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Laundry

On location with Jess and James: cloth diapers and a human washing machine.

November 21, 2013

Change is in the air.

Growing up comes with a new adventure everyday, and our little friend Rocket is growing up before our very eyes. She is now out of the newborn gPants and into size small, which means she can start using the cloth inserts, too. So now there’s the big question: how does one cloth diaper a baby on a boat? I’m just gonna step back and let Jess do the talking. She’s got this cloth diaper thing dialed.


Jess Rocket
So, what’s new in our glamorous floating life? Well, aside from me having to dismantle one of our toilets in order to remove a crab that was blocking a pipe (told you – glamour!) the main news is all about milk. Yup, that white gold has been what it’s all about as far as Rocket’s concerned ever since we returned from Canada. Which means, hallelujah, she has finally graduated to her small g’s!

I must say, the reality so far of cloth diapering on the boat has proved remarkably hands off and easy so far. The key seems to be hot water.

The system that I’m using currently is two buckets. I have one that I soak the used cloth inserts in. In order to create an equivalent to a hot machine wash I boil a kettle and do half and half boiled water to tap (tank) water with detergent in it. I’m using Rockin’ Green. The wash has between 7-9 inserts in it per day. Of these, generally only 2 or 3 of these are particularly poo-stained. Once the water is ready I dunk the inserts and put the bucket lid on and let them all soak. This works really well as a job I can juggle while looking after little Rocket as I do it in stages.

Anchor nappiesThe bucket is left to soak and then, when it’s cooled enough for me to put my hands in, I can squeeze and agitate them all and pretend to be a washing machine. I wring them out and rinse them in our sink but I keep the bucket water for all the new inserts that come; that way anything that’s poo-y gets a quick rinse and then is plonked in the bucket with the lid on until the next day so no nasty smells.

The other bucket sits for the best part of a week with the used pouches soaking in a diluted ‘Vanish’ wash*. This is the only thing that I’ve found to remove those gorgeous radioactive yellow baby poop stains (seriously – white milk goes in and toxic yellow waste comes out? Baffles me every time!). I rinse off any matter from the pouch and then pop it in the bucket to soak until it whitens up again and then wash it as normal. These two little buckets sit on the floor of our heads (boat-speak for bathroom) quite unobtrusively as they’re only about 6 inches tall. It seems to be working great so far as I can get up and make coffee and use the extra water in the kettle to start the daily laundry load. Plus, we thankfully have enough inserts that it’s fine for me to skip a day without it being a total disaster.

LaundryI must admit, I take a rather geeky satisfaction in hanging all her inserts and happy, rainbow-coloured gPants up on the line which we’ve rigged-up in our cockpit. Everyone comments on the great pant colours as it’s so hot here that she wears nothing else during the day.

Change is in the air and our little girl is no longer quite so little. I’ve had to hold myself together as my eyes get misty, packing away the cute little onesies and outfits that she’s already grown out of. At 3 and a half months she’s developing new skills every day and is now actively reaching for and grasping at things. Although, she has already taught us that you must never let yourself get too comfortable with a particular pattern of behaviour as she’s likely to change things up to keep us on our toes. In fact, she’s been ignoring Bingo all day, her eyes glazing over when he swings into her vision. And she just reached out to him and bit his specially designed crinkly ears – how fickle!

Rocket loves Bingo.
Rocket and Bingo, a fickle love affair.

*author’s note: gDiapers does not recommend using Vanish or other stain-removing products on pouches and cloth inserts. Check out this blog post for more cloth laundry care tips.

Where is this boat headed?

The weather is cooling off in the Mexican harbor and very soon Jess, James and Rocket will be embarking on a journey to the UK where Rocket is sure to be doted upon by her grandmothers. We’ll catch up soon to see if Jess’ bucket method is fairing the shift in weather, and to discover what new changes Rocket has launched into their lives.

about the author Kelli Martinelli – Kelli has been with gDiapers since its infancy in 2006. She writes the gDiapers blog, email campaigns, web content, manages social media and customer service and supports PR. She occasionally takes a stab at her own blog It’s Me, Kelli, where she chronicles her waste reduction efforts and her stories as a single mama to two kiddos. Stay in touch on the gDiapers bloggoogle + and twitter.

6 thoughts on “On location with Jess and James: cloth diapers and a human washing machine.”

  1. It’s so awesome that they are doing this! What about making a camp washer next time they’re in port? That could make life much easier, and as Rocket gets older the extra cleaning power might be important.

  2. This was awesome to find. We are taking a boat trip (only for a week) with our little man this summer and I want to be able to Gdiaper him the whole time and use cloth inserts.

    Thanks for sharing:)

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