Ask New & Green:: What Do I Do With the Dirties?

At our popular Cloth Diapering 101 workshops, many parents are eager, or at least interested, to use cloth on their babies. However, the “deal breaker” question many ask first is, “But what do I do with the dirties?”

No fear – the days of lugging heavy pails full of sloshing, acrid water to the washing machine are far behind us. These days, diapers are designed with ease of cleaning in mind and you don’t have to even touch the dirties once they’ve been placed in the diaper pail.

A diaper pail is a good place to start. You can read more about choosing a diaper pail that will work for you in other posts around our blog, but basically any container with a lid that is big enough to hold 2-3 dozen diapers will work just fine. Place a pail liner in the pail and you’re ready to go.

When it comes time to change your baby, there are only a few steps. If the dirty diaper is merely wet, you can toss it straight in the pail. Make sure you keep the cover and hang it to dry, as you can reuse it several more times before wash day.

If the diaper has poo in it, you can deal with it in various ways. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, the diaper can be tossed straight in the pail, poo and all. If the baby is receiving any formula or is old enough to be eating solids, as much of the poo as possible should end up in the toilet. You can shake the poo off if it’s solid, do the Four Corner Dunk and Swish (popularized by our own instructor, Bonnie) if it’s a bit more sticky, or you can pre-line your diapers with a bio-liner that gets flushed, a fleece liner that gets washed, or a raw silk liner, which can also be tossed in the wash. Once the poo is in the toilet, toss the cover and the diaper together into your diaper pail.

If you’re using pockets, make sure to put out the innards as you put the diaper in the pail, as this will ensure that you don’t have to touch the diaper again. (Always a good thing….)

On wash day (we recommend every 2-3 days), take the pail to the washing machine, pull out the liner, dump all the contents plus the liner into the machine, do a rinse on cold, a wash on hot with detergent, a second rinse on cold if you so desire, then toss everything into the dryer or hang them on a line – and you’re done!

And as always, if you’re worried about smell in your diaper pail, there are lots of great ways to keep odors at bay.

And that’s it – just as easy as taking out the trash (but lots more fun…)

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