Caring for Cloth Diapers While Traveling
While many people may decide to switch to disposable diapers “just for the trip”, this is not always the best idea. Disposable diapers are not great for a child’s sensitive skin, and sitting in a car or airplane while wearing a disposable diaper could easily cause breakouts, especially on a child who isn't used to wearing these types of diapers. Additionally, disposable diapers are not at all good for the environment, nor are they easy on your wallet.
Knowing these things, you may be left wondering what to do. Whether you are planning a camping trip or a family vacation to Disney World, the idea of using and caring for cloth diapers while traveling can feel daunting. While this is an understandable feeling, there are things you can do to make the care of your diapers travel-friendly so you can go wherever you like and continue using your favorite diapers the entire time.
Consider Using Disposable Inserts
If you typically use a hybrid diaper such as G-Diapers, the Flip System, or Grovia, you obviously have the option of using disposable inserts. These make travel easy, as the insert can simply be thrown out after use, leaving you with only a cover to clean.
Even if you don’t use a hybrid system, you can still use disposable inserts from one of these companies and place them in a regular PUL cover. Additionally, If you usually use pocket diapers, the disposable inserts can be placed outside of the pocket to catch any messes baby makes.
While disposable inserts aren’t a good solution for the long term due to cost, they are a good solution for while you are on the road. They are biodegradable, flushable, compostable, and all-natural, which means they are easier on the environment and your baby’s bottom than most disposable options.
However, there are some reasons you may choose not to use disposable inserts, even when traveling. These include 1) cost, and 2) the fact that although they are better than disposable diapers, they still aren’t the greenest option out there. If these factors have you feeling hesitant to switch to disposable liners for your trip, you should keep reading.
One of the best ways to make cloth diapering on the road simpler is to use diaper liners. While these will not always catch 100% of your baby’s messes, they will catch the majority of them, and can make dumping solid waste into the toilet a much easier task. Since you can’t take a diaper sprayer on the road, and will likely be doing a lot of diaper changes in public restrooms, you will want to do whatever you can to make the process of solid waste dumping go as smoothly as possible.
There are several types of diaper liners out there. While the cloth versions are great for protecting your diapers from diaper creams, they will not be very helpful when you are traveling. Instead, you will want to purchase some flushable diaper liners. These are made by such companies as Charlie Banana, GroVia, and OsoCozy.
Store Your Diapers and Keep Smells at Bay
Obviously, you will need somewhere to put your used diapers. While you may be used to tossing them in a diaper pail at home, you won’t have that option while you are traveling. For this reason, you want to be sure to bring along a good wet bag or two to hold onto wet and soiled diapers.
When choosing which wet bag to bring along, check to make sure it has a working zipper. You may also want to test the bag to be sure it traps odors nicely and doesn’t leak.
Because no wet bag can hold in the stinky smells entirely, bringing along some pail/wet bag deodorizer or some baking soda is never a bad idea. Another way to kill bad smells is to put a few drops of tea tree oil on a wipe and toss it in the bag.
If you will be gone for more than 3 or 4 days, you will need to wash your diapers while you are away. Unfortunately, not all hotels and campgrounds have washers, and even if yours does, you should probably skip it. This is because commercial-grade washing machines are especially hard on your laundry, including your diapers.
This leaves you with only one option: hand washing your baby’s dirty diapers. This really isn’t as bad as it sounds, and can be done in the hotel sink or bathtub or in a bucket. Just make sure to bring along some cloth diaper-safe detergent, and rinse each diaper out really well. Finish the process by wringing out as much water as possible from every diaper. This will decrease drying time.
Hang to Dry
Of course, you will need to hang your diapers up somewhere to dry. Since your lodging probably does not have a clothesline, and likely won’t appreciate you putting one up, you will need to get creative when finding a place to hang your diapers up.
If you only have a few diapers, they can be hung on the shower curtain rod in your hotel bathroom. If you need a place to hang more than three or four diapers, or if you don’t have a curtain rod to work with, you may want to pack a tension rod to hang in the shower—if there is one—for diaper-drying purposes. Another option is to pack a collapsible clothes-drying rack. These can be purchased at box stores like Target, and some fold up quite small for easy travel.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to give your diapers extra time to dry if you are stuck hanging them indoors. Turn on fans to keep air moving if possible, this will help your diapers dry more quickly.
Opt for Quick-Drying Inserts
Rather than packing your very best all-in-one diapers or your nice hemp inserts, opt for quick-drying microfiber inserts, or better yet, traditional flat diapers. These will dry faster, which will be a major bonus when you are trying to dry your diapers in the hotel bathroom, or when you run out of diapers since you couldn’t pack your entire stash.
As you can see, with a little preparation, using and caring for your cloth diapers while traveling can be just as easy as it is at home. So go ahead, plan that road trip adventure, and pack your favorite diapers while you’re at it!
- Kevin Thill