat (just a bit of gathering at the leg), so yes it will wash, rinse and dry easily.   I don't have an 8-11 layer thick diaper.  Again it will wash, rinse and dry easier.  So yes a flats, prefold and basic fitted's mama will have a much easier go of it.  To be honest if you have constant issues with your fleece, microfiber, minky, pocket, AIO etc diaper, then my advice is switch to cotton or hemp basic diaper for a clean all natural option.  Im not saying other styles and fabrics are bad, just more complicated.....well there is one fabric I will call bad (read on)....

Microfiber:  As I mentioned before it was designed for cleaning and traps bacteria - by design!   This to me is not a good sounding diaper option.  In fact I will call this a bad diaper option.  Having issues, switch to a fabric not designed to hold bacteria. 

It may sound like there is a lot to learn out there.  Yes to some degree there is.  But its mostly basic common sense.  Also the KISS principal holds true. (that's "S" for simple, no "L" for lazy).  Simple diapers and fabrics with simple laundry and care solutions works simply.