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Cloth Diapers, Should I dunk them or spray them?

Posted by Becca on 8/12/2014 to Cloth Diaper Accessories

Do You Use a Diaper Sprayer?

diaper sprayer Before I committed to cloth diapering, one thing held me back: the poop.

When I was younger, my mom cloth diapered, but the diaper service came and took away all our dirty diapers so we never had to deal with them that aspect of cloth diapering. Going into parenting I felt like not knowing how to deal with the poop was an insurmountable obstacle when it came to using cloth diapers. I knew one thing for sure, diaper services were just about extinct so I couldn’t do it my mom’s way. Once I got pregnant with my first, it was time to really make a decision. After a few people told me that poop is easily knocked into the toilet, we held our breath and took the plunge. It couldn’t hurt to try them, could it?

My daughter was one week old when we used our first bumGenius 3.0 diaper on her. It was orange, clementine to be exact, and oh so soft and perfect! Once I touched that diaper and put it up against her lacey, newborn skin, I was hooked. I couldn’t imagine something more wonderful to use on her bum and I knew I was never going back to disposables. Problem was, we only had three of those lovely diapers and not enough money to complete our stash all at once. Even though we felt that a diaper sprayer was a must, buying one was out of the question if we wanted to cloth diaper full time. Of course, she was exclusively breastfed for a good while, so I needn’t have worried. Newborn poop can go straight in the washing machine, though I’ll admit, I usually unhooked our shower head and sprayed her poop down the drain of the bathtub. A couple of months after using that first bumGenius, we finally had enough diapers that we could squeeze out some extra funds to use on a sprayer. Once we bought it, I let out a deep breath and felt so relieved that we’d be able to deal with the poop once she started eating people food. I knew that not everyone sprayed their diapers, but for me, that was the only option when we couldn’t put the poop in the washer (or in our case, the bathtub) any longer. It was buy the sprayer or go back to disposables. I was still, that afraid of the poop. It’s been five years now and we still use a sprayer. I love it, don’t get me wrong. It’s great for spraying poop off diapers, for cleaning the toilet, for spraying vomit off towels, getting fuzzy residue off dirty mops, and even personal hygiene if you don’t mind cool water.

However, I bought it to avoid touching poop.

Breaking news: I still touch poop. And toilet water.

It is nearly impossible not to touch it unless you don a hazmat suit. Of course if your baby gives you that nice, easy poop that plops perfectly into the toilet,; or if you use a pocket diaper and you have a perfect “roll and squeeze[1]” , your hands will stay dry. But how often do those things happen? There are too many soupy poops. Too many clumsy hands. Too many times that the poop will get to EVERY INNER SURFACE of the diaper and the spray goes everywhere. Even if you use a Spray Pal, the diaper still has to be wrung out. If you don’t have one, half of your diaper ends up dunked in toilet water anyway. And if all those things happen, then you really had to give it a good soak, and the diaper will be wet outside and in. So, I hate to break it to you: you are going to get murky, poopy, diaper/ toilet water on your hands most of the time. It is inevitable (of course you could invest in a set or rubber gloves). Even though I routinely have hands dripping in diaper sprayer water, I still had a hard time imagining using cloth diapers without the sprayer until I talked with a friend. She cloth diapered both of her kids and I never saw a diaper sprayer in her house. Honestly, that confused me for years. “How on earth does she deal with the poop?” I thought. I finally asked her the other day. “We dunk and flush,” she said. So I tried it. Dunk the diaper, hold on tightly to the diaper, and flush. It really worked! The first time I used it, the poop was removed just as easily without the sprayer as it was with it. Yes, I dunked my hands in toilet water, but how is that any different from my normal bouts of diaper spraying, squeezing and dripping? I get toilet water on my hands either way. And do you always have to submerge your hands? No. There are going to be times that the poop cooperates and you can dunk the diaper without touching water just as with the diaper sprayer. Just hold the diaper by the top and bottom and only let the inner fabric touch the water as you do a half dunk. The PUL will be dry and you can still attempt a perfect “roll and squeeze.” Notice, I said “attempt.”

All that said, I’m glad I have the diaper sprayer because it really can be used long after your kids are out of cloth diapers. I know this because my daughter was potty trained for nearly two years before her brother was born and we continued to find ways to use it. However, if I could go back to making that decision to purchase it— back when it was a choice between more diapers and a sprayer— with the information and experience I now have, would I do it? Do I really need the diaper sprayer? No. I really don’t. I prefer the sprayer now because I know the sprayer, but both dunking and spraying are both efficient ways of removing poop and they’re both going to get poop and/or poopy water on your hands. The upside to the sprayer is that it gives you the illusion that toilet­-water-­hands are the exception, not the rule. Also, in addition to effectively de­pooping the diaper, it has other uses too.

But of course, so does the toilet bowl, now that I think of it...

So, go ahead and buy the sprayer if your heart is set on it. You won’t be sorry. But can you do without it? If you’re pinching pennies like we usually are, you most certainly can.

[1] Roll and squeeze: when you roll the diaper inward and squeeze just gently enough that poopy water cascades neatly from only one leg hole instead of all over your hands or worse...

poopy diapers