Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cloth Diapering: JUST DO IT!

When I told my fiance that I wanted to cloth diaper our unborn baby, he smiled and nodded in much the same way one smiles and nods when a toddler asks for a pony. I'm surprised that he didn't come right out and pat my head and tell me "bless your heart." Undeterred, I suggested (nagged) that we visit the diaper store. He finally indulged me, and we walked into Soft and Cozy Baby. The moment I saw the wall of diapers, I decided disposables were fine. My head swam - AIO, AI2, hybrid, prefold, pocket, fitted, overnight, wash routine, CD safe diaper cream, liners, fleece, minky, hemp, bamboo, microfiber...who could possibly make sense of any of it? To me, hybrids were cars, microfiber was couches, and bamboo was what pandas eat. I left, defeated. Once my daughter was born and I saw the amount of disposables we were using, plus her ever present diaper rash from them, I decided to try to revisit cloth. I was college educated, and I'm a smart woman. Diapers couldn't be THAT hard. I came back to the store and instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of diapers, I focused on what I thought was cute. I picked the Grovia Owls print and sort of held it out vaguely. "I like this." The girl helping me explained I'd need an absorbent part to go with that, and that the nice thing about Grovia was the disposable component. I left with the shell, a pack of disposable liners, and a two pack of cloth liners. I went home and washed it, then snapped it on my daughter and waited excitedly for her to poop. When she did, I snapped it off and stuck it in a wet bag. I washed it, and it came out clean and didn't smell like poo. I snapped it on her again. Success!! I bought my first cloth diaper when my daughter was around 4 months old. In a few days, she'll be exactly 17 months old. That means in just over a year I've gone from completely confused to working at the store and giving lessons in cloth. I totally understand when someone comes into the store and just stares at the diaper wall. It CAN be overwhelming, but it doesn't HAVE to be. If you're questioning cloth, frustrated with cloth, wish you knew more about cloth, or have any questions at all about cloth, we can help. The bottom line about cloth diapering is that starting is the hardest part. Picking what you like, what fits your child, and what works for your personal routine is all you have to get past. After that, everything is smooth sailing. You have nothing to lose by trying! -Caitlin

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tova’s Top Ten Reasons to Cloth Diaper

10. They’re adorable! I mean, who would choose a crumply, white, pad-looking sposie over an adorable, brightly colored, cloth nappy?! CAUTION: Be warned, the cute factor makes cloth diapering dangerously addicting. Have you seen the new Bum Genius prints?? Let’s not even mention the Tots Bots Easyfits that are on their way… 9. They rarely (if ever) leak! That’s right, you heard me. Of course, you may have to find which diaper fits your child best and that can take trial and error. But once you’ve found it, you’re set! Have you ever dealt with a ‘breastmilk-poop-splosion’ up your baby’s back? All the way up to their hair??? Well, I haven’t. But I’ve heard it is nasty. It’s funny to me that the thought of washing ‘poo-laundry’ turns people away from CDing. Because disposable diapers cause an awful lot of poo laundry… 8. They act as cushioning for your baby’s butt! If your baby is not mobile yet, you may not understand this. Once your baby starts standing and cruising, they fall. A lot. And baby’s fluffy, padded bum acts as a sort of “butt helmet” to minimize the fall! 7. You can make a diaper co-op! A what?! You mean, people share diapers??? Yesiree! If you have friends that are due at different times, you can all pitch in for a fab newborn stash and rotate it! You can borrow different types of diapers from friends to see which brand you like best. You can create a collection with friends who have kids different ages than yours. (This makes CDing even cheaper)! 6. They come in one size. One-size diapers have many advantages. For one, they grow with your baby. That minimizes both the cost and the carbon footprint. Secondly, if you ever have two children in diapers at the same time, you can use the same stash! You don’t have to worry about which diapers you take with you; which ones need to be washed; where the toddler’s diapers are…they can both wear the same diaper! 5. Children tend to potty train earlier in them. True stuff! This is mostly because cloth diapers feel wet (although there are stay-dry options) and a child learns to tune into their body’s signals earlier. Disposables wick away moisture and give children no motivation to train because they can’t feel wet. 4. They are MUCH cheaper. This is probably my husband’s favorite reason for CDing. My entire stash cost me under $300. There are both cheaper and more expensive ways to cloth diaper but even if you used the priciest nappies, you would not come close to disposables. Now, it would be unfair to ignore the energy cost (since CDing does involve a little extra laundry here and there). However, I think we can say it cancels out since disposables require constant gas usage whenever you realize you are out and have to run to the store. If you were to buy enough disposables for your child to last from birth-potty training, it would cost at least $2000 (and that would be generic brand). Also, that doesn’t include pull-ups (which some children will wear for a couple of years). So I think we can all agree, CDing saves. Unless you are not careful and you get addicted… 3. They don’t have nasty chemicals Off the top of my head, most disposables contain at least some of the following: dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, tributyl-tin, VOCs, dyes, fragrances, plastics, and petroleums. Ok, confession, that was not off the top of my head. But it scares me nonetheless! Some of the possible effects from those chemicals include respiratory issues, eye, nose, throat and irritation, damage to liver, impairments to the immune system, nervous system, and reproductive functions. Blech. That makes me nauseous. I feel much more comfortable knowing my daughter wears diapers made from natural, sustainable fibers. 2. Save the environment! No one knows how long it takes a disposable diaper to decompose because since they were invented, none have begun to break down! It is estimated that it may take as long as 500 years. Now, don’t tell me that a lot goes into manufacturing cloth diapers as far as pollution. Because, even though that may be true, a lot goes into manufacturing disposables as well. They certainly chug their fair share of toxins into the atmosphere! When I am done using my cloth nappy, I don’t throw it in the landfill. I wash it and use it again! When my child is potty trained, I put it away for the next child, give it away, or sell it! When they become really beat up, I turn my diapers into cleaning rags. Sounds like reducing, reusing, and recycling to me! 1. Did I mention how cute they are?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cloth Wipes for the Win!!!

I always find it amusing when people come into the store, and tell me that while they are on board with cloth diapering, there is NO WAY they will use cloth wipes. For some unknown reason, they feel that is going too far. Why use cloth wipes? Well, if you were using disposable diapers and wipes, you would wipe your baby, place the wipe in the diaper and throw it away. With cloth diapers and cloth wipes, you do pretty much the same thing- put the dirty wipe in the diaper, and chuck it into your wet bag; it all gets washed together. But if you are using disposable wipes, with cloth diapers, you just made an extra step for yourself- you wipe, have to find a place to set the poopie wipe while you finish your diaper change, then throw the wipe into the trash can, and put your diaper in your wet bag. Inevitably, you will end up washing some disposable wipes. It’s not a huge issue, but why create extra work and expense? Another reason to use cloth wipes is because they actually work better than disposables! They really do! With a really messy diaper, you can use around five, six, maybe more disposable wipes. I have NEVER needed more than two cloth wipes. Seriously! Plus, with cloth, you know what you are putting against your baby’s butt. Those disposables? They contain preservatives and parabens (to keep the liquid solution from going rancid), humectants (to make sure they don’t dry out), surfactants (to clean and lubricate), and artificial fragrance (so your baby can smell like an artificial baby). The wipes themselves are made of a variety of textiles, including strands made of melted plastic. Yuck! I decided to make my own cloth wipes while nesting before my last baby was born. I hunted out the cutest, softest flannels, cut and stitched simple squares. It was that easy. Then my older kids accidentally ripped a nice fitted sheet, and rather than trash it, I cut that sucker up as well. Repurposed! I felt great about not throwing that soft, patterned flannel away! Here I am a year and a half later, and I’ve noticed those cute flannels have faded under constant washing, and some have thinned. I figured it’s about time to make some more. Unfortunately, being a homeschooling, part-time working mom of three kids has left me NO time to make more. I decided to go ahead and purchase some to supplement my stack and save myself the stress of trying to do it all. I found there are so many options! There are standard flannel- both patterned, and plain unbleached natural, and there are Kissaluvs Premium organic cotton, and Lucky Green Baby wipes. I’ve already used the standard wipes; I was ready to try something different. So I grabbed a few of the Kissaluvs- they run 2 bucks a piece, but oh, the luxury! They have a cute flannel pattern on one side, and super soft organic cotton velour on the other! I’d heard these wipes are wonderful used dry for snotty baby noses and since we had some snotty noses at home, that was my first experience with them! They worked great! Super soft on sore little noses, no redness, no screaming when we needed to wipe. I went ahead and washed them with my diapers, but felt almost resistant to trying something so nice on a poopie butt. But I did. The flannel side worked like my normal wipes, and the longer nap on the velour side was prefect for creases, and gave a smooth wipe. I will say, the two sides shrink up once washed, and never make a perfect square again, but…who cares? Next I tried Lucky Green Baby wipes! These wipes, made by a local stay at home mom, are also two-sided- one side with flannel, the other with soft cotton terry. These have become my go-to wipe for poop messes! The terry side cleans the stuck on poo; fold, flip, and the flannel side just wipes the whole area clean. Smooth and easy! And since all the fabrics had been pre-washed, they stay perfect squares that don’t get lumpy when you fold them. And either of these wipes would make great baby wash cloths as well! Lastly, people always ask how to use cloth wipes. Do you presoak them so they are already moist? Use them dry? What do you use as a wipes solution? The answers vary from person to person. Everyone seems to have their own preference. For the longest time, I kept mine pre moistened, in a wipes warmer, and in a normal wipes case in my diaper bag. Then, I had some wipes in the diaper bag for too long, and when I opened it, they smelled a little funky from sitting so long with no chemicals keeping them “fresh”. So I decided to try another method many of my CD friends recommend- I keep my wipes dry, and keep a peri bottle (you know, the kind they give you at the hospital after having a baby) with my wipes solution in it. I squirt what I need right onto the wipe (and okay, sometimes straight on my baby’s bum), and wipe! I really like this method because I can keep a corner dry to dry off the creases before putting a new diaper on. I close up the bottle top, and it easily tucks into my diaper bag- and now I have dry wipes handy for snotty noses too. As far as solutions go- again, you have lots of options! You can buy a concentrated solution you mix with water, a handy foaming pump or spray for your diaper bag, check out some options here: Or, make your own solution. There are a variety of recipes out there. I use about 2 cups of water, 1-2 Tbs of whatever baby wash we have handy, a few drops of tea tree oil (it’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial, so it keeps your wipes fresh!), lavender oil (it an antiseptic and antifungal…but I just like the smell), and a ½ tsp of olive or coconut oil to give a smooth wipe, and protect baby’s bum. And some people…just use plain old fashioned water. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

We Survived Potty Training!

Can I make a confession? When I was pregnant with my first I was not afraid of morning sickness, hemorrhoids or unmedicated birth. I was afraid of potty training the child. Insane, right? The very concept has always struck fear deep in my heart. Luckily, my first son basically taught himself a little before three. My second? Not so much. I started him using the potty at about two and a half without a lot of luck. It was not until last month that he showed some interest and made any progress. Before I knew it he was full trained! I can now say (bittersweetly...) that we are a diaper-free house! Now that I have emerged victorious from the potty training (or potty learning if you prefer) gauntlet I wanted to share some thoughts and product recommendations. I am not going to pretend as though I am the potty training guru because, well, I am not. First, cloth training pants. Let's face it, disposable training pants are expensive and sort of gross. Cloth training pants, on the other hand, are reusable and adorable. There are several different brands and styles on the market but the Blueberry Trainer has been very popular among staff and customers alike. They are made to feel like real underwear and are good at catching daytime accidents. The inner lining is made with a super soft cotton velour and a hidden layer of microterry and PUL that make these trainers great for small accidents. I would not recommend these for overnight as they are not designed to hold much pee. Added bonus? The prints are cute! I told you! My son did not have any problems pulling them up and down like some other trainers we had tried out. I liked how nicely they washed up. Word to the wise though, they shrink a good deal so order a size up if your child's weight is in between two sizes! Another great potty training item to keep handy is the My Carry Potty. This potty is great for use at home or on the go and does not require the use of disposable bags. Bonus feature? It seals shut to keep its contents inside until you can get to a bathroom. I bought it knowing how much my kids hate the self-flushing toilets that are now in most public restrooms- it freaks them out. We took this bad boy to a local amusement park and avoided long bathroom lines and stayed accident free all day! Once my littlest gets over his fear of the flushing surprises in public restrooms we will keep this in the car for roadside potty emergencies. We have a great variety of potty training supplies in the store and online- from trainers to books to a success chart. Check it out!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It’s that time of year again!

Here we go again, after a mild winter and rainy spring, summer is suddenly upon us! The last few days have been hot and humid, with lots of gorgeous sunshine. With that sunshine comes some intense UVA and UVB rays. Skin protection is important for the entire family and ever year I find myself looking for the best sunscreen available to slather on mine and my children’s skin. We must go through 2 or 3 bottles a summer! That being said, today’s sunblocks are often loaded with chemicals and toxins. One out of every four sunscreens available on the market contain excessive levels of Vitamin A, an additive that can accelerate the growth of skin tumors and lesions. The Environmental Working Group has exposed many of these sunblocks, finding “from hormone-disrupting compounds to lung-damaging nanoparticles, ingredients in sunscreens may protect the skin but pose other kinds of health risks.” Since our skin is our largest organ and 60% of what we put on it is absorbed into the bloodstream, we must choose carefully the products we use. This last Memorial Day weekend I was on the hunt for some good, safe, NON-TOXIC sunblock to put on my children. After reviewing the many, many different varieties available, I decided to go with the recommendation from a co-worker to grab a bottle of the Loving Naturals Clear Face sunscreen. Loving Naturals is a company based in New Hampshire. The couple that started the company in 2005 were concerned about the heavy burden of toxins and chemicals every person on the planet has to carry, starting prenatally. They set out to make a new line of products that were as gentle and natural on the body as possible. So far, the line includes sun care, baby bath products, children’s bath products, moisturizers, body washes, and all natural insect repellant. The sunscreen boasts two different types. The Adorable Baby product is formulated specifically for delicate baby skin. The Clear Face line is appropriate for use on the face, but can be used on the whole body. The Loving Naturals SPF 30 is an adult sunscreen that is for the entire body, but is a bit heavier in texture. Both of these types are also available in a convenient stick. All sunscreens are formulated with non-nano zinc oxide as the main protecting ingredient. Zinc oxide offers a wide range of protection from UVA and UVB rays, while staying safe, pure, and non-toxic. Other ingredients include organic sunflower oil, organic shea and cocoa butters, beeswax, organic hemp oil, coconut oil, organic raw sugar, and aspen bark extracts. They are water resistant, cruelty-free, and completely vegan. The Adorable Baby product is also gluten free. Feeling comfortable with these ingredients, I went ahead and grabbed a small bottle (2.5 oz) and a large bottle (4.3 oz). The sunblock itself is pretty thick, I had to warm it between my hands to make it a bit softer before applying it. Once it is softened, it spreads very easily and doesn’t leave any funky traces of white on the skin. None of these products have any weird or overwhelming artificial scents added to them. I applied the whole body sunblock once in the morning (manufacturer recommendations are to apply 30 minutes before sun exposure) and then several hours later as the kids weren’t swimming, just playing a lot in the sun. I noticed that the sunblock does tend to be somewhat greasy, and leaves almost a thick protective barrier on the skin. This might bother some people, but I would rather take a more natural product loaded with antioxidant oils then something artificial and toxic any day. I chose the Loving Naturals all over sunblock for myself and then I forced my husband to put some on his arms and neck(MEN!). I am so glad I made my entire family put this on! When I looked at my skin and the kids later that evening, we were COMPLETELY burn free! I am very pleased with Loving Naturals and I will absolutely be purchasing more products from them soon. Next up is the Loving Naturals Insect Repellent. I have already heard some excellent reviews, so I am excited to try it on my family while camping this summer. Try out the sunblock, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spotlight on.... JILL!

Today we are starting a new series to introduce you all to our employees J These are the faces you see when you walk in the store. First up is Jill Mills… 1: Give us a little about you! I'm Jill - owner of Heartlove Photography :)I grew up in Pasadena, MD, spent the last 4 years at Camp Lejeune and now we’re back home in MD. I am married to Zack and together we have Miss Delilah, 2, and Madeline, 9 months, plus 2 crazy mutts, Crimson and Clover. I am a 2011 graduate of UNC Wilmington with a bachelor's in Elementary Education - I joke that it makes me a highly qualified Mom since I do not plan on teaching in the near future. I'm a self-taught photographer - I went to the University of CreativeLive & Google. 2: How did you start using cloth? When I was pregnant with my first, I had a great friend who introduced me to the crunchy parenting world. She made me my first sling, showed me how to fold a prefold and coached me through those tough first days of breastfeeding. I was very reluctant at first, but once I knew about the benefits of cloth diapers, breastfeeding and babywearing – it’s the only decision that made sense for our lifestyle. 3: How did you come to work at Soft & Cozy? After being away for a few years, we moved back to MD and none of my old friends had children yet. After finding friendship at a diaper store in Wilmington, NC – I knew I’d find like-minded moms at a similar place. In February, I googled “Baltimore Cloth Diapers” and Soft and Cozy came up. I packed the kids in the car and we left immediately – Stephanie and Tova greeted me and they mentioned the store was hiring and that I could bring my nursling. The next day I applied and by the end of the week I was working with come other incredible moms and have lucky to meet new friends everyday! 4: Everyone has an opinion these days – what’s your best parenting advice? From every angle, many moms feel their parenting decisions are under attack – the media, their own parents, their friends (sometimes friends who don’t even have kids yet!), even strangers tend to weigh in out in public. I think the best advice I have is that you do not have to put down other moms to validate your own decisions. Be positive and let love guide the words you say – vaccines, circumcision, epidurals… no matter if you are for or against, there is no reason to put another mom down for her decision. We can’t imagine the road another took in their journey to motherhood; you don’t know what drove them to make the decisions they did or how they may regret the way things have worked out. It’s easy to be defensive about your choices when so many are weighing in, but you can stand for your beliefs without tearing others down. 5: and a picture:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wet Bags: A Million and One Uses

Now that I am done with diapers *sniff*, I am left with a pile of wetbags that have been relieved of diaper duty.  Do I find myself taking pictures and posting them on to get them out of my life as fast as I did with the diapers? 


In fact, I find myself wanting to buy even more!

I don't know how I made it so far in life without the help of a stylish wetbag.  Here's what I've been using them for, besides dirty diapers:
  • Swimwear: store your wet swimsuits!
  • Travel Hamper:  Large wetbags such as the Planet Wise hanging bag or the Rumparooz Pail Liner work great as a travel laundry bag/hamper.
  • Leakproof Toiletries Storage:  Store your leak-prone toiletries in a wetbag in your luggage.  (I've had the unfortunate opportunity to test this out several times, and my Sarah's Stitches small wetbag has contained the mess every time.)
  • Emergency Potty: Fashion the wetbag into a potty and place it on the ground/hold it on the butt for those emergency potty breaks that are so common with the newly potty-learned.  I fill my wetbag with some decommissioned cloth wipes that can absorb the pee, as well as serve as boogie-wipes.
  • Snacks: Great for chips, sandwiches, etc. (You may want to use a new wetbag or sanitize an old one for this)
  • Travel pet water/food dishes: At the airport, I filled a small wetbag with water for my cat to drink immediately, and it worked for the short-term.  (I'm sure it would leak eventually.)

I'm sure there's a zillion more uses for wetbags!  Write in and let us know how you use yours!

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Will You Wear on Your Special Day?

You spend 10 months, and likely longer, preparing for it. You spend hundreds of dollars on classes, support, clothing, supplements, furniture, and more. Not to mention the immense emotional investment. And then the special day arrives - likely out of the blue and unexpected.

Your Wedding Day? No, your Birthing Day!

What will you wear on this special day? The day you've been waiting for and preparing for for months. The day that will be presented in photos and videos for posterity.

You show up to the hospital and they give you a drab, square shaped piece of fabric that's open in the back for the world to see. This isn't what you were planning! You're not sick, not a hospital patient! You're a lady in waiting! Soon to change your status forever to that of Mama! Soon to welcome in that mysterious baby you've been bonding with for months. And not to mention all the people who will be seeing the photos of your labor and birth!

And if you give birth at home or in a birth center, what will you wear? A sports bra that may be difficult to remove later, after the birth. An outfit you really don't want to ruin. Some drab old t-shirt and yoga pants that aren't too flattering. Or maybe nothing at all, but you'd like some type of coverage for the photo shoots.

You're not the only one wondering what to wear for that momentous occasion; the day you'll remember for the rest of your life. And luckily now there are options!

Pretty Pushers came out with an adorable gown that is very hospital-compatible. There are tie-openings in the front to provide access to your belly for fetal monitoring. It has a handy halter top that is easy to remove for breastfeeding. And the back is all open in case you decide on anesthesia. They come in 3 adorable screen prints of those things pregnant women crave but can't have while they're expecting: Sushi, Coffee, and Mai Tai. They also come with a headband to keep your hair out of your face - very useful when you're huffing and puffing.

Pretty Pushers also offers Plus Size gowns and Gift Sets which include lip gloss, a mirror, massage oil, and a lemon scented towelette - to keep you looking picture-perfect!

 Our newest gown, the Birthing Gown,  is even more exquisite. It really is so flattering that it could be worn to a party or luncheon and no one would bat an eye. Until, that is, they notice the velcro shoulders that open easily for nursing access. The extra soft fabric creates a wrap dress with a beautiful bow that ties at a flattering empire waist. Definitely suitable for a lounging gown on those days after the baby that you need something comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly to wear!

Happy Birthing!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Confessions of a "Newbie"

Contributed by Miracle- our newest employee here at Soft and Cozy Baby!

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my oldest son in 2007, I immediately began thinking about the best way to birth him and feed him. Like any pregnant or new mother, you research the best options for your child, from car seats and cribs, to daycares and pediatricians.

For me, breastfeeding was a given, as was attempting the most natural and intervention free birth possible. For some reason, it never occurred to me to think about using cloth diapers as part of a more “natural parenting” lifestyle. Diapering was hardly a blip on my radar!

After my son was born, a friend mentioned her use of a hybrid cloth diaper and this allowed me a tiny peek into the world of cloth, but I was still unconvinced. It seemed like this unreachable goal for me and I kept visualizing dipping diapers into the toilet and smelly, stinky mess everywhere. I did not have the
confidence in myself as a new mother to try out a new system. (I have since learned that I am capable, strong, and absolutely can do this!)

As he grew older, I discovered multiple problems with using disposables. He would break out into a rash, they always seemed to leak (up the back blowouts anyone?), they were expensive and smelly, we ran out constantly, and it felt as though my trash was always overflowing. I also started thinking more the environmental impact of these diapers…where do they end up when they are used? A landfill? What resources are being used to make them? What exactly are in these things?

All of these questions continued to follow me through the course of my son’s baby and toddlerhood, but I did not have adequate information, support, or resources to make a decision at that time. When I discovered I was once again pregnant with baby #2, I made a firm decision to research cloth diapering.

What I found was definitely surprising. The variety, ease of use, and flat out cuteness of cloth diapering was amazing. I knew this time I would be able to have success with cloth, I just needed someone to inform and encourage me. With the help of my sister and several people at the store, I was able to stock different types of diapers and covers. Since the birth of my second son, I have not only had success with diapering, but I have grown to love cloth and trying out and collecting different diapers. My husband teases me whenever I come home with new diapers! One of the best moments I have had with cloth diapering is my grandmother telling me how proud of me she is for using cloth. If cloth was good enough for her, it is good enough for me!

So, my confessions are that I was not a faithful cloth user with my oldest son, but I am a loyal cloth user now and I am so glad I made the change! It is never “too late” to try cloth. Even if your child is a toddler, you did not use cloth with your older children, or you just aren’t sure what is out there, switching to cloth can still be a very cost effective and helpful change,. So if you aren’t already using cloth or
considering, give it a try!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I am going to drop some truth on you guys here.... cloth diapers sometimes get a case of the smells. How will you know when it strikes? It should be easy to detect... An ammonia smell that takes your breath away or a poo smell that no amount of washing can get rid of. If this happens do you know what to do about it? What about how to prevent it in the future?

The cause of these smells is often buildup on the diapers. The buildup can be caused by a number of things: detergent that did not get rinsed out completely, issues with your wash routine or cycle or even diaper creams that are not safe for cloth. If you believe detergent buildup is the culprit there are a couple of fixes. First is to make sure that you are using a detergent approved for cloth diapers- Country Save, Rockin' Green, Thirsties Super Wash and Planet just to name a few. If you are using a mainstream detergent brand make sure it does not have added scents, whiteners, brighteneners etc that can build up on the diapers. When it comes to washing your stash the more basic the detergent the better. You should also be doing an extra rinse (or even two) at the end of your wash cycle to make sure that all the soap is being rinsed away. Another important element is the way in which you wash your diapers. Most experts recommend doing a cold prewash with or without a soak (I soak mine in BioKleen Bac Out overnight to help combat the smellies), then a hot wash with more than enough water. My average diaper wash load of 10-12 covers and inserts is considered a large load. When it comes to cloth diaper washing- the more water the better!

You may need to "strip" your diapers to get the buildup off. One popular method utilizes Dawn dish soap (just the plain blue kind). Just a little squirt (key word being LITTLE.. the more you add the more you will need to rinse)in a hot wash with clean diapers will help remove any built up detergent. RLR Laundry Treatment is another option for stripping diapers to remove buildup. This economical option is available on our website and in the store: After you have stripped the diapers you might consider adding Rockin Green Funk Rock to every load. This "ammonia bouncer" is very popular and seem to do the trick for lots of people:

Another important factor in keeping your diapers smelling fresh is washing at least every 2 to 3 days. Too often I put off doing diaper wash because I have enough to get through but this inevitably causes issues. Think about it.. the longer the wet and dirty diapers sit the harder they are to get clean. When I wash every other day I find that smell is not even a factor anymore.

Are you fighting the good fight against smelly diapers? What has worked for you??

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spontaneous Product Review: purEcosheet

Confession: I love fabric softener and/or dryer sheets. I love the smell. I love the feel of fluffy towels. I think part of my adoration stems from warm, fuzzy memories of my mom giving me clothes straight from the dryer that still smelled like Snuggle :)

Sadly, my love affair with "main stream" dryer sheets and fabric softener had to end when I started cloth diapering my son. Part of it was because I knew that they were bad news for the absorption factor of my stash. The bigger issue was my newly gained knowledge of what is actually in those products. Just a few of the ingredients found in fabric softeners like Downy and Snuggle: alpha-terpineol (causes CNS disorders), benzyl acetate(carcinogen-linked to pancreatic cancer), choloroform(neurotoxic, carcinogenic, anesthetic, ethyl acetate (narcotic), linalool (narcotic). Pretty scary, right?

After learning about the potential poisonous side of fabric softener I went cold turkey. I found that using better detergent like Country Save eliminated some of the static automatically but not completely. I've experimented with Ecover's line of fabric softeners but was not overly impressed. Bayla, our fearless leader here at Soft and Cozy Baby, ordered a product called purEcosheet and I was intrigued.

PurEcosheet bills itself as having "all the advantages of a traditional dryer sheet, with none of the chemicals. The perfume, dye and chemical free way to keep your fabrics soft, natural and free of static". I figure it was worth a shot. Two reusable sheets (good for 100s of loads according to the box) is $14.95 so fairly comparable in price to other options out there. The package gives instruction for how to prep (wash in any load of laundry after their first three uses) and maintenance (wash again every 3 months for best performance). After about a month I can tell you that these really do work! My towels and sheets feel softer and my clothes have less static. I cannot think of a single drawback!

Here are some other great things about purEcosheets:
*made in North America
*100% hypoallergenic
*safe for use on infant's sleepwear, cloth diapers, technical fabrics, fine linens and towels
*safe for allergy and eczema and allergy sufferers
*great for baby's sensitive skin
* sold at Soft and Cozy Baby!