Monday, December 10, 2012

So "What Do You Do With All The Poo?"

One of the first questions people inquiring about cloth diapering ask me is, what do you do with all the poo? A lot of people give the reasons of not wanting poop in their washer or not wanting to have to touch the poop as main reasons they do not cloth diaper. It's an interesting question, but like so much that has to do with CDing, it has many answers and the answer will depend on you and what works best for your family!

Did you know: You are supposed to dump poop in the toilet from disposable diapers too?

I didn't know this until I started cloth diapering. I didn't believe it was true, so I went out and looked at the back of a disposable diaper package. Sure enough, it says clear as day that you should dump poop and/or rinse the diapers in the toilet before throwing them away!! How many of us REALLY do that? I know I didn't when I used disposable diapers with my oldest! But it does make sense! Think about it, all that poop is just sitting in landfills, polluting the air and land. And what happens if a garbage barge sinks in the ocean with tons and tons of trash on it, then what happens to the poop in all those diapers? I shudder to think of it! So now that I know better, I do better, and I dump poop from disposables into the toilet when we use them. I still much prefer using cloth tho!

Different Ways to Get Rid of the Poo

Like I said there are a few ways to get rid of the poo. The goal is to get it in the toilet without making a huge mess and getting it all over yourself obviously. It's super easy and there are multiple effective ways but one might be easier for you, so maybe try them all!

Dunk and Swish

The dunk and swish is what our grandma's most likely did. This is what I did during the newborn stage. It's fairly simple, hold the diaper by one end and dunk it repeatedly in the toilet water. Flush, and while it's flushing hold the diaper in the running water from the side of the toilet, and continue to dunk until satisfied. Then put it in your wet bag, pail, etc, and you're done! While this is effective for some poop and not other, it is generally great in a pinch or a bind, or when you are just getting started before you invest in anything else!

Spray or Peri Bottle

A lot of people use those little peri bottles that the hospital sends home with you or a spray or squeeze bottle of their own (recycle an old ketchup bottle or something!) filled with either warm water or wipe solution. You then hold the diaper by one end into the toilet and use the bottle to spray water directly on the poop, pushing it off into the toilet, flush and done!


Diaper Sprayers are a very popular option these days. They can be a little pricey, or you can make your own using simple and cheap items found at your local hardware store and YouTube tutorials. I'll be honest, you don't need one. They can be convenient, yes, but I bought one in a co-op and never used it. It hasn't even been hooked up. You just really don't need them and if money is tight, you can totally skip! But while they can be convenient they can also be messy. It is my understanding that a lot of people need to adjust the water pressure to a lower setting because with the recommended setting you get "spray back" meaning poopy water sprays all over you and the bathroom. But once you get that figured out it usually isn't a problem. It's usually just a matter of figuring out the right pressure, and angle to spray at. Sprayers hook into where the toilet water comes from in the wall. So it is using the clean water that would be fed into the bowl.

Detachable Shower Head

Now, for stubborn poops, I use my shower head, and my husband tends to use it for all poops. It has the convenience of a sprayer with the ease of it already being hooked up! Like most bathrooms, my toilet is right next to my bath tub. So all I do is grab the detachable shower head, turn it on low, and spray the diaper off into the toilet. The shower head never touches the diaper or poop and I have never had a problem with spray back. It's already there so it doesn't cost any extra, so if you are wanting the ease and convenience of a sprayer, this may be a great solution. It's also awesome if you don't want to mess with the plumbing and you don't want to worry about asking your landlord if it's ok to use a sprayer.


Some people like to keep a separate spatula that does not get used in the kitchen (I've also heard of people using bottle brushes) in the bathroom to scrape the poop off the diaper and into the toilet. This is completely feasible, cheap, and an easy way to quickly get everything off into the toilet without having to dunk and swish, dunk and swish, and without risking spray back from sprayers. I have never tried this method but I have heard it is very successful as long as you keep the brush or spatula clean. I am a very busy mom, I have two jobs, two kids, a dog, a husband, and a house to take care of and I don't like the idea of another thing to clean but that is just me. I've heard it's very little and very easy upkeep, I just don't want to bother when I already have a system that works fine and was free.

But what do I do when I'm out?

This is a very good question, and I honestly need to do a blog just about cloth diapering when away from the house and all the challenges that come with it! When I'm out and about I always just throw the diaper into my wet bag and save it for when I get home. Some people do this at home as well and only spray right before going in the wash, but I prefer to spray as they happen so they aren't stinking up the wet bag anymore than usual. So you could dunk and swish, or carry a spatula in a big zip lock bag, or you could bring a peri bottle full of wipe solution or water with you. It's really up to you. Like I said, you could also just toss it all in the wet bag and rinse when you get home!

I Don't Want Poop in My Washer!

I honestly don't understand this sentiment, especially with parents of newborns or very young babies. Has your child ever leaked out of a diaper or had an explosive episode? What did you do with the sheets from the bed? Chances are you took those crib sheets and tossed them in the washer, while gagging, choking, and reminding yourself how much you love your kids! And what about when your child is sick and spits up? Straight in the washer, right? The clothes that they wear when poop leaks out your diaper? Yep, straight in the washer. So poop and pee has already been in your washer. Your washer gets clean, and gets rid of the poop and pee, that's what it was made to do! So how is a load of diapers every few days any different than a load of nasty icky sheets and clothes? The only difference is you don't have a screaming baby to bathe while everything is in the wash!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, try them all, see what works for you. I started off with the dunk and swish, moved to a peri bottle, and now use the shower head as a sprayer sometimes. I'm very happy in the routine we have developed, and once you find the right routine you will be too! I hope this has answered questions about the process of getting the poop off of the diapers. Remember, you could just throw the diapers in without rinsing them and do a couple rinses in cold before you wash, but I don't recommend that. You can also just use flushable liners and pull them out and dump them in the toilet.

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