On this page, we will post recently asked questions and their answers. I am hoping this will be a fun page giving you answers to questions you haven't yet thought to ask. I remember learning much from the questions of others at our local LLL meetings. Of course we will remove any specifically identifying portions in a question asked to protect the identity of the inquirer.

We need a new washing machine. Do you have any advice?

We get asked this question a lot and we haven't found one machine that is superior at washing cloth diapers. But we do have some pointers. Avoid the GE Profile and the Whirlpool Duet. Otherwise, recognize that a top loader does clean diapers well and a standard top load washer, washes in a shorter period of time than a High Efficiency (HE) machines. Some top loaders may only use 5 gallons of water more than some HE machines. We do love a machine with a high RPM spin. The faster RPM spin can gets diapers and clothing drier before line drying or meeting the dryer. Last but not least, be sure to pick a washing machine that you will use for full size loads. Washing less than half a load, does not clean diapers or clothing well. Sometimes these newer machines are so big, that diapers end up free floating in the machine and still coming out stinky. If you find a machine you can program, the ideal HE cycle would be a cold short wash, add detergent, warm or hot wash, extra rinse. In a nutshell, choose a washer within the right size for your family that boasts a high rpm spin cycle, and has the capabilities of extra rinse, choosing warm or cold rinse, and it doesn't have to be an HE to be the most efficient for your family.

This summer we are traveling to Baltimore for 5 days. I have enough diapers to get through 3 days without washing. We will be staying at a hotel and are going on vacation for fun (we don't know anyone there). So what would you do for this trip? Take both cloth/disposables, all disposables, all cloth? Would you wash, when and where...etc. Any advice would be helpful as we are trying to figure out a hotel and laundry may be an issue!

We went away for fun last spring to San Diego with all of the kiddos and me prego with #4. We took cloth. My rational is, "we can find disposables anywhere if we decided we need to and cloth is what I know and love." Sometimes, the known is a lot less work and worry. In my experience going for a trip longer than 3 days, it is often easier if you pack clothing for 3 days and plan to wash anyways. Imagine toting 3-4 full loads of laundry with you, since we end up with a load of laundry a day here. In San Diego, we stayed at a hotel that had guest laundry. Call ahead and see if the place you are interested in staying has a guest laundry or not. Personally, I find guest laundry and continental breakfast to be a must when traveling with children.

Consider what can happen in a regular day at home with your children's clothing and your own as a result of children. Finding a laundry mat when out of town is an absolute nightmare. I have been in that situation as well and wasted half a day finding and then doing laundry. With guest laundry at a hotel, I find it is easiest to do in the time frame that we are "arranging our family" in the hotel each day. For us on the East Coast it is at night and on the West Coast in the morning due to the time change we experience and all. When we stayed in Baltimore years ago we did the laundry at night while winding down and getting ready for bead.

When we were in San Diego, I would care for all this in the morning. I would grab a load of clothes and head to the laundry, go back to the room, finish dressing and brush my hair, set out clothes for the kids, pack for the day planned, and tidy the room some. 30 min.

Take a load of diapers and wash them in the machine that the clothes just came out of. Let the clothes sit wet in a laundry bag. (Use our extra pail liner for this) Take time alone by myself eating continental breakfast. This time alone would recharge me for the crazy's of the day.

Then both loads, the clothes and the diapers, were ready for one dryer. I often enough will pull out the diaper shells and covers and only dry inserts and fitteds. The shells dry quickly spread out around the hotel room. Make sure that the dryer heat is on medium since commercial dryers can get quite hot. Dry time 45-60 minutes (shorten to 15 minutes is you only use microfiber inserts or flats). I go back to the room and get the family up dressed an
d off to breakfast. Both loads ready to pick up dry by the time breakfast is over. Bring back to the room and put away now or later depending on how soon we need to be gone somewhere. 60 min.

  1. Using one pail liner as a laundry bag for clothes and one for diapers is very helpful. It provides a set place for dirty clothes. and a means to get clothes and diapers to the laundry room.
  2. Try to wash a load of your own laundry in a washing machine before washing your diapers in the machine so that any problematic residues are less likely to affect your diapers.
  3. If you need quarters, the hotel's front desk can help you.
  4. Plan to take pre-measured amounts of powdered detergent in a ziplock baggy. 1 Tablespoon measures are appropriate. Nellie's Laundry nuggets a prepackaged and you can just take a handful of them in a ziplock baggy. We found these to be so easy.
  5. Be sure to adjust the hotel dryer heat to low or medium. Often we have found dryers that still had time left on them. This is a good indication that the dryer dries more quickly and hotter than your home machines.
  6. Even if you decide to take disposables on the trip. Be sure to take diaper covers or diaper shells to use over your diapers. Particularly during plane or car travel. You don't want poopy blowouts or leaks from using an unfamiliar product that doesn't fit your child as well as your cloth diapers do.
  7. If you feel you would only want disposables during part of your trip, consider using a disposable insert from Flip or GroVia with your current cloth diaper shells or covers. We would recommend Grovia for loose stools and Flip for formed stools.
  8. Use flushable diaper liners in your diapers if your child has formed poo. This allows you to remove the poo from the diaper. Leave minimal residue. And shorten up your needed wash routine by eliminating the cold rinse or short cold wash cycle. Worst case scenario, you may find yourself rinsing out a couple of diapers by hand before washing. I have only ever done this once on a trip and of course washed my hands thoroughly afterwards. As mothers we rise to the necessary when we have to.
  9. Use a zippered wet bag when out and about during vacation to collect your diapers. We liked being a self contained system. We were always prepared for a diaper change and never had to wonder what to do with the soiled diaper.
In summary, we have traveled with cloth to Pensacola, Florida; Baltimore/DC; Las Vagas; San Diego; Cincinatti; St Louis and Chicago with a 6 month old, 11 month old, 3 month old, 20 month old, etc. We have not had to resort to disposables yet.

What are the pros and cons of snaps versus hook and loop? Is it purely aesthetic, or is there slightly more versatility in fit with a hook and loop closure?

Some of the difference is aesthetics, but it is hard to pinpoint all the differences. Of course, in trying to determine if somebody would be more pleased with one or another, I can feel my own bias seeping in. I am predominately a snap lover. I have actually sent diapers that were hook and loop (velcro-like closure) to to have them converted to snap closures.

However, I really prefer the hook and loop style closures on some infant/newborn diapers. My babies seem to be born with big bellies and skinny bottoms and front snaps can be hard to secure on the little squirmy bundles of joy. Using hook and loop makes fastening the diaper in front easier. Otherwise, for infants I like more of a hip snap or a single snap, but not 4 or 6 snaps across the front of the diaper.

Hook and Loop Closure
Pros: familiar, easier for people with arthritis or similar joint issues. Fast to put on and doesn't require "thinking."
Cons: requires extra laundry care-closure tabs need to be secured properly to laundry tabs; don't wash in too hot of water or dry on too high of heat. Can wear with time-stitching can come undone, hook and loop can "lose" its adhering power, this time frame varies with how well the diapers are taken care of, how rough your washing machine is, and how often you are washing the same diapers.

Snap Closure
Pros: Diaper stays looking nice wash after wash, does not require any special washing care-when the diaper is unsecured from baby it immediately goes to the pail, no worrying about laundry tabs being secured properly. Allow for independent adjustments for the legs and waist-you can snap legs loose for chubby legs but still pull a waist in snug for the skinny waist. If a snap is to fail or break, it is most likely to happen while the diaper is under warranty.
Cons: Requires fine motor skills. Care providers may not know which snap setting to use and put the diaper on too loosely. Can not usually be repaired at home if failure occurs you often have to send back to manufacturer for repair.

Their is a personality difference between these choices as well and I will best describe it from my own perspective. When I put on a snap closure style diaper, I know exactly (not the first time I put it on but subsequent times) where to snap each and every snap to fit my baby correctly. I always use the same setting until the baby jumps in size. For me the snaps provide precision. If putting on a hook and loop closure diaper, I tend to adhere the left then the right, adjust the left, look and make sure it is good, adjust the right and finally I am satisfied. I fiddle too much with the hook and loop.

Do you take pre-orders on new products?

I actually don't take pre-orders on products that are to be released soon. As much as I respect other businesses that do, I choose not to. I like to have my accounts as current as possible. We choose not to go into debt. We pay off all business cards several times a month. And, we choose not to take preorders. Preoders are too dependent on a future unknown that I have no control over and can not give my promise to fulfill.

6/10/2010 This question was long so was answered within the question itself.
I have a Bosch HE Front Load washer (the smaller European size). I usually use Tide Free HE for all my laundry. I also will use some Downy fabric softener on my hubby's clothes since he thinks they're not clean if they don't smell like something!

You really don't want to wash diapers in a machine that uses fabric softener. Definitely, at least wash a load without softener before washing diapers in the machine. Ideally, find an alternative for using either liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets. Click here, for more information on Fabric Softeners. Click here, for some alternatives.
The only CD store that I have nearby carries Charlie's and Rockin Green, however they only had Charlie's in stock.

It is worth finding a great detergent. I ship detergent nationally and have many to choose from. With your machine being both an HE and a smaller European Size, you may need to plan on using as little as 3/4 - 1 tsp of detergent on a full size load.

Getting the Fabric Softener out of your machine is a good idea a very good idea. I know your husband likes scents but you have a new baby coming that will be highly sensitive to scents and likely to the chemicals that you are putting back on the clothes. Consider you husband will be holding baby, baby will be snuggling on your bed at some point; you might grab a towel to wrap baby up in. Do you want fabric softener on yourself, your husband or in your world right now anyways?
Also, I was wondering if I should avoid Charlie's since I saw your note that it causes rashes on some kiddos. My kids tend to have sensitive skin, so it worries me a little.

I am trying to place an order and it's not letting me for some reason. Hope to hear back from you soon!

If you are having trouble placing an order, feel free to call 309.824.1190; it is no problem at all. We love to help.

I currently make my own laundry detergent for our family. We are making the switch to cloth diapering and I'm wondering if this detergent would work with the cloth system.

Currently I use:
1 Bar Dove Soap or Fels Naptha ( I can substitute this for any bar soap that may work)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda (which can be substituted for Baking Soda if need be)
Plus water

As a general rule this type of solution is not suitable for washing any cloth diapers. The only scenario that would be semi suitable for a homemade laundry solution to work effectively is if the water you were washing the diapers in was already naturally soft and free of minerals.

Making your own laundry solution for washing clothes is not a new concept; rather dates back to before the advent of detergents. Detergents are cleaning products that contain surfactants. In this case, no surfactants are used in the solution and therefore it is not truly a detergent. (on the flip side Lever 2000 "soap" isn't a soap rather a bar detergent because it contains surfactants).

The problem with the homemade washing mixture is the same trouble from history. The soap reacts poorly in hard water conditions and creates a scum or film that can be left on the clothing. The Borax and the Washing Soda are useful as water softeners to reduce the forming of soap scum however, they can form their own precipitates in hard water that can be left on the clothing or washing machine and cause difficulties. The borax can also be abrasive to fabrics in certain situations and is often considered harsher than necessary for washing.

So unless you are washing completely natural fiber diapers in completely and naturally soft water, using a homemade washing mixture will probably cause you more diapering headaches than its worth.

I have a question regarding cloth diapers soiled with meconium. I heard meconium is sticky and tar-like. Is this hard to wash off cloth diapers? Does is stain badly (doesn't really bother me)? How would we go about washing the meconium off of the cloth diapers?

Meconium is sticky and tar-like, but I have never had any problems washing out of my diapers or having it stain. Do wash diapers blessed with meconium in hot water; cold water doesn't work effectively. We cloth diaper from birth so I have first hand experience here. Meconium won't stain but that breastfed baby poo that comes after sure does.

I would also like to mention that if you change a meconium diaper right away it will easily come off baby's skin. If you can be like trying to wash off a temporary tattoo. At hospitals they will often slather the baby's bottom with petroleum or vaseline which is not at all suitable for cloth diapers. They do this to make cleaning the baby easier since the staff will not immediately know when the baby needs changed. In a homebirth setting or a hospital rooming-in setting, you will know when a diaper becomes soiled and change right away; so plan to forego the petroleum/vaseline product.