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Hello, everyone! Welcome to Fluff Love University!

The admins here at Fluff Love & CD Science have been putting a lot of time and effort into making this website a comprehensive guide to cloth diapers. We want this to be a one stop shop for everything you need to know about how to use, wash, and care for cloth! We have a lot of big ideas about articles we want to include, but as you can imagine, writing each page takes a lot of time! We are pretty thorough in our research and we love to cite our sources so you know exactly where our recommendations are coming from. That said, if you have a question we don’t address here or want to suggest a topic for a future page, please take a moment to contact us and give us your ideas! And, as always, don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook in the Fluff Love & CD Science group.

 

6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Did I Learn Anything?

Going into this challenge I had a lot of preconceived notions. I thought washing by hand would be hard and overly time consuming. I was already familiar with using flats but they were strictly back up diapers. Overall I thought it was going to be stressful to keep up with in my somewhat chaotic life.

The idea of hand washing seems daunting if you’re accustomed to tossing your laundry in an automatic washer. You have to consider the laundry from a different perspective. No matter what, laundry takes time but for most people it’s passive time, for hand washing you have to actually budget active washing time into your day. I thought it was going to be difficult to make time to wash diapers but it wasn’t. Once I figured out how much time it took me to wash diapers, it was easy to figure out when to do it. I definitely felt the physical activity part but it was a good feeling and I think that activity actually made me feel better and gave me more energy.

I already had some flats I used on occasion but tended to reserve those for backup. I thought it was a pain to get poop off before washing and folding was time consuming and complicated. Once I started using only flats and figured out what combinations and folds worked for us it was really very easy. I folded a few at a time as they dried and it just became part of my daily routine. My twins have really been fighting diaper changes lately but this last week they were more compliant with diaper changes than they’ve been in awhile. My diapers seemed softer this week and I’ve been wondering if they were more comfortable because of that.

I do think it’s helpful to not have a minimal stash. I’m not saying everyone needs to have a huge stash or that they need to buy a bunch of expensive flats but you never know what’s going to happen. In my case, I initially planned to use a minimum amount of diapers since I was washing every day. Typically it only takes 2-3 hours for flats to dry this time of year but it was really cool and wet last week. I greatly underestimated the amount of time drying would take. My diapers were taking 1-2 days to dry and if it hadn’t been for the hoarded tshirts my mom and I had, I might have had to use another diaper type during the day or even given up. Because I had extra tshirts, I was able to keep on trucking and even learned that I really like tshirt flats.

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Wringing out diapers was the hardest part. Every time I thought I had them as dry as I could get them by hand, there was more water. If I am ever in a position to hand wash on a regular basis I definitely want to invest in a wringer. They’re kind of expensive, though, so I’ll have to think on how to diy one.

I did have a family emergency on Sunday and had to leave all the kids alone with the husband for most of the day so I told him to use whatever diapers he felt comfortable using. I didn’t return until late at night (hence the late post) so by the time I used a diaper again, the challenge was over. If the challenge hadn’t been over I would have gone right back to my flats and hand washing because I’m stubborn and I was enjoying it.

I really do think using flats and hand washing is a viable solution to diaper need. It used to be the way things were done but it’s becoming a lost art. It’s an important skill to have, natural disasters aren’t uncommon and no one knows what their financial situation is always going to be. Now that I know it’s an option, I would definitely use it if I had a need. I’m actually going to continue using my washboard for tough stains but as long as I’m privileged enough to have a washing machine, I’m going to continue using it for the bulk of my laundry.

6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Twins in Diapers

Finding out you’re having twins is an exciting and slightly frightening thing. You go in for your appointment expecting to be just a regular pregnant woman and walk out with a lot of feelings and thoughts you weren’t prepared for. One of the first things that went through my head, after the initial shock, was how much everything would cost. There are so many things you now need double of, including diapers.

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Cloth diapers are a great solution for reducing some of the cost of having multiples! I haven’t always used cloth with my twins, I wasn’t confident in my ability to keep up with the diaper laundry in the early days. As soon as I felt like I could keep up, I jumped right in. I have had a fairly conservative diaper stash for the twins and tend to keep just enough diapers to wash every other day. I’d like to wash less but this is the amount my washing machine holds.

In my regular rotation I have about 2 dozen prefolds (I big puffy heart Nicki’s prefolds) and about 15 FSTs. I also have about a dozen covers and 2 pocket shells. This has been my stash for most of the last couple of years. Just in the last couple of months I added some Best Bottoms Ai2 for going out and about and Gray Star Boutique hybrid fitteds for overnight diapers.

Switching to using only flats wasn’t a huge deal for me since I already used them on a regular basis. The idea of hand washing was a little daunting though. I go through about 10-15 diapers a day and I wasn’t looking forward to washing all those every day. I’ve actually found that I’m really enjoying hand washing, it’s relaxing in much the same way exercise can be. It’s time I get on my own, using my hands to do something useful. It’s a huge bonus that it can also double as exercise since I’m wanting to exercise more.

6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Making it Work

Some of the biggest concerns I hear about cloth diapers are fears of difficulty using them and leaks. Flats are often the diaper type that makes people most apprehensive. At first glance they do seem complicated but they’re really very easy to use. I’ve used them periodically over the years but have tended to favor prefolds, after this week I think I may be grabbing for my flats much more often.

At the beginning of the week I thought I had significantly over prepared. I had 15 FST and at least as many tshirts to make into flats, I cut them into a front side and back side piece to hopefully speed up drying and make washing easier. Washing was definitely easier but the drying didn’t go very well in our cool and wet weather we had this week.

For daytime use at home, I used a single flat either pad folded or airplane folded. I’ve also become a big fan of using a tshirt flat in a fold that uses the sleeves as wings. If i need extra absorbency I just pad fold another flat as an insert. I usually fold everything ahead of time. My twins have decided they are big enough to take their own diapers off at changing time and tell me after the fact. Having all my diapers ready to grab and go has been a lifesaver many times.

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When we go out, I use the airplane fold with a pad folded diaper as an extra insert. My guys tend to flood their diapers which isn’t a big deal at home but is less than fun in public. I toss a couple extra diapers, already folded and put in a cover, in the diaper bag for extras and I’m on my way.

Nighttimes were the time I was most apprehensive. Nobody likes waking up in a puddle of pee and with all the hand washing, I didn’t want to really add to my laundry load. For the flats challenge, we’re allowed to use any diapering solution we want but are asked to try to make flats work. My all flat solution is a doubled up FST in an airplane fold with a pad folded tshirt flat as a booster. I had a really hard time with getting my flats dry due to the cool weather and moisture so I ended up alternating nights with all flats or a prefold wrapped around a pad folded flat. I either used wool or fleece shorties over my overnight diapers to help protect against leaks. Nights have been much more successful than I originally thought and a small part of me is considering destashing my overnight fitteds in order to switch to flats.

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I’ve been pleasantly surprised this week. Using flats hasn’t been significantly more difficult than any other diaper I’ve tried. It’s actually been rather enjoyable, I’ve found that folding flats is strangely cathartic.

What’s the Scoop on Cheap Chinese Diapers?

By: Fran Uselman-Harris

In the cloth diapering world there is always a lot of chatter about cheap Chinese diapers, especially if you visit blogs or larger cloth diaper chat Facebook groups and pages. Everyone seems to have an opinion on these types of diapers, how they are made, their quality as well as their safety and even their legality. The issue here, as it tends to be with a lot of different subjects, is there are an awful lot of people’s opinions on the matter and not a whole lot of facts. There also is a lot of straight up misinformation about these types of diapers floating around the internet and Facebook. My main prerogative here is to look at all the different angles, get all the facts on these diapers, and present all this information to you and let you make the informed decision on your own. I’m not here to sway you either way, I just want you to be presented with the most accurate and complete information I can and have all this information out there for the public to see and use. So let’s break this down and get all the facts on “China cheapies.”

Consumers and Globalization

First off, I would like to touch a little bit on globalization and everyday purchases. We live in an extremely globalized society, especially here in America. In 2014 the United States imported goods and services were $2.74 Trillion. That is a lot of money and a lot of product flowing into this country every single day. Many of the everyday items you use and wear were imported into the United States from other countries, especially China. Because this has been our way of life for so long, it’s easy to lose sight of the larger picture and how and why the items we use every single day came to be and came to be in your possession. In 2014 China was the Country we imported from the most—China accounted for 20.2% of our overall imports here in the United States. Below are the top 10 imported items from China to the Unites States according to the International Trade Center (www.intracen.org):

  1. Electronic equipment: $129.8 billion
  2. Machines, engines, pumps: $108.1 billion
  3. Furniture, lighting, signs: $28 billion
  4. Toys, games: $23.7 billion
  5. Footwear: $17.8 billion
  6. Knit or crochet clothing: $16.7 billion
  7. Clothing (not knit or crochet): $14.9 billion
  8. Plastics: $14.9 billion
  9. Vehicles: $12.2 billion
  10. Medical, technical equipment: $10.6 billion

Is there anything you use every single day that could fall on to that list? What about your smart phone or computer? The shoes on your feet?

The reason I wanted to touch on globalization a little bit is because I feel like we all need to have perspective when it comes to purchases and how we consume goods. One of the main arguments against China cheapies is that they are not made in America and by buying them a person is not supporting America and American businesses. This is true to a certain extent—BUT how many of the other purchases that you make every day, week, month, year… are also only supporting American businesses? And if you are going to buy an American brand cloth diaper are all the materials used in those diapers completely sourced from the Unites States? Where did all the components come from? 9 times out of 10 when purchasing a US brand diaper you are supporting a US company and giving people here jobs and income, but you are also providing jobs and income to people all around the world who helped to make that diaper possible in some little way. Yes, it is extremely important to support American business, manufacturing, and jobs, but it is also important to remember that even if the diapers are assembled here in the United States that most of the materials they are made from are not sourced here. One also needs to remember that buying ANY diaper, or ANY good for that matter; you are providing someone, somewhere, with a job and a livelihood.

My intention with this little snippet is not to poo-poo the whole American Made movement or anything like that. I just want everyone to have some perspective and I want everyone to realize that it is pretty difficult to buy and live 100% American made and manufactured. It is also more expensive and in certain instances it’s not even possible to do. Some families chose to cloth diaper because of cost restraints and insisting that you should only buy US brand diapers because our economy is most important is not only unreasonable but it is also inconsiderate to families who cannot afford $20+ for a single cloth diaper. For a family who wants to CD full time on a very tight budget it is much more reasonable to get a decent sized stash from a company like Alva, with all the accessories, extra inserts, etc… and be able to wash every few days then to only get a handful of US brand diapers and not even have enough diapers to do cloth full time. I have also seen arguments for purchasing the more expensive US brand diapers in the used market instead, but with the way the used market is that option really isn’t any more reasonable for many people.

In the end, I think it’s more important to be supportive of all cloth diapering families, regardless of how big or small their stashes are or what brands they chose or can use. We are all in it because we love cloth diapers and we want to spread the word about them and make the use of them more mainstream and the best way to do that is to support everyone who chooses to do it, regardless of how they chose to do it. If you are more interested in buying only American made/brand cloth diapers then that’s awesome! But please don’t shame/make other parents feel bad because they cant afford to/chose not to use those brands of diapers. The shaming and elitism in the cloth diaper community benefits absolutely no one and we want to foster a sense of community for all cloth diapering families, not just some of them.

A Word on Quality:

In most cases, quality of a product is based more on personal opinion than anything else. Personally, I have many Alvas, Sunbabies, JC Trade/Ananbaby, Happy Flutes, and other brands of China cheapies, and have had absolutely no issues with them as long as there is enough absorbency. Do these types of diapers work for everyone? No, just like the more expensive brands don’t work for everyone—i.e. Charlie Bananas fit my son horribly and I can never get a good fit with them. What is most important is finding a brand and type of diaper that works best for you and your family and that you can afford—if that means you have a stash of all cheap Chinese diapers, or a stash of all $50 Ragababies, or maybe somewhere in between–then so be it! Cloth diapering should be fun and affordable. Do what you can do Mamas and Daddies and don’t worry about what your stash looks like!

In most cases people have reported that these diapers last just as long as their more expensive diapers and perform about the same. How long diapers last in general is going to depend more on how large your diaper stash or rotation is, your wash routine, how often, if ever you bleach, use of the sanitary cycle on your washer as well as other factors than where the diapers were manufactured. Additionally, most if not all the components for many of the larger, big name American brands are manufactured overseas in places like China and Egypt, so when purchasing those products you are still purchasing products that have at least some ties to other countries and manufacturing.

About Safety:

One of the big things that I see come up on Fluff Love a lot in regards to these types of diapers is concerns about their safety and more specifically worries about lead and lead poisoning. I personally worked for the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health in the Childhood Lead and Asbestos program for three years prior to having my son, so I would like to address the lead issue directly as well as talk about other aspects of safety when it comes to cloth diapers.

First, a little background on lead exposure and sources:

Lead poisoning in children in the US is a very serious issue and according to the EPA it affects over a million children each year (http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead). Lead poisoning is so serious because it can affect your child’s development, lower IQ, and cause behavioral issues—there is a direct correlation between lead exposure as a child and time spent in prison (http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead). Babies and small children are the most susceptible to poisoning because they are so small, they are still growing, and they put many things in their mouth, crawl around on the ground, etc where lead dust, paint chips and other sources can be. Children who are living at or below the poverty line as also more susceptible to lead poisoning because they tend to live in older housing where lead paint is more likely to be found. There are also a disproportionate number of children in certain ethnic and racial groups who are lead poisoned because of housing situations (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/). This is why it is so important that your child have a blood lead level test around age 9m to a year old at their well-baby check-up. If your Doctor is not doing it as routine, ask for it. Even if you don’t live in a home built before 1978 your children should still be tested because there are many sources of lead outside the home. If you’re concerned, have the levels checked.

Lead (Pb) is a metal that is soft and malleable and is naturally occurring. It is also poisonous to both humans and animals if ingested. Lead is and has been used for centuries in a wide array of consumer products all around the world because it is abundant and cheap and it is still used today in a vast array of consumer products; even in products you might not expect to find it. The most common sources of lead are (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/Lead_Levels_in_Children_Fact_Sheet.pdf) (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/):

  • Paints for homes, children’s toys, and furniture—Use has been banned since 1978 in the US
  • Batteries
  • Solder
  • Bullets, fishing weights
  • Pottery (Fiesta wear) and ceramic glaze
  • Some cosmetics and hair dyes
  • Plumbing-Soldered with lead, old plumbing
    • Drinking water can be contaminated with lead from old pipes, etc
  • Some canned goods from outside the United States
  • Some traditional/folk remedies
  • Candy imported from Mexico—both the candy itself and the ink and wrappers it comes in
  • Toys and toy jewelry- Especially those that are older and imported from other countries.
    • It is also important to note here that there is sometimes lead in plastic children’s toys as well, but this doesn’t pose a risk unless children are chewing or sucking on the toys.
  • Soil
  • Home Renovations
  • Some Artificial Turf
  • Imitation pearls

As you can see, there is a wide variety of lead sources that a child could be exposed to, that’s why it is so important to be aware of lead poisoning and exposure and to be sure to have the lead levels tested. Since lead can be used in some plastic products, CPSC requires cloth diaper snaps be tested for lead for the diapers to be compliant and sold in the United States.

Here are the general lead Limits for children’s apparel per CPSC for reference which also applies for diapers:

  • Total lead content on accessible parts of children’s clothing not to exceed 100ppm as of Aug 14,2011.
  • Exemptions are allowed for lead testing in certain fabrics (cotton, polyester, acrylic), only.
  • Exemptions do not apply for other parts of the clothing like decorations or fasteners (snaps and zippers) that are made of plastic, metal, vinyl, crystal, and coated leather that might contain lead
  • Lead paint and other surface coatings like screen printing, coated zippers, all labels cannot exceed 90 ppm (cpsc.gov)

Many like to argue that cheap Chinese diapers are not safe because they contain lead and other harmful chemicals, are flammable, etc…but this is certainly not the case. There is no greater risk for lead exposer from an Alva diaper than there is from a Bumgenius diaper. They are all made the same way, from the same types of materials, and many of these different brands of diapers are using the same manufactures for their PUL and snaps. Additionally, and small amount of digging can yield the testing certificates for these Chinese diaper companies—all of which fit the standards for CPSCIA compliance, and some of which go above and beyond what is required by CPSC and are completely 100% legitimate if you contact the testing company directly to verify, as I did with the certificates that I was given by Alva. Additionally, PUL that is not accessible to skin, as PUL in a normal pocket diaper would be, is NOT required to be lead tested per CPSC (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=38ec153c002df72ecfcd5b4322fcea87&node=se16.2.1500_191&rgn=div8). Polyester, which is what the outside part of most cloth diapers are made of, does not have to be tested for flammability according to CPSC (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=e971c062f56d817551dbabf88705e5ec&node=se16.2.1610_11&rgn=div8).

I will also mention that it is extremely difficult for there to be lead exposure via skin contact only—generally lead poisoning occurs when lead dust or other lead particles enter the body by consumption or inhalation. This would be it would be pretty much impossible for someone to be lead poisoned just by wearing an article of clothing even if that clothing contained lead. Since there is nothing in the manufacturing process of any of the components of a diaper that would include lead in the first place (no not even clothing dyes contain lead) it is impossible for a child to become lead poisoned from wearing a diaper.

Essentially, according to CSPIA, the only parts of a cloth diaper that needs to be tested for lead are the snaps. PUL in pockets does not need to be lead tested because it does not touch the skin and PUL in covers is also exempt from testing because of the weight of the fabric and because it is polyester.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the Chinese brands have done lead testing on both the snaps and the PUL, all you need to do is ask them for copies of the certificates. Additionally, in conversations with a CPSC agent we learned that each print does not have to be tested for lead if the same process is being used to make each print.

For the sake of full disclosure and my personal goal of making this article as thorough as possible, I decided to have the PUL and the snaps of 35 diapers tested to see what the levels were in those two parts. I tested 24 different brands of diapers, including American, Chinese, and European brands. Some of which are CPSIA certified and some that were not. You can see the full results of my testing here. In the end my testing revealed that none of the diapers tested contained lead, not even a trace amount on either the snaps or the PUL. Thus, there are not concerns in regards to lead in Chinese diapers.

Additionally, we do tend to get some questions in regards to Chinese diapers and phthalate testing. Some diaper brands have done phthalate testing; Sunbaby being one of them, but per CPSIA regulations phthalate testing is NOT required for diapers. I would assume unless a manufacturer specifically states that they have done phthalate testing that they haven’t, and that includes American brands as well.

Legality

Another issue with Chinese diapers that is often brought up in discussions about them is their legality. Many opponents like to argue that is just plain illegal to bring these diapers into the United States. This is certainly not the case if you are buying them for your own personal use with no intent to retail them. In my own research, as well as what was confirmed with a CPSC agent, the “rules” for CDs that I listed above in the previous section only applies for diapers that are being retailed and sold in the United States. If you are buying online directly from the manufacture, like Alva, and having them shipped to your home for your own use then they do not need to be certified by CPSIA. However, if you were purchasing Alvas in bulk from the company and then turning around and selling them on ebay or another website then what you are doing is technically illegal and you would need to go through the steps to get all of the certifications, and ensure that they are completely compliant. There are also no issues in regards to an individual selling of used diapers as well.

One big issue with some Chinese diaper brands is the issue of copyright infringement. This is a subject that has varying degrees of severity for some people. Some people don’t care, others care a lot, and so this is something that has to be assessed on a personal basis for a lot of people. A lot of the Chinese brands are guilty to using either prints from other American Diaper companies like Bumgenius and Grovia, as well as licensed characters from movies, cartoons, etc—Jctrade/ananbaby is notorious for that. Alva is also guilty of using prints that were taken from smaller WAHM custom fabric groups due to a design contest they held in the summer of 2014; people submitted prints/designs that were not theirs and Alva did not know/understand that these prints were taken from other places. Once Alva found this out they sold off all their stock in these prints and no longer carry them.

I feel like it is also important to mention here that Alva and many of the other Chinese diaper companies generally do not always print their own fabric/PUL They are all using many of the same suppliers as well as suppliers that provide fabric to other American diaper companies and other American companies like Skiphop (Sunbaby used some of these same fabrics). This generally means that man of these prints and fabrics are not mutually exclusive to one diaper company and means anyone can buy and use many of these prints. This is why you can still get some of the prints that many people are up in arms about through ebay or alixpress via custom orders—all you need is someone willing to buy the fabrics and make the diapers for you/to sell on ebay.

Copyright laws here in the United States don’t apply to other countries like China, and there isn’t much anyone can do besides contact the company and issue a cease and desist letter, this is why I am saying its really a personal decision as to whether this issue bothers you enough to not patronize these companies. Additionally, I would also like to mention that if you do chose to purchase some of these character prints off of ebay, through a co-op, or through one of the companies who do run these types of prints (like JCtrade or Ananbaby) there is a small risk that your package could be open and seized by customs, though if you pay via Paypal you should be protected to at least get your money back if this does happen.

Summary

I have gone over a lot of information here so lets summarize everything we have went over:

  • We live in a global society and a lot of the things we use and purchase every single day are not manufactured in the United States. Many of the components of many of the American brand diapers are also manufactured overseas and then shipped here and assembled. Whether or not to purchase American brand/American made diapers is a personal choice and others should NOT be made to feel poorly about what brands they can use and/or afford.
  • There really aren’t any concerns about the general quality of Chinese diapers. Many people find they work just as well as any other brand and hold up just as well. The life of your diapers is going to depend more on how you wash them, how often, and other things you do to them than anything else.
  • There are NO concerns about lead exposure from Chinese diapers. Many of these diaper companies have had the diapers (PUL and snaps) independently tested for lead and have these certificates available either on their websites or per request.
    • Only lead testing required is for snaps. No testing required for PUL.
    • Flammability testing is NOT required for diapers per CSPIA
    • Phthalate testing is NOT required for diapers per CSPIA
    • See my independent lead testing results here.
  • Chinese diapers are not required to be CSPIA certified because you are buying them directly from the manufacture and using them for personal use
    • The issue of testing comes about when you purchase them and then turn around and resell/retail them (not used).
      • If you wish to do this you legally need to get the diapers tested per CSPIA requirements.
    • Chinese diapers are 110% safe to use. There are NO safety concerns about these diapers at all.
    • The issue with copyrights and using licensed characters is really a personal decision that each person needs to make on their own

Ultimately, just like the decision to cloth diaper in general, a lot of the ways to cloth diaper is an individual one and families need to make these decisions based on what works for them and what the can afford. No one should be made to feel bad about what kinds or brands of diapers they use for whatever reason(s) they have for choosing that path. Cloth should be easy, affordable, and fun for all families. Have fun and cloth diaper on!

6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Wash Day!

Prior to this challenge the only things I’d washed by hand were delicate fabrics. Gentle washing is a far cry from what’s needed to get heavily soiled items clean and my shoulders and arms can attest to that. There are several methods we recommend for washing by hand, you can find them here.

I was trying to spend as little money as possible, and really wanted to give washboard washing a try, so I had my husband diy a washboard for me. I cleaned up the broiler thingy I never use (and don’t know the proper name for) and my husband attached wooden legs using scraps he had. I’ve never used a proper washboard so I can’t compare but my diy board has been great. The best part? I didn’t have to spend money on it because I already had the materials.

The wash method is pretty straight forward. All you need is a little detergent, water softener if your water is hard, and scrub away. I’ve been using my utility sink but you could use a bathtub, sink, or a storage tub.

Washing with a washboard:

Prewash

  1. Remove solids from diaper if needed, store in your pail or wet bag until wash time.
  2. When it’s time to wash, start running hot water in your tub and add a little detergent and water softener if needed. My water’s pretty hard so I’ve been using 1/2 cup Borax as my water softener and line 2 of my favorite store brand detergent, H-E-B Bravos Plus with the purple label.
  3. Add your diapers and stir them up so the detergent is really mixed in. Let them soak for awhile and agitate periodically. I’ve been soaking for 1-3 hours depending on my schedule that day.13231194_10154079208471285_1030814842_n
  4. Get your washboard out and place a diaper on it. Soap up the diaper a bit with a bar laundry soap and scrub the diaper on the washboard. I do several passes on both sides and the edges. Really scrub any stains you find. I’ve been using Fels Naphtha or an unscented coconut soap bar but you can use any laundry soap.13231221_10154079208526285_1820155058_n
  5. Wring the diapers out as you scrub and toss in a bucket.     13249484_10154079208451285_972161328_n
  6. Once all the diapers have been scrubbed, drain and rinse the tub.
  7. Dump the diapers back in the tub and run cold water to rinse. I fill the tub like I do to wash and agitate by hand for a minute or two. Then I pull the diapers out one by one and wring them out. Be sure to put them in a bucket before draining the tub or you’ll redeposit soap and soil.

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Main wash

My main wash is the same as my prewash except I use the heavily soiled amount of detergent and I scrub longer and more vigorously.

That’s it! It takes me 30 min to an hour to scrub the diapers for each wash. Then I wring them out and hang them on my porch to dry.

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Drying has been a pain this week. It’s been very cool and wet so my diapers and covers aren’t drying well. I’ve been hanging them outside until they aren’t drippy anymore and then I move them inside to finish drying. I tried to iron some dry but that didn’t go very well. Thankfully the sun is supposed to come back tomorrow and the last few days should have much faster dry times.

6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Fluff Love Life

I love to learn! I’d go to school till I die if it was financially possible. I especially like hands on learning, you know like the rooms in the science museums where they let you touch and play with everything. There isn’t much I find more satisfying than getting down and dirty to learn something new. I suppose that’s why I feel so at home in Fluff Love & CD Science, especially since I’ve been an official member of the team.

There’s a lot at do behind the scenes, there’s a lot of mundane stuff we do that comes with maintaining a troubleshooting group of 90,000+ but there’s a lot of fun stuff too. We’re almost all research nerds and love keeping up with any research related to laundry and fabrics. It’s been fun to brush up my science, research, and interpersonal skills.

I love that the group gives me an opportunity to geek out and try new things. I often cycle through many detergents so that my recommendations to members can be better. It’s so much more meaningful, to me, if I’m able to say I’ve actually tried something versus just hearing about it. Tide is my favorite for diapers but I’ve tried many that are good, and some not so good.

That’s one of the reasons I decided to embark on this challenge. I wanted to better be able to put myself in the shoes of others and say yes I’ve done this and yes it worked for me. I’ve applied the basic principles of FL&CDS washing methods to using a washboard and I’m excited that so far it seems to be working! I used hand washed diapers for the first time last night and this morning my super soaked overnight diapers barely smelled like anything!

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Sometimes I get lost in SAHM-ville and the main group and its sister groups have helped me stay connected to others. I’ve made some great friends through the group and have learned more about myself through my relationships with them and my relationships with the members. I feel like being in contact with so many people, from so many different walks of life, has really opened my eyes and made me more compassionate in my daily life.

6 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Stash Shots!

Before I ever started cloth diapering I had an image in my head of these Gerber Birdseye flats that are often barely good enough to wipe up a small spill, let alone catch a stream of pee. Little did I know that flats came in many shapes, sizes, and materials.

On the high price end you have hemp flats, I hear these are amazing for heavy wetters and overnights. There are also various brands of cotton or bamboo Birdseye flats that are a more economical price. You can also use the Gerber flats but for about the same amount of money you can get flour sack towels (fst) and many people like those better. You can also use found items, old tshirts and receiving blankets are popular.

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For this challenge I wanted to spend as little money as possible so I’m using fst and tshirt flats at the moment. Flour sack towels are about $8 at Walmart in the US, Canadians pay more. 🙁 Target and Ikea both carry towels that will work but I’m using plain ol’ Walmart fst that I already owned.

My mom also brought me a stack of old tshirts that were going to be repurposed. Most people keep their tshirts whole but I cut mine in half so I have two flats out of each shirt. One half of a shirt is just about the perfect daytime absorbency for my guys. So far these are my favorites.

I have a hodgepodge assortment of covers, about a dozen total. My favorites are Thirsties duo wrap and Best Bottom. I also have Imagine, Blueberry, and Alva covers but usually grab the Thirsties and Best Bottom first. For extra protection overnight I have two pairs of wool shorties (ah-mazing coverage) and two pairs of fleece shorties. All of my covers fall in the $10-20 price range. Most of them close to $10 because I hate paying $$$ when I know I can get excellent covers for around $10.

Sixth Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: What Am I Thinking?

I first heard about the Flats and Handwashing Challenge last year, right after the challenge ended. I thought it was a neat idea then. I’d been actively helping at Fluff Love & CD Science for about 6 months and had become more and more enamored with all things cloth diaper the more I learned. I was kind of bummed I missed the challenge but thought it was maybe for the best because twins in cloth is a little daunting on its own.

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Fast forward a year and a half and it’s time for the challenge again. I hemmed and hawed about joining all the way up until about 6 pm the night before the challenge. I thought it would be hard, a pain, and that I might not have time. I’d gathered my supplies and decided what wash method I was going to use but was having a hard time taking the leap.

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Then I thought about all the parents I’ve helped through the facebook group and how many people I’d come across who had limited resources who made cloth diapers work. I’m not rich by any means but I’ve been blessed to have an entire cloth stash provided to me by my awesome mommy and access to a washer and dryer through most of my cloth journey. I thought, what if I hadn’t had those resources? Would I still cloth diaper or would I struggle to buy disposables every few weeks? I live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of resources for poor people, there aren’t well stocked diaper banks here. Would I have had to choose between diapers and food if I hadn’t had access to cloth diapers?

Cloth diapers have been an excellent resource for me. I’ve been able to save money and my kids really like the fun prints I have but I’ve noticed a trend on social media that makes me sad. I’ve seen over and over disparaging remarks about old school diaper methods like flats, prefolds, and diaper pins. I see so many expensive pockets, AIOs, and WAHM diapers in my online groups. Sometimes I’ve even been guilty of forgetting that there are diaper options for folks who can’t afford fancy diapers. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to support all the WAHM if I could but it’s just not financially feasible for me and many others.

I’m doing this challenge for all those parents and caregivers who are in a similar or worse financial position as me. Cloth isn’t just for people who can afford all the expensive diapers. It’s something that nearly everyone can truly benefit from and should be accessible to everyone, especially those who struggle financially. I want to show that cloth diapering can be done on a minimal budget, with limited resources with no stigma attached.

Is Baby Powder Safe for My Cloth Diapers?

by Sadie Childs Cora & the Fluff Love Admin Team

With the publicity surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and several lawsuits related to its use, the admin team decided to dig a little bit deeper into concerns about the safety of baby powder in general, and Johnson & Johnson’s powder in particular.  The safety of babies and families is important to us, and we are very careful to recommend only products that are safe when used as intended.

Some of our members have asked us if we will continue to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder as safe for cloth diapers.  As with any product, we recommend that our members consult with their pediatrician and do their own research to make sure that they are comfortable with any product they are using.  With that disclaimer, we will continue to state that baby powder is safe for cloth diapers for those who choose to use it.  Fluff Love & CD Science does not enter into debates about others’ parenting choices; we believe that our members will arm themselves with the information that they need in order to make the best choices for their families.  We hope that you will consult with your pediatrician for advice about what products to use, and we will continue to evaluate products’ impact on cloth diapers.

The lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have a lot of scary-sounding information. First of all, the most concerning ingredient in baby powder is talc. Current formulations of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder contain corn starch, (although there are still baby powders on the market that do contain talc produced by other companies). Next, it’s important to note that there are two kinds of talc. One kind of talc does contain asbestos and that is linked to cancer, especially when inhaled. However, since the 1970s, cosmetic products only contain talc certified by USP (United States Pharmacopeia) and the FDA as pure and not containing asbestos.

The lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s are linked to longterm use of baby powder prior to 1970, and are related to the allegation that the company was aware that it was using talc containing asbestos in baby powder, and did not warn users of the product of the danger.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s claim that they got reproductive cancer as a result of many years, often decades, of use of baby powder, often internally (applied to a diaphragm that was inserted vaginally).  Several studies have been conducted about the use of talcum powder and reproductive cancer.  Some have found a very slight correlation and others have found none.  It is important to emphasize that talcum powder available today does not contain asbestos.  

There are still some concerns about using any baby powder, even when it is 100% corn starch.  These concerns center around the risk of respiratory issues if an infant does inhale the powder, and lead to the American Academy of Pediatrics advising against its use, especially with babies at high risk of respiratory problems.  Because talc is such a fine, light powder it is more easily inhaled.  Other alternative powders, such as cornstarch, have heavier particles but can still become airborne, resulting in inhalation.  For those who choose to use any dusting powder as part of their baby care routine, it is recommended that the powder be applied first to the hand, away from baby, to reduce the powder’s ability become airborne.

SOURCES:

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/talcum-powder-and-cancer

http://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/lawsuits/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/02/24/johnson-johnson-lawsuit-baby-powder-talcum-ovarian-cancer-link/80845030/

http://www.blogjnj.com/2016/02/the-facts-about-talc-safety/?sf44738105=1

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401185/How-Bad-Is-Baby-Powder.html

#SafeDiapersForFlint (Flint, MI)

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#SafeDiapersForFlint    #SaveTheBabyButts

In light of the tragedy that’s been occurring in Flint, MI for some time now, it has come to our attention that caretakers have been washing cloth diapers in the contaminated water. This poses several risks to the babies wearing them and the diapers themselves. If you are a cloth diapering parent affected by this, please fill out this form so we can follow up with you to ensure your needs are met.

Concerns:

1. The contaminants themselves. Along with the unknown health risks they pose especially considering the sensitive area cloth diapers touch, we are hearing reports of horrendous rashes, lesions, sores and wounds.

2. Open sores and rashes increases the risk of unknown contaminants and lead to enter the blood stream.

3. The lead itself makes it difficult to clean and builds up in fabrics.

4. The lead exposure itself poses a concern.

5. The contaminants and high lead content is wreaking havoc on diaper fabrics and we have been receiving reports of dramatic increased wear.

And more…

At the contaminant content rate there is no known wash recommendation that would ensure the diapers would clean properly and there is little direction given by the CDC or WHO especially regarding these circumstances. At this time it is our official recommendation not to use cloth diapers washed in this water until the water is safe for drinking.

This poses a GREAT hardship on the cloth diapering families of Flint, MI. We are here to offer advice and support! We recommend these families:

  • Discontinue the use of cloth diapers that have been washed in the contaminated water.
  • If you have the ability to wash elsewhere going forward, please acquire a fresh, *clean* stash.
  • If you are unable to wash with clean water please use disposables until the water is again safe for drinking.

Resources for washing with clean water:

  1. Use a friend or relative’s home.
  2. Reach out to your local community to find a neighbor with clean water that will allow you to wash diapers at their home.
  3. Handwash using bottled water. For instructions visit our page, Hand Washing Cloth Diapers.
  4. Use a neighboring Laundromat with clean water:
    1. Everclean Dry Cleaners and Laundry Address: 2247 Center RD Burton, MI 48519 Phone: (810) 743-8220
    2. Clio Laundromat and Cleaners Address: 2127 W Vienna RD Clio, MI 48420 Phone: (810) 687-5300
    3. Pro Clean Address: 509 E Grand Blanc RD Grand Blanc, MI 48439 Phone: (810) 694-4260
    4. For assistance with washing diapers at laundromats visit our page, Coin Op Machines

If you need assistance establishing a *clean*, uncontaminated stash or have diapers you would like to donate, please reach out to one of the following nearby diaper banks. Please see the notes for each as not all are able to provide diapers and/or accept donations.

*Ava’s Cloth Share: A cloth diaper loaner program in Flint, MI – diapers available for loan

Melissa Ann

1081 Lake Park Circle

Grand Blanc, MI 48439

*TRFCDC-Ann Arbor – diapers available for loan and distribution, able to accept diaper donations (cloth and disposable)

ATTN: Brooke Bala

2277 South Grove Street, Unit 714 South

Ypsilanti, MI 48198

*Share The Love

For diaper donations – email Cloe Walker-Rye at cloe.alyssa@gmail.com 

For loaner diapers – email sharethelove@cottonbabies.com to request an application. When the application is emailed back, include ATTN: Cloe Walker-Rye Almont, MI in the subject line.

*Bree O’Malley: Fluff Sewing Admin and local CD class instructor – able to accept donations and distribute disposable diapers

O’Malley’s Galley

ATTN: Bree/Denny

1595 South Ortonville Rd

Ortonville, MI 48462

*Byron First United Methodist Church – able to accept cloth and disposable donations

101 S Ann St.

P.O. Box 127

Byron, MI 48418-0127

*H&R Block – able to accept cloth and disposable donations

200 South Washington

Oxford, MI 48371

*The Birth House – able to accept cloth and disposable donations

1128 S Linden Rd

Suite 10

Flint, MI 48532

If you find yourself needing to switch to disposable diapers and are unable to afford the expense, please reach out to those listed above who are able to distribute disposables. We are also trying to work with some of our contacts in the disposable diaper market to obtain some assistance and hopefully will have more details soon.

What Fluff Love is doing to help:

At this time we have purchased a contaminated stash from a Flint mother (replacing her diapers with new which she will be able to wash elsewhere going forward). Once the diapers arrive we will be teaming up with Lead Safe America Foundation to test the diapers. We hope to determine the severity of their contamination post wash and begin to experiment with ways to strip these diapers of contaminants. Once an official Fluff Love directive can be determined for stripping these diapers the information will be shared with Flint Locals to safely clean their contaminated diapers. We will also continue orchestrating relief efforts for cloth diapering parents in the area to ensure all babies have safe and clean diapers.

What YOU can do to help:

Please consider sending donations to one of the above diaper banks. They will accept not only cloth diaper donations in good condition but there is a desperate need for disposable diapers in this situation. Every baby deserves to wear clean and safe diapers. There is also a need for disposable and cloth wipes, as well as diaper rash ointments to aid in the healing of sore bums. Thank you for your consideration! (Tip: Amazon Prime can be used to ship directly to a diaper bank)

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For more information on the situation in Flint, here is a current article by the Detroit Free Press.

Photo Credits: Flint, MI Parents 1. Melody D. 2. Angela P. 3. Angela P.