Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stripping and Prepping!

So, the other day, I spent what seemed to be my entire day stripping and prepping diapers ... I mean seriously ... it took the entire day. I think the constant "reading of instructions" slowed me down a bit but I wanted to make sure I got it right ... or as close to "my right" as possible ... particularly the 24 used diapers that I scored for just under $5 a piece on CraigsList. I had a hard time finding any of the diapers (used) that I was looking for on my local CraigsList and so I branched out and found a great deal in another state and city. The seller sent tons of pics and included shipping in the cost. I digress ... back to stripping and prepping ... the whole process was a lot of work but oddly enough ... I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment by the time I was finished ... correction, by the time the grandmother to be (my mom) and I were finished ...
NOTE: I learned a lot as a result of going through this process ... mainly what I WILL and WILL NOT DO the next time ... I realize that I made a lot of extra work for myself ... for instance, surely during the stripping process, I could have just added a few squirts of Dawn to the washing machine, filled with a pot of boiling water, and left them to soak there ... then ran a washes, etc. But I chose a little different process ... anyway, on to stripping ...

Stripping (also known as "deep cleaning") ... Kinda felt my way around but they turned out great
What I found in my research (much like everything else related to cloth diapering) is that depending upon who you ask, you'll get a different answer in response to most of your questions. Case in point, the steps to include in the preparation of used diapers. When I received my used cloth diapers, I have to say that they looked and smelled great. However, you never know what's "deep down inside." I was "smart enough" to inquire about yeast but honestly, I just wanted to make sure. So, I wanted to know what most people do to prepare used diapers. Here are some of the responses that I got ...

1. "Just washed them on hot and dry them on high."
2. "strip em' ... "
3. "Wash them all first like ya would any dirty diapers, then soak them overnight in hot water with about 3 or 4 scoops of oxyclean. Then finish the cycle and run the diapers through the machine two more times with just water. I just do a couple of cold rinses."

Anyway, like I said, the responses varied ... because of my fear of my baby catching the "heeby jeebies," I decided to strip them ... now the method ... again, varied with each person I asked so I kinda improvised and used a combination of a few steps that I had heard about ... my process looked something like this:

1. Here, you'll see what I started with ... 24 used kissaluvs (size 0) in "natural" and various colors.

2. I boiled a huge pot of water, which was meant for my "Original Dawn liquid dish detergent" soak and hand wash (sort of hand wash ... really just agitation every so often ... I mean I didn't scrub them or anything like that).

3. So, in my mom's kitchen sink (yes her kitchen sink; not her first choice), I added half a 1/3 Cup of Dawn to each sink, placed 12 kissaluvs in each one, and poured the boiling water over them. I soaked the diapers for about 3 hours, frequently adding more boiling water and made sure to agitate them on occasion.
NOTE: Surely, I could have just thrown the diapers in the washer w/a few skirts of Dawn ... but I decided to do it by hand ... no reason really ...

4. After about 3 hours of soaking, adding more boiling water, and agitating, I drained the soapy water and refilled the sinks with clean cool rinse water. We allowed them to soak in the rinse water, making sure to frequently change the water to ensure that we were getting as much of the Dawn out of the diapers as possible. NOTE: 1/3 cup of Dawn proved to be WAY too much (added a few washes and rinses to my process). My mom also made sure to agitate and squeeze the diapers in the rinse water as much as possible as she continued to change out the water.

NOTE: We probably didn't have to go through all of that rinsing but this was my first "stripping" exercise and I just wanted to be sure ... the washing machine could have taken care of the majority of the rinsing

5. By the end of the "Dawn process" ... the diapers looked something like this and were then ready to go into the washing machine.

6. ... and this and this ... now honestly, don't they look like all of the Dawn is out of them ...

NOTE: while engaged in this process, I made sure to turn up the water heater ... wanted to make sure that the water was at its hottest when the diapers got to the washing machine ... of course I could have just dumped some boiling water into the washing machine (which of course is an option) but I didn't want to lug large pots of boiling water into the garage ...

7. So, once we "thought" we'd gotten most of the Dawn out of the diapers, my mom carried them all to the washer for a few regular washes -Cool Rinse-Hot Wash-Cool Rinse without detergent during hot wash - remember, I was trying to ensure that there was no more Dawn left in the diapers - don't want to irritate my baby's skin.

NOTE: didn't have a "hot rinse" option on my mom's washing machine

8. My mom and I ended up washing the diapers 4 x at the highest water level ... every time the diapers looked great (no suds) while in the washer, as soon as the agitation began ... more suds ... grrrrrrrrrr ... I added tea tree oil (natural antiseptic - I think that most people use grapefruit extract which I believe is a bit stronger but I initially chose to use the tea tree oil ... honestly, its what we had on hand) to the final rinse. Then, I kinda got a little paranoid and decided to make a quick run for some grapefruit extract ... a little panicky ... so I ran ONE MORE WASH w/about 35 - 40 drops of grapefruit extract ... crazy I know ... THEN, the diapers were ready to go ... I chose to put them in the dryer on the highest temp ... of course, I could have just hung them in my mom's back yard in the sun to dry but I liked the idea of the added heat ...

NOTE: I've also heard that running another rinse cycle (particularly if you still smell Dawn on the diapers) with 1/2 cup of vinegar will help to get all of the Dawn out.

Well ... this is what I ended up with ... pleased with my 24 squeaky clean used kissaluvs

While all of this was going on, I was also prepping new diapers, inserts, and covers ... well a few new covers that hadn't yet been prepped ... this was my process ... thanks so much to Amanda from the eco-friendly family blog (!)

1. I first wanted to make sure that I prepped natural fibers with natural fibers and synthetic fibers with synthetics.

2. In instances of synthetic fiber inserts, covers, etc., I simply ran a normal wash at the highest water level with 1/2 the recommended amount of Allen's Natural Laundry Detergent ( ) In my case, a normal wash was a cold rinse-hot wash-followed by a cold rinse. Done! The diapers were good to go ... I just hung everything to dry.

NOTE: I plan on using Amanda's "special brew" ... her homemade recipe for cloth diaper safe laundry detergent in the future to wash my diapers. I was home in Houston visiting family and decided to do a little laundry ... I didn't bring my 5 gallon bucket of "Amanda's brew" that I made just before my trip to Houston with me ... so I improvised w/Allen's Natural Laundry Detergent, which I must say is great! Loving the Allen's Natural Laundry Detergent ... but I will say that Amanda's recipe gave me A LOT more detergent for my buck!

3. In the instances of natural fiber inserts, diapers, etc., I ran a total of 5 "normal wash/Dry" cycles ... yes, that's a full wash cycle followed by a spin in the dryer at the highest temp ... that's 5 dry cycles ... yes ... it was an all day job.

This is what I ended up with:

Now that was a hard days work ...

Here's my stash and accessories ... obviously a few missing from the pics ... they're at home in Chicago, all snugly, prepped and put away ...

6 thirsties duo wraps - size 1
12 flats
12 prefolds
2 thirsties pocket AOIs (all in ones) - size small
2 one size blueberry deluxe snap diapers
2 fuzzi bunz one size diapers
24 fitted Kissaluvs (used might I add) - size 0 (great for healing cord)
3 econobum one size diaper covers and 12 one size econobum prefolds (one size - grows w/baby)
3 fleece covers (for nighttime) (2xs, 1 sm)
3 Olive Jane's diaper covers (etsy seller) (1xs, 2 sm)
3 Flip one size diaper covers and 10 Flip stay dry diaper inserts (one size - grows w/baby)
3 snappi fasteners
2 Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liners
2 medium Planet Wise wetbags
1 small Planet Wise webag
5 Kissaluvs Super Soaker Diaper Doublers
35 cloth baby wipes
Bummis Biosoft Liners
Bummis Fleece Liners

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