Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Traveled With Cloth Diapers and Survived!

I just completed my FIRST week away from home with cloth diapers AND wipes! It wasn't as hard as I expected it would be, and probably because the baby and I were at my parents for the week and we had access to a washer and dryer. BUT I did have a few challenges that I didn't expect.

I want to go through what I packed, how I washed, and the challenges I experienced.

What I packed:

As many diapers as i could fit into my big Planet Wise hanging wet/dry bag, probably about 25/35 diapers.

Cloth wipes (about 30 or so) I had enough to fill my wipe container twice.

Flushable diaper liners (so far I really love the CuteyBaby Keep It Clean Biodegradable Flushable Liners, and they're super inexpensive, I can get 100 for $5.99 at Kelly's Closet!

My spray bottle with wipe solution in it ( I still have some Happy Heinys Heiny Wash, but I will be switching to water once that runs out)

8 diaper doubler's for overnight diapers (LOVE my bumGenius diaper doubler's!)

My Rockin' Green for diaper laundry

My Rockin' Green Shake It Up! pail freshener

An extra hanging wet bag (my other hanging bag is a FuzziBunz hanging diaper pail)

4 wet bags for out and about

A pack of disposable wipes (just in case we ran out of cloth wipes before I could wash diapers and for when Grandma and Grandpa watched little man)

1 Medium Planet Wise wet bag (to hold all my diaper accessories)

How I washed my diapers: 

Since we were at my parents house I had to change up my wash routine just a bit. My mom is a heavy user of liquid fabric softener, bleach, stain removers and OxyClean. I didn't know what to expect when washing my diapers in her washer, so I originally turned to DiaperSwappers and the discussion boards on the Diapershops.com facebook page. I got a wealth of useful information on how to wash my diapers without ruining them or causing them to build up an repel.

With the advice given, I decided to do a few washes of my own dirty clothes and a load of my moms towels using only Rockin' Green. The towel wash was also done on hot so that it would kind of strip any build-up in the washer). With these washes, I also got to show my mom how much more awesome wool dryer balls are than liquid fabric softener!

With my first load of diapers for the week I did a cold prewash (she has a fancier machine than I do so I was excited to use all the options that I don't have on my ancient washer). A hot wash/ cold rinse with an extra rinse with 3 tablespoons of Rockin' Green (I used classic rock in barenaked babies). My diapers came out fresh and clean smelling. I then did a 60 minute dry with 4 dryer balls and the heat set on delicate (again I don't have this option at home, I have a timed dry or a more to less dry option, no heat settings). My diapers were nice and dry within the 60 minutes except for my bumGenius Elementals, but those always take a bit longer to dry.

My second wash of the week was a little different because I had some stink issues with the first load after my little guy would pee in his diapers. I ended up doing a cold pre-wash, a hot wash/cold rinse with an extra rinse with 1 tablespoon of Rockin' Green and then an additional rinse. My diapers smelled wonderful out of the washer and dryer AND after my little guy peed in them! I got great advice from Kim at Rockin' Green on the wash routine I used with the second set of diapers and it was really nice to be able to talk to the creator of Rockin' Green and have her help me solve my stink issues!

I'm glad I found a great wash routine I can use at my parents house, it will help us tremendously to be able to wash diapers when we stay there. I definitely plan to pack less diapers next time since I know I have a solid wash routine there.


I only had a few challenges while visiting my parents, they weren't HUGE challenges, but they definitely made cloth diapering a teensy bit difficult.

The first challenge was rinsing poopy diapers without a diaper sprayer...Oh how I missed my diaper sprayer while I was away. I'm thankful that my little man is a once every other day pooper, so I only had to rinse about 4 diapers out, but man is it super heard to wash out formula poo from a diaper without a sprayer!! I had to spend a lot more time squatting by the toilet, getting the poo out of his diapers than I would have with a sprayer. I did use liners, but sometimes I forgot and the liners don't always stay put on my squirmy boy so I always end up with poo on the diaper somewhere, and it's usually 1/2 in the liner 1/2 on the diaper. This wasn't a HUGE deal for me, they rinsed clean as long as I got my hands in there and scrubbed a bit.

The second challenge was definitely the wash routine. Thank goodness for the Diapershops.com facebook page, DiaperSwappers and Kim from Rockin' Green! without those resources I would not have been able to solve my problem and I would have been dreading washing my diapers at my parents each time I visited.


  1. Good for you for trying cloth away from home:) It's unnecessarily scary for most folks. If you have access to a washer/dryer it should be no different than at home.

    We did cloth at the beach for a week and I surprised my mom with how easy it was:) I took 12 pockets and 12 prefolds (with 3 covers). We ended up doing diaper laundry the second night and then again right before we left (the 5th night?). I saved my pockets for outings and night time diapering and used the prefolds as much as I could during the day.

    Easy as pie:)

  2. I am so happy you posted this as we are on vacation at my parents house in Florida and we JUST started CD'ing my 2 yr old and hope to get it down pat by the time baby #2 comes in February. I did not even think about what kinda of buildup was in the washing machine BEFORE I washed the soiled dipes and I am wondering if THAT was the cause of my little man's horrible diaper rash that he has developed. It has gotten so bad that we are switching back to disposables for the rest of the vaca until I can figure out what I am doing wrong with these cloth dipes. I soaked all the CD's in the bathtub last night with Dawn (hoping to remove any residue on them) and hopefully this solves the problem. Do you think I should rewash them all when we get back home? My sister shared this blog post with me and I am so glad she did! It made me feel a little better to be in your shoes and to know that you did it!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. @ Lindsay, It was so great! I was worried about my moms washer, but once I figured it out I know I'll have no problem at all using cloth wherever I go!

    @ MaMaMahler I would rewash them and do a ton of extra rinses (you want do do enough that the water is clear and has no bubbles or soap residue). You could also do a load with nothing in the washer with hot water and a little bit of bleach or vinegar to kind of strip the washer and then try washing your diapers again, either one could help.
    What kind of detergent do you use? and is the washer a top loader or a HE machine?
    It's all trial and error with diapers, I'm sure you've noticed that everyone has their own wash routine.
    I'm glad you found this helpful!!! It's super easy once you find what works for you, especially when traveling!
    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Thanks so much for responding! I was so happy to see that you did! It's so nice being able to have conversation with someone about this stuff because I tend to get a little overwhelmed by all the different ways people do cloth and all of the info on the internet! I just started using babyganics detergent because I was using tide free and clear (suggested by a friend for cloth) and i think that my little guy is having a reaction to that, and possibly to the buildup in Grandma's washing machine. Since their washer (top loader) broke yesterday they bought a new one (front loader) and I washed all the dipes in there before any other detergent had a chance to go in that brand new washer! I will wash them again once I get home to be sure...but I must say...I am glad we have a top loader at home! It seems to be more dummy proof and that is just what I need! lol! I look forward to following your blog and learning from you a little as I go! Thanks again!!!

  5. No problem! I know how you feel, I still sometimes feel realyl isolated and confuseb by the whole thing, especially since I don't have any family or friends that cloth diaper.
    The laundry part is so hard to get down. I love my top loader, it's ancient, but it does the job so I can't complain. I've heard from a lot of people that they have to add water through the detergent hole in their front loaders because they don't use as much water.
    Hopefully washing them in the new washer helped you out. Finding the right detergent can be a bit hard when you cloth diaper because everyone's babies respond to them differently. Thankfully my little guy's skin is good with my Rockin' Green.
    I'm so glad you find this blog helpful, I figured that there aren't a lot of blogs about cloth diapers out there where the moms are total newbies, We've been cloth diapering since July 7th and I felt that I didn't want all my research to go to waste (this is TOTALLY the librarian in me talking lol)
    I hope we can all learn from each other!
    Thanks again!