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How To Clean Poop Out Of Cloth Diapers
If you’re considering using cloth diapers, you’ve probably thought about the worse thing that can happen in a cloth diaper. But poop doesn’t have to be so scary. Parents have been using cloth diapers for many years, and you won’t be the first to have to clean poop from a diaper. You’ve got this!
My Background With Cloth Diapers
I was a cloth diaper-wearing baby! My siblings and I were all born in Cuba before disposable diapers were available to families there – especially the ones who lived on farms.
My mom used cloth diapers on all of us, and she survived! You can too! She often retells her experience with cloth diapers and what she had to do to make them look and smell fresh.
For starters, she didn’t have a washing machine like we do in the US; she had to wash everything by hand. And since the cloth diapers were white, she wanted to make sure they were still white after she washed them. She would first rinse the poop off the diapers outside in the backyard with a hose. Then, she’d wash the diapers in hot water and scrub them by hand with castile soap.
If the cloth diapers still weren’t clean and was a little stained, she’d boil the cloth until the cloth looked white again. Since she didn’t have a washing machine, she didn’t have a dryer either. All cloth diapers were hung out in the sunshine. This helped them get the cloth even whiter.
Breastfed Baby Poop
But let’s face it, we’re not in Cuba, and we don’t need to wash our cloth diapers by hand. However, we still want those diapers to smell and look as fresh as possible. Right?
Poop is probably the smelliest and dirtiest of the deeds our babies drop into their diapers. Whether you will be using a washing machine or washing your cloth diapers by hand, you’ll want first to rinse the poop off the diapers before you wash them. I recommend rinsing the poop off using a manual bidet and letting the poop go right in the toilet. You definitely want to keep the poop away from your kitchen sink. The kitchen sink may seem to be the most convenient, but you don’t want poop to splatter off the diaper and onto the counter or your nearby clean dishes.
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, their poop will be on the watery side and will not have a strong smell. This will make it a lot easier to wash off and should not stain the cloth because it is completely water-soluble. However, since each baby and breast milk is different, you want to rinse the poop off as soon as possible to avoid any stains. You should be able to wash the cloth diapers right in the washing machine along with your other peepee only diapers. I would recommend washing them in either hot or warm water since the heat will help pull out any stains.
Once Solids Are Introduced
Things will get a little more complicated once you start introducing solids into your baby’s diet. Their poop will start to get thicker and sticky. It will also start to stink. Some parents choose to use liners inside the cloth diaper, but you have to be careful the liners won’t irritate your baby’s skin. I’d prefer not to use liners and rather wash the poop off immediately to avoid staining. Once your baby starts to produce the stickier, smellier poop, you’ll want to rinse the poop off as soon as you become aware of it.
One of the best things you can use to rinse off the poop directly into the toilet is the manual bidet or now also known as a diaper sprayer. If you turn the diaper inside out – or poop side down into the toilet, most of it will fall right in, and you can just flush it down. The remaining stain and stickiness will need to be washed off either in the washing machine or by hand.
How To Clean Poop Out Of Cloth Diapers – Safely
One of the biggest mistakes we make with washing our cloth diapers is using the wrong detergents and using fabric softeners. A lot of the chemicals in these detergents can ruin the cloth and can cause diaper rash . I recommend using a combination of Country Save laundry detergent, listed on our “Best Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent Choices” and borax in your wash. Use equal amounts of each depending on your load size. This is easy and inexpensive and will not ruin your cloth or your baby’s sensitive bottom.
In the rinse cycle, use a half cup of white vinegar. White vinegar is a natural fabric softener and its PH balanced. Using other fabric softeners may cause skin irritation and will leave a residue on your cloth diapers that will eventually make them lose their absorbency.
When washing your cloth diapers, use the hot cycle since the hot water will help lift any stains off and will ensure that any bacteria or germs are cleaned out. Lastly, if you still find that there are some light stains remaining, consider hanging the diapers in the sun. The sun can naturally help bleach those stains out.
You’ll want to make sure you wash your dirty diapers daily. The ammonia from urine can start to build up in the fabric and cause a funky smell that will not be easy to remove and will cause the diapers to smell really bad as soon as your baby wets. I know my mom wouldn’t have left the diapers in a pail for a few days and then try to get the stains out. It would be safer to wash your load of diapers daily not only to ensure you get them as clean as possible but also to ensure that you always have clean diapers on hand.
One last note I’d like to leave you with. I don’t like the idea of dunking and swishing the diaper in the toilet. No matter how clean you think your toilet may be, it is still going to have some of our adult germs and bacteria in there from our poop, pee, and other fluids. So, I’d abstain from this practice.
If you don’t have a manual bidet or diaper sprayer , use a spackle spatula or other flat spatula that you use only for this and then wash your diapers in the washing machine with hot water. Dunking and swishing in the toilet is gross in my opinion and may end up adding more bacteria to your cloth diapers than removing them. Invest in a simple sprayer that you can use, not only for your soiled diapers but as a bidet for adults.
~ Dina Montero