Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cloth Wipe Tutorial

Cloth Wipe Tutorial
Sewing Level: Beginner

Step 1) Choose your front and back fabric. For the front I usually pick some kind of decorative fabric. For the back I usually pick a matching flannel. The flannel is the more important part of the cloth wipe as it is soft and absorbent.

Step 2) Figure out what size of cloth wipe you want. I want a 7 inch cloth wipe, which fits in a baby wipe dispenser when folded in half. Add ¼ inch on each side for seam allowance which will mean I want to cut a 7.5 inch square from my fabric. You can make your pattern using old wrapping paper or cut your fabric with a rotary cutter.
Step 3) Cut out as many squares as you want from the front and the back. I was able to get 5 squares out of the fabric I choose.
Step 4) Pin the front and back fabrics together with the right sides facing.

Step 5) Sew, using a ¼ inch seam allowance, around all the edges. Back stitch the beginning and end and at each corner. Leave a 2-3 inch opening.

Step 6) Remove your pins and clip the corners.

Step 7) Turn the cloth right side out though the opening you left.

Step 8) Poke out your corners. I use a fancy mechanical pencil with no lead showing.

Step 9) Tuck in the raw edges on the opening and iron flat. Spraying it with a bit of water will help get a crisper, straighter edge.

Step 10) Go back to your sewing machine and sew a top stitch 1/8 inch from the edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end. When you get 1/8 inch away from a corner, stop, make sure your needle is down, lift up the foot and turn your cloth to sew along the next edge.

Step 11) Enjoy! They are now complete. I usually wash my things after I finish sewing them to wash out the starch and check for durability.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cloth Diapering- Laundering Basics

Basics on Washing and Drying your Cloth Diapers


  1. Run an all cold wash cycle with ¼ of the recommended detergent or ½ c. vinegar. This all cold cycle is important to remove all the “yuck” and to prevent stains.

  2. Wash the entire load again on a warm or hot cycle again with ¼ of the recommended detergent, use vinegar if you are getting a detergent build-up. (*Use a fabric softener ball to be released in the rinse cycle.)

  3. Do a second rinse for good measure.

  4. If diapers don’t smell clean try an extra rinse or completely wash again in the same fashion as describe above.


  1. Line Drying is recommended. The sun naturally sanitizes and bleaches the cloth diapers which helps them last longer and has the added benefit of saving energy and money.

  2. Machine Drying is the best for space, time, or weather restraints, & makes them softer and fluffier. It’s recommended to put a large dry towel in with the diapers to help them dry faster.

  3. You can use one or the other drying method exclusively or alter between the two depending on your preference or need.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cloth Diapers- What You Should Know

Here is another article I wrote about cloth diapers and everything you need to know about the care and maintenance of them. I have gathered this information from all over the Internet and forgot to cite my sources. If you see something that looks familiar to you please leave a comment with a link so I can give proper credit. Thank you!

There are a few things to know before washing your cloth diapers. Choosing the right detergent not only will help properly clean the cloth diapers but also keep them effective and absorbent. The main thing you need to know about detergents is they are not all made alike. Some brands have extra additives and chemicals which may irritate baby’s sensitive skin or cause the cloth diapers to repel or become non-absorbent. So what kind of detergents do I stay away from? Detergents that have lots of additives and state on their packaging that it “brightens & whitens”, “optical or UV brighteners”, “keeps clothes fresh longer” are not recommended. Natural soaps that have oils are also not recommended as they can cause diapers to repel. A few brands to stay away from are Dr. Bonners Soap, 7th Generation, Bio-Kleen, Ivory Snow, Dreft, All, Purex “Free & Clear”, Gain, Arm & Hammer, Tide, Oxi-Clean. (*This is not a complete list.) So what kind of detergents is recommended? Believe it or not store brands, which are the least expensive, and usually in powder form generally have the least amount of additives and are the best to clean cloth diapers with. Powder detergents are also preferred since extra additives are used to keep liquid detergents in a liquid state. A few brands that are recommended are Charlie’s Soap, Sam’s Choice (Walmart), Sun Powder, Sunlight, Cheer, Clout (Cosco). (*This is not a complete list.) It is also recommended to use only ¼ of the amount of recommended detergent when washing cloth diapers.

Fabric Softeners
Never, ever use any kind of fabric softener. They leave a waxy residue on the cloth diapers which cause them to repel & decrease in absorbency.

Hard Water
Hard water can also affect how absorbent cloth diapers are. It’s recommended to use Calgon Water Softener or some other type of water softener.

What is diaper stripping? Sometimes a build-up can occur on the diapers causing them to become less absorbent & less effective. Using Dawn or Ivory dish soap (*recommended for their grease cutting powers), scrub the diapers by hand vigorously and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Use this method when there has been a buildup on the cloth diapers or as a preventative measure. (* The dish soap is not recommended for use in the washing machine.)

Wet Pail Method
The wet pail method is just like it sounds, a diaper pail filled with water or a mixture of water with either vinegar or baking soda. The vinegar is highly acidic and creates an environment inhospitable to bacteria, germs, etc. The baking soda absorbs smells. All you have to do is dump the entire pail, water and all, into the washing machine and run a spin cycle first to get rid of all the soaking water. If you use the wet pail method find a diaper pail with a locking lid. Many parents don’t like the wet pail method as it may pose an unnecessary drowning risk. It is heavier and more awkward and difficult or next to impossible to do with a front loading washer. Although, it does help keep diapers cleaner. Don’t forget to fold down any Velcro tabs before putting the diapers in the pail. It’s recommended to wash the diapers every 2-3 days or sooner depending on your needs.

Dry Pail Method
The dry pail method is also just like it sounds, a dry diaper pail usually lined with a mesh bag. Although it is not necessary, a stainless steel diaper pail is recommended as plastic diaper pails tend to hold odor. Using a mesh bag as a liner makes it much easier and cleaner. All you need to do is take the mesh bag and all its contents to the washing machine, turn the bag inside out into the washer and wash the contents and mesh bag together. Breastfed babies have BMs that are yogurt like and water soluble, pre-rinsing isn’t necessary before washing the diapers. Babies who have started eating solid foods create more solid BMs, just remove by shaking over toilet, spray with a 1:1 water and vinegar solution and put in pail. (*the 1:1 water and vinegar solution isn’t necessary but it is recommended as it will help lift out stains.) Don’t forget to fold down Velcro tabs before putting the diapers in the pail. It’s recommended to wash the diapers every 2-3 days or sooner depending on your needs. To combat smells put a cotton ball in the bottom of the diaper pail with a few drops of 100% essential oil on it. Lemon or orange 100% essential oils smell great alone or mixed together!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cloth Diapers or Disposable Diapers? That is the question!

Here is an article I wrote when researching cloth diapers. All my information comes from many different locations on the internet and I completely forgot to cite my sources. If you see something on here that looks familiar to you, please leave a link so I can give proper credit. Thank you!


Disposables- the bad
There are many negatives to disposable diapers. They contain paper, plastics, chemicals, perfumes and dyes that can cause allergic reactions or increase the incidents of asthma. The dyes have been found in the central nervous system, kidneys, and livers of some babies. They are also linked with increased incidence of male sterility due to higher temperatures of the genitals. There are two main chemicals found in disposable diapers which are extremely dangerous. They are Dioxin and Sodium Polyacrylate. Dioxin, which is found in trace amounts in most brands of disposable diapers, is classified as a Class 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organization. It is a by-product of the paper bleaching process. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says skin rashes, liver damages, weight loss and a reduction in effectiveness of the immune system can occur due to exposure from Dioxin. Sodium Polyacrylate, which was removed from tampons in 1985 because of its link to TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), is used to make diapers more absorbent as it can hold 100 times its weight in liquid. Sources say Sodium Polyacrylate can cause bleeding in the perineal and scrotal tissues and has been found in the urinary tract in some babies.

Disposables- the good
There are some positives to disposable diapers. They are very convenient. Cleaner since you don’t have to mess with the mess, just wrap it up and toss it out (although the manufacturers state on the packaging that you are supposed to empty fecal matter into the toilet before throwing diaper in the trash). They are more absorbent resulting in fewer changes. They are much easier when traveling.

Cloth- the bad
There are a few negatives to cloth diapers. You may have to wash them yourself. This may be a problem if you do not have a washing machine available. They are not easy to travel with as you may have to store the dirty diapers away until a washing machine is available. For a day outing you will also need to store them in a bag until you return home to wash, this may or may not be a negative for some people. Lastly, you must clean out solids from the diaper before washing. Some people find the last negative way too gross and decide to go with disposables diapers (note: manufactures state on their packaging that fecal matter needs to be cleaned out before throwing it away).

Cloth- the good
There are many positives to using cloth diapers. They are chemical free, dye free, breathable, naturally comfortable and gentle on sensitive body parts. Cloth diapers are the best for healing diaper rash. Exclusively breastfed baby fecal matter is entirely water soluble, which means you don’t need to clean out anything before throwing it in the washing machine.

Environmental Impact
The environmental impact of disposable diapers is very great. Did you know that disposable diapers are the 3rd largest source of waste after newspaper and food and beverage containers? That equals 8,000-10,000 disposable diapers or approximately 1 ton of waste used per child per year. To top that, disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose, if they are exposed to sun and air. What if they were all wrapped up, placed in a trash bag, placed in a land fill, and covered by dirt and other garbage? We can only imagine the great negative impact this has on our delicate environment and how disposable diapers contribute to soil, water, and air pollution. Disposable diaper manufacturers instruct parents to shake solid waste into the toilet before throwing away the diaper but most don’t. The fecal matter enters soil and ground water contaminating and spreading disease and chemicals such as dioxin. The environmental impact is not only filling up the landfills but also consuming 5-6 trees per child per year.

Financial Impact
Disposable and cloth diapers do have a positive and negative impact on our pocket books. The initial investment for cloth diapering may seem daunting and drive a few new parents away. Depending on the cloth diapering system you choose you should expect to spend around $150 to $500, total. The good news is with cloth diapers you can literally save thousands of dollars especially if you re-use them for multiple children, saving even more. Another added plus to cloth diapering is you can re-sell them and make up to 50% back of your initial investment. With disposable diapers it may seem easy and cheap to just buy a package of diapers which will last for a few weeks but if you keep track of all that you spent you will soon find that it can be quite expensive to diaper your child throughout their diapering years. You can plan to spend $1500 or more for each child. You do the math!

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