Baby’s Laundry & Cloth Diapers: How To Store Them Until Wash Day
When Vee was younger, he salivated like a waterfall, regurgitated milk due to mild reflux, and poo-ed up to 11 times a day! Every day, I dealt with a mountain of dirty laundry consisting of bibs, towels, clothes, cloth wipes and cloth diapers. Being an organisation-obsessed Mummy, I experimented with different systems to store the dirty laundry until wash day. Let’s explore the 4 systems I have tried:
A. 1 Wet Pail & 1 Laundry Basket
What this means: Soak laundry with poo, pee, or milk in a pail of water (called a wet pail) until wash day.
When I used this: First month (it was the confinement lady’s preference)
- Prevents staining from poo or milk (Once set, milk stains turn yellowish and are hard to remove.)
- Suitable if your washing machine has no prewash function. (Alternatively, you can simply rinse dirty laundry once before washing.)
- If you do laundry once in more than 2 days, this prevents mildew problem
- Drowning hazard! (That’s why I HAVE NOT used this method since the confinement lady left.)
- Soaking is not suitable for PUL diapers (wears them out faster)
- The pail gets really heavy and is bad for the back
- Needs additional work of pouring away the water and wringing the items dry on wash day
- Stagnant water may develop odour
B. 1 Dry Pail & 1 Laundry Basket
What this means: Just leave laundry with poo, pee or milk in a dry pail with lid until wash day.
When I used this: Until baby was 7 months old, before he started eating solid foods. Breastfed-baby poo smells fine.
- Very simple and saves time!
- Non-breastfed-baby poo or milk stains may set in after some time. (I do laundry every day, so this is less of an issue.)
C. 1 Wet Pail, 1 Dry Pail & 1 Laundry Basket
What this means:
- For soiled cloth diapers: Roll off or spray poo into toilet and leave in a wet pail with lid (without soaking)
- For items with puke mess: Rinse and rub off milk by hand, then leave them in the same wet pail (without soaking)
- For wet cloth diapers: Leave them in a dry pail with lid
When I use this: After baby started eating solid foods at 6.5 months old. Why? Because his poo started to stink BIG TIME, and I prefer to spray them off once I’m free instead of waiting until the next morning. This has become my favourite and permanent system.
- Prevents stains from setting
- Convenient access to pail at 1 more place. (For example, my dry pail in the bedroom, while the wet pail in the bathroom.)
- Expense of getting 1 more pail
D. 1 Pail Liner or Large Hanging Wet Bag
What this means: Just leave ALL laundry in a pail liner or large hanging wet bag until wash day.
When I use this: During travels, especially stay-overs at my Mum’s place in Singapore. My longest stayover was almost 2 months. I survived 2 months without using a pail or laundry basket! Yes, it can be done.
- Space-saving, you’d just need a corner in the room or hang the wet bag behind the door
- Non-breastfed-baby poo or milk stains may set in after some time. To overcome this, consider removing poo into the toilet and rinsing milk off before putting into the pail liner or wet bag.
Which Pail, Pail Liner and Wet Bag?
1. Dry Pail
My dry pail is a generic large plastic pail with lid bought at a local supermarket. After putting the pail liner in, the lid can’t be closed tightly. No odour escapes from the gap unless I put my nose into the pail! Vee tries to play with the lid at times, and I simply ask him to leave it alone.
2. Wet Pail
My wet pail is a plastic pail from Mothercare. I was reluctant to pay a premium price for the one printed with Winnie the Pooh. When this white pail was released at a 20% off, I grabbed it at about RM40 (USD14 or SGD17). It is quite small and takes up little space in the bathroom. However, it is sufficient only if you do laundry every 1 to 2 days, without many soiled items. In the first month, Vee went through 15 to 18 square nappies a day and quickly filled the pail to the brim.
These are some other options for pails:
- a large waste can such as those by Rubbermaid
- any generic plastic bucket with lid
3. Pail Liner
I bought 2 beautiful Wahmies Diaper Pail Liners, which have a huge capacity to store 2 days’ of laundry. The detailed review is here.
Other brands to explore:
4. Large Hanging Wet Bag
Mine is the Wahmies Fun Prints Wet Bag (All Day), which is as good as new after 18 months. It is definitely my portable laundry bag for every trip. Read the full review is here.
Other brands to explore:
- Planet Wise Hanging Wet / Dry Bag (I like my small Planet Wise wet bag, reviewed here.)
- Bummis Large Fabulous Wet Bag
How To Control The Smell From Dirty Laundry?
I have a super-sensitive nose and have not experienced any odour issues with my dirty laundry consisting of poo, pee and milk.
- As mentioned above, breastfed-baby poo smells fine, so no odour problem.
- Pee in cloth diapers don’t really smell. If they do, you’d need to strip wash the diapers by using these steps. (In contrast, I find pee in disposable diapers very stinky!)
- When baby starts eating solid food, the poo starts to stink like adults’ poo, so remove any solid as soon as you’ve time. (Poo in disposable diapers is also supposed to be flushed down the toilet for environmental reasons. It is stated clearly on every packaging, but I doubt many people know about it.)
- Do laundry every 1 to 2 days. Stretch it to 3 days and risk facing mildew problems with damp clothes and cloth diapers, especially in a humid environment such as the bathroom.
- Cover the pail.
Optional steps you may wish to take:
- Sprinkle a little baking soda onto cloth diapers in the pail
- Some pail liners and wet bags have a piece of fabric sewn into the seam (view picture below). Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the fabric.
Dirty laundry with cloth diapers and wipes can be managed very easily once you establish a laundry system and routine. The best system is the one that works for you and your baby. Have fun exploring!
Sharing Time: How do you store your laundry until wash day? Any laundry tips to share?