Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

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Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by oakwoodforge » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:53 am

Anybody Do Cloth Diapers on a Septic System ? We are considering going cloth after we get through the first month or 2, but we are on a septic system - so No Chlorine Bleach... I've herd we could rinse then soak cloth diapers in a pail of white vinegar, or Oxy-clean & water then launder as normal with our septic friendly laundry soap. As this is our first child I have no first hand experience with cloth diapers. And the last thing I want to do is spend $10,000.00 replacing our septic system next spring. Has anybody done this ? Does Vinegar work ? or would Oxy-clean be better ? \

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Chantrea » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:16 am

We are on septic and cloth diapered all of our kids simultaneously. (My daughter was born 17 months before I had my twin sons, so there was quite a lot of diapering going on)

We did not presoak. You have to be careful with laundry boosters/additives, they can stink up/stain your dipes esp. if you have hard water. I really suggest that your wife hook up with a CDing board (there's a good one at http://www.mothering.com/community" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; but there are others, I can ask around if you'd like) for when you need to troubleshoot. Soaking can be a pain in the ass and make things more trouble than their worth. (you don't want to lug a huge vat of pee/poo water up and down stairs/through the house on laundry day, and unless you want to do all diaper changes in the laundry room, which you don't, it's just more trouble than it's worth. Better to spritz with diluted BacOut or other safe solution, IMO, than to do the soaking. And for heaven's sake never soak the diaper in the toilet. I guarantee you that you will flush a few down the toilet if you do that, and THAT will for sure cause a septic problem/septic guy scolding at your next pumping)

Because of the volume, I had to wash diapers every other day anyway. So really, the only "pre treat" I did was to shake off any solid poop into the toilet (which didn't happen for the first year due to breastfeeding)

I really liked Bac Out for an additive if needed (which wasn't very often).

You can really overthink cloth diapers, but in my experience it's really not hard. (We did not use any fancy system though--prefolds and wraps for us)
Last edited by Chantrea on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by ZombieGranny » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:19 am

Why no bleach?
Have had septic systems for the last 23 years never had a problem using bleach.
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If you want to use vinegar, just get the cheap white stuff for a dollar a gallon. Vinegar will kill bacteria and keep the smell down - you will of course smell vinegar. LOL
We used to use a little vinegar in the wash and let them dry in the sun. Sun-bleached was a phrase used long before all this suntanning.

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Chantrea » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:22 am

Bleach created a huge allergic reaction in two of my kids (as might any other additive, another reason to be pretty careful and experiment with one thing at a time).

If you have the cutsey printed diapers that were very popular when I was CDing bleaching might be out (or if you're using the fleece pocket dipes). Never had experience with either one, but I'm sure there are other ZSers that have! :) (My kids are 9 and 8 now, so it's been awhile. :D)

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by wagdhead » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:52 am

Chlorine bleach is not reccomended in high doses on a most septic systems, but you can use Oyxgen bleach with no problem. My brother uses cloth diapers currently and is on a septic system. He lives very close to a major river, so his system is also regulated by the Dept. of Enviromental Quality. Oxygen bleach is also very fabric safe, and does not aggrevate his kids skin allergies, YMMV. It mainly comes in powder for, the most famous being Oxyclean, but Ajax, Colgate and other major manufacturers make it as well, and it can be found in Walmart or other large stores.

On a side note, most baby wipes are not septic system friendly. My brothers neighbor has 11 kids, and was using Equate brand wipes whcih claimed to be septic safe, and after a hefty repair bill they found they did not breakdown the way they should, especially with a high volume. The Cottonelle wipes worked well, though.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Dawgboy » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:58 am

wagdhead wrote: On a side note, ALL baby wipes are not septic system friendly. My brothers neighbor has 11 kids, and was using Equate brand wipes whcih claimed to be septic safe, and after a hefty repair bill they found they did not breakdown the way they should, especially with a high volume. The Cottonelle wipes worked well, though.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Chantrea » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:22 pm

If you're doing cloth (your own, not from a service), you might as well do cloth baby wipes too. We got a ton of them as 'baby presents' (the tiny washcloths that are IMO otherwise useless) and made more by cutting up old flannel shirts. Toss them in with the dipes. You can either make your own solution, but for us a spray bottle with water (to moisten the wipes) worked great.

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by TacAir » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:57 pm

DIaper liners go a long way to cut down the washday blues - they should be septic safe.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by JohnnyRico » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:09 pm

We use cloth diapers and are on septic. (my wife actually runs a cloth diapering business.) Use a diaper sprayer that you've attached to the toilet, blow out all the chunks, toss them in a diaper pail, when it gets full just throw them all in the wash with a detergent like Country Save or Rockin' Green and you're good to go.

If anyone has any other questions about it I can easily point you to my wife's site but I'm not going to spam it here :)

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by mythic » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:30 am

We have two in cloth diapers, and we are on a septic too.

We don't use any kind of pre-soak/bleach, just sunlight if they need a bit of whitening. But really, they're for catching poop and wee. Just get coloured ones ;) They hide any marks better.

We use cloth wipes as well - some bought ones (gifts) and ones I made from a couple of old flannel sheets. They just go in with the diapers, so it's no added hassle (but is MUCH cheaper).
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Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Equuleus » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:34 am

My wife and I have our first on the way so we are looking into this as well. She is in her last year of school to become a midwife so we are gonna be stuck doing all the hippy stuff which I've kinda gotten on board with over the last few months.

From what I have read, cloth diapers are very bad at picking up and retaining all forms of chemicals from things like laundry detergent, bleach, etc. All of this can start to have reactions with your babies skin. This goes for dryer sheets also even to the point of us being told to stop using them on our clothes. Everyone we have talked to says that Rockin Green is the best thing to wash the diapers in to keep them from reacting with your babies skin and to remove the smell.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Williams99 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:51 am

I cloth-diapered my daughter, while living in a house with a septic system. I just tossed the diapers into the washer with ordinary fragrance- and dye-free laundry detergent, washed in hot water, and double-rinsed. If there was any solid or semi-solid poo, I'd shake it off into the toilet before putting the diaper into the hamper. I usually ran a load of diapers every day or two so they weren't left sitting around very long. It isn't necessary to soak diapers or use any sort of disinfectant, and you probably don't want bleach residue next to baby's skin anyway.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by bigmattdaddywack » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:13 am

Why cant you use bleach with a septic system?
Does it kill the necessary bacteria?
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by phil_in_cs » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:23 am

We did this - no issues. We bought some flannel squares for baby wipes, and used those with some spray on cleaner stuff (mix we bought of tea tree oil and some other stuff). I washed the diapers daily or every other day.

Not that much work and saved us huge money on paper diapers. As Chantea said, don't over think this. People have been using cloth diapers a long time, and the newer snap fit cloth ones are very easy to use.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Johnnie Wadcutter » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:43 pm

I put in a sink sprayer next to the toliet to blast out any solids, throw 'em in a pail.
Borax is your friend! Turn up the hot water heater and wash them with borax & non dye detergent. I washed diapers everyday for almost 3.5 years. Hang dry (when you can)! Cloth diapers/wipes were probably the best invesment I've every made.

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by bigmattdaddywack » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:39 am

bigmattdaddywack wrote:Why cant you use bleach with a septic system?
Does it kill the necessary bacteria?
Can I get an answer please?
Thank you.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by LtCmdLeia » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:38 pm

bigmattdaddywack wrote:
bigmattdaddywack wrote:Why cant you use bleach with a septic system?
Does it kill the necessary bacteria?
Can I get an answer please?
Thank you.
Because, in large amounts, it can kill the bacteria that the septic system uses to break down waste.

Occasional use shouldn't be a problem with septic tanks, but with cloth diapering some people tend to use a lot of bleach, which may cause a problem.

I'm on septic and I don't use bleach. When I did soak my diapers (which was only when I was being lazy) I used Oxy Clean to soak them.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by RottnJP » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:57 pm

You can use bleach in "normal" quantities, but just shouldn't over-do it for the sake of the bacteria. We CD'ed also, and used the cheap white vinegar and "earth-friendly" detergents. The other thing I'd mention since no one else did, breast feeding makes a big difference. There isn't as much "gunk" coming out of them while they're breastfeeding, so extended BF'ing helps the clean-up a lot.

Obviously they're going to go on solid food eventually, of course, and then the poops get stickier and nastier.

The other thing we did a couple of times was boil the diapers for a while in a big pot when they were getting so that they weren't coming quite as clean. As someone else mentioned, outdoor drying helps a lot too.

Good luck!!

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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:20 am

bigmattdaddywack wrote:
bigmattdaddywack wrote:Why cant you use bleach with a septic system?
Does it kill the necessary bacteria?
Can I get an answer please?
Thank you.
Bleach kills bacteria dead- it won't even reanimate for a movie.
NORMALLY, an active septic system is generating new bacteria at a rate at least equal to, but probably greater than then amount killed by introducing bleach into the septic tank. The same can be said of any anti-bacterial cleaner. Also, bleach has already been through the wash cycle, so it's sort of "worn out" by the time it hits the septic tank, causing less damage than you'd think. Ideally, nothing that could kill bacteria would EVER go into the septic tank, but who lives in an ideal situation?

I would suggest, as a plumber (and septic system installer), simply washing the diapers as normal clothing would be. This minimizes the chemical impact on the septic. Sanitizing them can be done in a variety of ways that don't even involve your septic system.

Also, a packet of dry baker's yeast flushed down the toilet once a month can save you HUGE money on septic pump-outs, back-ups, and other brand name, function specific products sold for the septic system itself. For a cost of about $.25 a month. If you bake at home from scratch, you don't even need to remember to buy the stuff.

My grandmother's place (family of three) had a grey water drain system that went to a spill area- no tank even involved. Check your local codes, you may be able to do the same. Her kitchen sink and washing machine were piped to it, the bathroom going to the septic. In the 50 years they lived there, they had to have the tank replaced ONCE- the steel has simply rusted out. That was the only time it ever needed to be pumped, either. And, Gram was the one who tipped me to the yeast trick.
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Re: Cloth Diapers & a Septic System ??'s

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:58 am

I am friends with two families working in Romania. The biggest shock when they moved was the lack of disposable diapers in their areas. They usually blast out the solids, then use the laundry machine to do a full load of diaper cloths at once, then run it again after just for peace of mind. Not sure what the consensus on this is, but that's what they did with 4 kids. (two per family)
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