Diapering In Different Climates - East versus WestDiapering in different climates was not something I had ever thought about before. That was until I found myself 2000 miles away from all things familiar, in a climate significantly different then what I was used to. I never imagined that the way I diapered my daughter and laundered her diapers would do a complete 180 ... but it did.
When I began my diapering career, I was living in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. The weather was often dry and hot, and since we lived just outside the city, we had well water and no water softener. I was easily able to slip into a comfortable routine of washing diapers every 4 days, doing two washes and a rinse. Hanging them to dry in the house or drying them in a dryer was a lightning fast operation, about an hour would do it.
If I became very busy and couldn't get to the diaper laundry within 4 days, it was no problem. The dry climate meant the diapers could sit for well over a week without a stench building up, and they came clean just fine. Mildew and mold were non-existent.
Because I found washing diapers to be so easy and the drying time so fast, I quickly became enamored with AIOs or All-in-Ones. They were the easiest and most convenient diaper type for us. MY least favorite diaper was the pocket style diaper because it had different components that needed to be used in conjunction to make the diaper work effectively. For me, this was just extra work, and I avoided them whenever possible.
All of that changed, however, when I moved to Ohio. I found myself in climate that was very moist and humid. This changed the way I diapered. Because of the humidity, I found that my daughter's diapers had to be laundered every other day. Why? Well, the moist, humid air would cause a mildew smell to form and the stench would be noxious after only 3 days. I also noticed that the diapers attracted flies (which we have few of in Arizona), which, if left unchecked, could lead to (gasp) maggots. Yuck!
Drying outdoors became my favorite method for drying (in nice weather) because the diapers took significantly longer to dry, maybe even 2-3 dryer cycles. So I decided to hang them on the line and conserve some energy. To my surprise, line dried diapers in Ohio smelled fresh, whereas in Phoenix, line dried diapers got stiff and hard with a smell that was not something to be admired. (One tip for avoiding stiff diapers is to double up the diapers. This allows the material to dry slower and remain soft.)
Our new residence in Ohio has a water softener which also added to my diaper laundering dilemmas. Diapers were much harder to get clean because they didn't rinse out very well. Using a tiny amount of detergent, and doing more rinses, seemed to be the only solution.
These experience made me re-think my favorite style of diaper. If I were back in the West, I have no doubt that AIOs would still win out. But here in the East, I came to like the fact that pocket diapers could be disassembled and thereby more efficiently cleaned. To my surprise, I found myself gravitating toward, and purchasing more pocket diapers and selling off my AIOs, which had become troublesome to keep clean and dry.
Overall, I am glad I have had a chance to try diapering on both coasts because it has helped me be a more rounded proponent of cloth diapering, and I am now more understanding of other mom's diapering dilemmas.
-The Diaper Jungle