Thursday, August 23, 2012

Heat and PUL Are Not Best Friends.

I spend a good portion of my day asking my 2 year old silly questions like, "Why did you hit the baby?  Why are you pushing those buttons? or What is your fascination with the light switch?"  and I have come to the conclusion that it is because he simply wants to see what is going to happen.  He's inquisitive.  I can't fault him for that, after all he is only 2.  So what is  my excuse?  Well, like mother like son I guess.  There are just some things I just gotta know. 

So long!  It was a good 10 years knowing you!
What does this have to do with diapers you ask?  I'll tell you.  Remember my blog A Lesson Learned  where I talked about not using the dryer because of de-lamination?  Well, I apparently have not learned my lesson yet.  Back in May when I was in the hospital giving birth to our 6th child, my mother was watching our kids.  While she was there and keeping up on my laundry, my washer died.  *great*  Out with the old and in with the new washer and dryer.  I was thrilled.  Even though I had finally worked out a perfect washing routine for our diapers, I was not happy with how much time and cycles it took.  

Laundry day hit and I stuck with what I knew:  cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse.  You know, for a while this was great, but I knew there had to be a more efficient way to wash without having to run the machines so many times.  After all these are brand new machines!  So my husband and I took a look at what we had and decided to test out the steam functions.  When we were looking at machines to buy, the sales man said that seam is helpful for releasing stains.  And as we all know in the cloth diapering world, heat helps kill stinky bacteria, so we figured why not, let's try it out.  

So on my machine, we have the Deep Clean with Steam button.  I toss everything in, set the machine to hot with detergent, no bleach, and the Deep Clean button on.  This seemed to work for a few weeks.  It made it about a 2 hour cycle, but that was okay as long as my diapers were getting clean.  I was pretty stoked that we were finding a way to clean the diapers in one cycle.  Well then my husband showed me the Steam Sanitize selection on the water temperature.  So then we started to use that as well.  This bumped the cycle up to almost 3 hours.  In my quest for clean diapers, I began thinking what kind of effect this was going to have on the elastic and PUL.  Inquisitive minds want to know!!  

Now, granted many of my diapers have been with us for over a year so I think the extreme heat was the last straw for some of my diapers.  Most of the elastic on my diapers are pretty much stretched out.  Unfortunately I have no sewing capabilities so for the Bum Gneius 4.0s in my stash once they are all stretched out I will have to retire them.  My FuzziBunz one size are still in the rotation for my almost 2 year old son and those are easily fixable with the extra elastic that they provide.  *I just want to say the old style FuzziBunz one size are my all time favorite diaper.*  There are others in the stash that still have some life in them, but not for long.  I really don't think that the heat has changed the elastic in any way.

The PUL is a different story.  Steam Clean and Sanitize really speeds up the aging on the PUL.  Some of the results are the same; you will see in my pictures the holes or splits in the PUL and others show where the PUL has peeled off.  

I have 5 diapers which I have kept although I had many show signs of de-lamination.  Unfortunately I threw the others away before realizing that they would make for good examples of what de-lamination looks like.  So here we have (top) FuzziBunz Perfect Size and a BumGenius 4.0, (bottom) BumGenius 3.0 AIO, Bummis Super Lite Diaper Wrap, Blueberry pocket.

The FuzziBunz Perfect Size totally peeled off.  It looks like a big bubble between the PUL and the purple material.  I have two others of these diapers and they are still in good condition.  I bought these December 2010 (not bad huh?).  

This is the BG 4.0 bought in October 2010.  The first picture the material is relaxed and not stretched.  It just looks like a used diaper.    
 Here I stretched out the material.  See the holes?  They look like vertical cracks in the PUL. 
 A closer look at the holes.  You can see right through them!
Here we have the BG 3.0 AIO which I used only as a nighttime diaper for two of my kids.  I would stuff it with a Thirsties Hemp Prefold or a Thirsties Hemp Insert.  I bought these in January of 2011.  The first picture the material is setting at rest.  You can see the speckled look.  There is a discoloration to it.  This is how I noticed that it had de-laminated.  

 Here the cover is stretched out.  You can see how it seems to have just melted off. 

This red cover is my Bummis Super Lite Diaper Wrap bought in March 2011.  I was very sad when I noticed the PUL had cracked.  I loved this cover.  This is one I had found in the dryer.  It's kind of hard to tell, but the holes are in the middle of the picture.  

 And here is the Blueberry bought in November 2010.  The first picture again has the material at rest. 
And here it is stretched out.  The de-laminated holes are definitely noticeable.  I loved this cover.  The velcro was strong and I loved the print.  

So, you can see that diapers will wear down.  I was able to get almost 2 years out of a diaper that's been in a constant rotation for 2 children.  I really do feel that they would still be in better (useable) shape had I not used bleach and extreme heat on them.