People are scared of the poop when they think of cloth diapers. So one of the biggest questions becomes what do I do with it and how do I wash cloth diapers. Please, please, please know it’s not as gross or as terrible as you think it is. Promise.
First About the Poop
We have definitely crossed into the land of toddler poop. A much different place than exclusively breastfed island and starting solids peninsula! If you have other children you know what to expect. But if this is your first, you might be in for a rude awakening. But please don’t worry. We have things like diaper sprayers and liners to help you deal with all of it!
In the early days, when your little one is exclusively breastfed or on formula only; you really are able to just throw everything into the washer and let it take care of the dirty work. Especially EBF poo! It is totally water-soluble. Just splash some water on it and you will see it practically breaks up into nothing. Formula poop is a little thicker, but will also easily wash away. I do encourage you to use common sense though. If your little is on special formula or you just find that the washer isn’t handling the poop well, rinse it first.
After you start any kind of solids, this all changes. Let me show you the first stages of how to wash cloth diapers.
Try This First
Some poop can just sort of plop off the diaper. Only certain textures of poop will work with this method (think moldable). I fold the soiled diaper in half and kind of mush it together with a squeeze. Don’t go overboard with this as you don’t want anything squirting out! Open it up and gently shake until the poop falls off into toilet. If done correctly with right type of poop, most of the solid material should come right off, no additional cleaning necessary. If this method won’t work for you then there are a few different options to consider.
This is probably the easiest solution, although not the most cost effective. Basically, when doing a diaper change, you lay a disposable liner on top of the diaper and then finish putting it on. Little one poos and you just take the liner and the poop and flush down the toilet (or throw into trash if you have to). They you store and wash the cloth diapers.
- Convenient for trips out of the house because you can get rid of mess immediately and not drag it around in your wetbag
- Not cost effective
- Not foolproof. Overflow can happen (so you’d still have to clean that off)
- While some people do flush liners, it’s not really good for any septic system. It’s best to toss these in the trash
Dunk and Swish
This is just what it sounds like. Maria over at Change-Diapers.com has a great video that shows exactly how this can be done without getting your hands dirty. I admittedly find this method a little disgusting. I am sure my problems with this are all in my head, but there is just something about the toilet bowl water that skeeves me out! This works for many people with absolutely no problems!
- It’s free
- Works really well if you have high pressure in the toilet
- You are right there in the bowl
- Doesn’t work well for toilets with low water levels or low pressure
A sprayer is attached to the side of the toilet OR if your toilet is close to the shower you can use a long shower hose. The sprayer is used to spray solids off while you hold diaper vertically over bowl.
- Cloth diaper never touches toilet water
- You are able to use hot water if you are using the long hose from the shower
- There is no getting your hands dirty or bowl water touching the diaper if you don’t want it too
- You can often control the water flow from sprayers
- You can use the sprayer as a bidet
- Added expense if you have to buy a toilet sprayer
- Installation if you are using toilet sprayer
- If you don’t shut off the water valve on the toilet sprayer it could leak and flood your house. FYI, just turn it off! Just like the shower
This is my recommended method. I use the shower sprayer but I also have a toilet sprayer installed. Early on I discovered the Spray Pal. It’s a device that holds the cloth diaper in place and completely surrounded on the sides so there is little to no chance of spray droplets going all over the place.
FYI, with ANY sprayer ALWAYS turn the valve to off when you are not using it. That will stop any possibility of leaks. Believe me, you don’t want a sprayer starting to leak when you aren’t looking.
What is your preferred poop removal method?
If you need guidance I can totally help with how to wash cloth diapers!
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.