“What do you do with the dirty ones?”
Even people who have no interest in cloth diapering have a certain scatological fascination with them. Most people want to know how we clean them. I wrote about my wash routine here, but people still have question about what to do with the diapers on a daily basis.
Wet diapers are pretty easy. When I’m done with the diaper change, I use the wipe to pull out any inserts. Then, I toss everything inside the diaper, fold the diaper in half, and dump everything into a garbage can lined with a pail liner (just a large wet bag with an elastic top). Easy peasy. Folding the diaper helps the elastics relax which helps them last longer.
The great thing is that there are no liners to keep buying. The pail liner is washable and gets tossed into the washer at the end of the week with the diapers (Amazon, $17.99 for two – I have two and alternate weeks when one goes in the wash.) My garbage can is nothing special, just a nice looking Simple Human can I happened to have in the basement and wasn’t using.
What about when you’re out?
Wet bag! Honestly, I find cloth diapering easy when I’m out because I never have to find a trash can. Doctor’s offices, especially, are notorious for signs specifically disallowing people from disposing of diapers. I carry a few cheap wet bags in my diaper bag. These Alva Baby wet bags are $11.99 for two and come in the coolest patterns (Amazon). Two different styles will help you separate wet from dirty so you know what you need to deal with at home if you’re not by a toilet.
Good news! As long as your baby is EBF (and usually formula fed, though I’m not as well versed with all the types of formula), it’s water soluble. We did baby-led weaning with Charlotte who was slow to take to solid foods. As a result, we really didn’t have to start spraying dirty diapers until Charlotte was about 11 months. Occasionally, the odd piece of quinoa or broccoli would actually make it in Charlotte’s mouth and we’d have to flush the odd stool, but for the most part we had 11 months of bliss.
The dirty truth
Poop. Poo. Scat. Number 2s. Having a baby suddenly shoots poop and Sesame Street to regular parts of one’s everyday conversation. Once babies are eating solids pretty regularly, their poo needs to be flushed. Before you go thinking of “alternatives”, remember two things. 1. Poop from carnivores carry bacteria, so don’t think of dumping it outside or using garden hoses. 2. Houses have different size pipes and toilets are bigger than sink or shower pipes, appropriately designed to carry solid waste.
So, what do we do with #2 diapers?
- You have a couple different options. My preferred method is to take it right to the toilet and flush. A fleece liner repels the poo so they’ll usually fall right off. Tougher nemeses might require a good jerk will dislodge any flotsam. If there is still debris attached, a good dunk and twirl will usually dislodge the offender.
- Babies are not always happy to hang out while mom flushes in another room. For those times, I keep a stiff, lined wet bag next to the hamper. For this purpose, I love the Vera Bradly Ditty Bag ($18.40, Amazon, limited colors, but outlet stores always have a ton for cheap). It has a circle cut bottom and will stand up. I can toss diapers in there until nap time when I can whisk off to spray. Busy week? I can fit probably 8-10 diapers in there and do all my spraying on Sunday before we do the diaper wash. Pro tip, if you’re using liners, you can usually just pull the liner off the diaper, roll it up, and stash it in the bag until later.
- Especially in those transitional months when baby is migrating from a primarily milk diet but starting to eat solids regularly, poo can present a sticky situation. For these situations, a cheap spatula from the dollar store is worth its weight in gold. Also useful is a diaper sprayer. We use the pictured SmarterFresh sprayer (Amazon, $39.99).< /li> My husband attached it to to the toilet in about a half and hour. It makes good work of persistent poos and discreetly hangs on the side of the tank the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day. When baby is done with diapers it could be reused as a bidet…or not.
What about illness?
What about antibiotics? I suggest some gasoline and a match, quite honestly. Burn it all to the ground. But seriously. Charlotte and I have been on a total of three rounds of antibiotics. Oh, the humanity. So. Much. Poop. I toughed it out when I was on antibiotics and just frequented the sprayer. When Charlotte was directly on antibiotics, we finally abandoned the cloth and went to disposables for a week.
The great thing about disposables is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Some moms may cloth only at night or only at home. Some may go to disposables for vacation. Antibiotics were our red line.