Cloth Diaper Kids Blog

FuzziBunz cloth diapers and other green baby products


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Handmade Local Goodness: My Diaper Addiction

mermaids-inner2They’re fuzzy, their soft and squishy, and they’re made just for us.  My Diaper Addiction cloth diapers are locally handmade specifically for our web store Cloth Diaper Kids.  Andrea is a very talented work at home seamstress who adores cloth diapers like we do and she sends us batches of one of a kind diapers for our loyal customers.

Made with a stretch cotton exterior and a bamboo velour interior, these diapers feature one size snap down adjustment and even cross-over snaps at the waist for super skinny babies.  They fit aprox. 10-30lbs, but also come in a newborn size that fits tiny babies 5-12lbs.

These diapers have such character and are very absorbent.  Perfect as a nighttime leakproof solution when you pair them with either a PUL waterproof cover or a wool cover.


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DO NOT DO THIS EVER! – The Worst Way To Strip Cloth Diapers

Before I begin this post, let me say that I rarely pass such a strong opinion on what people choose to do with their cloth diapers in their own homes.  If you want to go against the years of research and testing that manufacturers put into the washing instructions on their products, and do something contrary to the manufacturer’s guidelines in your quest to find the perfect wash routine – fine by me.  Whatever works.  I’ve done it too (I don’t recommend it, but I’ve done it 😉

BUT please please please don’t EVER put your cloth diapers into your DISHWASHER to ‘strip’ them clean.  This is terribly terrible, very bad, ill-informed and DANGEROUS ‘advice’ stemming from inexperienced cloth diaper users that sometimes floats around the internet.

Here are but a few reasons why you should NEVER EVER put cloth diapers of any kind in your dishwasher in an attempt to get them clean:

  • It is a fire hazard – there is a heating element inside your dishwasher.  If it touches any fabric it will melt or burn it.  You could start a fire.
  • A dishwasher is made for dishes – not diapers that contain human waste.  Do you really want to wash poopy residue out of your diapers and then wash your dishes in that machine?  That could be a health hazard.
  • It will void all your warranties – the diaper’s warranty will be gone as well as the warranty on your dishwasher.  Simple as that.
  • Dishwashers heat the water up to be scalding hot and generally speaking diapers should not be washed in super heated water.  Hot yes, super hot, no.  It can cause fabric breakdown, elastic degradation and premature delamination.
  • It’s a hassle and a half – it’s much easier to tweak your wash routine to troubleshoot rather than resorting to a dishwasher.

If you’re having issues with your cloth diapers of any kind, do what you would do when you have car problems.  Consult a professional (ie. an experienced retailer or the manufacturer of your diapers directly).  We have years of experience helping lots of clients and manufacturers spend money perfecting wash routines and running tests on the materials they use in their products.  We can help you.  So please, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, even if they claim to be experts.  And don’t ever put your diapers in the dishwasher.

REVIEW OUR SIMPLE WASHING INSTRUCTIONS HERE


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Ammonia & Cloth Diapers – What It Is And What To Do About It

Ammonia smell and cloth diapers can sometimes seem almost synonymous.  Seems like everyone these days is complaining about it, having a rash from it or dealing with smells from it.  What is this epidemic and how do we fix it?

We’re glad you asked!  There’s a number of things you can do to get rid of ammonia in your cloth diapers and keep it gone for good.

But first, let’s clear something up.  Do you really have ammonia in the first place?  Sometimes ‘ammonia’ is a blanket term people mistakenly use to  label any smell or rash when it comes to cloth diapers when in reality ammonia is really a very specific thing.  Ammonia is different from smelly toddler pee, different from strong concentrated urine smell and different from a ‘barnyard’ type aroma.  Ammonia is a super strong, knock your socks off, your eyes will literally be watering, burning in your nose kind of smell like nothing else.  It is an unbearably strong smell and if present in your diapers can cause a very bad rash on babies very quickly on every bit of skin touching the wet diaper.  Ammonia is most often present in nap or overnight diapers that are on the bum for long periods of time.

Okay, with that said.  Do you have real ammonia?  If so, read on.

What’s happening anyway?  Where does the ammonia come from?
Great question.  Time for a chemistry lesson.  Ammonia comes from the break down of urine.  So, some ammonia will always happen when you’re leaving wet diapers in a wet bag between washes.  That’s not a problem in small concentrations.  But a few things speed up the breakdown of urine to ammonia (like heat, a closed diaper pail and bacteria).  What ultimately happens though, is that the soiled diapers are not being completely cleaned in the wash and that biological residue (I mean pee and poo) that didn’t get fully washed and rinsed away reacts with minerals in the water and with new urine and feces when they go back on the bum creating the recipe for those nasty rashes.  Eeew right?

So, logically, what do we need to do?  Get the diapers clean at wash time!  How do we do this?  First, we need to deal with the ammonia ASAP.  Funk Rock is a product specifically meant to neutralize ammonia.  Strip your clean diapers using Funk Rock.  Use the directions on the package or the directions here.  Next, and most importantly, you need to change your wash routine to ensure your diapers get fully and properly cleaned at each and every wash to prevent it from coming back.  This means making sure you are using enough detergent and enough water for the size of your diaper load.  We can always help you with troubleshooting here, but generally this means switching to a better detergent and/or often using more detergent.  Calgon can sometimes also be useful to help soften water and increase the effectiveness of the detergent in areas where harder water is of concern (ie. most of Canada unless you know for sure you have soft well water, a water softener etc.).  Calgon can be purchased in the laundry aisle at most supermarkets and should be used at a rate of 1/4 cup added along with the detergent.

Next, some things that will help keep ammonia at bay once you get rid of your acute case:
1) Keep your wet bag away from direct sunlight and heat.  Heat hastens the decomposition of urine to ammonia.
2) Wash your diapers every 1-2 days following this wash routine.
3) Have an open diaper pail or keep your wet bag unzipped and open to the air.  Wet diapers that dry out won’t smell as much as they wait for wash time.  Soiled diapers that are very wet and closed-in stew in the humidity and breed bacteria which makes ammonia worse.  This situation is also hard on fabrics and your diapers will break down sooner.
3) Rinse diapers before putting them in the wet bag between washes.  This can help a lot by diluting and removing some urine prior to washing.  Less urine = less ammonia potential.  Even if you only rinse nap and night ones you’ll notice a difference.
4) When you wash your diapers use a cold initial rinse before your hot wash with detergent.  Heat encourages ammonia, so cold on that first rinse is better if you have the option on your washer.
6) Keep baby hydrated.  The more diluted the urine, the less ammonia can be created in the first place.

Keep these things in mind and ammonia problems will be a distant memory.


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My Cloth Diapers Smell – How Do I Fix Them?

When it comes to cloth diapers, there are different smells and different ways to deal with them.  But one thing that holds true in all situations is that your diapers are smelling because they aren’t getting clean enough in the wash.  Here’s how to fix them and how to tweak your wash routine so it doesn’t come back.

Diapers smell like a ‘barnyard’
If you have a smell that’s kinda like a barnyard (sorta poopy and gross) it generally means you need more detergent.  You are either using a detergent that isn’t strong enough to deal with dirty diapers or not enough of it.  Use the proper amount of detergent as recommended on the package for the size of the load you are doing (regardless of whether you’re using a mainstream commercially available brand or a cloth diaper specific brand).  Bigger load needs more detergent.  Have you added water to your load or increased the water level?  Then increase your detergent accordingly.  You need the proper ratio of detergent to water to clean properly.  Diluted detergent or incomplete rinsing = poop residue left on your diapers = barnyard smell.

Note: changing to a different detergent (Tide or Charlie’s Soap is great) or adding a water softener like Calgon (1/4 cup in with the detergent) to your wash can also help if you have harder water.  Remember, detergent that works well for one person won’t necessarily work well for you.  Water quality, type of washing machine, diaper fabrics and style (prefolds vs. pockets vs. all in ones) can all play a large part in finding a wash routine and detergent that work to achieve proper cleaning.

Diapers smell strongly of ammonia
If you have ammonia issues, see our post on how to deal with it here.

Still have questions?  Contact us or get in touch with the manufacturer of your diapers for more troubleshooting advice.

 


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Dish It: The Scoop On Stripping Diapers With Blue Dawn Dish Soap

Stripping cloth diapers has got to be one of the most confusing things for people new to cloth or considering cloth diapers for the first time.  All the stripping ‘rules’ seem so complicated, and so contradictory and everyone seems to have a different opinion on how to do it ‘correctly’.  (For time tested proper stripping guidelines and methods see here).

Amidst all the mis-information out there is the mysterious Blue Dawn recommendation.  This recommendation says that to strip your cloth diapers you should go and find Dawn dish soap (specifically the original blue kind) and use some to ‘strip’ the residues off your diapers and walla your repelling or odor problems will be fixed.  Just put a squirt or two into your washing machine instead of your regular detergent and you’re done.  Blue Dawn can fix all the world’s problems you know.

So first of all why must you use Dawn dish detergent and no other brand?  Apparently someone has decided it is more gentle and/or has fewer harsh chemicals than other dish soaps (yah right).  And second why must it be blue?  Supposedly the original blue version of Dawn has the fewest additives (umm, okay).

Alright, now let’s think about what dish detergent does.  It’s made to remove greasy residues from dishes.  Hint: greasy residues.  Not ammonia, not odors, not mineral or detergent buildup.  9 times out of 10 you are going to be stripping for smell issues or buildup issues, not grease issues.  But, on the small chance there is something on your diapers which is greasy (i.e. you accidentally used lots of petroleum based bum cream and enough of it got on your diapers to cause repelling, or if your baby is on a high fat diet of some sort that causes greasy/oily bowel movements that have coated your diapers which is causing repelling issues, then yes, a SMALL amount of dish soap MAY assist you in getting your diapers clean again.  But you know what?  A couple of hot hot washes with a bit more of your usual (high quality) detergent will usually do the same thing too and if not, then honestly, your diapers were probably too far gone for Dawn to help anyway.

Why then, am I so cheeky about blue Dawn if there is in fact a reason to use it?  Because if used carelessly it can cause you some major headaches.  Of primary concern is this:  Dawn dish soap should NEVER be used in your washing machine EVER.  Not even  a little tiny bit.  A ‘squirt or two’ is a completely ambiguous measurement and dish soap is designed to foam up much more than laundry detergent creating a condition called ‘suds lock’ in your machine.  This is an actual problem that happens to actual washing machines when you have too many bubbles from an overdose of detergent.  The result is a costly repair and a sheepish grin when you have to confess to the repair guy what you were trying to do when you broke your washer.  But I won’t put in too much you say?  That won’t happen to me you say?  Well maybe not, but do keep in mind that even if you successfully choose an amount that doesn’t hurt your machine, it will hurt your warranty.  The warranty on your washer will be null and void if you use dish soap instead of laundry detergent.   No questions asked.

We almost never suggest dish soap as a solution to diaper problems, but if you insist on trying it, what’s the proper way?  In the sink with a toothbrush.  Put a dime-sized, tiny bit of dish soap (any dish soap) onto the problem area of the diaper and gently scrub it around into the fabric of the diaper with an old, soft toothbrush and hot water.  Then RINSE that diaper A LOT.  Dish soap is not meant to be on a baby’s bum so any soap left behind has the potential to cause a skin reaction on a sensitive baby.  So, rinse and rinse and rinse until you’re not getting any more suds and then put it in your washing machine for a hot wash cycle with no detergent and then a hot wash cycle with your usual detergent plus extra rinses until you no longer see bubbles in the rinse water.

Or, better yet, just make sure you have a good wash routine (rise, wash on hot with detergent, rinse) and you’ll never have to worry about stripping anyway!

 


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Baby Break Out – My Poor Little Niece

Does your baby have sensitive skin?  My niece does.  But who knew?  Sensitive skin doesn’t run in our family, she isn’t particularly fair and she doesn’t have any specific allergies that we know of.  But for some reason little Lainey Bug has had raised red itchy patches all over her body since shortly after she was born.  She was constantly wiggling and trying to scratch herself and was a poor sleeper due to discomfort.  Thinking it was eczema, her parents took her to the pediatrician who said, no, it wasn’t eczema, just ‘sensitive skin’ and to stop using all products on her skin.  Then she gave them medicated cream.

Not wanting to use medicated cream unless it proved necessary, they stopped using their highly scented commercial laundry detergent, the hypoallergenic Live Clean Baby Wash and Johnson & Johnson Baby Lotion.  But then they were unsure of how to keep Lainey’s laundry and skin clean and they asked me for help.

I suggested Charlie’s Soap for her laundry.  It’s biodegradeable, non-toxic, cloth diaper safe and great for all skin types (not to mention free of artificial fragrances).  Plus the company has been around for over 100 years.  How’s that for a track-record?  Then I switched them onto the Delish Naturals’ Skin Care Line.  Safe, effective and great for the whole family, Delish Naturals’ products are handmade in small batches right here in Canada so we know exactly what’s in it and time and time again it has shown how great it is for a baby’s skin with nourishing natural ingredients.  Lastly, we made sure she was in cloth diapers – free from carcinogens and plastics and more breathable for her bum.

And what happened you ask?  Well she’s better of course!  The red patches are completely gone, the itchiness has subsided, she no longer squirms and fusses and she started sleeping better.  How long did it take to see a change?  3 days.  Just 3 days.  Sometimes I think we take for granted how delicate the skin of a little human really is.  And even if your baby doesn’t have ‘sensitive skin’ it’s nice to know the products you’re putting on them are the gentlest there are right?

This is why we carry Charlie’s Soap and the Delish Naturals Skin Care Line.  Not because they make us lots of money, not because we get a kick-back from a big multi-national company, but because they’re safe, they’re effective, and they make my niece feel better.

Love you Lainey Bug!

Laineyc
P.S.
Baby wipes (even ‘sensitive’ or ‘hypoallergenic’ ones) are one of the biggest offenders we see for babies that have persistent bum rashes when using cloth diapers.  Delicate baby skin often can’t handle the necessary preservatives they have to put in them to keep them bacteria free.  Cloth wipes and warm water fixes that problem and will save you about $100 a year.


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Diaper Rashes – Causes and Cures

Okay, at Cloth Diaper Kids we deal with diapers and baby bums and with those two things, the question of rashes always comes up.  So let’s discuss some of the simple causes and simple solutions that might help your baby get rid of the redness.

**Let me preface the following info by saying that I am not a doctor or medical professional.  If your baby’s rash is severe, chronic, blistered/bleeding or does not show quick improvement, please see a doctor ASAP**

Alright, now let’s get to the basics and clear up one thing first.  Babies who are cloth diapered tend to get fewer rashes than babies in disposables.  Plain and simple.  However babies in cloth can get rashes too.  The skin in that area is super sensitive and thin and needs the best of care to remain healthy, BUT, not all rashes are caused by the diaper baby is wearing.

Rashes that have nothing to do with diapers

  • TEETHING – You’ll hear lots of people say that teething does not cause diaper rash, and then you’ll hear lots of other people swearing that it does.  Whether it’s caused by baby swallowing lots of extra saliva or by other factors going on in the body, many a mom has noticed a correlation between popping a tooth and a sore tushie.  Solution: A cloth safe barrier ointment can help a lot.  Delish Yum Bum Butter is a favorite of ours and can be used safely with cloth diapers.
  • DETERGENT SENSITIVITY – Just as there is a possibility of breaking out with a lotion, soap or cream there is the possibility of being sensitive to the detergent you are laundering your diapers in.  If you are using the correct amount of detergent for your machine and load size and an extra rinse at the end hasn’t helped…Solution: Try a different brand of detergent of course.  Note: just because you are using a certain detergent on baby’s clothing without an issue doesn’t mean it won’t cause a problem when you use it with your diapers.  Remember, in the diaper area you are dealing with very thin, delicate, sensitive skin and any detergent residues are combining with pee/poo in a moist environment.  Under these conditions a normally fine detergent may cause baby troubles.
  • SKIN CONDITIONS – If skin troubles run in your family, if baby has very fair skin or if baby is prone to or dealing with something such as eczema then re-occurring rashes can be frustrating for mom and annoying for baby.  Solution: Let baby have as much open air diaper free time as possible.  Keep baby in very breathable natural fabric diapers and consider preventative use of organic coconut oil or unscented Delish Yum Bum Butter at every change to keep skin healthy.  Wool covers can also be helpful rather than PUL as a waterproof layer.  A natural fabric diaper such a fitted or prefold paired with a wool cover is a classic favorite of sensitive skinned babies.
  • DISPOSABLE WIPES – Chemicals and preservatives used in disposable wipes can cause some really bad rashes and if not the actual cause of the rash they can exacerbate a rash baby already has and cause pain and stinging on raw skin.  Even so called ‘gentle’, ‘hypo-allergenic’ or ‘natural’ wipes still contain preservatives and can cause serious problems which is part of the reason why so many parents never consider them to be the cause of a rash.  Solution: Cloth wipes are the way to go.  Not only are they economical, they are soft, gentle and re-useable and come in a variety of different materials.  Plus you simply wash them right along with the diapers you are already laundering anyway.  Learn more about how to use cloth wipes here.
  • FOOD ALLERGIES / STARTING SOLIDS – Food can be a source of rashes too believe it or not.  Food allergies can cause bum rashes and babies beginning to eat solid foods can experience them too.  For example, our first baby loves oranges to a fault, but too much citrus and his poops become so acidic that they burn his skin and cause blistering rashes.  Also keep in mind that smaller babies, who are breastfeeding can be sensitive to something that mom has eaten and passed along in the milk and can get a rash that way too.  Solution: An excellent barrier cream is in order to keep poop from touching the skin if acidity is the issue.  For something nice and thick, consider pure lanolin or Lansinoh (the stuff you use for sore nipples when breastfeeding) to give the skin the protection it needs.  Lanolin and Lansinoh are cloth diaper safe.
  • SICKNESS & INFECTIONS – If baby has been sick (think diarrhea) this can change the PH of their bowel movements which can lead to skin irritations and rashes.  Additionally, some rashes can be caused by yeast (common after antibiotics, or if mom or baby has thrush from breastfeeding) or bacterial infections like staph.  Solution:  If baby is sick and has loose bowels then all you really need to do is protect the skin from the acidic-ness.  A cloth safe barrier cream will do the trick and flushable liners will make cleanups easier.  For yeast or bacterial infections you are best to see your doctor as a medicated cream may be necessary to treat the rash.  In these cases, switch to disposable diapers during treatment as the medicated cream is not cloth diaper safe and preventing re-infection is important.  During this time, sanitize your cloth diapers.  Contact us for info on how to do this (as the method will depend on what type of infection).

Rashes caused by cloth diapers

  • MATERIAL SENSITIVITIES – Sometimes rashing is the result of babies with sensitive skin who react to synthetic fabrics on the bum.  Occasionally we see babies who turn red from diapers that have fleece or minky on the inside and sometimes babies are sensitive to the waterproof PUL next to the skin or turn red in the leg creases from latex sensitivities in the elastics of certain diaper brands.  Solution: Natural fabric diapers.  Look for diapers with organic cotton, bamboo or hemp and use a PUL or wool cover overtop to make the system waterproof.  If latex elastics might be the issue, ask us which of our diaper brands feature latex-free elastics.
  • POOR FIT – Streaks of redness on the belly or thighs can sometimes indicate a poor fit (either too loose or too tight).  If chaffing is happening it can make baby uncomfortable and appear rash-like.  Solution: Make sure you are getting the right fit for the type of diapers you are using.  Leg elastics should fit in the crease of the leg the same way underwear would fit.  Elastics around the legs and waist should be snug so there are no gaps.  Slight red marks such as what you might experience from the elastics on your socks are nothing to worry about.  If you’re not sure about the fit you are getting on your baby, ask us.
  • WETNESS SENSITIVITY – Similar to babies who have skin that is sensitive to synthetic fabrics, there are babies who’s skin is sensitive to wetness.  This happens when baby is using natural fabric diapers such as cotton, bamboo or hemp where wetness is felt against the skin because there is no wicking layer.  During the day you may not see this kind of rash as baby is changed relatively often and the skin dries out a bit between changes.  At night however, when the diaper is on for longer you may see it more pronounced.  Solution: Lots of diaper-free air time for baby to get the rash under control.  Cornstarch used in the same way as baby powder to put a light coat over baby’s bum can help keep things dry and is safe to use with your cloth diapers.  Also, consider adding a wicking layer to your diapers with the addition of a thin stay-dry liner between diaper and baby to keep the wetness off the skin between changes (especially for overnight).  Or, switch to diapers that have a built in wicking layer such as those with microfleece or microsuede on the inside.  In addition to a wicking layer, a cloth safe  moisture barrier cream or lanolin can be helpful for overnight.  Note: DO NOT use cornstarch on any rash that may be caused by yeast.  It will make yeast rashes worse.  Also, baby powder that is made of talc should not be used on babies because of the inhalation risk.
  • AMMONIA BURN – Now this one can be quite serious as it is a chemical burn to the skin and can often be quite severe if not dealt with quickly.  If you’re dealing with ammonia, you’ll know it.  Ammonia smell is very very strong.  I mean burn your nose, sting your eyes till they tear strong.  This is different and stronger than barnyard smell, poopy smell, or strong toddler urine smell.  Besides the terrible smell, baby’s bum will be all over red and/or blistered wherever the wet diaper has touched the skin.  Ammonia is most often troublesome with nap or overnight diapers that have been on the bum a long time and are very saturated.  Solution: Keep those diapers off baby’s bum until you’ve dealt with the ammonia issues and make sure the bum is rinsed clean of any ammonia residue.  What’s happening is that your diapers are not getting clean enough in your wash cycle and bacteria, hard water mineral deposits and or soap residues are reacting with the pee/poo to create the problem and the stench.  First rinse your nap and overnight diapers in the sink or bathtub before putting them in your wet bag between washes.  This can help a lot.  Second, get rid of the ammonia you have now by using Funk Rock, a product specifically made to combat ammonia problems.  Then tweak your wash routine and make sure you are using enough detergent to get your diapers really clean and keep them that way.  We can always help you troubleshoot.
  • DIAPERS AREN’T GETTING CLEAN ENOUGH – Similar to ammonia issues, but not quite as severe, if your diapers have any sort of smell to them when newly washed or right away when peed in, they aren’t getting clean enough.  Often referred to as barnyard smell, it signals that there is some kind of bacteria or residue left in your diapers that can cause rashing in the warm moist environment of a diaper.  Solution: Get those diapers clean.  Generally barnyard smell is an indication of not enough detergent.  Don’t skimp on detergent, especially if you have hard water.  Diapers are dirty and they need proper agitation and adequate detergent and water to get really clean.  Read through our other blog articles related to washing diapers, be open to tweaking your wash routine and contact us if you’d like help troubleshooting.  We’re always here to help!

*And finally a quick word on breastmilk…that stuff is amazing in more ways than one.  Dabbing some on baby’s bum regardless of what’s causing the rash and air drying before putting on a new diaper can help soothe redness too.

We hope that helps you clear up your little one’s rash.  Was this info helpful for you?  Have you experienced a rash with your baby that we haven’t covered above?  Let us know by leaving a comment!