Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Out and About with Cloth Diapers

When you use cloth diapers on your baby, is it 24/7? Or is it strictly an at-home operation? I admit that when I was a new mom, I had an unexplainable fear about being out of the house with a wet (or worse) cloth diaper. I put a disposable diaper on my son whenever we left the house. Before long, I realized that toting a dirty cloth diaper back to my house in the diaper bag might be easier than finding an acceptable place to deposit that used trashy diaper. All I needed was a good wet bag for storing the wet (or worse) diaper until I got back to the diaper pail at home. At first I just used plastic grocery bags or gallon-sized ziploc bags. They did the job just fine, but they weren't very reusable (or fashionable). Then I made my own wool wet bag with a felted wool sweater and a zipper. Wool wet bags work just like wool diaper covers, and should be washed by hand. I now also have a PUL wet bag, this is very waterproof and highly durable in the diaper wash. And fashionable, like this floral "Icky Bag" from Petunias. You'll find lots of other wet bags on etsy, check them out.

My other fear of cloth diapering away from home was that I couldn't bring my wipe warmer full of warm, wet cloth wipes. I realized this wasn't that big of an issue, I just packed dry wipes and a small squirt bottle of water. My own Klean Kanteen water bottle also works fine for wetting wipes. Usually we are changing diapers in a bathroom anyway, so I'll wet my wipes in the sink.

Now when I leave the house, I just make sure I have enough diapers & covers, some wipes, a wet bag, some water, and we are good to go! Oh, is your diaper bag not big enough to hold all those things? Get a bigger one. A grocery tote works fine too, that's what I usually use.

A small wetbag is fine for short outings, but what do you do when you are away from home overnight or longer? Get a bigger wetbag! This wetbag from Wee Ones by Jajoc holds about 20 wet diapers. I made my own diaper-pail-sized wet bag from a yard of PUL fabric and a draw string. It is large enough to hold ALL my wet diapers, and therefore large enough for any trip. As long as I know I'll be near a laundromat (or better yet, grandma's washing machine) at least once every three days during the trip, we are good to go. Just make sure to bring your own detergent as you never know what you will find in grandma's laundry room. One more thing, if your trip is longer than 3-4 days, try to NOT leave any wet diapers in your diaper pail at home (they'll be super yucky by the time you get back). When I pack for a trip, the last thing I do is wash and pack all the diapers. I usually have one or two dirty ones by the time we leave the house, I pack those with me also in the wet bag. It's not a big deal to pack dirty diapers with me, as I know I will soon be adding to that wet bag. Besides, I never want to leave behind ANY of my diapers since I want to use my entire working stash on the trip.

What about when you are camping, far away from any washing machine, or even running water? I have taken cloth camping and lived to tell about it! It was actually quite easy, but all my relatives at the family reunion looked at me with awe and respect (or maybe they just thought I was crazy). The camping trip was only four days, so I made sure to pack enough diapers to last the whole trip. I packed every single diaper I could find. I even packed things that could be used as a diaper in a pinch, like cotton baby blankets. I just didn't want to run out, as I wasn't planning on washing diapers in the nearby lake! Also, as there were no toilets for rinsing out diapers, I brought some flushable diaper liners that I could drop right into the pit toilets. These were wonderful, I highly recommend them for any vacation with cloth diapers.

As I said, I have never washed diapers by hand while roughing it, but I have heard of people who have! If you do, just be sure to bring biodegradable laundry detergent, a clothesline & clothespins. Don't wash or rinse diapers in a lake, but a running stream should be okay. Also, you might want to leave your thick all-in-ones at home, they might never dry! Opt for some quick-dry fitteds or even flat diapers instead. You also might find that your camping destination is near a town with a laundromat. A quick mid-camping drive to town might be in order. Some campgrounds even have their own laundromat, check around and find one for your next camping trip.

So, next time you leave the home, don't forget your cloth diapers! Whether it be a quick play date or a two-week cruise, it can be done. And it's really not that hard!


  1. super cute wetbag! DD is potty trained now but I still keep my wetbag in my momma bag just in case of accidents.

  2. Since starting to cloth diaper, I have noticed that most of the time when I use my wetbags, it's not even for dirty diapers. They have SO many uses!


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