July 27, 2010

Drain Cleaner Recipe

1/2 c. baking soda
1/2 c. vinegar

First pour all the baking soda down the drain.
Then follow that with the vinegar.

supposedly it's that simple...

Home Bathroom Cleaners

Here are tips for what to use for these following needs in the bathroom:
1. disinfectant: isopropyl alcohol
2. porcelain/glass cleaner: lemon juice
3. air freshener: 1/2 c. borax at bottom of trashcan
4. drain cleaner: 1/2 c. baking soda, then 1/2 c. white vinegar
5. Toilet bowl: borax and lemon juice
6. scouring powder: baking soda or dry salt

**www.vinegartips.com (for 1001 uses)

Lavendar Salt Glow Recipe

1 c. fine sea salt
2 c. almond oil
15 drops lavender essential oil

Use on face or feet, etc.

Furniture Polish Recipe

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice (smell)

*Really that's all you need...crazy huh?

Carpet Freshener Recipe

4 c. baking Soda
20-35 drops of each essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus and rosewood)

*vaccuum after 15 minutes on carpet
**store in glass jar

Natural Home-made Home Cleaners

Baking Soda and Vinegar are awesome. I've mentioned before that there are two great books by Vicky Lansky that share many uses of them. Here is a list of a few home-made cleaners to get you started in removing old commercialized, toxin-laden cleaners from your home. Look up the following recipes I've posted as separate recipes: (post title is same title listed below, but they're under the "trial" link)

1. Window-wash
2. Carpet Freshener
3. Lavender Soft-scrubber
4. Lemon Floor Wash
5. Lemon Furniture Polish
6. Drain Cleaner

These eight items make up the basic ingredients for nearly every do-it-yourself cleaning recipe.
Baking soda: provides grit for scrubbing and reacts with water, vinegar or lemon by fizzing, which speeds up cleaning times
Borax: disinfects, bleaches and deodorizes; very handy in laundry mixes
Distilled white vinegar: disinfects and breaks up dirt; choose white vinegar over apple cider or red vinegars, as these might stain surfaces
Hydrogen Peroxide: disinfects and bleaches
Lemons: cut grease; bottled lemon juice also works well, although you might need to use bit more to get the same resultsOlive oil: picks up dirt and polishes wood; cheaper grades work well
Vegetable based (liquid castile) soap: non-petroleum all-purpose cleaners
Washing soda: stain remover, general cleaner, helps unblock pipes; should be handled with gloves due to its caustic nature. Washing soda is usually found in the laundry aisle of grocery and drug stores.

Don't forget to pick up an empty spray bottle at the hardware store, and keep those old rags and used toothbrushes for wiping up and scrubbing.

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Another alternative are microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.

Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
• Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
• Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.
• Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
• Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
• Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.

Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 - 30 minutes before vacuuming.
For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Chopping block cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.

• Plastic food storage containers - soak overnight in warm water and baking soda
• In-sink garbage disposal units - grind up lemon or orange peel in the unit
• Carpets - sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming
• Garage, basements - set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for 12 - 24 hours

Dishwasher Soap: Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase the washing soda if your water is hard.
If you want to use a commercial dishwashing soap, try Nellie's All-Natural diswasher powder, which contains no bleach or phosphates.

Dishwashing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs.

Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.

Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Fabric softener: To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying clothing is another alternative.

Floor Cleaner and Polish:
-vinyl and linoleum: mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borox. Use sparingly on lineoleum.
-wood: apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar and rub in well.
-painted wood: mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon (4L) hot water.
-brick and stone tiles: mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (4L) water; rinse with clear water.

Most floor surfaces can be easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water. For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil; shake to mix.

Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth.

For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.

Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry detergents are also now available online and in select stores.

Lime Deposits: You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a wet cloth.

Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.

Metal Cleaners and Polishes:
-aluminum: using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.
-brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
-chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminum foil shiny side out.
-copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub., A simpler method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
-gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.
-silver: line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.
-stainless steel: clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth. Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks, pour some club soda on an absorbent cloth to clean, then wipe dry using a clean cloth.

Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.

Mothballs: The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene, which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth will repel moths. The cedar should be 'aromatic cedar', also referred to as juniper in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard.
Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and rose petals.
Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent - simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.

Oil and Grease Spots: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.

Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.

Rust Remover: Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 - 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.

Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.

Stickers on walls: Our children covered the inside of their room doors with stickers. Now they are grown, but the stickers remained. To remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

Water Rings on Wood: Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it.

Tips for cleaning:
Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there's little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide - windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as 'heat sinks', and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Minimize Dust
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a 'no-shoes-indoors' policy. If you're building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.

Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they're naturally more absorbent.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase 'green' commercial alternatives
. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.

Here are sites I used for this info:


Baking Soda Toothpaste? and other cleaners...

Baking soda is awesome! I'm switching over my household cleaners and other things to baking soda and vinegar based options. This is cheaper and fun and more convenient because I'll always have it on hand and most uses require just adding water or something.

There are two great books by Vicki Lansky about 101 uses of both vinegar and baking soda. I checked them out at the library, but they were so full of ideas that I think I might buy them online, because I found them on Amazon.

One use my husband has been enjoying (I don't prefer the taste) is using baking soda as toothpaste. We keep a little tiny container of baking soda in our bathroom cabinet and just dip a wet toothbrush in it and start brushing. It actually helps whiten your teeth, and you don't have to worry about all those unknown ingredients and chemicals. But if you do this, you might not be getting flouride (unless from your dentist or in your water--Utah's tap water has a high amount, so I don't worry about that). And actually, I've heard that fluoride in high amounts can be bad for you anyway, so I'm not too worried about that. If you don't want to do this all the time, you could maybe use a natural toothpaste every once in awhile too, because I think the baking soda could be hard on your teeth after awhile, if that's all you use. Not positive, but it works for us so far and many other bloggers whose posts I've read.

FYI, I've heard carrots are a natural toothbrush of sorts. One night I couldn't find my toothbrush, so I ate a few carrots. I know...not ideal, but better than nothing, right? There might be other options too.

Of course, these still lack the yummy mint, breath freshening..so make sure you chew on a mint leaf or pop an altoid or something. I haven't tried adding peppermint oil to the soda yet, but that'll be my next feat.
By the way, the only natural mints (without nasty artificial sugars...and flavorings) I can find at the store are the peppermint flavored altoids in the large container (even their smaller counterpart isn't 100% natural...weird). Costco has them in bulk. They're really atrong thugh, so we cut them all in half with a knife...the go longer that way too.

I'll include some basic cleaner recipes on here too. My natural Cleaners Post will list which recipes.

Natural Deodorant?

So, I've heard that anti-perspirants are bad, but deodorants aren't....but what type really works?
I decided to try a few: Tom's of Maine and Kissmyface. I never finished these and just use them for travelling and such, because I've found a new type that my husband and I use. It's a rock crystal actually and should last at least a year or two. Yep, all it is is a lump of rock/salt stuff. This beats having to wonder what the ingredients are and if it really is natural. And no, it do that's been rounded. It doesn't have the worrisome aluminums that are found in many other types of deodorant that make the anti-perspirant. This one happens to be called Naturally Fresh. I'd googled deodorants and finally found this one that sounded good. You can buy it online or aWholefoods, but I just bought mine at Smith's Marketplace in the Natural Foods isles.I would've liked to just get the real lump of rock, but they are sold in containers like this so they're shaped smoothly for application.
All you do it put it on when you get out of the shower. The rock is hard and dry, but the water on your body after the shower helps the you to rub it on. You have to apply it generously above and below the arm pit. I've even heard it works great for stinky feet and such too. Funny huh? Be careful though...if you drop this, it will break in pieces. You could still use it if it broke, but it wouldn't feel as smooth to use. A good idea would be to use some broken pieces in your travel bag, so you don't need to take the big thing.

It's a great deal for the price too...around $5 for a regular size, I think. But, I've heard that you need to give it a week or two before you judge it, because your body needs a chance to get use to it and get rid of all those other toxins that you were giving your body by using the other deodorants that weren't natural. Some people say they even had to phase out their clothes because unnatural deodorant/anti-perspirants stained their clothes yellow and left toxins and smells in their clothes. This doesn't do any of that.

I've also heard you can use baking soda...somehow, for homemade alternative. But what can't you use baking soda for?

Air-filtering Houseplants & Herb Gardening/Sprouting

So, I found this research study that was done by NASA on the top ten best air-filtering houseplants.
Here's the link for the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_air-filtering_soil_and_plants

But...I realized that my work had at least 3 or 4 of these that I could get (adopt-a-plant program) for free for my workspace. So I got a peace lily and a spider plant. I had killed my first spider plant a year ago at work (never had luck with plants and never wanted any really).

Since I've been sucessful with those two plants and some ivy also, at work, I've decided to get some plants in my house. Not only to real plants look nice in your home, but they provide oxygen and also can absorb some harmful polluntants in the air (read that study about formaldehydes and such).

Luckily I found a guy on KSL who had free spider plant seedlings here downtown. So Paul and I went and picked a ton off his spiderplant, so we could plant our own. I ended up getting about 30, becuase I gave them away at my baby shower as the party favor/thank you (green theme), and I included a little card/print out I made about how to care for the plant and also the top ten houseplants list so they can get other plants too if desired. Our two spinder plant seedlinds we got were just a few inches long when we got them, but now they're potted in our litte Ikea pots, one for each bedroom, and are growing taller each week (it's been about 2 months).

I also got a Topsy Turvy tomato plant holder to hang on my balcony outside, along with our basil plant. Talk about urban gardening...I also saw a strawberry growbag you can hang on your balcony to grow strawberries...which I'd love to try sometime.

I've found out that KSL occasionally has people giving away free plants and such. So far I've seen free tomato plants, strawberry plants, tulips, spider plants, trees, and some others I'm not familiar with so I don't remember them. IF you want to garden, but aren't sure where to begin, or don't want to invest money until you know what you're doing...try getting some free plants and begining there.

Also, herb gardening is a great place to start. I grew basil, chives and parsley last year (the dill flopped). We'd make our own pesto out of the basil and parsley...deliscious! I'll put a separate post in here that is the Pesto recipe, if you're interested. Also, we make dill, cheese popcorn all the time and it's delicious. So, these are four great herbs to have on hand fresh! (Cilantro is rather tempermental though and doesn't do well in high heat, so careful if you do that.)

Also, I went to our local Farmer's Market last year and bought some alfalfa seeds. There are a ton and will last for a long time. You can grow your own sprouts in 4 days that are great to top sandwiches and salad. You just take one tsp of seeds and put them in a glass jar with water, with a piece of clean panty hose (makeshift) over the top and leave on your counter. Each morning you pour out the water and rinse the seeds. By the third or fourth day you have sprouts. They last about one week I think. But this has got me interested in other types of sprouting. Be careful though, because there are certain beans you shouldn't try to sprout because they're bad for you when sprouted. You can google which beans to sprout and how long each take, etc. When sprouted, your body can actually digest it better anyway, so there are great health benefits from sprouting.

July 22, 2010

My Modern Cloth Diaper Experience

When I was pregnant, I decided to read some books about pregnancy. There were two that I really enjoyed that had a "Green" flare: "Raising Baby Green"(Alan Greene) and "Eco-nomical Baby Guide"(Rebecca Kelley and Joy Hatch). As I read these, I thought about how costly disposable diapers are. Then I thought about how much space they take up in the landfill. Then I thought about the materials that make them up. Overall, I decided to look into cloth diapers.

I really had no experience with cloth diapers, nor ever thought I would. But, upon googling cloth diapers and reading hundreds of reviews of all various types, I found what I eventually settled on...FLIP diaper system (http://www.cottonbabies.com/). Here's a great website for cloth diapering 101: http://www.diaperjungle.com/cloth-diaper-guide.html.

This System basically is a kit of diaper covers and inserts. The covers are one-size (8-35 lbs) adjustable covers in various colors that are waterproof inside and snap on the outside. The have elastic leg gussets and front tabs, so they fit well on babies. They're pretty cute too, even though they're large for a little 8 lb-er. The covers alone cost about $14 (free shipping and cheapest cost at cottonbabies.com). I bought three day packs (which each include two diaper covers and 6 inserts).

What I love about this system is that they come with a choice of three inserts: 100% organic cotton prefolds (a square cloth you can fold and lay in the cover), or a rectangular microfiber insert (with terry cloth on the bottom side so it wicks the moisture off baby's bum and to the other side of the insert, against the waterproff layer of the cover), or you can buy the disposable rectangular inserts in case you're travelling and won't be able to wash the cloth inserts for a few days. The cotton prefolds are a little bulkier but most gentle on the skin and very absorbent. The microfiber has a small and medium line sewn in to show you where to fold down if you're baby is smaller. But both of these need to be prewashed before use. The cotton inserts need 3-5 prewashes, while the microfiber only need to be prewashed once.

I have some of each of them. I use the microfiber inserts for daytime use and the organic cotton at night, and the disposable when I'm travelling. My little baby started using them at 8 lbs and 1 month old, and we have yet to use them while he's eating solids, so I haven't had a ton of experience with that yet. I'll keep you updated.

I had to buy a wet-bag (for dirty diapers). So far I've gotten two little bags for my travel diaper bag. I love them so far. They're Kushies brand (see picture later in this post) and the design is adorable. They're probably the size of a sheet of paper, so I can only fit 5 or so inserts in them, but that's fine for travelling. I just throw them in the wash with the inserts. Then I also bought a large diaper wet bag for the diaper pail (covered trashcan). I bought the can at Target with a push button lid (to keep in the stink), and the bag at blueberries.com. I love the yellow and green polka dota bag, but I spent a lot on it because it's the only one that said it could cinch shut or be used as a pail liner. Well...I can't cinch it shut very well at all because the material is always in the way and doesn't let the plastic thing slide very well...you might as well just get the basic Kissa's liner from amazon.com for $15...it will save you money!

When washing the inserts though, they're a little high maintenance. First, you need to wash them every 2-3 days. And, you need to first rinse cold, then wash hot with a second rinse. I don't mind this though, because I can set the washer to do that and I have a lot to wash all the time anyway, with all his spit ups and diaper changing mishaps, etc.

I did buy a new type of "detergent" though, that is environmentally friendly: Charlie's Soap. It has no perfumes, additives, enzymes, etc. In fact, it's just a soap...not a detergent. It's hypo-allergenic, non-toxic and biodegradable and really good for people with sensitive skin or for cloth diapering. So now I've just switched to it. It figures to $.20/load if you just buy the little 2.6 lb bag, but you can buy a huge amt in a bucket and get the cost down to somewhere around $.12/load. And, it makes you clothes feel extra soft, without needing softener. It's very simple and good. You can use it as a pre-ttreater too. There are only three main ingredients: natural washing soda, sodium silicate and coconut oil based ingredients. Plus it's made in the USA, which is becoming more rare.

UPDATE: Charlie's Soap doesn't disinfect! Don't use it unless you plan to also add bleach or something else. Now I'm using Nellie's or Mountain Green. (otherwise Charlie's worked well)

As for cleaning messes...
Luckily baby poop from strictly breast-fed babies is fine to put in the washer, so you just throw the inserts in. However when you start feeding solid foods, you can buy a diaper sprayer to attach to your toilet (really convenient, so you don't have to swoosh diaper in toilet), or you can buy little liners to put on the insert in the diaper and then you just peel that with the solid poop and throw it in the toilet to wash away (it's like a stiff dryer sheet).

For wipes, I just use baby wash cloths for now. I'm going to cut up some recieving blankets and old t-shirts and sew them together. I heard that having the flannel and cotton was good because then you can have a better wipe side and a dry side. I do use a basic little $1 spray bottle of water and with 2 drops of teatree oil (a disinfectant) dilluted with another carrier oil (ex: 1 T olive oil) into 1 cup of water (and you can add 1 T of baby wash or Dr. Bronners Soap too, and/or 1 drop of lavender oil (for the smell and calmness it promotes). (check out my post on homemade diaper wipes/spray and the properties of the spray).

I've heard you can put wipes in the liquid (like a plastic disposable wipes container, and even fold the cloths the same way so they help the next wipe pull up), but you need to change that weekly, because the moist cloth could become mildewed if you're not careful. So...I just use the spray bottle (it's nice for diaper rash too, because you can just spray the bum directly and pat dry, instead of the painful wiping needed). One down side about diaper rash and cloth diapering though, is that I've heard not to use creams on the cloth inserts, because it could stain/ruin the inserts. I'm not sure if this is true for all cloth diapers.

Other uses for cloth diapers. So...if you're interested in either the inserts or the covers, I do know that you can buy the covers and create/buy your own other types of inserts. I just liked that this kit came together so I didn't have to experiment with other cloth diapering stuff (especially since this is my first cloth diapering experience and first baby..I didn't want to be too overwhelmed to begin with but may experiment on future babies' diapering methods).

I've heard these covers also work as swim diapers to hold in the poop, as long as the pool isn't Chlorinated. The Chlorine would break down the PUL waterproof fabric. But our complex has salt in the water instead of Chlorine, so we don't need to worry about that here. We did find a great adjustable, reusable swim diaper we may by called Sun Smarties. They're cute and about $10 per sized diaper you buy (6 mth, 12 mth, etc.).

Anyway...feel free to let me know what you use or to ask questions. If I don't know, I'll look it up.

You could always make your own diaper and inserts...which I hope to eventually do, once I get a little more experience. Here's a site for one-size diaper cover instruction: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/03/homemade-one-size-cloth-diaper-pattern-and-wipes-recipe.html

**Update --almost year later
So, I'm still cloth diapering with my almost 1 year old now. Solid foods were a breeze with these. It was just the awkward week or two when the poop wasn't completely solid and wasn't just breast milk, so I couldn't just wash everything anymore. I never used my diaper sprayer, but it would've been handy for that small window/transition period. Otherwise his poop comes off just fine and flushes down the toilet. I've found that it sticks a little more to the organic cotton inserts, so the sprayer would be more useful for those.

I also have to use two inserts for nighttime and prefer the organic cotton on the bottom and microfiber on the top, so he stays a little dry during the long hours. The size of the cover just keeps adjusting to his size and I still haven't had any real problems. The main issues is knowing when to adjust the snaps for the cover to better fit him. I've just recently experienced a few pee-throughs because I hadn't adjusted the diaper cover tall enough, but I've never ever had a poop blowout in these cloth diapers! (And that's more than I can say for the for weeks I've used disposables or vacations.)

Update: baby is now almost 17 months.

We're still using the FLIP diapering system. I've had to use a diaper sprayer (bidet) attached to the toilet because he's had diarrhea a lot these past two weeks when he got something going around and it is disgusting to smell and gets the little leg gussets area poopy, so I can't just wipe them and reuse tham as easily. But it's good, because it makes me wash my diapers every two or three days like I should, so the poop doesn't stink up the bathroom. And yet, I still love the diapers.  There's just been bad smelliness from them because they need to be stripped.

So, I foudn online how to strip diapers from pee buildup smells, which I noticed everytime he peed. And they reek, let me tell you. But I just washed the inserts in hot water with 1 tsp. of dawn dish soap and gave it an extra rinse. Then washed them the same as usual, but didn't add any detergent in. Then washed them the same as usual again with 1/2 as much detergent (because I think I've been using too much so the inserts never fully wash out and that's why they were stinking). Anyway, they seemed good as new again.

I still have to strip the diapers now again, but it's easy now that I understand why they stunk and how to fix it.

I am still having a stinky diaper pail though. So I recently started putting in a cloth that I put some baking soda along with lavendar and tree oil on. I just stick it right on in the pail and forget about it--so it goes in with the laundry each time.  So I do that each time I put the liner back in after a wash. It still smells a little though, so I'm going to try some other things.

An honestly, I don't care for the organic inserts as much,k because they don't wick away moisture from baby's bum. I'd rather just have more micro-fiber ones on hand and use those to double. Though the organic ones work just fine as a doubler on the bottom layer. I still double his diaper inserts during the night, by the way--the same as I've always done.

*side note: I would say I change his diaper every two-three hours during the day, or when I notice he's gone potty in them. Each insert can normally hold two pee's worth at this age, before being so full he gets a line on his shirt where it seepsout of his diaper at the top, or onto his pants near the legs.

Potty Training Early Experiement
And just so you know....he's gone potty in the toilet three times in the last month. Twice in the past three days. Here are things I'm doing that are helping (again, he's almost 17 months):
1. He sees Mom and Dad go potty in the toilet.
2. He has a toilet seat baby adjustment thing I place on the toilet seat, with a little stool on the floor.  He doesn't have a separate toilet.
3. Whenever we use the potty we make "psssss" sounds and say "pee" or make a straining face and "ugh" sound for poop, so he can connect the noises and actions.
4. As soon as he wakes up in the morning I take him to the toilet and ask if he needs to go poop. At first he didn't like it, so I'd put him in tub naked and wait until he started straining (if I knew he had to go soon). If nothing, then I just changed his diaper. But it has become a routine and now he's fine sitting and he strains" to try to go--though he may not need to.
5. I notice his eating patterns and when he typically goes poop. And I try to predict and then put him on. This was not very sucsessful at first and still is hit and miss, but every little thing helps.
6. Celebrate their victories and brush over the misses and failures. Otherwise they'll get stressed out about "having" to go on the pot. We want him to enjoy going potty like mama and papa, not be forced to. We clap when he goes poop in the toilet and say "yay."
7. when he goes poo or pee, it might be helpful to have a sign, so he can get use to that and better communicate when he has to go. That could be verbal "psss," or I do the thumb-between pointer-and-middle-knuckles-fist (ASL "t" sign) and shake it side to side (ASL "toilet" sign). I'm hoping he'll eventually do this to let me know he needs to.
8. Again...let your toddler go at his or her own speed. this is my first and though we haven't completed the process of potty-training, I feel we're making good process. He can communicate with me in small ways at 17 months and we're working with what he can give and do. That's all.

(but I hope he'll be potty trained before another baby comes along because diapers with two kids seems like a lot of poop to change....esp. with cloth diapers. :P) *laugh*