Share the Love

by Kelly Bolt

Have you heard of the Share the Love program? You probably haven’t, and I’m hoping to change that!  I’m Kelly. I’m a new site host with the Share the Love program.

GCDC2015-Share the Love Optimized
Share the Love is a unique program sponsored by CottonBabies. This program offers assistance to families in need of help diapering their child(ren) we provide a loan of cloth diapers, and inform parents how to use and care for them. These diapers are on loan until the child’s 3rd Birthday or until the family’s need is no longer there.  There are currently over 150 sites across the United States. Each site host is a volunteer, and we donate our time to helping families in need.
We all know that WIC helps cover the cost of food and formula for families. Food stamps helps supplement the grocery budget. But there is not a government assistance program designed to help families meet the (expensive) cost of diapering a child. That’s where Jennifer Labit, CEO and founder of CottonBabies, wanted to step in.
Jennifer knows what it’s like to have to choose between diapering your baby and buying food for the week. This is what motivated her to create STL! She didn’t want anyone else to struggle that way. She knows that the inability to afford diapers can lead to reusing disposables, stretching the use of each diaper by leaving it on too long, and other ways to “recycle” disposables. This can lead to baby getting severe rashes, which causes a need to see the doctor, leading to another bill and another stress on the family. Share the Love is here to help alleviate the stress and strains that come with struggling to diaper your baby.
I decided to get involved with volunteering to become a site host because I want to help others. I saw that there wasn’t a local host, and I knew that the need was here in York, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties. We currently accept donations of new and gently used cloth diapers, wet bags, pail liners, and other cloth diaper accessories. You can drop off any donations at Om Baby, and we will have a special bin set up at the Great Cloth Diaper Change on 4/22/17
If you are in need, or know someone in need, you (or they) can fill out an application at www.cottonbabieslove.com
If you feel it in your heart to become a site host, and help others in your community, you can submit an application at www.cottonbabieslove.com/join-in/

 

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5 Steps to Laundering Cloth Diapers

by Holly Keich with content from the Real Diaper Association

When considering cloth, the most daunting aspect of cloth diapers seems to be the idea of laundering them. Do dirty diapers really go into the washing machine, the same one that washes all the other clothes for my family? Will I have the time and energy to do the laundry when caring for a baby? Isn’t it complicated?

Laundering cloth is much more simple than most people realize and considering that there isn’t a cloth diaper service in South Central PA, the washing machine is something you will become familiar with if you plan to cloth diaper. We’ll not only review the simple 5 Steps to Laundering Cloth Diapers as presented by the Real Diaper Association, but also the why’s behind them. Consider it your primer for evidence-based cloth diaper washing that will give you the best possible chance at succeeding with cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper Washing

1. Dump    Dump solid material into the toilet. Put diapers in (dry) pail until wash time.

Here’s the science: Exclusively breastfed baby waste is water soluble so will be removed in the initial rinse cycle. Solid or formula-fed baby waste should be dumped first. This prevents human waste from leaching into water sheds and is actually something all parents should do regardless of type of diaper they use.

It’s safer not to leave a wet pail around the home with toddlers. That said, if you’re okay with the safety issue, it doesn’t hurt to soak, it’s just not necessary if all else is working okay with your process.

2. Rinse    Optimally run your load once you can mostly fill, but not overstuff, your washer. Rinse diapers in warm water.

Here’s the science: Most people have success washing every 2 or 3 days, washing 12-24 diapers at a time. It depends, though, on the size of your washer. Too full a load is not good (inadequate access to water and detergent); too empty a load not good (too much space prevents sufficient agitation).

Soil is most easily removed at the temperature it was added at. Waste comes out at approximately body temperature, which is approximately what temperature “war” water is in a washing machine.

3. Wash    Wash diapers with detergent in hot water. Detergent should be fragrance and color-free with no optical brighteners or fabric softeners. Use additional detergent if you have hard water. Use enough detergent to clean a load of dirty laundry but not too much.

Here’s the science: You’re looking for a detergent that is clean-rinsing and won’t leave and residues on your diapers. You also want it to be safe for your baby’s skin. Pinstripes and Polka Dots has a detergent chart that will help you assess what detergents are best choice for washing your diapers.

4. Rinse    Rinse diapers in warm water. Rinse again in warm water.

Here’s the science: Most wash cycles will end with a rinse, so you can set the machine for an extra rinse. This increases the amount of water, which is particularly useful in cleaning natural fibers like cotton and help. It will also be sure to rinse out any remaining detergent to prevent buildup.

Warm water will release residues more effectively and will release more water from the fabric in the spin cycle, shortening drying time.

5. Dry    Thoroughly dry diapers in the sun or in your automatic dryer. The sun will save energy and bleach out stains. If you use a dryer, use the lowest temperature that successfully dries your diapers.

Here’s the science: If you use a dryer, use the lowest temperature that successfully dries your diapers. Drying at high temps reduces the life of any fabric or component.
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Even More Science: There are five factors that work together in laundry. Water, Agitation, Time, Chemical & Heat, known as the WATCH Formula.

Water– Water does a good portion of your cleaning. You may need to make adjustments to make up for poor water quality. Water plays a large role in cleaning cotton and hemp.

Agitation– Mechanical action (rubbing together in a top loader, “the fall: in in a front loader) simulates hand scrubbing.
Time– Length of cycles (and/or soaking) affects cleaning.

Chemicals– (clean rinsing) detergent is especially necessary in cleaning artificial materials, which are oil-loving and bond with the oils and fats in human waste.

Heat– While most home laundry machines can’t get water hot enough for long enough to kill organisms, higher heat helps the other components do their parts.

If one factor is reduced in the formula (reducing heat by washing in cold water, for
example), you need to increase the other factors to clean your diapers successfully.
The Real Diaper Association offers this excellent chart that demonstrates the changes and where you need to adjust. In the example given above, you will need to increase the water and time if you reduce heat in the wash cycle. If using a energy efficient washer that uses less water, you will need to increase time and agitation in the cycle.

The RDA cloth diaper washing instructions assume a mixture of fabric types. For better results, separate fabrics. If you are having trouble with your diapers, consult the manufacturer.

Information provided by the Real Diaper Association and scientists in the industry. More info at realdiapers.org/laundry-science.