Dealing with Dirty Diaper Laundry
Of course, the real test came later that evening when Isaac's diaper got really dirty. I imagine that handling a dirty cloth diaper isn't especially fun for anyone, but it poses a special challenge for germophobes like me. I haven't touched a public toilet with my hands in years -- I've perfected the foot flush -- and when possible, I avoid skin contact with the bathroom door as well. But now, according to the folks at DiaperPin.com, I was supposed to empty the diaper into the toilet and then swish the cloth in the toilet bowl before dropping it into a bucket.
I walked into the bathroom, holding the diaper out in front of me, and looked down at the bowl. I wanted to throw the diaper into the garbage and pretend the whole cloth experiment had never happened.
I pondered grossness for a minute or so. Then it occurred to me that Isaac was still undiapered and very possibly urinating on my laptop. I emptied the diaper, flushed three times, using gallons of water -- thereby almost certainly eliminating any of the environmental benefits of cloth diapers -- swished the diaper in the toilet bowl, dumped half a box of baking soda on it to eliminate the smell, threw it into the diaper pail, and raced to Isaac.
Later that evening, and every evening for the next few weeks, I took my bucket of diapers down to the laundry in our basement. To my pleasant surprise, once a diaper has been swished in a toilet bowl and covered with baking soda, the odor isn't so bad. And after being sprayed with a baby-safe stain remover and washed in hot water, the diapers came out white. The real problem was all the time the washing and drying took. I was having nightmarish flashbacks to Isaac's first weeks, when I was washing clothes so often that it felt like life was an interruption of doing laundry rather than the other way around.