Friday, July 26, 2013

Ways our Family Saves: Cloth Diapers and Wipes!

Some of my prefold cloth diapers, stacked up after being washed.

My cloth diaper solution with cloth wipes from old tee shirts/burp rags.

The red bin with laundry bag liner is my cloth diaper bin, the white bin is for regular disposable diaper/wipes.

I'm starting a new series on on "Ways our Family Saves," with some real-life, practical examples that we use consistently in our family to save money (and consequently, put us in a position to make ends meet, pay off debt, and give more).

The first one is a money-saver that I have meant to blog about for a couple months now, but haven't seemed to get around to it yet:

#1 Use Cloth Diapers and Wipes

I have used cloth diapers with both of my kids, and if we have a third, I plan on using them again and starting even sooner. When we lived in Boston, my landlords cloth diapered their baby boy and gave me some really helpful tips to get started, as it seemed very intimidating. Now, it's second nature and very easy. Here is how we do it and how I like to keep the whole process simple.

What I use:
(3) Thirsties Diaper Covers (I haven't bought anymore since our first child and mainly use these three and only bought one size), plus a few different covers that I was given by a friend and use when the others are in the wash. Thirsties have worked great for us and seldom leak, compared to other brands I have tried.

(1) Snappi Diaper Fastener (again, I only have used one since our first child and it is still in great shape after very frequent use).

Indian Prefold Diapers (I bought about 2 dozen with our first child and have been given some other prefolds over the years, but with washing the diapers every 3-4 days, I think 2 dozen would be enough... I've only bought and used one size).

1 trash bin that I use exclusively for cloth diapers that I line with 1 old cloth laundry bag that my husband got for free in college

2 dozen cloth size wipes that I've cut from old tee shirts or burp rags

(1) Diaper Sprayer I got mine off of several years ago for practically free with a coupon code, but these range in price and are definitely worth the investment in my opinion! They attach to your toilet and make the poopy diaper clean-up much easier.

A homemade cloth wipe solution in a Dollar Tree spray bottle (recipe = 2 tbsp. vegetable/canola oil, 2 tbsp. baby wash, 1 and 1/2 cup water). The solution lasts a long time and I just spray the babe's bottom and use the cloth wipes to finish.

That's it!

I personally still use disposables at night and during the day if we go on a long outing or at church for the nursery workers. ;) Also, if baby is having a bout of diarrhea, momma has her limits, too... however, I would say that 80-90% of poopy diapers aren't very difficult to clean up.

How I wash everything:

My washing routine is also pretty simple. As they are used, I place the soiled diapers and wipes in the bin lined with the laundry bag. Wet diapers go right in the bin, poopy diapers get rinsed out in the toilet with the sprayer and then get  put in the bin. I reuse the cloth diaper covers a few times.

After 3-4 days, I do a warm water rinse with 1 tbsp of homemade laundry detergent (or any free-and-clear detergent), dumping the diapers, wipes, covers, and laundry bag in the washer. I also add about 1 tbsp of white vinegar to the water for disinfectant.

After the rinse is done, I take out the diaper covers and laundry bag and let them air dry (do not dry the diaper covers in the dryer). I leave the diapers and wipes in the wash (the diaper covers can lose their water-proofness if washed in hot water very often) and run a hot water regular load with another 1 tbsp of my laundry detergent.

Then I dry the diapers and wipes in the dryer as normal. They come out very clean, sometimes with a few stains, but clean.

For the Snappi, I wash it in dish soap.

I typically spend about $10 a month on disposable wipes and diapers. Cloth diapering costs an initial investment (though if you keep it simple, it doesn't have to be a huge price), but definitely pays off with long term use and for multiple children!

I think that covers my process... there are definitely other ways to cloth diaper, but this has been easy and cost effective for me. If you have any questions on anything or if I left something out, please ask in the comments!

And, thank you to my two dear friends named Ashleigh, one for giving me your children's outgrown diaper supplies and the other for introducing me to cloth wipes!

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