Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Fluff Experiment

A funny thought just came to me.  I am performing experimental research similar to my husband whom of which logs many hours in a lab and analyzing data, though, in the end, he will receive a Ph. D in Nuclear Physics.  I, on the other hand, am just starting out with my experimental work.  I, most certainly, am running a constant experiment within our home. (Well, kids in general are little experiments to most parents!)  Anyway, here is my first "paper" that I would like to publish regarding my recent findings in cloth diapering!  


A thesis presented 


the wonderful people that choose 
to follow and read my blog

for a degree of 
Doctor of Eco-Friendly 
in the subject of 

Cloth Diapering

Home Changing Table and Laundry Room University
April 2013


1. Test Subject; "Little Guy"
2. Diaper Decision
     2.1 Diapering Accessories
     2.2 Wash Routine
3. Ammonia Stink
     3.1 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 1
     3.2 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 2
     3.3 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 3
     3.4 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 4
4. Yeast Rash
     4.1 Cj's Butter PLUS
          4.1.1 Amid the Yeast
     4.2 Yeast in the Diapers
     4.3 Burt's Bee's Diaper Cream

List of Figures
Fig. 1 Toddler Test Subject
Fig. 2 Curel Itch Defense Lotion
Fig. 3 Gentle Naturals Baby Therapeutics Eczema Wash
Fig. 4 Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Diaper
Fig. 5 Thirsties Duo Pocket Diaper
Fig. 6 Happy Heineys Pocket Diaper
Fig. 7 Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer
Fig. 8 Planet Wise Pail Liner
Fig. 9 Hefty Touch Top 13 gallon Trash Can
Fig. 10 Rockin Green Soft Rock Diaper Detergent
Fig. 11 Bum Genius Fleece Stay Dry Liners
Fig. 12 Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer
Fig. 13 Cj's Butter Plus
Fig. 14 Precious New Born fluff bum
Fig. 15 Burt's Bee's Diaper Ointment
Fig. 16 Bum Genius Diaper Detergent


I want to dedicate this post to my husband who is in the beginning process of writing 
a Ph.D Physics thesis, and my two cloth diapered children
who have supported me and allowed me to keep going even
when the going was tough through my cloth diapering journey, thus far.


     Cloth diapering may come easy to some, but has been quite a challenge for many.  Through my experimentation, I have discovered the best way to remove build up in my diapers that was causing two types of rashes on the test subject; ammonia burn and yeast.  

Chapter 1
Test Subject; "Little Guy"
Fig. 1
     My test subject is a 2 year old male (Fig. 1), whom we will further refer to as "Little guy".  He has atopic dermatitis, also referred to as eczema.  As an infant, his eczema was all over his body, but now, at the age of 2, is focused on his sweet little face, specifically his cheeks and triggered by low humidity and various allergens; cats, dogs and consuming chicken.  His eczema is treated externally with Curel Itch Defense lotion (Fig. 2) and Gentle Naturals Eczema wash (Fig. 3) and internally when the flare up is persistent, with Hydroxizine.  These particular products are used due to results of a previous experiment.
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


Chapter 2
Diaper Decision
     Since I would be diapering a 2 year old and I wanted to ease into cloth diapering, I wanted the transitions to be easy.  Pockets seemed to be the best fit for our family because when they are all together they are like putting on a disposable diaper.  They were also better fit our price range compared to all in ones (AIO's).  

The diapers I selected to use are pocket diapers with microfiber inserts.  Bum Genius 4.0's (Fig. 4), Thirsties Duo Pocket diapers (Fig. 5) and Happy Heineys (Fig. 6).
Fig. 4
Fig. 6

Fig. 5

2.1 Diapering Accessories
     The cloth diapering accessories I chose to use in order to make the experiment easier are: 
Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer (Fig. 7), Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner (Fig. 8), Hefty touch top 13 gallon trash can (Fig. 9) Rockin Green Soft Rock Detergent (Fig. 10) Bum Genius Fleece Stay Dry Liners (Fig. 11)

Fig. 9
Fig 7
Fig. 8

Fig. 10
Fig. 11


2.2 Wash Routine
    All diapers, after being removed from my Little Guy, were placed into the (dry) diaper pail after the insert was removed from the diaper.  If it had been a poo diaper, the poo was sprayed off into the toilet by means of the diaper sprayer (Fig. 6), and the diaper was then taken to the diaper pail.  Once in the diaper pail, diapers were washed every other day.  The amount of diapers to put into the wash was typically around 10-12.  
    In my top loading washing machine, I would place 10-12 diapers and the diaper pail liner evenly around the agitator.  I would set the wash size to the maximum setting and the water temperature to cold.  Then I would run an initial cold rinse with no detergent.  After the rinse was complete, I would then add 2 tbs of Rockin Green Soft Rock detergent, switch the water temperature to hot and the wash cycle to the the longest wash cycle with two cold rinses.  Once washed, the inserts and pail liner were put into the dryer on low heat for 70 minutes and the diaper covers were hung to dry.  

Chapter 3
Ammonia Stink
    Initially, the previously stated wash routine was working , though, after roughly a month, I began to have a barn yard stink upon opening the dryer, and not much longer after that...ammonia issues.  At first the smell was strong in the diaper pail.  Then the smell was strong as soon as my little guy urinated, and what triggered the search to find a fix was when the ammonia was causing ammonia burn on his heiney!

3.1  Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 1
     The first thing I tried to remove the odor was to do as recommended by Bum Genius, a bleach treatment.  Though many diapering companies advise against this practice, since a majority of my stash consisted of Bum Genius, I tried it.  I added it it into my bleach dispenser of my top loading washing machine and added the same amount of detergent as I normally do.  It seemed to have worked, but in the end, it only worked for that one wash cycle.  My little guy wore the diapers fine without problems, but then after going back to my normal wash routine, once he urinated in them again, they STUNK!  So.....I lost this round of the battle.

3.2 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 2
     Secondly, I tried to use vinegar.  I had read on many blogs about how the effects vinegar has on ammonia.  It helps to neutralize the ammonia.  I used it in a similar fashion as the bleach.  I ran a cold rinse cycle, hot wash cycle with 2 scoops of Rockin Green Soft Rock detergent and a 1/4 cup of vinegar added to the wash water.  The result was less effective than the bleach, and unfortunately ruined the PUL in one of my Happy Heiney's diapers.  :(  I have lost again!

3.3 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink - Round 3
Fig. 12
     I then decided to turn to the Rockin Green GURU.  After discussing my challenges I was experiencing, she suggested I try Funk Rock by Rockin Green (Fig. 12).  It is a product to help strip your diapers and really eliminate ammonia build up. It kicked the ammonia stinks butt!  But only for two wash cycles.  :(  Then I consulted with my local diaper retailer, and she said that I should only have to use Funk Rock a max of once every 6 months.  Too much could and would damage your diapers!  Woops!  I had blown through an entire package and a half of that stuff!  Round three goes to the diapers! :(

3.4 Attempt to Eliminate Ammonia Stink  - Round 4
     So, my local diaper retailer sent me home with a sample of Rockin Green Classic Rock, and that certainly didn't help.  They stunk bad!  My water was softened, so the Classic Rock was not effective.  At this point, I had red ammonia rash on my little guys bum regularly, and the diapers just didn't seem to be getting clean.  They were crunchy feeling.  So, I read, and read, and read everything I could.  I decided it was time to strip my diapers.  No, they weren't repelling, but there had to be some sort of build up in those little nappies!  I boiled my inserts to my pocket diapers, and there it was, plain and clear to me.  They were full of detergent.  As I boiled them, suds were coming to the surface of the water.  I boiled all of the inserts for 30 min.  I then threw them in the wash, dried them in the drier and VOILA!!  Like new!  For the shells, I stuck them in my kitchen sink with some blue dawn dish soap, and the hottest tap water and I stirred them up repeatedly, then rinsed, rinsed, rinsed with cold water before tossing them into the wash as well.  It was a miracle!  Right when I was about to give up, AMMONIA WAS CONQUERED!  It took 4+ tries over the course of 3 months.  I found the solution!

Chapter 4
Yeast Rash
    My nappy happiness was short lived. During my moment of ammonia conquering ecstasy, a new rash emerged.  It wasn't your normal everyday red spot from a toxic poo that is zapped by your average cloth diaper safe cream. This was a nasty one.  Bumpy and in clusters.  This rash didn't want to go away.  It was persistent, and even when I thought it was would return! So, back to the drawing board for me.

4.1 Cj's Butter PLUS
   Immediately I went from my freshly boiled and non-ammonia diapers to.... :( DISPOSABLES:(   I then turned to my favorite cloth diaper cream company for their yeast zapping diaper cream.  CJ's Butter PLUS (Fig. 13).  I went through almost an entire 18 oz. jar of it, over the course of 2 more months and that darn rash would calm down, but it wouldn't take it away completely.  Grrrrrrr!  I was really ready to give up on the idea of ever cloth diapering again.  Most would have abandoned cloth 2 chapters ago!  
Fig. 13

Fig. 14
4.1.1 Amid the Yeast
    During the time that I was treating my little guy for a yeast rash, I delivered our third baby boy (Fig. 14), whom of which I planned to cloth diaper after the cord stump fell off.  I had arranged to rent newborn cloth diapers, but was nervous that I simply didn't know what I was doing with cloth, that my water just didn't like diaper detergent and I wasn't meant to do this.  I persevered and went ahead with the rental program and successfully cloth diapered my newborn without stink or rash issues which gave me hope.  I realized it wasn't the diapers, or something I was doing.  It was my son...little guy, and his dreadful toddler pee and poo.

4.2 Yeast in the Diapers
     At times I would have the rash almost gone with the Cj's Butter Plus, so I would start using the cloth diapers once again.  Prior to doing the proper research, I didn't even think about the fact that the yeast was still in the diapers!  So, I did extensive research before the yeast execution!  I wanted to attack with a full brigade of yeast killing weapons!  My weapons of choice were bleach, hot water and grapefruit seed extract!  I washed the already clean diapers in a load of hot water and cup of bleach.  Then I washed them again with 50 drops of grapefruit seed extract, (far more than the recommendation, but I was out for blood, and wanted to make sure I killed those little yeast spores).  I rinsed with cold water 2 times, then dried on high heat for 30 minutes.  I proceeded to use the grapefruit seed extract for the next two washes.  This took care of the problem.  My infant was wearing them with no rash problems whatsoever.   

4.3 Burt's Bee's Diaper Ointment

Fig. 15
     By coincidence, I had left my Cj's Butter PLUS at my brothers house after a weekend trip and I was so worried about what I was going to do for the yeast rash.  I dug around in my arsenal of baby products and found a sample of Burt's Bee's diaper ointment (Fig. 15).  After one application, it was like magic.  It quickly kicked the yeast's butt!  :)  I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  It was glorious!  After even confirming that the rash was for sure yeast by our doctor, he advised to continue the use of the Burt's Bee's diaper ointment until it was gone!  It was amazing!  I had won this battle!  (***There have been mixed reviews on Burt's Bee's Diaper Ointment and it's use with cloth diapers.  It is quite thick, and in my own personal opinion, I would avoid using it to prevent repelling.***)  

     Since the Burt's Bee's discovery and the elimination of ammonia, I have continuously cloth diapered my infant who is now 6 months old without any wash or rash troubles.  As for my 2 year old, we come and go with cloth diapering.  I have found that it is simply because of his strong toddler pee and poop, and because I have only enough cloth diapers to diaper 1 child, and a close to potty training toddler, I have chosen to use disposables on my 2 year old :( .  Though, recently, after communicating with some cloth diapering mommas, they suggested rinsing pee diapers just like poo diapers in order to pre rinse the concentrated amount of stinky strong urine out.  I will give that a shot, and see how far I get.
Fig. 16
    Also, after my detergent battle with Rockin Green, I have since switched to Bum Genius Brand Diaper detergent (Fig. 16), and it is working very well for me and my wonky water.  

**I hope that my diaper experiment doesn't scare anyone away from trying cloth diapers.  I feel so much better using them than to be putting more disposable diapers into landfills than I have to.**  

Each time fluff is on one of my babes bums, that's one less sposie in the dump!   

All images in this post were found through google images


Friday, April 12, 2013

Catching Up and Stretching Out!

Holy Moly!  Time has been escaping me!  I hate that I have not posted in over a month!  Ugh! Well, with trying to get into a routine, along with normal life occurrences getting in the way, i.e., Easter, illness, a death in the family, and hubby out of town... that really shakes things up and throws absolutely everything off.  I have had the most enormous laundry pile up that I have ever had and I am still not out of the woods with that.  The baby has been diagnosed with severe infant eczema which became terribly inflamed after I had consumed an abnormal amount of coconut (darn samoa girl scout cookies). Finding that coconut triggers it led to looking at the labels of EVERYTHING I consume since he is exclusively breastfed, as well as everything that touches him,  like our detergents and skin care products.  It's been a chore, but he is looking tremendously better.  So, we have been busy, busy in recent weeks, to say the least.

Anywho, now that we are all healthy again after a nasty cough and sinus thing passed from one family member to the next, my husband and I are trying to incorporate yoga into our evenings after the kids are in bed.  From the first time I ever attended a yoga class, I knew I was in love.   It is so relaxing, and you feel amazing after you are done.  I was lucky enough to take a prenatal yoga class with my last pregnancy.  Participating in that after not doing yoga for years reminded me how much I love it.  It also helped my labor tremendously!  My husband on the other hand is not your typical "yoga" guy.  He prefers to go to the gym and use free weights, machines and run, though recently with work and 3 kiddos, he just can't seem to work gym time into his daily routine.  So, a compromise for him is doing yoga with me in the evenings, even if its for only 30 minutes.  It is a great way to wind down at night.  With only doing it for a short time, I am feeling better and so is my insanely nonflexible husband who has found that he enjoys it as well.  Who knows, maybe this will lead to something we continue to do for many years to come.  Hey, maybe dropping in on an instructed yoga class could be a new date night option!  We shall see!  In the mean time, I just hope we stick with it!