Buckets of bleach begone! Did you know that Modern Cloth Nappies don't need soaking? In this wonderful age of excellent washing machines, you can let your machine do the grunt work.
A modern cloth nappy pail system is called a "Dry Pail" and the practice of putting your nappies into the Dry Pail is called "Dry Pailing". It is "dry" because there is no soaking in buckets of water. The perfect modern pail system is airy, for reasons we will explain in this post. We think that the perfect airy dry pail is a regular plastic laundry hamper- it has handles so it's easy to carry to the machine, it has holes in the sides for lots of air flow, and it's easy to give it a spray & wipe/hose down after tipping the nappies into the machine to clean it, it will last you many years and once your kids have finished in nappies you can continue to use it for regular laundry.
We keep our Dry Pail next to the toilet in our bathroom. We use a nappy sprayer (a bidet-style hose attached to the toilet tap) to clean any dirty nappies before pailing (we'll make another post about this in the future!) and put them into the pail once the solids have been removed. Wet nappies go directly into the pail, there's no need to prerinse as the washing machine does that for you.
On wash day, you just tip the hamper into your washing machine. You can buy a "pail liner" which is like a big plastic-laminated bag to line your pail and this makes transferring much easier and it gets washed with the nappies. Some people suggest not using a pail liner but they are made from breathable plastic laminated fabric (PUL), the same PUL that is used in your modern cloth nappies. Less work = great in our view, so if you like pail liners, we suggest don't hesitate when it comes to using it.
Not convinced? Here are five great reasons to avoid soaking and dry pail your modern cloth nappies :)
#1. Eliminates drowning hazard
Any water laying around the house is a drowning hazard- it only takes a few centimetres of water in a vessel for a child to drown and nappy buckets are no exception. A Dry Pail eliminates drowning hazards.
#2. Preserves the life of your nappies
Extended soaking is not recommended for PUL (waterproof) fabrics- this is because the plastic is stuck to the fabric outer with tiny dots of glue. If you soak glue, eventually it will become soggy and useless- think about what happens when you get your shoes wet, for example. The glue used in PUL can withstand regular periods of being exposed to wet nappies as that it what it's designed for, but it's not designed to be submerged for hours in soaking solutions.
Dry pailing also prevents break down of absorbent fabrics. When you put a nappy into a bucket of water, it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Some of the bacteria found in poops are "cellulolytic" which means they break down cellulose aka natural fibre fabrics. By Dry Pailing rather than soaking in water, you minimise exposure to cellulolytic bacteria to keep your fabrics in mint condition.
#3. Does not smell!
Air flow is key here. If you keep dirty nappies in a closed, lidded bucket, any odour from the waste will be concentrated in the bucket and will smell awful when you open the bucket. When you use a Dry Pail, any odour from the waste (typically ammonia gas) is dispersed in the air. There is a very small number of ammonia molecules produced from a dry pail compared to the number of other gases making up the air, meaning you don't notice a thing. Magic!
#4. Prevents mould
A Dry Pail permits the nappies to dry out a little after wear. This means the environment in the Dry Pail is less hospitable to mould species that love to inhabit wet laundry.
No heavy buckets, no soaking in chemical solutions, no smells, no drowning hazard, no degradation of fabrics. The Dry Pail offers so many benefits compared to the soaking methods of days gone by. Let your washing machine do the work!!
If you'd like more help with your nappy laundry, we'd love to assist you- simply ask on our Facebook group #getintocloth Queensland. Chat with you soon!