Monday, November 5, 2012

Got Ammonia?

Barf. We did. And it was awful. It got to the point where I couldn't even put the diapers on Hadi at all without give her ammonia burns. Her poor little bum :( It was sad. 

I didn't realize this but urine naturally has ammonia in it, so it's always there. But when you get a build up in your inserts you start having a problem. And microfiber seems to be a magnet for ammonia problems. 

I tried everything, I feel like, and it just kept coming back. And the smell is awful.  Like burn -your-nose-hairs-and-eyeball's awful. So after a lot of research, a lot of frustration, and a lot of trial+error, I *think* we are in a good place. Here's what I figured out:

1. Soak your inserts in a full washer with FISH ammonia remover. Ha I know it sounds CRAZY but I stumbled across an article about using it by a woman who swears by it. And it WORKS! I think I had to do it twice because I had such a huge build up. Then I did a rinse and washed them like normal.

2. I also did a long hot soak with about a 1/3 cup of bleach for a couple hours. (I do this about once a month followed by like 3 rinses)

Then I did a normal wash cycle and we were good to go. I also have been keeping a squirt bottle with some of the ammonia remover in it and spraying it on the diapers after I change her. So far it's working? And I am grateful I didn't give up. Because I was REALLY frustrated. But I knew I didn't want to give up the cloth diapers so thankfully I stuck it out. If you are having similar issues, don't give up! there is SOMETHING that will work - I promise.


I figured that after a whole year of nothing here, it was about time for an update. We're still very much using our cloth diapers (although now that we are potty training we are changing less bums around here), but things have changed just a little bit. So here's where we're at:

Laundry Detergent:
We were using the homemade detergent for quite a while on our diapers, but when all our issues with ammonia started happening, I got desperate and did anything and everything to eliminate that issue (it got bad). So I kept the homemade stuff for the rest of our clothes (still using it, still loving it), and started buying "Rockin Green" for the diapers. And I LOVE it. That on it's own didn't solve the ammonia problem (that'll be the next post), but it does an awesome job cleaning and leaving the diapers smelling good. And I have bought it every time with my swag bucks so it's free! Can't beat that.

Wash Cycle:
Everyone's is different, and mine has changed around, but here's where we are at now:
Cold rinse
Wash hot with 2-3 Tbsp detergent
Cold rinse
Cold rinse
Line dry Pockets/covers and machine dry inserts

I can't remember if I posted about wipes before.. annnnnd, I'm too lazy to look. I use a combo of cut up some receiving blankets and some cheap wash cloths. The "dollar store" type wash cloths are my favorite. My wipe solution is a little castile soap, 3 drops tea tree oil and water. Then you have two options:

1. Put that solution in a squirt bottle and spray each wipe before using
2. mix up that solution in a container(I use some huggies wipe containers I bought for a quarter at a yard sale) and have ready-wet wipes come diaper changing time. 

I did the 1st one starting out, and now I use the 2nd. Both are great, and both have pros+cons. I just prefer the 2nd now. Then when traveling I stick some wet wipes in a ziplock and we're good to go.

I also get lazy and use disposable wipes but I get annoyed at myself every time I do. 1) because then I have to gather up the poopy wipes and stick then in the trash can, or 2) because if i end up washing them with the rest of the diapers, they fall apart and get stuff everywhere. But, like I said, I get lazy and it happens. Some weeks more than others. 

But when I am not lazy, I take about 10-12 at a time, drop a little castile soap, 3 drops of tea tree oil, and enough water to get all the wipes wet in the wipe container, and stick it in the diaper basket. Easy peasy (sorry, I hate that phrase and I used it anyways. blah.).

Our stash consists of
9-10 GrapeApple (the ebay knock off brand, pretty much the same as these) -snaps
4 Flip Covers - snaps
1 Thirsties size 2 cover -hook & loop
4 bumGenius 4.0 - snaps
1 Fuzzibunz - snaps

They are still holding up surprisingly. I stand by what I've said, you don't have to spend a ton of money to cloth diaper if you don't want to. You can make it work with cheap ones. You might have more kinks to work out, but you can do it. These are the diapers that I have had TONS of ammonia issues. But I'm blaming that on the microfiber inserts. They are cheap, but freak they cause issues. BUT, they work. Therefore we still use them daily.

These are still working great and I've never had a leak or anything from these. We use both indian prefolds and the flip organic inserts inside them. I love the organic inserts the most because they are less bulky and softer than the indian prefolds, but they are also $7 something compared to $2 for the prefolds. So, yah. We use both.

I don't ever use this because it's the hook & loop (velcro). Hadley can pull it off so easy and we got to a stage where she would immediately take it off as soon as I put it on. Like that one time when she was in nursery with a poopy diaper and she took it half off. Yeah, let's not talk about that.
Anyways, I would totally use this if it was made with the snaps. Snaps all the way!

I LOVE these and I am sort of obsessed. I stayed away from these up till now because of the cost, but when had a "seconds sale" I got 4 of them for $11 a piece. And now I am kicking myself for not buying more! So far they are my favorite diaper and FINALLY i have a cloth diaper I can use at nighttime. This whole time we've just using disposables at night, but now I stuff these with both the "Stay-dry insert" and then the newborn fuzzibunz insert and it holds up great at night. Love, love , love them. 

Eh. I could live without this diaper. I think it might work better on a younger kid, because i feel like its a little small. Also, the inserts that come with them are super soft, but they don't last long and I have had quite a few leaks from it. So, we still use it, but it's not my fav.

So, there we go. I think that's it? Any questions?

Monday, September 12, 2011


I know, It's been forever since I posted. But to tell the truth I didn't think people really cared about this lil' blog. But just for you Kristin, I will update.

Actually I have been meaning to update for a couple weeks now. I found some "seconds" (meaning they have minor imperfections.. but honestly I haven't found a single thing wrong with any of them) of the Flip covers in the clearance section here and I got all sorts of excited. I really have been wanting to try some more covers to see how they compared to pocket diapers, and I have to say I am a BIG fan.

I had a picture of all the stuff I bought but it looks like I deleted it before uploading. So above is just a picture off the website of what they look like, and then Hadley at the zoo wearing the "noodle" color. I bought 4 covers, 2 3-packs of the organic inserts (they were also on clearance, and plus I've been wanting more organic materials due to some ammonia problems we've been having... more on the in the next post) and some prefolds. Love me some prefolds. So I have been using those a TON the past couple weeks and it has been so great. I use them pretty much always when we got out places rather than the pocket diapers because I have to pack less. I bring 1-2 back up covers and then some prefolds or inserts and I only have to change the cover if she poops. Otherwise I just switch out the insert/prefold, and we got on our merry way.

Easy, easy, easy. As of today they only have a light purple color left in the clearance section. They have them for $9 when normally they are $14. So if you have a little girl and want to check it out - check it out. Otherwise they are totally worth the $14 dollars. I plan on checking around and looking at some other covers that are possibly cheaper for the next baby we have (not anytime soon), but I am pretty set on getting more of these next time around.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DIY laundry soap

I posted this on my personal blog a while back - but this is the soap that I use on our clothes as well as our diapers, so I figured I would put it up on here too.

Yes, I make my own liquid laundry detergent. Does that make me a super mom? Probably. 

Okay, not really. It's like the easiest/cheapest thing ever. I just finished typing this up for my sister so I figure I would post it on here in case anyone else is interested. And if you are thinking: I don't have time for that/It's too hard/I've never heard of those ingredients, here is a list of why you should try it:

1. Its easy and it took me and my sister 30 minutes total to make up two batches.
2. It lasts about 6 months.
3. Everything will cost you around 8.50 and you won't use up all the stuff which means you can make more than one batch for 8.50
4. Winco carries washing soda and borax, and Macey's has the Fels Naptha soap. I've also seen Borax at Target and I'm sure its a lot of other places too.
5. When it's all said and done, it's less than .01 cents per load. Yes, per load
6. There is a recipe for the powder detergent but it doesn't last as long and I think this one works better anyways. But if you want the other one I can get it for you
6. You should just try it.

Here is the recipe:

4 Cups hot water
1 bar Fels Naptha soap
1 Cup Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 Cup Borax

1. Grate soap and add to saucepan with water (we started heating the water first)
2. Stir continually over medium heat until soap dissolves
3. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full with hot water. Add the melted soap/water mixture, washing soda and borax
4. Stir well until powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water
5. Stir, cover, and let mixture sit overnight to thicken (it will gel at the top and look gross when you first open it)
6. Stir the best you can and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and the rest of the way with water
7. Shake before each use - for a load of our clothes, i use 1-2 capfuls depending on how big the cap is. For the diapers i usually only use 1/2 - 1 capfuls.

optional: add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil per 2 gallons once the soap has cooled (try lavender, lemon, lime, tea tree, etc) - be careful with how much of this you use when using it on the diapers though.. too much will cause repelling and leaks. no fun.

Thirsties Thursday Giveaway

It's another Thursday giveaway - and this one is a good one. Two wraps, two prefolds, AND two inserts. I think I might cry. Go check it out

Thirsties Thursday Giveaway

One of the cloth diapers I have are from the company Thirsties - And I love it. We have a cover with a prefold from them, but they carry a couple different kinds of diapers. Every thursday they do a giveaway, and this time its two pocket diapers! yaaaaaaaaaaaaay *insert me getting really excited* Go check it out - today is the last day to enter.

I know it's sad how excited I get over cloth diapers - just go with it.

Our Routine

Something has happened to me that I never thought possible. I never even imagined it to be possible because it was that ridiculous. I am sort of obsessed with cloth diapering..

Whaaaaaaa, you say?

Well, it all started like this.
All my life if someone mentioned cloth diapers i thought "gross.ew.sick. what is wrong with you? that is disgusting.. are you mental. do you really want poop all over you." etc - you get the picture. Then some people I knew considered it. Then I read some blog posts, which resulted in reading alot of blog posts. Then I considered it. And that folks, right there, is where is all started getting pretty crazy, pretty fast. I was intrigued. There is an entire cloth diapering community that I never even knew about. And it is Awesome. Jake gave me money for mothers day to spend on some diapers so that I could try it out and see what I thought. I thought, and thought, and thought about it for a very long time because there are so.many.options. In the end, I found some cheap ones off of ebay from a company in China and I figured if I didn't end up liking then I hadn't really spent that much money, so oh well. But they came, I tried them, and fell in love.

Fell in love with a diaper? Isn't that a little dramatic? Probably. But it's true. I think they are fantastic! Heres why:

1. They are adorable (pictures will come, hold your horses)
2. You really do save money with them. I think you can save alot of money on diapers by using generic brands, but you still save lots of  money by doing cloth. You make an initial investment, and then you never have to worry about whether you have diapers to last you the rest of the month/week/day. I think by the time I finish getting my diaper stash (I want to get a few more and try out a few more kinds) I will have spent around $200. Thats it. for the rest of the time Hadley is in diapers. Can you imagine if I would have started when she was brand new and only spent that much TOTAL? so great.
3. They help out the environment, and we could all help out a little more in that department. It makes me feel good that I am trying to help keep diapers from piling up for hundreds of years in landfills. 
4. They give me this irrational warm fuzzy feeling. I'm crazy, I know.
5. They are SO much easier than I thought they would be. allow me to explain.

My routine in disposables for a wet diaper:
1. take off diaper
2. fold it up 
3. put new diaper on
4. throw diaper away

Simple, right?

My routine in cloth for a wet diaper:
1.take off diaper
2. set diaper aside/take insert out depending on the kind of diaper
3. put new diaper on
4. throw diaper in wet bag

Same thing. But I know what you are thinking - What about the poop, right?

My routine in disposables for a poopy diaper:
1. take off diaper
2. wipe baby bum
3. stash wipes in diaper
4. put on new diaper
5. throw diaper away

My routine in cloth for a poopy diaper:
1. take off diaper
2. spray with wipe solution - use cloth wipe to wipe baby bum
3. stash wipes in diaper
4. put on new diaper
5. flush liner with poop on it down the toilet
6. throw diaper in wet bag

Seriously - one more step? So.easy. And honestly the routine of everything flows perfectly with everything else I have going on. I keep the diapers in my wet bag (it is waterproof and keeps the smell in) and then, at the end of about two days, I unzip the bag and toss it in the wash without even unloading the diapers. Everyones wash cycle is different, but I do a hot cycle with detergent (you only need about 1/3 of what you use on your normal laundry. too much detergent will cause buildup and your diapers wont be as absorbent), a cold cycle with detergent, and then i usually do a quick cold rinse to make sure all the detergent is out. I do this usually at night or first thing in the morning and then I take it all out and line dry it in the sun. Less money spent on electricity, diapers last longer, AND any stains leftover are bleached by the sun. I love it. Then once everything is dry it takes about 3-5 minutes to re-stuff the liners in the pocket diapers so that they are ready to go. It's honestly no more work than doing normal laundry.

some of the diapers, inserts, and wet bag hanging out to dry

Now, since this post is already ridiculously long, lets make it longer and show you what kinds of diapers we use around here.

Like I said earlier, there are SO many options in cloth diapering. But it's great because different kinds work for different people! For a great summary of different kinds of diapers, check out this girls posts on cloth diapering her twins. she gives some great info. As for us, right now we have pocket diapers with microfiber inserts, and covers with prefolds.

the different kinds we have

I have this brand that i found on ebay -I think its called GrapeApple- and I decided on these because they were so cheap. I got 10 with 10 inserts for about 53 dollars (and free shipping) which makes them about 5 dollars a diaper. And compared to 20 dollars a diaper, they seemed pretty appealing. So far I've loved them. No leaks, no problems. I'm sure there are better quality ones that I might like better, but I can't miss what I've never had, right? I also recently bought some Cuteybaby's while they were at Costco, and so far they have worked awesome too. I've been using them at night because they seem to be pretty absorbent. Only downside is the rise in the back is a little low, and I worry about the velcro not holding up. So far no problems though.

This picture, and the ones above it, are Hadley in the GrapeApple brand of pocket diapers. 

some of the other prints from cuteybaby

Right now I am trying out my thirsties Duowrap cover with the prefold they sent and I really like it! I love this route because The wraps are about 13 dollars on amazon, and you can get a good prefold for 1-2 dollars. Cheap! Whats even better about this is as long as its only a "wet" diaper, you can dump the prefold in the wetbag, and re-use the cover. Even more money saved! I am currently saving up my Swagbuck Amazon gift cards (so that I don't have to use any of my own money) and I plan on getting some more covers and prefolds to add to my stash. 

 Thirsties wrap

I am now using liners and love them. You don't have to use them, you just have to "knock" the poop off into the toilet before it goes into your wet bag. *before you start solid foods, if your baby is still breastfeeding 100% of the time, you don't have to do anything with the poopy diapers. Breastmilk poop is water completely water soluble and will just magically wash away* I was fine with doing this, but the liners are cheap (I got mine- 100 for about 6 bucks. Although I used my Swagbucks, so it was only a dollar) and they make the cleanup so much quicker. You simply lay the liner on top of everything before putting the diaper on, and then when you change the diaper, throw it in the toilet and flush!

There are certain laundry soaps you can't use with cloth diapers, so many people have to use special kinds for theirs. Luckily, I make my own, and you can use it on the diapers. Cheap and extremely effective. When I wash the diapers I put some drops of tea tree oil in the water just as a disinfectant. 

We are, at this point, cloth diapering about 90% of the time. I was using disposables at night, and then for babysitting or in emergencies. But now that I have the Cuteybabys, I use those at night and cut down on the disposables we need to have on hand. We still have 2 boxes of diapers left and hopefully we wont have to buy any more. I will use out our size 3 box for times when we need to leave her with a babysitter or if for some reason we are going somewhere where we need to use them? And then I will just trade the other box in for a size 4 and that will hopefully last us through any emergencies!

In closing...
Sorry this post was insanely long. Congrats if you are actually still reading this! (which I am assuming not many are). I just wanted to get it out there that Really and truly. If you are even considering it - Just try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you keep them on hand in case you run out of disposables and don't get paid for a week. And if you really hate them, wash em in some bleach and sell the suckers! Lots of people are interested in used cloth diapers. But really, give it a shot. I love it so much more than I thought I would and I am glad I jumped in and tried it. 

And now, I'm gonna go crash like this little one and take a well needed nap (that is if that little one will actually go to sleep...)
Night, all!