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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Let the Sun Shine In

It was a long winter. Even in Texas it was a loooooong winter. In all honesty, this winter I was lazy about laundry. I just let stains sit while I ran around with an infant and toddler. I didn’t try our stain remover. I didn’t spray the diapers of my exclusively breast fed babe. I didn’t use a liner after my toddler noshed on steamed beets.

Then finally, when we all were convinced it wouldn’t happen, warm air finally pushed through the ice and snow! That very day I put the diapers out on the line, and it was unsightly. I decided to share these pictures of our overnight diapers because I think many of us are unaware of just how powerful the sun really is.

When the subject of stains comes up, the solutions often include additives like oxygen bleach, chlorine bleach, and other laundry additives. I like keeping things simple; I also like saving money; last, even though we have water treatment plants I prefer limiting the waste we put into the environment.

When sunning, there are several things to keep in mind for the most success. Obviously, preventative measures may lessen the staining that would require sunning. Using water helps, whether with a sprayer, dunking, or whatever your method. Spraying or washing sooner rather than later also helps keep stains from setting. Using a liner can help when you know your babe is about to give you a challenging mess, like with beets or blueberries. Applying a natural stain remover can also help get those stains out in the wash. Some stains will even wash out on their own after multiple washes.

Inevitably though, a stain will greet you as you pull diapers out of the washer. For the most optimum sunning potential, put the diapers out in direct sunlight while still damp. That’s all I did for most of these diapers. One insert had a particularly persistent stain to which I added a little more water to make it damp again and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. (I’ve also had success with bottled lemon juice.) It could take an hour or a second sunning session, but I haven’t come across a stain I couldn’t get rid of with the sun.

Before and After

There are a few more things to keep in mind. First, if you do by chance sun your diapers in your car (an unlikely but sometimes mentioned way to sun), keep in mind a vehicle can get VERY hot VERY quick. I’ve seen my own car in Texas register at over 150 degrees inside! Temperatures on your diapers can exceed what manufacturers suggest, potentially harming or causing unnecessary wear on PUL and elastic. Less common but possible, in some hot and sunny climates it is possible for direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day to exceed 120+ degrees too. Sun with caution in those scenarios if you want to preserve every bit of your diaper for future use.

 Before and After

On the other end of the spectrum, freezing weather can’t stop the sun! You can sun year round with similar results. Last, clouds can’t keep the sun away either! Put the diapers out on the line or even at your window to let the sun shine in. When you consider that the sun can also help the diapers smell most fresh as well as kill some bacteria, it really is the best, least toxic, and most cost-effective first line of defense against stains on your diapers!

Bio: Lynette shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 8 months and 2 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly.

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1 comment:

Meg-O said...

I have a few diapers where this advice will come in handy!