Thursday, September 11, 2014

American Baby Collection

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 What better than to purchase some awesome diapers WHILE contributing to a worthy charity?! Part of our proceeds from the sales of these prints will be going to the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen's Fund.  Check out more about the charity HERE!










Visit www.softbums.com to purchase and donate, now!




Don't forget to enter our giveaway below!!  We will be giving away 1 of our "American Baby" prints!!  Winner gets to choose which print and style they want!

 
 
 
 

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Lifespan of a Cloth Diaper - How Long Will My Cloth Diapers Last?

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Happy Thursday! I hope your week has been filled with lots of fluff and no stink! :)

Today, let's talk about a topic that a lot of people often have questions about when they start cloth diapering OR when they notice their diapers not looking so great.

How long will my cloth diapers last? 



I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there because of the statement, "One-Size diapers will last from birth to potty training." Yes, the diaper will fit from birth to potty training, but that doesn't mean it'll be functional that long. The lifespan of a cloth diaper really depends on how well you take care of it. Other than manufacturing defects covered by warranty, cloth diaper companies (like Softbums) aren't responsible for replacing cloth diapers because of wear and tear. Would you contact your t-shirt company because it got a hole in after you washed it 100 times? No. Me either. There's definitely an interesting phenomenon in the cloth diaper industry where customers almost expect that companies replace diapers long past their prime.

Now that we have all that out of the way, below you'll find the most common wear and tear components on a cloth diaper and how to keep them in tip top shape the longest.

1. Hook and Loop, Aplix, Velcro (however you refer to it) - If you choose to do velcro on your diapers instead of snaps, this will be the first place you'll see wear and tear. Velcro becomes fuzzy and can curl over time causing it to be less sticky. You'll also notice that lots of strings and fuzz tend to collect there.



Thankfully, both situations are easily remedied. Keeping your velcro tabs clean by picking out the fuzz with your fingers or the end of a snappi can keep them looking nicer longer, as will making sure you use the laundry tabs when washing. Air drying your diapers can help keep your velcro sticky, too. And if all else fails and your velcro is completely shot - you can replace it using some simple sewing. Softbums sells replacement hook and loop here.

2. Pilling - This can happen on both the inside and outside of the diaper. You'll notice pretty quickly that the inside micro-fleece lining on your Softbums or other cloth diapers getting pilly. This is completely normal and harmless. I've never done anything to try to remedy this, but you can use a sweater shaver to remove it if it bothers you.

If you're using hook and loop diapers, you'll also notice that the PUL surrounding your velcro can also get pilly. This is just from the velcro catching on it. Again, totally harmless. You can either be really careful when changing your baby and using the laundry tabs or you can try the sweater shaver trick above being careful not to create any holes.



3. Elastic - Next to go is usually the elastic. You'll see the terms "relaxed elastic" often if you frequent cloth diaper buy/sell/trade groups. This just means that the elastic has stretched out either from natural wear and tear or excessive heat use (either too hot water in the wash or drying on high in the dryer too often. The use of additives can also break down the elastic quicker then it would naturally. Bleach and vinegar are often culprits.

Again, you can prolong the life of your elastic. Don't wash your diapers hotter than about 120 degrees and air dry instead of throwing in the dryer. If you must put them in the dryer - dry on low/medium heat and remove promptly. Never (or seldom) use additives. If you have to for whatever reason, just be aware that it will void your Softbums warranty. If your elastic is relaxed, but your diaper is otherwise looking great you can replace the elastic. Softbums elastic is easily replaceable and can be purchased here.

4. Staining - It's just a natural part of using cloth diapers! Remember - they're being pee'd and pooped in. Even if your diapers don't look stained at first glance, they tend to look dingy over time. Just hold up an old diaper next to a new one and you'll know what I mean!

You can help keep stains at bay by washing every 2-3 days, washing in hot water (but not too hot!), and hanging to dry in the sun (natural whitener) just to name a few things. There's lots of stain tricks and products out there! Just make sure if you're drying outside that you face the inside of the diaper towards the sun. Repeated sun exposure to the outside of the diaper can fade the color/print over time.

5. PUL  - You'll know a diaper has completely gone through it's lifespan when you've got holes. Holes in the PUL most often occur on the tabs (the sides you use to close the diaper) since that's where you touch it most often and along the back elastic since it rubs up against your baby's clothes. You can continue to use a cloth diaper that has little holes in these areas as they don't necessarily come in to contact with your baby's urine, but holes in the middle of the diaper means it's usually time to retire it. And a cloth diaper that's delaminated is finished. You'll know that this has happened if you see the shiny inside material of the PUL separate.

Another place you'll often find holes from wear and tear is on the rise snaps of One Size diapers. Fortunately, Softbums doesn't have rise snaps so you'll never have this problem! Phew.....

6. Inserts/Pods - Usually what happens here is that they just thin out over time. You may notice a little less absorbency. Sometimes you may see holes from the wear and tear of washing and drying. And of course, they may become dingy and stained as they get used.



Other Contributing Factors:

  • Stash/Rotation Size - More diapers means less washing. Less washing = less wear and tear. A bonus to using Softbums is that you don't need to wash the shell/cover every time it's used. Simply replace the insert/pod. You'll end up washing them less than you would a typical cloth diaper.
  • Additives - Additives like bleach and vinegar can weaken elastic and damage PUL over time. Never soak your diapers in these things.
  • Water and Drying Temperature - Too hot water or a too hot dryer setting can also weaken elastic, PUL, and hook and loop closures over time. Never use the sanitize cycle on your washer. The water gets too hot on that setting. Line dry your shells. If using the dryer, never dry on heat higher than the medium setting unless doing the 15 minute sealing when you first get your Softbums shells. You can also remove your shells half way through and let them air dry the rest of the way. There's no absorbent material there so it won't take long!

**Remember, one-size cloth diapers don't last forever and they're still cheaper than buying disposables. You'll likely be able to get through one kid from birth to potty if you take good care of them. It's a bonus if you get to use them on another. Replacing hook and loop and elastic will get you even more time. The takeaway: A cloth diaper will last on average 1.5 - 2 years. Double this to 3-4 years by keeping a larger stash, taking gentle care of them and repairing when necessary.**























Let's Connect!: In the comments let me know the longest you've ever used a cloth diaper? Have they lasted more than 1 kid? What ways do you take care of them that have made the most difference? Feel free to ask any questions, as well. I'll stop back and answer. XOXO! :)

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Curious about who's writing for Softbums now? Well, that's me! My name is Jenny and I'll be contributing to the Softbums blog weekly. Check back every Wednesday for a new post about Softbums, cloth diapers, and other parenting topics. Like my writing and want to read more? You can find me over at my blog - According to Jenny. I'm not currently active there, but you'll find lots of good stuff in the archives. I've also written for several cloth diaper retailer blogs including Kelly's Closet, Squishy Tushy, Earthy Crunchy Mama, Cloth Diaper Outlet, and the Little Monkey Store. 

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Giving Back to those who help!

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We are proud to announce a wonderful organization we are working with to donate for our new diaper release on 9-11-2014.
We had to release some time in the fall anyway, and thought what if we did a patriotic/NY theme and gave back to so many who helped on this fateful day!  


 Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund Founded more than a century ago and managed by the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association, the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to helping the families of LAFD firefighters facing a serious crisis, such as being injured or killed in the line of duty. Your kind and generous contributions make a significant impact and provide much needed care for firefighter families such as: Basic living expenses Paying for health insurance premiums for firefighter families that cannot afford it Durable medical equipment Memorial scholarships for the children of firefighters Other needed financial assistance
Thanks for being a hero to a hero!
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Winners Announced!

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Winners announced today for the Giveaway! 
Jaimie Pagano-Natoli
Paige Tyton
Courtney Hamilton
 Congratulations! Thank you everyone for participating!

 For more information on the charity we are donating to, please see here.
 Have a Super Soft Day! StumbleUpon
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stripping Cloth Diapers - An EASY Way!

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Hello Softbums friends! Are you having problems with your diapers smelling? Leaking? Or are you just curious what everyone is talking about when they say they're "stripping?" Well, you've come to the right place! Whether you use Softbums exclusively or have a variety of different brands - stripping is all the same. Below you'll find an easy step by step guide to getting your diapers back in tip top shape.



There are a lot of different methods out there for stripping cloth diapers, but I find that the simplest is the most effective. If you decide to go a different route, my only advice is to NEVER EVER put your diapers in the dishwasher. That's the only stripping method that I'm completely against because 1.) fire hazard and 2.) Eww.....

Just follow this simple plan instead:

1. CLEAN DIAPERS - If you want to strip your cloth diapers and they're all dirty, just run through the first part of your wash routine. Do your cold (or warm) rinse and your hot wash. Otherwise move on to step 2 if you've already got clean diapers.

2. HOT WASHES - Stripping is just a way of removing build up (from either detergent or rash cream) from the materials of your diapers and pods/inserts. To do this all you need to do is wash your diapers on HOT with NO DETERGENT. Repeatedly - until you see no more detergent bubbles. Remember: bubbles from your detergent and bubbles from your agitator are different. Don't confuse the two or you may do more washes than you need. The third wash is a good time to start checking for bubbles and go from there depending on what you see.

3.  DRY - Do whatever you normally do to dry your diapers. I prefer to hang outside in the summer for the added benefit of the sun (did you know it's like a natural whitener and disinfectant?!) or dry my inserts/pods/etc in the dryer and hang shells and covers on a drying rack. Do what works for you.

4. ANALYZE - There's really no step 4 (gotcha!), but it's a really good time to think about your wash routine and what could be causing your problems. If you have to strip your diapers - something's not right, ya'll. Especially if you're stripping every month. Whether that means switching detergent (Softbums recommends Purex Free and Clear), using less or more (using less would help with build up and using more usually solves the stinky issue), or changing around the amount you wash at one time with the correct water level. Didn't you know using cloth diapers involved science? ;)

SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT ADDITIVES:

I'm definitely one to avoid additives when washing/stripping, but there are a few things you can try if the above steps just aren't working. Please keep in mind that using the below additives will void your warranty and/or contribute to early wear. You want these babies to last don't you?

Blue Dawn - If someone got a non-cloth diaper safe rash cream on your beloved Softbums and you've got a spot of repelling that didn't go away with the above stripping method, you can scrub the spot with a toothbrush and a LITTLE Blue Dawn Dish Soap. Dawn is a degreaser so it should remove any stubborn rash cream but IT WILL void your Softbums warranty and possibly your washer warranty, as well.

Bleach - You're going to find people who use bleach on their cloth diapers and those who don't. I'm normally in the "Don't Camp", but would consider using it if I needed to disinfect because of an infection like yeast or because I was completely at my wits end washing diapers and I was going to quit and use disposables. I'm no quitter. Again, just remember that the use of bleach will void your Softbums warranty, so use at your own risk.

Let's Connect!: In the comments let me know if you've ever stripped your cloth diapers and what method you've used. If you've never had to - what's your wash routine?! Feel free to ask any questions, too. I'll be sure to stop back and answer! Cheers!

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Curious about who's writing for Softbums now? Well, that's me! My name is Jenny and I'll be contributing to the Softbums blog weekly. Check back every Wednesday for a new post about Softbums, cloth diapers, and other parenting topics. Like my writing and want to read more? You can find me over at my blog - According to Jenny. I'm not currently active there, but you'll find lots of good stuff in the archives. I've also written for several cloth diaper retailer blogs including Kelly's Closet, Squishy Tushy, Earthy Crunchy Mama, Cloth Diaper Outlet, and the Little Monkey Store. 
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