Cloth Nappy Chores

Ever wondered how much time cloth nappies take?  Because that’s the first thing people say when they hear you use cloth nappies:  “Oh I don’t have time for that”.

Well Tara was kind enough to share her experience with us.   Thanks very much Tara!

#clothchores

 

Hi! I’m Tara, Mom to Little Man (10months old), working full time and full-time user of cloth nappies.

“WHAT?” I can practically hear you gasp; “Cloth nappies? But they are so much work! All that laundry and folding and laundry and did we mention the laundry?”

When I was pregnant, I had sort of thought about using cloth nappies. The cost of disposables was rather intimidating, as was having other Moms tell me from the moment we shared our happy news to ‘start buying nappies now!’ because you need SO many and they are SO expensive! Huggies are better, no Pampers, no the ones from Clicks oh and buy from Makro when they have a sale! It never really made sense to me to spend literally thousands of rands on something that was just going to be thrown away and made someone else’s problem in a landfill somewhere. But info about cloth nappies in South Africa was quite difficult to find.

My Mum was very supportive and encouraging when I mentioned I was thinking of going th cloth route and that was before we really knew much about modern cloth nappies. As my belly grew, I Googled and read everything I could about modern cloth and slowly I came to realise how much sense it made, not just from a financial point of view, but also from an environmental point of view. Doodlebums and another amazing blog by Marisa (Hippiesafari.blogspot.com) answered almost all my questions around the different styles of nappies, how many I would need, how to wash and care for them and where to get them.

However, there was one question which was the first one that non-cloth moms would ask me which I didn’t really have a good answer too “But what about all the time and effort it’s going to take on top of looking after a newborn/baby/toddler?” Most blogs don’t address this specifically beyond saying “it’s really not a lot of extra work” or “at most an extra load of laundry every few days”. But what does that actually mean?

Before I get to what prompted my 6-week experiment, I must give a little background so you know the full story. We didn’t use our cloth at first simply because they didn’t fit. My stash is entirely composed of ‘one-size-fits-all’ nappies which are known not to fit skinny new-born legs very well. It was also Christmas time and I was trying to cope with my newborn AND all our family so yeah, figuring out cloth was just not on the cards. So we used disposables for about the first 6 weeks. However, when the time comes for Baby #2, you can bet there’ll be some teeny tiny new-born fluff in my stash; in fact I’ll take it to the hospital with me!

It’s been 10-ish months since we started using cloth during the day and about 3 months since I started using cloth at night and my stash has grown to include a variety of nappy styles and brands. I am extremely happy that we use cloth and admit to feeling smug that I can skip that aisle completely on my monthly grocery shop. However, that one question still nags; friends on seeing Little Man’s cute cloth bum ask me ‘So are you still using those nappies?’ Aren’t they a mission?’. One of the most frequently asked questions in the SACNU group is ‘How much effort are they?’.

So I was thinking, while loading my washing machine, how much time do I spend, day to day, on cloth chores? Not including the actualy nappy change, because you’d have to do those anyway with disposables, but how much time do I devote to spraying, rinsing, washing, stuffing and packing away my nappies? How much extra laundry is it? It doesn’t feel like that much extra. There’s only one real way to answer that question and that is to started a little experiment. For 6 weeks in August and September 2014 I tracked every minute I spent dealing with my nappies. I used a little app on my phone called TimeSheet which recorded the task, and then rounded it up to the nearest minute. I then entered all the data into an Excel Spreadsheet. I split the tasks into ‘active time’ and ‘laundry time’. Active time when I was actively dealing with the nappies hands-on (spraying poop, unstuffing & loading machine, hanging up, re-stuffing/folding and packing away). Laundry time was when the washing machine was occupied, but I was able to do other things.

The Background.

We use cloth full-time (day and night). I have 24 pockets, 10 AIO and 3 covers in my stash. All pockets are double stuffed with 1 microfiber and 1 bamboo insert. My AIO are of 5 Grovias and 5 CherubTree Bamboo Velour nappies which I use at night only.

We have a front loading Telefunken TFL-600 6kg machine and wash with Omo. We do not have a tumble drier. I work fulltime so I deal with nappy laundry over weekends or after Little Boy has gone to bed (~7pm). My routine goes like this:

  • collect the dirty nappies from the bucket on the changing table,

  • sort them into ones that need spraying and unstuff the rest and toss them in the machine

  • spray the poopy nappies and add those to the machine

  • run a rinse & spin cycle then a long wash with Omo, then a final rinse

That routine usually finished around the time we go to bed so my last task for the night on weeknights is to hang the nappies on a clothes horse and stand that in the lounge. If it’s the weekend, they get pegged to the line outside.

I stuff and fold nappies and put them away the following evening after our supper, usually while watching TV. {During this experiment, the nanny occasionally stuffed nappies for me. When that happened, I unstuffed the batch and re-stuffed them so that I could time how long it took.}


The Results

I worked out the time taken in two ways. First, the time per ‘round’ of laundry from start to finish. I also worked out time per day.

Time per Round

Pockets

AIO

Covers

Spraying Poop

Unstuffing & Loading

Laundry Cycle (Minutes)

Hanging

Folding & putting away

Active

Laundry

Total

Round 1

12

1

1

2

3

147

5

10

20

147

167

Round 2

8

4

2

 

5

148

3

8

16

148

164

Round 3

8

4

3

 

3

147

3

10

16

147

163

Round 4*

7

3

1

4

2

163

8

14

28

163

191

Round 5

10

4

2

 

5

150

5

10

20

150

170

Round 6**

24

10

0

2

4

335

11

31

48

335

383

Round 7

8

5

3

2

3

152

5

9

19

152

171

Round 8

4

2

1

 

2

116

3

6

11

116

127

Round 9

9

5

1

1

4

131

5

10

20

131

151

Round 10

9

4

3

2

4

142

5

8

19

142

161

Round 11

7

6

0

3

4

156

5

8

20

156

176

Round 12

5

5

2

2

4

135

5

12

23

135

158

Round 13

9

1

0

2

5

140

5

5

17

140

157

Round 14*

7

4

2

 

4

132

6

8

18

132

150

Round 15

12

1

1

2

3

147

5

10

20

147

167

Average

9.27

3.93

1.47

2.20

3.67

156.07

5.27

10.60

21.00

156.07

177.07

The red cells represent the rounds which took the MOST time. Unsurprisingly, this was when I had to wash my entire stash in one go after having no water for almost a week (Round 6). However, if we disregard that round for a moment, Round 4 appears to have taken the longest under normal conditions. This seems to be because I pegged everything to the line outside. Pegs are fiddly! The quickest round was a mini-load before we went away for a long weekend (Round 8). I didn’t want to leave dirty nappies in the nappy bin for that long.

On average I spent a total of 20 active minutes per round of nappy laundry and my laundry cycle takes 2h 30mins. However, this isn’t the whole story because I seldom stuffed and folded nappies on the same day that I washed them. So I looked at active and laundry time per day. This is much more interesting (to me) because it shows how often I do laundry and give a better idea of daily time commitments.

Time Per Day

August

Active

Laundry

Total

Sept

Active

Laundry

Total

1

1

2

2

2

2

3

3

8

152

160

4

4

9

9

5

5

5

116

121

6

6

7

7

16

131

147

8

8

10

10

9

9

10

8

117

125

10

11

142

153

11

10

10

11

8

8

12

8

148

156

12

13

13

14

8

8

14

12

156

168

15

6

157

163

15

16

14

14

16

11

135

146

17

24

163

187

17

12

12

18

18

19

5

150

155

19

20

5

5

20

12

140

152

21

21

5

5

22

22

23

23

10

132

142

24

24

8

8

25

25

26

26

8

117

125

27

27

10

10

28

28

29

11

335

346

29

30

6

6

30

31

31

31

31

Avg.

11.333

178.333

100.5

9.2353

135.667

81.0588

I only started the experiment on August 10th and you can clearly see the week without water (21-28 Aug). The most time I spent dealing with nappies in any one day during this whole experiment was 38 minutes. That was stuffing and folding and putting away my whole stash; special circumstances I’m sure you’ll agree! After that, the most active time I spent dealing with nappies on any on one day was 24 minutes. On average though I spent between 9 and 11 minutes dealing with nappies more or less every other day. Laundry took on average 2h 30 mins to run every 2 or 3 days. I could probably go longer between washes, but I wash when my nappy bucket is full.

ScreenShot367 ScreenShot368

Final Say…?

I must admit even I was a bit surprised at how little hands on time there is. Granted if you have more than one child this will be longer but I doubt it’d ever be excessive. For EBF new-borns you can even skip the rinsing step as EBF poop is water soluble!

10 minutes every other day? Easy peasy!

Mesothelioma Cancer

I was contacted by Heather a month ago, who asked me if she could share her story.  My sister has recently been diagnosed with cancer (not Mesothelioma) and she is currently receiving treatment for it.  I though it was time to make a little non-cloth-nappy-related post.  Maybe it could save a life 🙂

http://www.mesothelioma.com/

 

My Stash

There are some nice Facebook groups dedicated to cloth nappies.  A nice South African group is called South African Cloth Nappy Users.  Check it out.

Every now and again someone would ask to share your “stash shot”.

Thought I’d share mine here.

I must say getting all my nappies neatly packed onto our bed wasn’t that easy with two little people “helping” you….  Eventually I told them to not touch the bed and if they didn’t until I was done taking the photos, they could dive into the pile of nappies…. it worked… but I had to be quick!  No toddler has time to wait! 😀

My stash as at February 2014

My stash as at February 2014

1.  Bumbeetles (company no longer exists)
2.  Snappy Nappy covers
3.  Hippie Safari soakers
4.  Snappy Nappy inserts
5.  Cherub Tree trifolds
6.  Mother Nature potty trainers
7.  Econobum covers and prefolds underneath
8.  Flip stay dry inserts (from Hippie Safari Handmade’s stash)
9. Cherub Tree pocket nappies all in snaps
10.  Bam+Boo Baby bamboo nappies each stuffed with an ultra night time booster too (I use them overnight on Dieter)
11.  Snugglybum
12.  Cherub Tree bamboo velour
13.  Goodmama WAHM (work at home mom) nappy – bought it preloved
14.  Totbots – bought it preloved
15.  Grobaby (now known as Grovia I believe)
16.  Bumgenius elementals (the pink ones I bought preloved)
17.  Bitti Tutto
18.  Swaddlebees Simplex (preloved from Hippie Safari blogger’s stash)
19.  Imagine bamboo (preloved from Hippie Safari blogger’s stash)
20. Pikapu cover (gift from Australia)
21.  Sassybumz (WAHM nappy from US – my first international WAHM purchase – I will blog about my experience later)
22.  Hippie Safari hybrid fitted from Hippie Safari Handmade
23.  Tomfips (local WAHM pocket nappy)
24.   Love Earth Love Cloth (WAHM nappy from US – was a gift! ♥)

1-12, 17, 22, 23 are all available in South Africa

Then my son couldn’t wait to dive into the pile:

Nappy Stash Dive!

Nappy Stash Dive!

Exhibition at Mediclinic Cape Gate

13 February 2013 Doodlebums Diapers had its first exhibition.

The Cape Gate Mediclinic celebrates Pregnancy Awareness month and had an exhibition.  They advertised in local media and pregnant couples could visit the hospital and its labour ward.  There were a talk with eats and drinks.

Doodlebums Diapers table:

 

Image,

It was a very small exhibition but I am grateful for the opportunity.  I had to take my kids along because hubby wasn’t home yet when I had to leave.  I had my daughter on my back in my Mei Tai carrier.  She drew a lot of attention! Eventually another nurse and friend “babysat” her by wearing her on her back! ha ha  I love that hospital and all its people!

A lot of the visitors were surprised to see the variety of cloth nappies available.  I had some interesting questions too.  I think most people didn’t realist how beautiful they are!

Thanks again Cape Gate Mediclinic!