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Monday, March 9, 2015

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How to Cloth Diaper While Living in an Apartment

One question I see being asked often is whether it is possible to cloth diaper if you live in an apartment and only have access to the common washer & dryers. I am here to tell you that it is! You just have to tailor your cloth diaper stash to fit your circumstance. We lived in an apartment with common washer & dryers for the first year of my daughter's life & successfully cloth diapered her the entire time. I actually miss those heavy duty washers now that we have our own. They got my diapers SO CLEAN! Here are my 5 tips for making cloth diapering in an apartment easy breezy:

1) Get ready to only wash every 5 days. Why so long between washes? Because running those washers can get expensive! If the size of your stash requires you to wash every 2 days, cloth diapering can become pricey & time consuming very quickly. You're going to need a 'larger' stash to make it 5 days between washes, but don't worry it's not going to cost you an arm & a leg.

2) Fall in love with Covers & Prefolds. Covers & prefolds are the secret to having a huge stash that is still affordable! With a cover you are able to use the same diaper several times by just changing the soiled insert (prefold). Flips are my favorite cover, but there are bunch of different types on the market. Rather than using a microfiber insert in your cover, go the cotton route. Why cotton you ask? Because cotton is much easier to get clean after sitting in the pail for 5 days. Microfiber hangs on to stink & after 5 days it can be a real pain to get that stink out. Infant sized cotton prefolds (bumGenius) pad folded in the cover is my favorite option. This combo is super absorbent & easy to wash. Other inexpensive cotton insert options are flats & flour sack towels (also easy to wash).
*** I have also used pocket diapers (bG 4.0s) with prefolds & cotton AIOS (bG Elementals) with no problem going 5 days between washes if you can't get on the Cover train.

3) What to do with the diapers until wash day? First, you are going to need a pail large enough to hold 5 days worth of diapers. There are lots of fancy pails out there, but what worked well for us was a 10 or 13 gallon plastic trash can with lid from Target ($10). Next, you need a pail liner. I love the Kissaluvs Anti Bacterial Pail Liner ($15). It fits perfectly in the trash can. I have 2 so I can put one right into the pail when I go to wash the dirties. These liners have lasted us 2+ years and are still going strong. We use a closed pail & have never had any pail stink issues.

4) A Sprayer + the Spray Pal = Your new BFF. Invest in sprayer it will make washing much easier in my experience. Sprayers are easy to install & uninstall when you move. I have the bumGenius sprayer & haven't had any issues with it in the 2+ years I've been using it. When you are going 5 days between washing it makes a big difference to rinse those diapers well before throwing them in the pail. The Spray Pal will keep you from accidentally spraying your entire bathroom when rinsing diapers (yes, I may have done this a few times prior to owning the Spray Pal - whoops!) & also keeps little poo particles from landing everywhere. These both have made the "What do you do with the poo?" debacle super easy to handle.

5) Get familiar with the machines in your building. The typical wash routine for cloth diapers is rinse, wash, rinse. But, when using common washers you don't usually have the option of running just a rinse cycle. I usually ran 2-3 actual wash cycles depending on the dirtiness of the diapers in the load. Most of the time I did the first wash cycle warm as a rinse, then a Heavy Duty Wash cycle, then another cold wash to rinse. I then found that if I rinsed really well with my sprayer before putting the diapers in the pail, I could eliminate that first rinse cycle and go straight to the actual washing (saving $). This will probably take a few times to figure out what works best with the washers available to you. I also tried not to spend money on drying if I didn't have to. Using covers really comes in handy here because they air dry so quickly.

Cloth diapering in an apartment is totally doable! I hope these 5 steps have helped you see that you can totally rock this. Kelly's Closet has everything you need to build an apartment ready stash. Now, you can strap that baby in your carrier and march out to do some laundry with confidence!

By Kaylie - Kaylie Willis is a SAHM to Ellie (2 yrs old) & Jackson (2 months) & wife to her hunky husband James. She is passionate about cloth diapering & loves talking about how easy it is!

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