If you told me two and a half years ago that I would use cloth diapers and moreover – take them with me on vacation, I would raise my eyebrows at you. I would think that is pretty crazy. On our week long vacation I took along our entire stash including prefolds, covers, and training pants and decided that I didn’t want to spend money on disposables just for the trip to save my sanity. Turns out, I hand washed everything, and here I am – sane and willing to do it again!
Cloth diapering isn’t for everyone. Especially cloth diapering on vacation. If you really want to relax and have a break, go ahead, get some disposables. But you know what? I found hand washing to be quite relaxing. I am fortunate that our toddler is in the middle of potty training, so I didn’t have to wash any soiled diapers – just wet ones. That took a load off. The only issue I ran into is stink – in a bathroom with no ventilation! I am no expert but I’ve learned a few things, so if you want to hand wash cloth diapers on vacation, take note:
1. Bring a few thin metal hangers with clothes pins and a line, you don’t know if you’ll be able to dry on a line or have any place to hang them. We had a large deck with railing, but the policy was not to hang anything on the railing. Indoors was out of the question, nothing dried there. So I ended up drying them on the plastic outdoor chairs, not as effective but did the trick. If you have the hanger and clothes pins it is a lot easier to find a spot where the breeze will catch them.
2. Do not hang diapers on any wooden furniture or doors! You may end up with diaper stains from the wood stain finish. I discovered that the hard way both on diaper inserts and a bathing suit.
3. Ask your husband to please wring out the clean diapers/inserts. His hands are a lot stronger and they will dry faster.
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4. Make sure your spouse is okay with your idea. I was really surprised when my husband helped me wash the diapers once on the trip and when I said “That’s it, next time we’re taking disposables”, he replied with a “No, no way!” I imagine not every guy would think so! So to avoid any conflict or hearing “You’re hanging the diapers where?!”, first make sure he doesn’t mind.
5. Bring non-toxic air freshener! When we arrived I noticed the toxic bottles of Febreeze and Glade within the kids’ reach in the bathroom. I immediately hid them and whipped out my handy little essential oil spray bottle for everyone to use. I was so glad I had it. I absolutely cannot stand the toxic smells of fresheners, especially being pregnant! There was no ventilation in the bathroom and I ended up using it a lot when I washed the diapers, even more so after I was done because we were traveling with friends, not just by ourselves.
6. Prefolds, covers, and pockets. I brought all our diapers, but while there I only used the AIOs and fitteds once and tossed them in the wet bag not to wash them again. It would take forever for them to dry and it takes forever to wash them out. I found prefolds really easy to hand wash along with covers that didn’t absorb any smells. The next best thing were the pockets, with better performance I might add. I couldn’t do without the pockets for night time and while out and about.
7. Quality wet bag is a must have! Just like for cloth diapering in general, a good quality – stink containing wet bag is a must for travel. I tossed our dirty diapers in there, the ones I didn’t want to wash while there, and the bathroom didn’t smell at all. Just make sure you turn your nose away when you open it to put another dirty diaper in!
8. Rinse, rinse, rinse! Through trial and error I learned that the key to reducing or eliminating stink is rinsing the diapers out as much as possible before actually washing them. I prepared a plastic basin with our trusted cloth diaper soap, but before putting the diaper in I would rinse it under running water and squeeze out as much excess water as I could. Did the trick for stink issues!
Lastly, don’t fear doing it! After all, our mothers and grandmothers had to do this every day, I bet you have it in your genes. Do you have any tips?
Photo: my toddler at the breakfast table in her cute yellow pocket diaper.