While planning for our April trip to Seattle, James and I chatted as usual about the ways that we could pack lightly, but there was one thing we did this time around that ended up making our bags just a little heavier. Instead of relying on disposable diapers for Silas while we were on the road, as we’d always done when we went away with Faye, we decided to embrace the art of cloth diaper laundering on the road.
On the whole we found it was far easier than expected and like cloth diapering in general, way more pleasant than using disposables. On past trips with Faye, I’ll admit that we’ve suffered some disposable diaper mishaps (leaks! rashes! wrong sizes! eek!) and it was pretty nice to get through a whole trip without a single exploded diaper or red bum.
Here’s what we learned:
+ Pack: Bring enough diapers for two full days. For us right now, that meant twelve diapers. A few more would have given us a little cushion and wouldn’t have been impossible to pack, space-wise, so I might pack a few extras on our next trip. In the span of a week, we washed diapers three times; once every two days or so. We also packed a small container of detergent (Charlie’s Soap)—just as much as we needed for our time away. When Silas was born we bought a second larger wet bag. If you can, I’d definitely recommend taking two wet bags along while traveling with cloth diapers. This way you can keep one bag with you while you’re out and about during the day, and leave a larger stockpile back in the place where you’re staying. (Dirty cloth diapers aren’t supposed to be kept in plastic bags, tempting as that might be.) No need to tote ten dirty diapers with you to dinner.
+ Wash: We followed our diaper service’s advice for washing at home, which is essentially one quick, cool wash, with little water and little detergent, and one longer, hotter wash, with a full scoop of detergent. The diapers cleaned up just as beautifully as predicted.
+ Strategize: We definitely had to consider a few things when planning our trip. For starters, we wanted to make sure that the places where we stayed had a washer and dryer so that we wouldn’t spend the whole of our trip holed up in local laundromats or handing over a bag of diapers to a hotel staff. Once we booked Airbnb stays in places with laundry, we had to strategize our outings somewhat to make sure we’d be home (or awake) for long enough to run a load of diapers, but we mostly did loads at night when energy costs are lowest and babies are sleepiest.
Fellow cloth diaper travelers out there?
More on cloth diapering right this way.