29 August 2011

Traveling with Cloth Diapers: Run Through The Washer

Traveling. Cloth. Diapers. Not usually something you hear, or if you do, you think that mom is just a little more sleep deprived than "normal." That was my first thought when I actually started considering it. Mainly I didn't want to spend $20 - $40 on disposables...yup, I'm cheap commited.

We're in the middle of a trip to visit family in Tennessee. Total trip length is 10 days. Two of those are 14 hour driving days. Traveling. With. Cloth. Diapers.

Nuts & Bolts
I brought flats and pre-folds. Enough for a week, but I planned to wash every three days. Seven basic covers, 3 pocket diapers for anyone else who might need to change him (stuffed with pre-folds).

The trip up was fine, I changed Jaron every stop to be sure we didn't have any leaks. It wound up being about every 2-3 hours, which is normal, so no problems there.

I've washed twice already, hung my wet bags and covers, and machine dried the dipes. I guess the benefit of staying at my Grandmother's house is not only the unobstructed use of her machines, but her support and knowledge of cloth diapers. Have to say she was a little surprised and amused by how fancy our modern dipes are. Her first glimpse was the GroVia Planes print shell, fun!

It's been so nice not to have to run disposables out to the dumpster at every change (which we did our last trip). I've just used a pail size wet bag - no odor issues until right before I'm ready to wash, so 3 days was a good plan.

I am swishing and wringing by hand...not the most fun. I'll be glad to get home to my sprayer, but it's not nearly as intense as handwashing and definitely worth it!

Washing, I'm bypassing my normal 3 hour pre-soak and just washing with 3/4 cup of white vinegar and detergent. I didn't want to hog the washer and I'll just strip them when I get home if I need too. Worse case scenario, I'll just end up with a few stains.

What Makes It Pretty
  • No worries about what sposies might do to Jaron's rear. 
  • It's been fun to show them off. 
  • I saved $. 
  • I've not only now proven that I can handwash if I need to, but I've proven that I can make them work for traveling too!


  1. I am interested as to what your normal wash routine is with your diapers. We usually do a cold wash with extra rinse with 1-3 Tbsp. homemade detergent (equal parts borax, washing powder and oxyclean free & clear), and then a hot wash with extra rinse, also with 1-3 Tbsp. homemade detergent. We dry inserts/prefolds and wipes in the dryer and hang covers. I have never presoaked for 3 hours, and don't typically have any staining issues. I should note that I always clean poopy diapers immediately (dump and flush, spray out when needed) before sticking them in the diaper pail. I also don't use vinegar, as I've read it can destroy PUL over time. What's your routine?

    I also wanted to note that we use cloth while traveling if we're going to be around a washer/dryer at our parents' houses, but not when we'll be in a hotel. I tried that for a trip, and it was a nightmare, staying up until 1 a.m. waiting for John Doe to finish his 3-hour cycle to wash and dry his swimsuit so I could wash and dry our diapers, since our hotel only had one washer/dryer unit. It was also not fun using my Grammy's finicky washer/dryer since she felt obligated to ask me every 10 minutes "do you think your diapers are dry by now? I don't want the dryer to burn them up!" So we use 'sposies for longer than 3-day hotel trips, and cloth for visiting close family or short trips.

  2. I do a warm soak with a bit of detergent for about 1-3 hours. Then a heavy wash with a bit of deterg, clod rinse, short hot wash with no deterg, cold rinse. All machine dried except the covers that say line dry. I try to rinse the poop immediately, but with the two of them, it doesn't always happen.


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