Posted by KarenC on February 25, 2004 at 07:57:10:
In Reply to: Cloth diapering and laundromat? Realistic??? posted by Julie on February 25, 2004 at 00:48:12:
I've never done that myself but I do know people who have either washed at the laundromat or in an shared appartment washer/dryer. I know it's doable but they did face a few inconveniences.
First one of them ran into resistance from other tenants thinking it was unsanitary (they even tried to convince her it must be illegal). Just in case you may want to look that up to arm yourself (look up first to see if there are any legal issues and second look up if there are any sanitary issues, might be harder but you could start at the health department).
You'll need lots of coins as well. Using cloth diapers often requires at least one extra rinse and that's not easily done on a coin operated machine. YOu have to make sure all detergent is really well rinsed out (and you only need to use about 1/3 the 'recomended' amount to start with) or it could lead to a odor causing build-up.
If you'll only be washing them once a week you'll have to do something to rinse them in the meantime. I would strongly recomend against a dry pail with no rinsing when you're only laundering once a week. Diaper services can get away with it but only because they wash with super heated water, special industrial machines and strong chemicals. Normally home (or laundromat) washers shouldn't go more than 2-4 days at the very most (less in really hot weather). If you go too long and especially if you don't rinse you will definetly have *very* strong odors (that will surely make others at the laundromat take notice if not outright complain)! YOu'll also be very likely to face lingering odors in clean diapers, lots of stains and maybe even a mold issue in very hot weather.
Once a week laundering will also require a large investment in diapers. Newborns go through anywhere from 9-12 diapers a DAY for at least a few weeks. It does get better from there but you'll still be needing at least 5-7 diapers a day in toddlerhood. What you'll be needing to invest in diapers (if you're using fitted diapers especially, prefolds are less expensive, though also less convenient) could almost be invested in a small apartment washer to simplify things for you. You could always ask for it for a shower gift and then line dry or bring the diapers to the laundromat to use their dryers.
Do you have any friends or family that you could maybe borrow their washer/dryer at least once in a while? It may be worth it even if you have to beg, LOL! Anyway, it's definetly something that will require some thought and organization but it's NOT impossible (as you'll surely be told by cloth nay-sayers!). You just might want to reconsider the once a week thing.... with a baby's diapers, baby's clothes and your clothes (not to mention those of your significant other) you'll almost surely need to be at the laundromat more than once a week anyway.
Another thought would be to look into diaper services in your area....
Hope I didn't discourage you too much... It wasn't my intention, I just wanted to let you know of some of the challenges you'll face so you'll be better prepared when they come. You might want to check out other cloth diapering bulletin boards for moms who've experienced exactly this. I used to hang around the Baby Center cloth bulletin board (www.babycenter.com) and I think they have one at www.mothering.com as well. Oh, and check out the articles at www.borntolove.com , I'm sure they have something on this there, they have TONS of cloth diapering articles!