Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Tag: CD wash routine

#Review – Superbags: Wetbags by Superbottoms

If you have remotely heard of Cloth Diapering you may have also heard the word “wet bag” being thrown about casually in conversations about wash routines and diapering accessories. Essentially, a  wet bag is a bag that holds wet stuff. TaDa! No surprises there. It is in fact a reusable, waterproof and leak resistant bag which holds in odours and of course prevents liquids from escaping. But did you know that a wet bag can be used for many purposes other than just cloth diapering. This makes it an investment that is quite worth it and very handy around the house. Especially a house that has a child.

Firstly let me give you some insight into why a wetbag is so important in a cloth diaperer’s journey. Wet bags are essentially made of PUL/ TPU and so are reusable (yayy for planet Earth) They are also waterproof and leak resistant (yayy for all who cloth diaper) Wet bags allow you to continue cloth diapering even when you are out of home. This without having to stinking up and flooding your diaper bag with baby bodily outputs. And you do not need to use plastic bags. At all! Yes you heard right.

Come to think of it, thanks to wet bags I don’t even lug around a diaper bag anymore. My handbag (yes, I am a new mom who still uses her handbag. Hurray) and a couple of wet bags are all that join us for trips outside the house – small or extended. Superbottoms wet bags, wet bag, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom

So how it works is that I fill a clean wet bag with a couple of fresh diapers, a change of clothes for babyT, cloth wipes and a spare wet bag . This then goes into my handbag. When we change diapers outside, I put the soiled diaper inside the spare wet bag, zip it all up and hang this  from the straps of my handbag or baby stroller. And, all done! I come back home and toss the contents of the wet bag into the washing machine, along with the bag itself and then hang them out to dry, only to be reused. Did you see how many plastic bags I saved there?

With time I have discovered so many innovative and great uses for the wet bag that I am convinced that every person (parent with a child in diapers or not) should own a wet bag or two. :)) So here’s a list of all the times I have used a wet bag:

  1. Storing soiled diapers, wipes and soiled clothes until laundry time at home – this is what the wet bag is meant for. I hang the wet bag from a rod in the wash room. I zip it up when full and store it until laundry time.

    Superbottoms wet bag, wet bags, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom

    Superbag by Superbottoms in Baba black sheep design

  2. Gym/ swim bag for daddy – This is so great for swim time. Not a drop leaks and it holds in at least 2 swimsuits and wet towels.
  3. Store my baby carrier – such pretty covers to match the carrier or my outfit.

    Superbottoms wet bags, wet bag, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom

    Superbag in Purple Love design

  4. Keys, phone and some money while out for walkies Superbottoms wet bag, wet bags, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom
  5. Baby food accessories: food mat, cutlery etc. for when we are eating outSuperbottoms wet bag, wet bags, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom
  6. BabyT’s flash cardsSuperbottoms wet bags, wet bag, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom
  7. Books/toys for when we are out for brunch or dinnerSuperbottoms wet bags, wet bag, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom
  8. Cosmetics & toiletries while travelling – the amount of times I’ve had ugly messes because of leaking shampoo & moisturizer bottles is scary. No more however. 🙂
  9. Car trash bag –  How do babies manage to generate so much trash? especially in cars. Banana skin, candy wrapping, paper tissues. The list is endless.
  10. My delicates while packing for small trips (I cannot believe I called my nursing bras ‘delicates’)
  11. My sarees and other silks when we went to a weddingSuperbottoms wet bags, wet bags, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom
  12. Daddy’s laundry from his office tours
  13. Frozen food from the supermarket –  This one is my favourite and it surprises many people who hear it. In Mumbai’s perpetually hot and humid weather, all frozen food packs become a sweaty mess. I hate when this wets everything else in my shopping tote bags (which are fabric) Wet bags work well to store frozen foods in.
  14. Packed lunch boxes back from granny’s place (slurp) – going to your mom’s house and coming back empty handed is not a thing. Ever! 🙂
  15. Kitchen wet rag storage –  Similar to how I use it for soiled cloth diapers. I store kitchen rags in a wet bag and then toss them into the washing machine once accumulated.
  16. Papers and official documents –  have you ever travelled in public transport in Mumbai in the monsoon? You are bound to get soaked. And so too will everything on your person. Wet bags it is then.
  17. Mobile phone/ Pad during the monsoon when we go out without the car

However it is a shame how so many wet bags fail miserably when it comes to performing the basic things that they are meant to do. After investing in various wetbags, I have found my perfect wetbag and these are the #superbags by Superbottoms. I love them so so much, that before reviewing any other cloth diaper type or brand on my blog, I have chosen to review a diapering accessory. 🙂

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Why I love Superbags by Superbottoms?

#Superbags by Superbottoms are 40 x 30 inches in size. It has two zippered compartments and is double PUL lined. This makes them totally bullet proof: they will never leak and will never allow moisture to enter (unless you go deep sea diving with it) The PUL is super soft, making the #superbags so cushy and soft.

The bag has two loops at the top with snap buttons which can be used to unsnap and hang them onto rods or other spaces. I hang them from behind the car’s front seat head rest or my handbag. Unlike many other #wetbags which come with only one loop to hang by, I find the two loops is better at holding the weight of wet diapers or other stuff when hung.

Superbottoms wet bag, wet bags, wetbags, diaper bag, whats in your diaper bag, cloth diaper bag, cloth diapering, cloth diapers india, new mom, mumbai mom

#Superbags are also spacious. I once packed up to 10 fresh diapers (all-in-one types which are a little plump). At another time, I packed in around 8 soiled diapers, along with inserts, a prefold, a dozen plus wipes and a couple of food stained shirts. I left this bag full of soiled stuff overnight and was over the moon to see that not a drop had leaked outside. It wasn’t even damp to the touch. Stinks were all held in too. Any object which can do its job well, is a success in my eyes. I’ve tried a fair number of brands when it comes to wetbags and only #superbags win this contest, hands down.

A big plus is also that the #Superbags come in vibrant, quirky, desi designs specially commissioned by Superbottoms. You can have a look at their #superbags here. At Rs 499 for a single #superbag it is real value for money. A value pack of two costs Rs. 900. Heck, I’d pay much more for a wet bag that does its job so well! 😍

Happy cloth diapering! 🌱

All the diapers and wetbags featured in this post have been purchased by me. This is not a paid review. All the opinions and pictures shared are my own. 

Cloth Diaper Laundry: my wash routine

There is nothing more therapeutic, so relaxing and stress busting than cloth diaper laundry. You may not believe me right now, but once you’ve taken the plunge into cloth diapering, you may agree wholeheartedly. I do my CD laundry in the evenings after babyT has drifted into slumber-land and I look forward to it with so much enthusiasm, almost getting crabby on the nights when babyT refuses to fall asleep and thus delaying my laundering plans. It’s the same kind of high I used to get on weekday mornings, after the maids would leave and the husband left for work, and I would settle down from the whirlwind chaos with a hot cuppa in hand and the day’s papers.

But many cloth diapering discussions I’ve had with newbies begin with cringing at the thought of washing pee and poop laden items. They find it to be an added chore to their already burgeoning list of things to do around a new baby. I can still reminisce about my early post partum days when I would be spraying poop off for the n’th time off a diaper and getting all splashy and pooey in the process and that too at some un-Godly hour of the night. Scary, but I soon found my mojo and I was so fond of it, that I did not let anyone else in the house have the privilege of doing CD laundry. 😀

CD laundry is not really complicated, but it is very important. You are, after all, using and reusing an item of clothing which holds not so nice body waste (although pee is sterile) and you need to ensure that the items have got a thorough cleaning and safe for the next use. Again, not at all scary to achieve this, follow a few simple steps, make it a routine and it will work like magic. So here is my washing routine and I can now safely say at this juncture, almost a year of cloth diapering, that this has worked like magic. I have arrived at this after quite a few trials and some faulty steps, but this is now a win for me.

Do note however, that I do not have hard water issues and so I have not encountered much of the issues which cloth diapers face (read: stink, mineral build up.) This is really a CD laundry for dummies kind of guide. It is simple, no frills and easy to follow. 

For ease of understanding, I’ve divided this into three categories:

  • Pre-laundry prep
  • Wash routine
  • Post wash care

Pre-Laundry Prep

Cloth diapers need to be changed immediately upon a poopisode or after a gap of 2 to 4 hours (day time, that is. Overnight diapers really do last overnight and don’t need changing until the morning, unless poop.) While many people are content just tossing the soiled diaper into the pile, I don’t advise it as it can lead to stinks, stains and not to mention degradation of fibres, fungus etc. Cloth diapers must be given a basic rinse before storage for laundry day.

  • Remove all poop with a scraper or spray off with the jet spray attached in most modern Indian toilets. or simply wash under a tap.
  • Rinse peed in diapers under a running tap or swish around in a bucket of water.
  • Squeeze off excess water. Avoid wringing.
  • Store either in a wet bag or hanging against the rim of an open pail/bucket or on the towel rod in the bathroom or airy place. Closed rooms and spaces are hotbeds for micro-organisms to grow on damp items.

I would recommend doing cloth diaper laundry on a daily basis or at max alternate days, I find it leads to lesser damage of any kind to the diapers. And for the hot and humid Mumbai weather, this is highly recommended. I have had a case where I left an organic cotton diaper in a wet bag for barely over 24 hours and it developed spots of fungus, nothing that a bleach couldn’t solve, but avoidable for sure.

If for any reason you must go beyond a day or two, dry the pre-washed diapers entirely rather than leaving them damp in a pile in the wet bag or the pail. I’ve had situations where I have a few wet diapers and going out of home for a weekend away, with no time to do laundry I’ve just hung the rinsed diapers to dry and then returned home to give them a thorough wash.

Wash Routine 

I have a top loading washing  machine, with separate inlets for hot and cold water, however the plumbing in my house doesn’t cooperate and it just too tedious for us to connect the hot water. So cold water it is. And the machine is a very simple one, no built in programs where only some higher power knows what the settings are. Below is my wash routine, which I ensure is sacrosanct, no matter where I travel to with my diapers.

  • Pre-wash cycle: this is a 15-20 minute cycle (depending on number of diapers and water level I set) and includes a quick wash, spin and rinse. I do add about 1/2 or 1/3 teaspoon of detergent at this stage. This stage basically removes any remnant solid particles and pee.
  • The actual wash cycle I follow and which has worked for me despite no hot water: 30 minutes of wash cycle, 2 or 3 rinses and spin. I use about 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of Rustic Art detergent for a full load of laundry (that’s around 10 – 15 diapers and other baby clothes) Basically, choose the cycle on your machine which runs the longest wash.
  • Water level you use is quite important. While the perception may be that a lot of water will clean better, what is more important is if the CDs and other items in the machine are getting a good scrub (against each other) during the wash cycle. This scrubbing action is what helps remove all dirt and grime off the items. Again beautifully described by Fluff Love University.
  • If you are handwashing diapers: Please consider machine washing as I have found it to be so effective in cleaning CDs. But if you still must, then
    • Soak the diapers in warm soapy water (same quantum of detergent) for 20 – 30 minutes. Avoid longer soaking as it is not needed at all and will only add to degradation of fibres.
    • Agitate them well, like really well. This can be done by dipping your hand in the bucket and swishing things vigorously or lifting and dropping the items rapidly. A good 10+ dunks should be good.
    • Throw out the soapy water and fill up some clean hot/warm water. Dunk/swish multiple times till the water runs clear of any soapy suds/ bubbles. This could take like 6+ rinses also.
  • For stains that refuse to go make a paste of detergent in water and rub onto the stained part. Let it stay on for about 10 minutes and then follow the regular wash routine. You can give it a light scrub if you like, too. Do remember, never soak stained diapers in hot water as it sets stains, rather than removes.

I’ve not bleached or had the need to strip my diapers. The wash routine I’ve followed works well for me and wherever I’ve felt that I have slight issues of repelling or decreased absorbency, 2 to 3 hot water hand washes have helped deal with the problem. I also follow the multiple hot water washes technique before I sell my diapers and using preloved diapers.

Do keep in mind though that if your child is fighting off infections like UTI or yeast, you may need to bleach your diapers before reuse. You can refer to the bible of CD laundry for this here.

Post Wash Care

After one successful year of cloth diapering I can safely say come rain, shine or snow (I wish!) CDing is easy and possible in any weather. Drying cloth diapers is child’s play and all it takes is back to basics:

  • Line dry in sun or shade. Sun is highly recommended for getting rid of stains, drying diapers faster and to kill any micro-organisms.
  • A combination of sun and shade drying is best, especially if you have a lot of natural fabric diapers (hemp, bamboo, organic cotton) as only sun drying tends to leave these materials crisp and hard. Nothing wrong with that, but the general perception is that only buttery soft stuff next to baby’s skin is to be used.
  • Oh but the horror of monsoon! Fear not – make the fan your BFF. Cloth diapers and other clothes dry well under a fan running at high speed. Depending on the type of diaper you use they can take anywhere between a few hours to overnight, to dry. For more details on successfully CDing in the monsoon read one of my first blog posts for Cloth Diaper Shop.

ProTip (geek alert): Hang the diaper such that the weight of the wet diaper is evenly spread out and not causing extra stretch of the elastics. Also avoid PUL being exposed for far too long to the Indian summer sun. Both can damage the diaper beyond repair.

Detergent

After being very nitpicky about the detergent I use, I have come to relax my rules and say any detergent is safe as long as it does not contain added fragrances (there is no such thing as natural fragrance in any item you buy off a shelf), softeners or brighteners or enzymes.

I would recommend using Rustic Art, it has worked well for me for washing CDs and baby clothes. But I have also used Tide regular and Surf Excel at times, although I do find even regular Surf is pretty strong and harsh on my skin.

I would also highly recommend soapnuts for washing your clothes (baby et al) It is completely natural and leaves clothes ‘oh-so-soft’ It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that I am not adding to water pollution. However it did not clean my natural fabrics such as hemp as thoroughly as the material warranted. Also soapnuts tend to leave a yellowish-creamish tinge on the bright white coloured clothes, redundant on coloured clothes of course.

My learning from CDing babyT for a year now are keep it simple, make sure its effective and be regular with it. Have a particular cloth diaper laundry query? Leave a comment here and I will respond to you asap.

 

 

Prepping Cloth Diapers

Fluff mail

Fluff mail: Smart Bottoms (3.1 in J&J), Blueberry (Rainbow waves in organic), TotsBots Easyfit (Shoemaker & the elves), Smart Bottoms (3.1 in Luminescent Adventure), Bambino Mio (Zebra crossing), Grovia (Chesapeake Bay), TotsBots Bamboozle

After months of agonizing wait (me)  and traveling distant shores and seven seas (USA to UK to Mumbai, via some Middle Eastern countries) these diapers reached me this week. This is them fresh out of the bags. I held them, touched them, gave them a little hug, admired them from all angles, probably like I did with T when he was put into my arms. It was so difficult to untag these beauties. But they are meant to go OTB (on the bum, in cloth diaper parlance) so off they went for ‘prepping’.

Prepping is a word you will hear often in the cloth diapering world. It basically means getting the cloth diapers ready to do their job, i.e. hold pee and poo. No rocket science there, is it? Oh but there is. There is a lot of science behind cloth diapering and its just one of these things about CDing which make me go weak in the knees. 🙂

Cloth diapers, are made of cloth, duh! No surprises. And cloth comes in all forms and types – natural (although experts will say there is nothing natural about the so-called natural fabrics which still have to be processed to get them into a recognizably usable state.) and synthetics (which undergo vigorous processing using chemicals and structured methods to give them their identity. ) Basically all this processing and running around machines in factories, mills and workshops gets them to a stage where they look functional, but they still need to be brought up to a level where they are functioning as effectively as they are meant to. That’s where prepping comes in.

Natural fabrics like hemp and organic cotton, contain a lot of their natural oils (oil repels moisture) and hence cannot absorb liquids readily. A good washing is needed, and several ones at that, to get rid of those natural oils and get the fibres ready to hold. Once fully prepped, there’s nothing quite like the efficiency of natural fabrics in cloth diapering. Synthetic fabrics don’t really contain any oils per se, but they are highly processed remember, so they do tend to pick up the processing elements and a lot of the factory dust, which needs to be washed away before ending up OTB.

Having said that prepping is no rocket science, but it can still be a daunting task. I remember how my first bamboo AIO sat on the shelf for weeks, because I was too scared to ruin it and never had the perfect set of dirty laundry, read: non-synthetics with which I could prep it. But moments like those are a distant memory now and I no longer fret over prepping. I follow a simple wash method which helps me get the diaper OTB faster and also saves much more water and detergent.

First of all, I would say, don’t worry about washing synthetics and natural fibres separately. Unless you have ten organic cotton or hemp and only one microfibre diaper in your laundry mix, don’t even bother washing them separately. I know experts will tell you that the oils from the naturals will get onto the synthetics but don’t forget that there is detergent present which is doing the job of removing all of that from your wash. Keep it simple, and make cloth diapering less tedious and more fun instead.

So here are some tried, tested and succeeded methods which work for me:

  1. Pre-wash fresh diaper in plain water, without detergent. This is like a 15 minute cycle of wash, rinse and spin on my machine. This removes much of the superficial factory dust from the dipes.
  2. Wash with regular laundry – diapers or other baby clothes. If I have a lot of natural fabric diapers, I even like throwing them in with bedsheets or towels. (Detergent does go into this cycle.)
  3. Now for synthetics I start using immediately after one wash (that goes for microfibre, charcoal bamboo and for pockets, covers, inserts) But natural fabric diapers (mostly in case of AIOs, prefolds, inserts) need several washes to come up to best absorbency. I find that my Smart Bottoms diapers (organic cotton AIO) are perfection only at 20+ washes. And I definitely don’t advocate waiting that long a time to start using the diaper.  3 to 4 washes are great to get the diaper on the baby, click some otb pics and post to social media. 🙂
  4. Where multiple washes are needed, you don’t have to dry the diaper before the next wash. One rule of thumb I follow, two washes – one drying – two more washes – dry – OTB. This ensures that the diaper gets up to 4 washes but is used within a time frame of 1 – 2 days. However, you may find that the diaper still won’t be good to hold for long hours, or overnight just yet. It will still need its double digit number of washes to get there, but you can start using the diaper albeit for shorter periods.
  5. Hot water is good, but not mandatory. I have a very simple, no-nonsense, top loading washing machine. It has only one type of water setting and we have been good thus far.
  6. Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble: Don’t be afraid to boil to prep your natural fabric inserts or prefolds. Bring up a large pot of water to boil, add the inserts/ prefolds/ flats to it and boil for about 15 minutes. No need to add any detergent. Some people do add dish washing liquid to it, to quicken the process of removing all the natural oils, but I don’t find washing diapers in dish washing liquid very effective. It left my prepping with varied and patchy absorbency.
    Do remember to check that there are no plastic bits like snaps, pul/tpu or elastics on the items you would boil to prep.
  7. Accessories like wetbags don’t need any prepping. But I’m finicky about these things and if I intend to carry fresh diapers or other stuff which babyT is going to bite, chew or play with, I do make sure the wetbag has had a wash first.

How does one know if your diapers are prepped?

They will be absorbent and hold for the amount of time they are meant to. Genius!

But no, seriously, synthetic fibres are good to use after the first wash. You will see only marginal improvements in absorbency after subsequent washes. With natural fabrics there is no universal indicator as such. For example, I find that Blueberry  AIO (organic simplex) is good for overnight use with even one wash (add a booster anyway), Grovia organic cotton AIO take about 5 -6  washes and Smart bottoms (again organic cotton) takes around 20+ washes before I will risk using it for nights. So you just have to go with trial and error and see what works for you. A lot depends of course on your baby’s wetting pattern.  My recommendation is to therefore, test out the diaper for daytime naps (if you’re lucky to have a baby who naps more than 20 minutes *eye roll*) before venturing out for overnight use. And don’t underestimate the power of a booster, the right one can even sail you through the night with a half-prepped diaper. 🙂

 

 

Anatomy of a cloth diaper


Most people get flummoxed by jargon and Cloth Diapering is an area that is rife with it. Read on to decode the CD terminology that you encounter.

slide3

Front view of a cloth diaper

  • The outer cover of the diaper is PUL or TPU. This is fabric which has been treated to gain a waterproof quality. So when used on a diaper it prevents water from the absorbent inner to seep outside. Read more about PUL here
  • Waist tab snaps – the waist tabs are brought up to the front of the diaper and snapped on to this panel here, to give a snug fit around baby’s waist. The diaper must not be too tight so as to dig into the baby’s stomach, nor too loose such that it is gaping. Experts suggest that it must be snug enough to allow one finger to slide along the inside edge of the diaper.
  • Rise settings – you would have heard that diapers come in one-size fits all range, allowing them to be used from newborn to potty training stage. These rise settings help with that. Bring up the row of snaps to snap up to the desired size. This will reduce the length of the diaper. Usually the lowest row of snaps is for newborn size and leaving the rise setting snaps totally open (unsnapped) gives the largest size.
Front view - diaper open and laid flat

Front view – diaper open and laid flat

  • Waist tabs – these are the wing like panels of the diaper which are fixed onto the front of the diaper to hold it in place. See below image:
slide4

Cloth diaper in the position it is fastened on to baby

By adjusting the rise settings and waist tab settings, you can get a range of sizes to suit babies at various stages in their growth stage and sizes of course. For more details on fitting, see this post on My First Cloth Diaper.

This is the inner of a cloth diaper.

slide2

Cloth diaper laid out flat open, to show inner side

This is a pocket diaper with a suede lining.  There can be many variants to this, but I’ve used this particular cloth diaper as it shows most of the other features inside.

  • Suede lining – the introduction of a stay dry lining in diapers revolutionized the cloth diaper industry. The magic of materials like suede and fleece is that they draw away moisture quickly from the baby and onto the absorbent inserts; and yet themselves are stay dry, i.e. baby does not feel wetness. How awesome is that in a cloth diaper that comes with no chemicals?  Inner can be of  various types: suede, fleece, charcoal bamboo (all stay dry and synthetics) or cotton, bamboo, hemp (non stay dry, but natural fabrics) Here are some of the other inner linings that cloth diapers can have. 2016-10-28_16-56-42There are others too. Will save them for a specific post in the future.
  • Leg elastics – these wrap around baby’s thigh once the diaper is fastened on. They hold what goes on inside (think runny newborn poop, teething poop) and prevent leaks. When putting onto baby, the diaper rise and waist settings should be such that there are no gaps at the thighs.
  • Double gussets – if single elastics are not foolproof enough to hold in the business, double gussets do this job well. They at least prevent or delay leaks from out the diaper, even in the worst case of pooplosions. I swear by double gussets and find cleaning them relatively simple too. Double gussets also work well in case of babies who sleep on their side.
  • Tummy leak guard – these are designed to prevent leaks from the front of the diaper, ideal for tummy sleepers.
  • Waist flap – pocket diapers usually come with a flap over the pocket area which covers the pocket hole and also prevents leaks from the back of the diaper.

Depending on the brand and type of diaper, tummy and waist flaps can look like a free piece of suede or PUL stitched in the diaper inner.  But basically their function is to hold it all in. So together, the leg elastics, double gussets, waist and tummy guards all help to prevent leaks no matter what kind of sleeper your baby is.

A cloth diapering system also comes with absorbency in the form of inserts. I’d like to do a detailed post on that, including prep and care instructions, soon.

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