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Flushed: How NOT to use a cloth diaper sprayer!

Posted by Becca on 4/11/2011 to Cloth Diaper How-To

Diaper sprayers are really a great investment.  If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one.

However, they seem to require some training. I don’t know why that is since in theory it doesn’t seem extremely difficult to point and shoot the thing. I guess maybe because it demands a bit of coordination to hold the diaper and then spray at the right angle.

I’ve seen many accidents happen with the diaper sprayer—some of which I’ve written about here. I’ve accidentally sprayed myself in the face with one before, and I’ve also inadvertently sprayed my daughter’s poop all over the wall instead of into the toilet. Yuck!

But the worst of all diaper sprayer accidents happened today with my babysitter—who also happens to be a dear, dear friend.

“Becca,” she said as I came in the door and rushed to greet my darling little girl, “Did Dave talk to you about what happened?” She had a little smile on her face which told me that it was something bad that had ended well.

“What was that?” I asked raising one eyebrow, almost unwilling to hear whatever it was that had happened.

“Well, your daughter pooped…”

I blanked out a minute imagining many possible poopy scenarios—poop all over her clothes, poop on the floor, poop on the walls…I knew it was going to be bad…

“…she pooped and I went to spray it and as I was holding the diaper over the toilet and letting it drip, I flushed…and…just as I flushed…the insert fell out…”

“You didn’t flush it did you?” I asked, horrified not at the thought of a clogged toilet, but at the thought of losing one of my inserts.

“I did,” she winced a little while still smiling.

“Well, I guess I’ll buy a new insert.” Only then did it occur to me that a microfiber diaper insert in my sewage pipes might not be a good thing. “Does the toilet still work?” I asked as an afterthought.

“Mmhmm. It works fine. I used it later.”

“Wow! Guess it’s a good thing we have a powerful toilet!”

I said goodbye to her and then thought about the problem at hand—a diaper without an insert. I tried to think of a way to get around buying one but ultimately I’m too obsessive about my diapers being in perfect order and I gave in and bought a replacement insert.

But further reflection convinced me that the problem wasn’t the missing insert, but the lack of proper instruction. The whole episode made me think of what I could have done differently. It’s not like I didn’t explain cloth diapers to my babysitter before she started watching my daughter. I told her how to put the diapers on a baby; I showed her how to pull the inserts out and refasten the laundry tabs before throwing them in the pail; I made it clear that rash cream is a no-no; and I briefly described how the sprayer works. “Just spray and go,” is sort of how that description went.

But obviously that’s not all there is to it. Using the diaper sprayer requires more than a sentence introduction. If I had it to do all over again, this is what I would tell my babysitter.

  1. Hold the diaper with the pocket upwards and spray downward on the mess.
  2. Wring out the diaper, folding it into itself so you’re only touching the outer layer of PUL and you can minimize the amount of poopy water you get on your hands.
  3. Pull the insert out of the diaper while still holding the diaper over the toilet.
  4. Don’t flush the toilet until after you’re done holding the diaper over the toilet.

Of course, now that she’s made the mistake for herself, I don’t have to explain the fine details of how not to flush a cloth diaper. She’s obviously learned that for herself. And though I’m sad that I have to buy a new insert for my poor, empty little bumGenius pocket diaper, replacement inserts are not that expensive and I didn’t break the bank or anything when I bought a new one. But the lesson learned here is that when it comes to cloth diapers and sitters, it’s really really important to walk them through every step of the diapering process from putting the diaper on, from your baby’s bottom to the diaper pail. Hopefully, I’ll never make that mistake again!


Becca G is a guest blogger for the Cloth Diaper Blog. Becca is a part time Spanish Teacher, a part time stay-at-home-mom, and the wife of the best husband imaginable. Becca’s absolute favorite thing to do is to spend time with her little family. She also enjoys doing anything crafty – from making jewelry, to writing, to sewing, to photography.

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