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Understanding Infantilism (.org)

Cloth Diapers without a Pail

By BitterGrey


One of the dilemmas that some infantilists face is finding the most effective way to live with a few diapers per month. There are established solutions for those who wear diapers all the time, or almost never, but not for those in between, who wanted to avoid both the cost of many disposables and the presence of a diaper pail.

One solution, although imperfect, would be to use Ziploc bags to store the diapers, which could be washed with other clothes if they weren't too stinky. So far, no additive has been found that reduces the odor of bagged diapers. Practical changes, like changing the diapers when they are less wet, or drinking more water to dilute the urine, will reduce the per-diaper odor, but may increase the number of diapers to be washed.

A Problem in the Middle

Infantilists who use diapers all the time just use the time-tested solution: a diaper pail. After each change, the diaper and plastic pants are immersed in a diaper pail. The diapers are washed about twice a week in Dreft®, resulting in a wonderfully fresh and baby like aroma. The plastic pants are washed by hand in cold water, and hung out to dry. With proper care, the diapers and pants will last a long time, giving them a low cost per use in spite of a high initial investment. Even the cost of washing decreases depending on the size of the washing machine. A classic example of Returns of Scale.

In contrast, those who wear only a few adult diapers in their life are fine using disposables. Each disposable is expensive and will stay in our landfills into the distant future. (Like a lot of infantilists, my infantilism is specific to disposables, but I'm trying to steer it toward cloth for environmental reasons.) However, the lack of an initial investment makes this the best option for very small quantities.

Between these two extremes, there are those of us who wear a few diapers per week, or per month. In this middle range, both of the above solutions have their drawbacks. The increasing number of disposables becomes expensive, both financially and environmentally. Alternatively, the fixed costs of cloth diapers can be high if there are only a few diapers in each load of laundry.

A General Solution

The ideal solution would be one that used cloth, but eliminated the need to regularly empty a dedicated pail into a diapers-only load of laundry, without creating other hassles or environmental issues. One solution is to take steps to keep the diapers from getting too stinky, and then sealing them up in Ziploc bags. The plastic pants also go in a Ziploc bag. At wash time, the diapers go into the wash and bags. The plastic pants go into the wash, in a ' lingerie' bag', a zippered mesh bag that will protect the plastic pants from tearing. The plastic pants need to be able to withstand washing in hot, but at this time, I'm not sure of a way to verify this beforehand. The load is filled out with casual clothes that won't shrink or bleed. (Rags that have cleaning chemicals on them may shorten the life of your diapers if they are washed together.) This eliminates the special loads of wash and the dedicated diaper pail, and with it, a lot of the burden caused by a few cloth diapers. The bags can even be reused several times.

Of course, there is still that detail about keeping diapers from getting too stinky. If they can be swished in the shower or rinsed out in the sink, this is the best way. Short of this, there may be something that can reduce the odor when placed in the bag, placed in the wash, or taken orally. The efficacy of these somethings is the subject of folklore, myth, and research.

The First Test Series.

The first test series included 4 wash treatments (ordinary hot wash, vinegar in a "Downy Ball", baking soda, wash twice & dry twice), 4 body conditions (ordinary, 1000 mg extra Vitamin C, 6800 mg Cranberry, shaved daily), and 4 bag conditions (empty bag, 10 drops of Nuline's Odor Control oil, baking soda & water, vinegar). The series itself was structured in a reduced, orthogonal test matrix to be run over nine weeks. (The "zero" run was needed to initialize the diapers.)

The diapers were washed in Tide in industrial machines. The plastic pants were dried on a Diamond Back Apex with drop bars and an RSX groupo. It was equipped with semi-slick tires for tests 1-4, and knobby tires for tests 5-8.

As the diapers were unbagged, they were scored on a 0 to 9 scale (0= no odor, 3 = musty, but not smelly, as if wet with tap water, 8 = sharp and strong odor). A score of 9 was reserved for diapers that were more than just stinky; they may start the eyes watering, or inspire fear that something is tunneling into the researcher's nose. The diapers were scored by bag number. The bag number was associated with the bag treatment afterwards.

The test series is complete, but the results are inconclusive. They suggest that adding baking soda or odor control oil made the odor worse. Bags with vinegar scored about the same as bags without treatment.

Ongoing research...

Needless to say, all contributions toward finding the best treatments are appreciated. If a reader would like to try the about factors, or a set of his own, I'd be happy to help with the construction of a test matrix and with the data processing using ANOVA. Suggestions and experiences are also appreciated.

- Updated:3 July 2014  1st:27 Sept. 2003     

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  Reader Comments:
  • Pottiypanties comments that Comco plastic pants can be machine dryed in his dryer without shortening the life of the pants. Vaseline or other oils will quickly run plastic pants quickly if they touch. Other dryers may run at higher temperatures, and other types of plastic pants may damage the dryer if machine-dried.
  • Duckbutt suggested a pillowcase as an alternative to a lingerie bag. Put up to 3 pairs of plastic pants in the pillow case, fold the top over, and pin it closed with 2 diaper pins. This will protect them when machine-washing.
  • Lemut shares a tip: Pants made from Euroflex™DEF are very resistant to oils of all types. I've tested a sample in baby oil for over three weeks now and not a hint of the material going hard or cracking..