Stir It Together

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

Freedom of Cloth

Freedom of Cloth

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

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My Favorite Cloth Diaper and Cloth Wipe Wash Recipes

I have been cloth diapering since the birth of my first son almost five years ago. We began practicing elimination communication when he was about six months old, sometimes part time and sometimes full time. Cloth has been consistently used either on or under a baby’s bum or to clean up misses. I have 3 sons, each about 2 years apart, but have never had more than one wearing diapers at a time. Even so, a lot of cloth diaper and cloth wipe laundry is created. Over the years, I have developed a few recipes that have worked best for us for effective cleaning, environmental impact, and ease of use. Also, I like to ask my kids to help me make these recipes. The powder detergent gets hot and off gasses, so we usually mix it outside with the kids mastering the art of the slow pour while I stir.

Cloth Wipe Solution Recipe

1 cup of water

1 Tbsp of sweet almond oil, or coconut oil

1 Tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild

Mix ingredients and either a) pour into a spray bottle or b) pour over a stack of wipes in a reused plastic wipe container, Tupperware or wipe warmer.

The spray bottle method worked well for us until babies became too squirmy. Since I was gifted with a relatively useless wipe warmer, I found it had a dispenser hole large enough to accommodate cloth wipes and was leak-free. I just never plugged it in. While out and about, a flat Tupperware container worked well for wet wipes. I also use Seventh Generation wipes when we’re out. I toss them in the wash with the diapers then reuse them until they fall apart. I would assume you could do the same with any sturdy commercially available baby wipe.

Powder Detergent for Cloth Diapers Recipe

Na2CO3

Image via Wikipedia

1 cup White Vinegar

1 cup Baking Soda

1 cup Washing Soda (and/or 1 cup Oxyclean, if you choose)

1/4 cup liquid castile soap

I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, add the washing soda while stirring, then baking soda while stirring. This keeps it from clumping up too much. Next, I add the vinegar in small batches at a time. The mixture foams up and gets pretty warm (a great teaching moment about exothermic reactions if you are making this with help from the kids) The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent as you stir and stir and stir. If I’m doing this with the kids, we distract ourselves by singing “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley or chanting “Just keep stirring” by Dory from Nemo. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring. I add 1-2 Tbspn to a front loading washer. Once the detergent has cooled completely, store in a glass jar with a lid to keep out moisture.

When I wash diapers, I add white vinegar into the fabric softener section of the washer for odor control (you could also fill a Downey ball with white vinegar) Our water is mildly acidic and mildly soft. So adjust the amount, according to your experience. I use this recipe for all of our family’s laundry, but I often wash loads with white vinegar alone.

I suggest doubling this recipe, but I do not recommend mixing more than a double batch at a time because of the exothermic reaction.

To dry both wipes and dipes, I hang in the sun. This also will remove any lingering stains or odors.

Have you ever made your own detergent? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear from you.

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freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

8 thoughts on “Stir It Together

  1. I actually just made my very first batch of cloth diaper detergent last night using a very similar recipe. I’m doing some diaper laundry tomorrow morning and I’m going to give it a try. If it doesn’t do the trick, I’ll try your version next.

  2. Wow this sounds lovely! I am so stuck with my way.. maybe I should try this. I use organic soap and tea tree oil or lavender… sometimes both lol :D

  3. I am definitely going to try this wipes recipe – thank you!

    We were doing cloth wipes for awhile but I found so many recipes and didn’t really love the one I ended up making – it’s very helpful to have such a recommendation! :)

    We haven’t made our own detergent but it’s not something I would rule out…I’ve just been able to find some pretty decent all natural options (that is one thing that seems fairly easy to find without the ‘greenwashing’, though you still have to be discerning).

    Thanks for sharing your tips Zoie! :)

  4. i’ve made my own laundry detergent before (feles naptha/borax/baking soda/essential oil for scent), but after a while there was a lingering ‘stale’ odor that just wouldn’t come out of the clothes. i never thought of using vinegar in the rinse! i’m going to have to get a downey ball (i can never remember when the rinse cycle starts). we do about 50/50 cloth diapering vs ‘sposie. i love love love my prefolds and a snapie!

  5. Thank for sharing these fabulous recipes! We make our own wipe solution, but I have never attempted my own detergent. It sounds like it would be really easy to make!

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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