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Thursday, October 1, 2009

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Mind your manners: Washing Cloth as a Guest

Traveling with cloth and washing at someone else's house is not as hard as you might think. You just need a couple of things in place to make it work. I recently spent a week with my two cloth-wearing kids at my parents' house. Luckily, my mom cloth-diapered my siblings and I, so she is always very supportive of my cloth diapering passion. It certainly helps when your host is open to cloth, but even if they aren't familiar with cloth, you can make them cloth-loving converts by following a few guidelines!

First, come prepared!
1. Pack: diapers/inserts, diaper covers, snappis, wipes, wetbags (for diaper bag and for bathroom), rice paper liners, cloth diaper friendly detergent
2. When you arrive: Set up a diaper changing station on each floor of the house, just as you would in your own home. Toddlers especially have little time for diaper changes in inconvenient locations.
3. Claim a bathroom! Use it for soaking dirty diapers and storing diapers in a large wetbag before washing. If you stick a little lavender oil in your bag before use, no one will mind that there's a bag of dirty diapers in the bathroom. My mom said my big wetbag was the most useful item I brought along.
4. Wash and enjoy! You're all set to go about your regular routine! Just be sure to keep your diaper bag packed with diapers and wipes for those special trips out during your visit.

  • Tell your host ahead of time that you plan to cloth diaper and use their washing machine. Make sure they understand that there will NOT be poop floating around in their washing machine! Promise them that with all the money you save by using cloth, you can take them out for a fancy cup of coffee and a muffin!
  • Wash often! Nobody likes a smelly diaper bag, especially if it's not your baby making the stink! You definitely don't want to turn anyone off to cloth diapering by letting dirty diapers sit too long.
  • Take your cutest, easiest to use, fastest drying diapers. If you have a large stash, take the diapers you're really proud of. Not only will you be less likely to cheat and use disposables, but your host will get to see how stylin' your baby's bum can be - you might even make a convert out of them!
  • Don't let dirty diapers sit around the house. We all do it at home (or at least I do!) - leave a dirty diaper sitting on the floor while we run out the door after our toddler. Don't do that in someone else's house! You and your cloth diapers will not be welcomed back!
  • Don't monopolize the washer/dryer. Make sure your loads are moving as quickly as they can, so that your host doesn't feel like they've lost access to their own appliances. You could even throw in a load of their stuff in between diaper loads to help out.
  • Don't forget to thank your host! If your host is new to cloth, make sure they know how important cloth diapering is to you and your baby, and show your appreciation for letting you continue to do it during your visit. A simple note will make them feel good about their part in your quest for a better world for your baby.

-- By Katrina P.


Attila & Tamara said...

Thank you for the tips! Traveling is an intimidating part of CDing!

Jessica Barr said...

Good advice! I've only dared to ask to wash diapers at both my MIL and parent's homes. When we've traveled to see friends I have always just used sposies and avoided it. Funny thing is, I think the sposies are more annoying. They smell when they sit and I hate having to put them in their garbage can (even though I collected them and took them outside to the large can daily). I think next time I would be better off asking to use their machine and being polite about it. Thanks for the tips!

brightland416 said...

My parents and ILs live about 2 hours away *my hubby and I grew up together and our families are only about 10 mins away from each other* and we go home about once a month or so and I've always felt funny asking to wash my diapes in their washers! (weird?) But they recently came to visit for my son's 2nd bday and I actually got to show them in more detail what its like to use cloth and now, I don't think I will have a problem asking them. =) Thanks for the Great tips!

Crissy said...

I'm going to attempt to cloth diaper at Christmas time when we go visit family in Oklahoma. Thanks for all the tips and pointers!

dannyscotland said...

I so agree with Jessica Barr--I thought it was way nastier having to throw out disgusting diapers in their trash instead of just washing them. I'm excited that on our next trip, we've already got permission to use cloth and wash at my friend's house. I can't wait!

Gini said...

Thanks! I really love to hear these stories. Very inspiring. I'm pretty new at this cloth diapering stuff. I have yet to brave out washing my cloth diapers at my inlaws when we're out of town. We are going next week. I think I'm going to try it out!

Lori said...

Wonderful tips- but one more to add- do it yourself! my last trip the friend decided to "help" and put all of my diapers in the dryer herself. After 90 minutes in her super hot dryer I had lost 4 of my favorite diapers due to them nearly melting!

Kelly and Nate said...

Great ideas. I usually just do disposables, but these are good ideas for making it work.

Arizona Girl said...

So far I've been too intimidated to cd while traveling. We did go stay a week at a friend's home while we babysat their children, doing cd during that week has started to give me more courage to do it more while traveling.

Megan said...

I just got Rockin Green detergent, and I think it would be awesome for traveling. It will reduce the time of my washing routine because you don't have to do any extra rinsing. The quicker the home, but especially traveling.

Becky said...

I think it's important to ask first... most people, with the assurance that there will be no nastiness left over in the washer, will say yes! I found, on a visit by plane to friends, that they were surprised we didn't bring cloth...had I known I would've used my free diaper bag as a cloth bag :)

Senior Family said...

great tips :)

Elizabeth James said...

Thanks for the tips...we are making our first big trip with CD's later this month

Sonja said...

I can attest to how well the cloth diaper went. Sadly, you left no cloth diapers or children behind. In future, if you cloth diaper at my house, you leave the kids.

ONCE upon a time.... said...

I never thought about using the "i will take you out for a muffin and coffee" line in exchange for using the washer--what a great bargaining tool! we took our CDs to Arizona a few weeks ago to my SIL's house and she seemed really impressed. she even took my load out of the washer and hung them to dry when i had a migraine and had to go to bed! i am blessed with such caring family! thanks for the tips--i can use them for the next time we travel! --camille

brightland416 said...

Just wanted to update to say that I went home for a visit 2 weeks ago and my mom asked me before we left if I would like to bring my cloth dipes because I had mentioned about maybe getting disposibles for while we were there. I was kind of shocked. And it really was no big deal to wash them there! My mom was very curious about the washing and folding/stuffing. I felt like I was giving a cd tutorial or something! :D