Saturday, August 6, 2011

The traveling delima.

I've been seeing a common question come up on the diaper forum I frequent.  With summer being a popular time for going on vacation, many cloth diapering moms ask a big question.  How do I cloth diaper my child while on vacation?  What can I use.  

Well, if you are fortunate enough to be traveling to a place (family, friends, nice hotel) where laundry facilities are available it will be an easy choice.  Just take from your normal stash and have fun!  However, when facilities are not available what do you do?

I had to ask myself this when we went on vacation last month.  We took a trip to a Methodist camp and I had no access to laundry facilities.  Okay, so I had to ask myself, "What are my options?"  There were three things: hand wash, try a hybrid system, or go disposable.  Okay, so hand wash.  Thank goodness for my cloth obsession and my knowledge of the Flats Hand Washing Challenge.  Yeah, I was one of those crazy moms trying this out.  I had to.  I had to see if I could do it.  After all, if I could do it for 5 days at home, I could do it on vacation.  You can read how it went in my 4 part blog.  Um, yeah that didn't work out well; fishy stink city.  I tried so hard too.  I felt defeated.  Not only could I not do it during the 5 days, I knew I was not going to be able to enjoy my vacation if I had to deal with stinky diapers every day.  Plus there would be diapers hanging EVERYWHERE.  Okay, so scratch that idea.  

Using disposables just really wasn't an option.  Though for many, it is a good option.  There is nothing wrong with using them.  My biggest concern with using them full-time was the sensitivity of my youngest daughter.  So I went to plan B.  I looked into the hybrid systems.  The two most popular are Flip and Grovia.  I did a lot of asking around and reading of these two products.  They both ended up having some pros and cons.  I think my favorite was the Grovia.  I loved the aplix on my covers and the narrowness of the cover between the legs.  Both brands had one size covers.  I liked the Grovia inserts the most because of the adhesive tape (many moms don't like this because it is a little hard to get out of the cover).  I could slap that diaper on my wiggly 9 mo old like nobody's business.  The only thing I didn't like about it is that it seemed to hold heat in a lot (and it was SUPER hot there).  The Grovia inserts looked and felt a lot like a disposable diaper, but they are made to be compost friendly.

 I also took along a pack of Flip disposable inserts (with Flip cover as well).  The Flip inserts were super soft and reminded me much of a very long maxi pad.  There were no adhesive strips, so you simply laid them in the cover.  The insert had to be folded down, especially on my son, though I didn't mind that because it was nice to have that extra absorbency up front.  The main thing I didn't like about this insert was that it bunched terribly between the legs.  It did not stay flat thus causing the poo to get every where.  

Unfortunately I did not try these out overnight on my vacation.  However, I do have some left, so I could certainly try them out if anyone is interested.  Anyway, because I wasn't sure how they would work over night and since we were in our vehicles for long periods of time, I did end up buying a pack of disposable diapers for driving and for overnight.  

My overall opinion of these two hybrid diapers is that they are a good alternative to disposable diapers for vacationing as well as for daycare.  They are very low maintenance and if the cover is soiled they clean very easily in the sink. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Machine Maintenance.

I've always known it is a good idea to make sure you keep your dryer clean.  The fire hazard the lint causes is so scary.  Few years back a friend (who was pregnant at the time) lost her laundry room to a fire caused by lint.  

I've had my machines since we got married 10 years ago.  I love them.  They were a wedding gift from my parents.  I started my cloth diapering back then with my oldest son using Gerber prefolds and pull-up plastic pants.  We had typical pail stink, but my washer did a fantastic job cleaning the diapers.  I never noticed any build-up or residue in my machine.  

About 2 years ago dad and I took a trip to Florida to get my machines out of our town house.  We were using a stacked washer/dryer unit and it was not cutting it.  I needed my machines.  Fast forward to now.  The window is collecting white residue and I battle stinky laundry.  

I was very happy to stumble upon a blog by The Cloth Diaper Report about daily/weekly maintenance of your washer.  The author also followed up with a monthly maintenance routine.  As I read, I realized I do some of the daily/weekly suggestions.  I try to keep my door open when not in use.  My drum is pretty big, but the door opening is pretty small.  Now it is a bit difficult when there are little hands wandering the house and they love to close things.  I found if I keep the door open the musty smell is very minimal.  Yes, just minimal.  My biggest problem is taking the clothes out right away.  Many times I forget that I need clothes (well hubby needs work clothes) the next day, so I put the load in at 10 pm only to fall asleep before it is done.  Thus it sits all night in the washer, all closed up.  What a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and mustiness.  

I've considered using the Tide washer cleaner, but I have not read any cloth diapering reviews on it.  I do know I have hard water.  The white residue on my washer door and battle of stink in my diapers has proven that.  The Cloth Diaper Report recommends using a product called Affresh.   However unlike her machine, I don't have a Clean Washer selection.  Remember, my machines were bought new 10 years ago (I don't even have a sanitize on my machine; just a simple, hot/cold/warm).

I hope my machine isn't doomed because I haven't "cleaned" ever.  Honestly, I never knew you were supposed to clean them!  With that said, I need to go do my first rinse on my diapers.