Whether you are just curious about cloth diapering, or are already a pro-CDer, you may notice that there seems to be a plethora of accessories you can buy to accentuate your cloth diapering experience. Which ones do you really need? And which ones are simply optional, but well worth it to own? Fact: The only things you really need to cloth diaper, are cloth diapers. Yup, that's it! Now that we've cleared that out of the way, let's talk about some of the fun accessories that you might not really need, but that could make your life a lot easier. Diaper Sprayer: This is one of the most helpful accessories you can purchase, because it really does make the process of removing poop from your diapers a lot easier than the ol' dunk-n-swish method (or the spatula-scrape). In short, the diaper sprayer hooks right up to your toilet plumbing, and with the squeeze of a trigger you can effectively spray soils away, helping to prevent stains and odors. Diaper Pails/Wet Bags: This is another one of those products that is really worth acquiring, because the way that you store your dirty diapers in between laundry day makes a big difference in whether or not you'll end up with odor issues. Keeping diapers in an air-tight container (like a trash can with a lid) is not the best option for keeping dirty diapers contained. While you may think it's a good idea because the smells won't escape, the truth is that keeping them in an air-tight container can create a warm, moist environment where bacteria can rapidly proliferate, resulting in the development of ammonia, or other funky odors. Wet bags are created to allow a breathable environment for soiled cloth diapers, and most come with a little cotton tab on the inside with which to apply your favorite essential oil to keep odors at bay! Cloth Wipes: For many people, it seems a given that if you're going to use cloth diapers, you might as well use cloth wipes, too, and with good reason! Cloth wipes are economical, easy-to-use (just wash them with your cloth diapers), and come in a myriad of fun prints and colors, as well as super soft, comfortable fabrics! And with a little sewing know-how, you can even make your own out of your favorite material, or even out of old clothing/pillow cases/etc. that you've just been waiting to repurpose. Wipes Spray: For a long time, I just used warm water on my cloth wipes to clean my babies' booties, but at some point I really wanted to try this Sweet Orange EO wipes spray that I saw online, and it totally set me off on a quest to create my own because I loved it so much! I am a confessed Aromaholic, and eyeing my shelves of close to 80 different essential oils, I went to work concocting my own wipes solution. I used this website for inspiration: http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml. You can also purchase pre-made wipes sprays online. Oh, and my favorite scent thus far? A soft, delicious blend of Cacao, Patchouli, and Frankincense. ;) Disposable/Flushable Liners: Sometimes you just don't want to deal with poop at all. And sometimes your child may develop a medical condition which requires the use of pharmaceutical creams or ointments that aren't great for cloth diapers. In cases like these, disposable liners come to the rescue! Simply lay one (or two) down inside of your cloth diaper, and at the next change, lift it out and flush it! Your cloth diapers stay free of stains and you won't have to worry about what happens if some of that Nystatin gets smushed into the fibers of your cloth diapers. What are some of your "must-have" accessories?
Whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, at some point your child may develop a diaper rash. It is true that diaper rashes are much less common when using cloth diapers, but it can still happen and I'd like to take a moment to outline the different types of rashes, and some of the best methods for treating each one. Rash from buildup When you have been using your cloth diapers for a while, you may begin to develop buildup in your inserts and other absorbent parts of the diapers. This can be caused by a number of factors,but is mainly caused by detergent residues left behind from inadequate rinsing, mineral accumulation from hard water, or residues left from ointments/creams. If the buildup gets to be bad enough, not only can repelling and leaking occur, but skin irritation can also occur, leading to diaper rash. In order to remove buildup from your diapers, you will need to strip them. Our Strip Rx solution works wonderfully well at cutting through residues and rinsing your diapers clean! Alternately, you can do the following: 1) Start with clean diapers 2) For top loaders, fill your washing machine to the max with hot water. For HE front loaders, I recommend stripping in your bathtub or in a large, clean receptacle like a garbage bin. 3) Drop 4 5 Tablespoons of OxoBrite (or OxiClean) into the water, add your diapers, and allow the washing machine to begin agitating (or agitate the diapers manually with your hands, enough to work the solution into the diapers). 4) Allow the diapers to agitate for a couple of minutes, then stop the cycle and close the lid to keep the heat in (or simply let the diapers rest in the water if you are stripping them in your tub/receptacle). 5) Let the diapers soak for at least 6 hours, up to overnight. 6) Drain the tub, and transfer the diapers to your washing machine (if you stripped them in the tub). Run one or two full hot wash cycles with no detergent. 7) Dry on low heat or hang to dry. While stripping the diapers, try to allow your child as much naked time as possible to assist in healing the rash. You may also use safe and gentle baby powders such as Bee All Natural's Baby Powder (http://www.beeallnatural.com/Organic_Baby_Powder_Natural_p/bpn.htm). If you prefer a paste, add a little warm water to some of the powder and mix! Once the diapers have been stripped, make sure to check your wash routine to ensure that there is enough water being used to properly rinse and wash the diapers. Also check to make sure you aren't using too little/too much detergent, and that the detergent you are using does not contain scents, dyes, fabric softeners, optical brighteners, or enzymes. Rash from yeast This type of rash can seem like one of the most difficult to treat, because if you don't get rid of the yeast infection, as well as the yeast bacteria and yeast spores in your diapers, it is possible to re-infect your child, resulting in a frustrating cycle of rashes, stripping, and discomfort. Once you have eliminated the actual infection, it's time to remove all traces from your cloth diapers. While bleach will kill yeast bacteria, it will not eliminate yeast spores. In addition to this fact, bleach in itself is not the safest or gentlest option to use with your cloth diapers. The following method has been proven to kill the bacteria and spores that can re-infect your Little One, and is a fairly simple process (from http://www.mommyscraftobsession.com/2013/01/the-yeastmonsterhowtoproperlystrip.html): 1. Rinse your diapers to get the stinkies washed out a little 2. Do a regular wash with no soap 3. Rinse the diapers three times 4. Add eight to ten drops of Tea Tree Oil and wash your diapers on regular 5. Rinse diapers 6. Rinse them again Optional Step (if you have yeast spores in the diaper, this is a must): Add five drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract Optional Step: Rinse diapers 7.Wash diapers with Cloth Diaper detergent 8. Rinse Diapers 9. Switch to dryer on HIGH or sun dry If while treating your child's infection you need to use topical antifungal creams or ointments, it is highly recommended that you use disposable diaper liners that completely cover the inside of the diapers. If you choose to use cloth liners, do NOT wash them with your cloth diapers. They must be washed separately to avoid "re-infecting" the diapers. Rash due to sensitive skin Some children have very sensitive skin which may react noticeably to certain products and materials. For some children, cloth diapers made of synthetic fibers are not compatible and only natural fiber fabrics will do. For others, the texture of the diapers and inserts used will make all of the difference. If your child has sensitive skin, you may need to experiment with different types of cloth diapers, detergents, and rash solutions to find what works best for you and your child. Rash due to prolonged exposure to urine/feces Obviously urine and feces are going to touch your child's skin during their diaperwearing years, but sometimes very acidic bodily fluids, or irritation caused by frequent bowel movements can cause mild to severe diaper rash. To try and soothe irritation, make sure you are changing your baby often and/or give him or her plenty of naked time if you can. A calming, gentle baby powder can ease pain and discomfort, and warm baths may bring relief. Rash due to change in diet As your baby transitions from breast milk or formula to solid foods, you may suddenly notice diaper rashes appearing. When new foods are introduced, the frequency and composition of your child's stools changes, which can lead to diaper rash. Allergies and food sensitivities are sometimes a culprit as well, so be sure to observe whether or not certain foods cause flare-ups. In addition, sometimes breastfed children develop diaper rashes in response to something his/her mother eats. Again, just observe to see if a certain food or drink causes a flare-up, and try to eliminate that food for a period to see if the rash clears up. Rash due to chafing While you want your diapers to fit snugly, a diaper that is too loose or too tight can cause uncomfortable chafing, leading to diaper rash. Make sure that your diapers fit snugly enough so that you can fit one finger underneath the elastics at the legs and waist, but not so tight that the diaper leaves painful or "angry" looking red marks when the diaper is removed. Light red marks are normal and expected, just as what you would observe when taking off your socks or underwear. Have you ever dealt with diaper rash? What are some of your best remedies?