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A blog for cloth diapering Mammas. Doing our best for our babies and our Mother Earth.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stripping Cloth Diapers - Strip Cloth Diapers

Over time you may notice that your cloth diapers no longer smell April fresh, even right after laundering. This usually means that they have build-up and need a good stripping. Build-up occurs when residue left by detergents, oils or other substances remain in the fibers. Diapers with either super-absorbent hemp or man-made materials like micro fleece tend to gather stink more easily than diapers with all-natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. If the funky smell wasn't bad enough, build up can also decrease the absorbency of your diapers and cause leaking. But don't worry, removing build-up by stripping your cloth diapers is really easy - we'll show you how!

Stripping Cloth Diapers - Hot Water
If your diapers are dirty as well as stinky you should wash them before stripping, otherwise stains may be set in. Freshly washed diapers don't need to be dried before stripping; you can strip right after washing. Before stripping be sure to check the washing instructions for your diapers so you don't accidentally damage them.

Wash
Place your stinky diapers in the washing machine and run them through a hot wash with NO detergent. Top loading machines are slightly easier to use when stripping because you can lift the lid to check for bubbles. They may also be more efficient at stripping due to the large amount of water they use. However, front loading washers can also be used successfully; it may take more cycles plus a bit of creativity and a flashlight to see bubbles.

The water should be as hot as possible so you may want to turn your water heater up beforehand, or boil water on the stove to add to the washer. If you change your water heater temperature be sure to turn it back down afterwards!

Rinse
Rinse your cloth diapers in the hottest water your machine will allow. Peek into the washer during the rinse to see if there are soap bubbles on top of the water. Continue running rinse cycles until there are no more soap bubbles. It could take four or more rinses to get rid of all the bubbles. Don't confuse soap bubbles with agitation bubbles - agitation bubbles will dissipate quickly if you stop the washer while soap bubbles will hang around a bit.

If your machine allows for hot washes with hot or warm rinses you could substitute hot/hot or hot/warm wash cycles for the numerous rinse cycles. My machine only has hot/cold, warm/warm, warm/cold and cold/cold choices so I generally run a hot/cold cycle then a warm/warm cycle in place of two separate rinse cycles.

Stripping Cloth Diapers - Alternative Methods
Although stripping cloth diapers is generally done at home in the washing machine, there are other ways to strip.

Laundromat Stripping
If you don't think you can get hot enough water at home, try stripping at a local Laundromat. Most Laundromats have hotter water and larger machines with greater water capacity than home washers. You may want to run an empty hot cycle before stripping in case there's detergent build-up inside the machine.

Stripping by Hand
You may want to try stripping by hand if you only have a few stinky diapers, but we don't recommend this method for a lot of diapers. Use the hottest water you can stand, and wear rubber gloves to insulate your hands and keep them from becoming sandpaper rough.

If Stripping Doesn't Work
If you've tried everything above and your diapers still scare the skunks away, maybe build-up isn't the problem. Consider these reasons:

Not Enough Detergent
So you've cut down on the amount of detergent you're using, you've stripped and stripped, but your diapers still stink? It could be that you're not using enough detergent. Try running a hot wash with a full cup of detergent then rinse, rinse, rinse.

Vinegar in Hard Water
If you have hard water and use vinegar the acid in the vinegar could be reacting with the minerals in the water and causing odor. Adding a water softener like Calgon to the wash cycle and cutting down or eliminating the vinegar may help in this case. Try 1/4 capful to begin with and use more or less as needed.

Stripping Cloth Diapers - Additives
Sometimes cloth diapers need a little more than plain hot water to get completely stripped. If your diapers are still leaking or a faint odor remains after hot water stripping, you may want to try some of these ideas. Because the effectiveness of these methods depends on what kind of water you have and what kind of diapers you use, these methods won't work for everyone. Keep trying until you find one that works for you.

Bac-Out
by Bi-O-Kleen is a natural alternative containing a unique blend of natural living enzyme cultures and botanical extracts. Bac-Out has been successfully used for stripping by some cloth diapering mamas, however other mamas have reported that their little ones developed a rash from diapers washed with Bac-Out. If you choose to use Bac-Out be sure to rinse a lot and keep an eye out for rashes.

Baking Soda
has been trusted for over 100 years as an effective yet natural and gentle cleaner with no harsh chemicals. Baking soda natural effect is to balance pH, keeping things neither too acidic nor too alkaline, and it resists further changes in the pH balance. Add 1/2 to 1 cup to the wash cycle to neutralize and eliminate odors. Then rinse until there are no more bubbles.

Calgon
and other water softeners can help with stripping by removing hard water minerals that trap dirt into fabric fibers. Calgon also helps to prevent detergent build-up, neutralizes the hard water minerals in your water, and contains no phosphates. Expect lots of bubbles when using water softeners, so be sure to rinse until they're gone.

Dawn Dish Soap
Add a squirt or two of original Dawn dish soap to your washer and run a hot wash, then rinse until there are no more bubbles. Dawn is a degreasing agent and helps stripping by removing oily residue. If your microfleece is repelling (not allowing wetness to penetrate) try scrubbing a little Dawn right into the micro fleece with a medium bristle brush. Be sure to rinse until the water runs clear.

OxiClean
Use OxiClean to help remove residue and improve stripping efficiency. OxiClean is an alkaline laundry booster containing chlorine and phosphorus, and is safe for laundry. Try one to two scoops in your hot wash and as usual, rinse until there are no more bubbles.

RLR
by Cadie is not a bleach, blueing agent, or detergent. It removes dried-in mineral deposits and detergent residue from fabrics, pulling the deposits out of the fibers and suspending them in the water until they gets rinsed out. It is gentle and safe for all fabrics and PUL, and it is free of perfumes. Add one envelope to the hot wash and - you guessed it - rinse!

White Vinegar
Naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue. The acid in white vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. It also prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew. Vinegar can be added to your final stripping rinse to remove the last of the detergent residue and to soften your cloth diapers - try 1/2 - 1 cup. Don't worry, your diapers won't smell like vinegar after they're dry.

Laundering Mistakes!

The following products and processes are not recommended for use in laundering cloth diapers:

Chlorine Bleach - Yes it is great for killing germs, but it is bad for cloth diapers and covers. It will actually eat away at the fibers in your diapers, leaving holes and frayed edges. It also decreases their durability and absorbency. It may adversely affect the waterproofing in certain cloth diapers. Baking soda and oxygen bleach are great whiteners to use in its place.

Fabric Softener - This product is equated with super soft and fresh smelling clothing, so it is only natural that you would want to use it on your cloth diapers. This would be a mistake. Fabric softener, either in liquid or sheet form, leaves a water-repelling residue on your diapers, making them less absorbent and useless in the very purpose that they serve. It also coats your diaper covers and can deteriorate their water-proof laminate. We recommend these re-usable dryer sheets by Static Eliminator. The Static Eliminator reuseable-sheets contain no chemicals and are hypoallergenic. In addition, they don't affect the flame resistance of clothing. Want to know the best part? They are safe for cloth diapers!

Pure Soaps – Pure soaps are the more natural choice in the world of cleaners, but will leave a residue on your diapers and covers similar to the soap scum you find in your tub. Soap scum on diapers makes them repel moisture rather than absorb it. It is also harsh on the laminates used in your diaper covers, making them absorb rather than repel water. The best choice for washing your diapers is to use detergent on them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The diaper debate

Diapers are a necessary evil in parenting. There is just no getting around it. The debate will likely never end as to which diapering choice is more "green". We should all do what we can whether we use disposable or reusable diapers. I obviously am pro reusable. Besides the fact that disposables take up to 500 years to decompose and are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions it's those tiny little gelatinous beads in the disposables that really offend me. Those absorbent, gooey beads that absorb urine. There is a whole other debate as to whether those pose a health risk. I'm not willing to take that gamble with my little pixie.

Hubby and I are going to put up a clothes line, as one more step in becoming "greener" we can line dry our cloth diapers during the summer months (when it's not storming).

The choice is ultimately yours just make an informed decision and do your part in reducing your child's carbon footprint. For more information http://www.carbon-balanced-baby.org/diapers-environmental-pollution.html

If you decide that disposable diapers are right for your family please, please, please do not use those diaper machines that tightly wrap up the diapers for disposal. Those add an additional 200 years to the decomposing process! If you must wrap your diapers (which I've never understood) use biodegradable bags which can be purchased at Whole Foods. OR simply walk your dirty diaper outside to your dumpster, just think of the calories you can burn with those extra steps per day!

Wishing you and your little pixie a wonderfully GREEN day.

Marie

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cloth diapers rise again

We made the Sunday paper! Front page no less. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090614/COUNTY090101/906140333/Entrepreneur+turns+load+of+manure+into+cash+cow

We are still working on the site so please be patient with us. Please feel free to contact us with any cloth diapering questions or product suggestions.

Wishing you a beautifully green day,

Marie

Monday, June 1, 2009

How do I Deal with Cloth Diaper Stains?

How do I deal with cloth diaper stains?

Part of washing cloth diapers is learning how to deal with the stains that occur.

Stains, like other things in diapers, happen. Be prepared for a certain amount of natural staining that comes with baby’s byproducts on white or light colored material. There are, however, certain steps you can take to at least reduce, if not eliminate, stains from cloth diapers.
Stain Soap http://www.greenpixiebaby.com/product.sc?categoryId=6&productId=23. One of the best ways to deal with stains is to treat it with special Stain Soap. The soap is gentler than traditional fabric cleaners and is all natural. To use the soap, you simply wet the affected area, rub in the soap and rinse the soap and stain away. For difficult stains, you can leave the soap on the diaper for a minute or two before rinsing, but be aware that too much use of any product, like Stain Soap, can leave a residue in the diaper affecting absorbency and odor.

Sunning-Out Cloth Diaper Stains
The sun is a wonderful bleaching agent. Line drying or sunning diapers regularly can help reduce odor and stains as well as naturally sanitize the cloth diapers. After washing the diapers, lay or hang them in the sunshine to help stains fade. The sunlight, not the heat, is responsible for the bleaching, so temperature is not an issue.

Cloth diaper stains are inevitable.

Sometimes it might be better to just deal with the stains by ignoring them. Cloth diapers are going to get stains, and those stains will fade and even disappear with repeated washings. So long as the diapers have been washed and smell clean, they are. They can be stained and still be perfectly clean and sterilized. Also remember to avoid chlorine bleach and heavy detergents in your efforts to minimize stains.

How Many Diapers Are Needed to Cloth Diaper My Baby?

When parents first take to the idea of cloth diapering their baby, they easily overwhelm themselves with both the choices and variety of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories available. "How many diapers should I buy?" is the most common question, but the answer is not the same for everyone.

Building a cloth diaper system isn't some type of deep mystery; simply put, no family is the same, and therefore, no cloth diapering system will be exactly the same, but there are some pretty striking patterns we've seen in the last decade. Our cloth diaper stash recommendations are based on the purchases and feedback from parents and caregivers just like you.

The most agreed upon number of cloth diapers preferred in a full-time cloth diaper stash is 18 (one and 1/2 dozen cloth diapers). With 18 cloth diapers, you can develop a washing system of every other day. If you desire to wash your diapers less frequently than every 2nd day, you will obviously need a larger stash. Some parents initially purchase MORE cloth diapers for this reason, but please know that cloth diapers are not intended to sit in a pail for more than 3 days without being washed; the longer a soiled diaper remains in a cloth diaper pail unwashed, the longer you will work to treat any stains, not to mention the stink.

Full-Time Cloth Diapering
For the first year and 1/2, full-time cloth diapering requires 18-20 cloth diapers. As your baby grows to toddlerhood, he or she will wet less frequently, and won't need to be changed as often; at this point you will need fewer cloth diapers overall.

NEWBORNS - Newborns need the largest cloth diaper stash. With newborns, especially those breastfeeding, every meal is liquid - as a result, they have more explosive bowel movements and urinate more frequently. As newborns develop and solid meals are added into their diet, these patterns change to allow for less diaper usage overall.

6 - 18 MONTHS - Once baby begins to roll, crawl, pull-up on furniture, and sit up on their own, their wetting patterns typically decrease and their cloth diaper needs change. Whereas before, baby was just lying around, now baby is dynamic and needs a cloth diaper that can move along with them. This is often a time when parents will modify their cloth diaper stash to accommodate more flexibility in the thigh and waist for baby's added comfort. If your newborn stash was made up primarily of prefolds, you can re-purpose them as burp rags, changing pads, or diaper doublers. At this point, 18 cloth diapers are still recommended for a washing cycle of every other day.

18 MONTHS - POTTY LEARNING - When your Toddler begins to gain interest in using the 'big potty', your cloth diaper base can be reduced significantly. Even 12 (a dozen) cloth diapers may be more than enough, because your Toddler will no longer be considered a full-time cloth diapered baby. To assist with 'Diaper Independence' many parents will switch over to the pull-on style of cloth diaper Training Pants during the day and use their regular stash for night-time diapering.

Still have questions? http://www.greenpixiebaby.com/contactus.sc. for more information.

Cloth Diapering Definitions

The following list is arranged alphabetically.

ALL-IN-ONE DIAPERS (AIOs) - also seen written as AIOs, are the style of cloth diapers most similar to a disposable diaper. Often purchased by those caregivers seeking absolute convenience, or parents of babies and toddlers in day care, All-In-One diapers are constructed of all the necessary components needed in a diaper - they are an all in one cloth diaper unit.
All-In-One Diapers are easy to put on baby. Most styles of All-In-One Diapers secure around baby with some form of Velcro or hook & loop closure tabs; snaps can also be used. The inner lining that rests against baby's skin is made from any number of fabrics - 100% organic cotton, flannellete, hemp, and even stay-dry microfleece. The outer layer is made from fabrics treated for waterproofing.

CONTOUR DIAPERS - Contour Diapers are hourglassed shape and made to contour to baby; hence the name. They aren't exactly a prefold diaper, although they are sewn in layers. They also aren't exactly a fitted diaper - though they do contour to baby's body. Without the need for any cloth diaper folds, or the use of elastic at the waist or legs, contour diapers boast a trim fit and are secured around baby with diaper pins, snappi fasteners, or a cloth diaper wrap.
There are some Contour Diapers with elastic at the leg, but this is atypical; that style of Contour Diaper is often called a 'semi-fitted' cloth diaper.

DIAPER COVERS - also called cloth diaper covers or cloth diaper wraps, are an absolute necessity if you cloth diaper your baby with any style of cloth diaper that doesn't have an outer waterproof fabric layer. Available in an assortment of colors, fabrics and sizes, cloth diaper covers will protect your baby's clothing, crib bedding, car seats, and anything else their bum touches, from being soiled.
Most Diaper Covers can be classified as one of two styles; pull-ons that simply pull-up or down, and cloth diaper wraps which come off and on using snap or velcro wings that wrap around baby (much like a disposable). Diaper Covers are made from water-resistant and waterproof fabrics such as nylon, PUL, or heavier fabrics such as wool or fleece. Though the heavier fabrics are not recommended as an everyday cloth diaper cover to use beneath baby's clothes, they do tend to be a favorite for night-time diapering.

DIAPER DOUBLERS - are absorbent, multiple-layered pads designed to increase absorbency for heavy-wetting babies or during extended periods of times such as naps, night-time diapering, or even for long car trips. Diaper Doublers are placed atop the inner layer of a cloth diaper, along the length of the crotch.

DIAPER FASTENERS - are varied, but include both the traditional plastic-topped and heavy duty brass locking head diaper pins, as well as the stretchy plastic t-shaped grippers known as Snappi Diaper Fasteners. Diaper Fasteners are simply a means to secure baby's cloth diaper on them in a safe and comfortable way. These are not required for AIO’s.

FITTED DIAPERS - are made from more varieties of fabric than you can imagine; 100% cotton (bleached and unbleached), certified organic cotton, cotton fleece, cotton velour, and even hemps and sherpas. Absorbency, as well as price, will vary with the type of fabric used to sew Fitted Diapers. More often than not, Fitted Diapers are gathered with elastic (encased or not) at the thighs and waist and secure with velcro and snaps on the wrap-around wings; there are a few versions without snaps or velcro closures that require a diaper pin, snappi fastener or a wrap-style diaper cover to secure them to baby. They look and cut resembles a disposable diaper, but without a waterproof outer layer, so Fitted Diapers do require a cloth diaper cover to contain seepage when baby wets. Fitted Diapers do not require any kind of cloth diaper folding to use.

FLAT DIAPERS - are most often constructed of a single layer of stretchy, loosely knit birds-eye, they can also be found in muslin, flannel, organic cotton, terry, and various other fabrics. Though the typical cut is a standard 27 or 30 inch square, flat diapers can now be found in a large variety of sizes. Flat Diapers are not prefolded, so they will require cloth diaper folding to get the single-ply diaper layered where baby needs it most. Once folded properly, Flat Diapers can be secured with diaper pins, snappi fasteners, or within any wrap-style cloth diaper cover.

INSERTS - much like Diaper Doublers, are absorbent, multi-layered pads, however, Inserts are typically purchased and used to stuff inside a Pocket Diaper. Made from absorbent materials such as cotton, hemp, and microfiber, Inserts do not require any type of folding and can even be used in combination with a Diaper Doubler for babies or toddlers with heavier wetting patterns.

LINERS - were created to ease the clean-up of a poopy cloth diaper and as a means to keep baby's skin dry INSIDE the diaper. A liner is placed atop the length of the stride INSIDE a baby's diaper; this forms a layer of protection for baby's sensitive skin. There are both reusable and single-use liners available. Single-use liners are made of cellulose and are both flushable and biodegradable; they are often referred to as rice paper liners. reusable cloth diaper liners are made of fabrics such as suedecloth, microfleece, knitted silk, wool, or even cotton velour, and wash up for use over and over again.

PREFOLD DIAPERS - are constructed of multiple layers sewn in three panels separated by seams that run the length of the cloth diaper. As would be expected, the middle section of a prefold diaper is designed with more layers, making it thicker than the two side panels; this puts the absorbency right where it is needed. Diaper Service Quality prefolds, like Chinese Prefolds can be found in layers such as 2-4-2, with the middle layer being 4 panels; as well as 4-6-4 and 4-8-4. Considered the most economical and versatile cloth diaper option, prefold diapers are just a step away from the large flat diapers, the only difference being prefolds are typically rectangular and not single-layered.
Prefold Diapers are sewn from as many different fabrics as any other absorbent cloth diaper, including 100% cotton, organic cotton, flannel, and hemp, to name a few. The Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) Chinese Prefolds come in two colors - bleached and unbleached; unbleached prefold diapers are light tan in color and require additional washing for each diaper to reach full absorbency.
Cloth diaper covers are a necessity with any Prefold Diaper because they do not have a waterproof outer barrier. There are a number of cloth diaper folding techniques when using Prefold Diapers, some require cloth diaper pins or snappi fasteners to secure, and yet others need only a cloth diaper wrap.

POCKET DIAPERS - are an anomaly in the cloth diapering world because they really aren't a cloth diaper at all - at least, not until they are assembled or 'stuffed'. A Pocket Diaper is basically a shell made by sewing two separate materials together, while leaving a 'hole' or 'pocket' of sorts to stuff-in an absorbent insert. Pocket Diapers must be assembled with this internal absorbent core BEFORE using.

The outer layer of a Pocket Diaper is typically made from a water-resistant or waterproof fabric, eliminating the need for a cloth diaper cover. The inner layer of Pocket Diapers can be made of many materials, including microfiber, terry cloth, hemp, or even a prefold diaper (great for maximum overnight absorbency). The idea of a Pocket Diaper is to tailor absorbency without losing the convenience of an All-In-One Diaper. Plus, if you select a Pocket Diaper with a microfleece inner lining, the baby's urine will pass through the microfleece, into the absorbent core within the pocket, keeping baby dry to the touch EVEN THOUGH the cloth diaper in the pocket is soaked. Last, but not least, it is as easy to put a pocket diaper on baby as it is a disposable diaper.

About Me

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Franklin, TN, United States
Hello my name is Marie. I have four healthy, beautiful children. When our latest blessing joined our lives in November 2008 we decided to do the best thing for her and our planet. We went the cloth diapering route. During our search for cloth diapers we found limited availability in our area. We knew that we were not the only family facing this dilemma. Together we decided that we were going to help bring the green trend of cloth diapering to Franklin, TN. So here we are! We specialize in American made cloth diapers and baby products. Spreading the love of cloth diaper fluff and American made stuff one baby at a time. www.greenpixiebaby.com won’t you join us in saving our planet and parenting green?

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