Cloth Diaper Q & A with Julie Ekstrom

Posted on April 23 2015

Julie Ekstrom, CEO of Kanga Care/Rumparooz, joined us for a Facebook chat where she answered a gajillion questions about cloth diapering. If you couldn't join us for the chat, no worries! We have her questions and answers below, along with some of Julie's great photos from The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2015! Read the full chat here or scroll down for some of the top questions and answers.

Q. Where did the name Kanga Care come from?

A. Kanga Care is a play on the "kangaroo care" that is the method of skin to skin contact with newborns.

Q. What is something to NEVER do to a rumparooz in wash routine?

A. Soak. There is never a need.

Q. Can having less than 24 diapers, for one baby, ruin the diapers faster since you are washing more frequently?

A. The smaller your stash, the more use each diaper will get. Over the course of a year they may get washed 175 times each vs. 100. So, to answer your question, yes, a smaller stash can wear out faster. However, 20-24 is an average size stash. It also depends on how old the baby is. The older the baby, the smaller your stash can be.

Q. How many babies have you cloth diapered? How many disposables do you figure you've saved from landfills?

A. We have cloth diapered 4 of my babies! My first, we just didn't know anything about cloth at that time! We have saved about 36,000 disposables from going into landfills - with just our family!

Q. Are the double gussets more difficult to clean messy poops out of? Seems like it would be a tad bit more time consuming, but that it would really help prevent any leakage...

A. Not at all. There is nothing extra to do and no extra maintinace. Just plop the poop in the toilet. Whatever doesn't plop off goes in the wash and the inner gussets come out sparkling clean. Make sure you are using a good detergent that HAS enzymes... otherwise there is nothing to break down the fats/oils/poo/etc.

Q. What is a good number for decent diaper stash?

A. 24 will let you was every other day (maybe 3 if baby is older). Up to 36 diapers will get you washing every 3 days comfortably, while you have a few clean as others wash. We wouldn't recommend waiting longer then every 3 days to wash.

Q. I have twins and I am considering switching to cloth diapers, they go thru so many diapers a day and are already in size 2 at 2 months old. I have just heard so many mixed opinions on them. I am planning on using reusable swim diapers this summer and as they grow. What would be the best way to "try" them with out a huge expense up front?

A. I would have to say that the best was to give cloth a try is to see what variety you can buy in B/S/T groups (buy, sell, trade). Another option is if you have a local cloth diaper store. A lot of them have trial packages and rental programs! Also, if you hate it (*gasp*! -j/k), some will buy them back for store credit.

Q. What was the scariest part of starting your cloth diaper journey?

A. Wondering if my husband was going to be on board or if I would be the sole diaper changer for the rest of our baby-bearing years! lol

Q. How did you come up with the recycled material for the EcoPosh line? I've always been curious as to the process!

A. It is actually an eco-fabric that many companies use. Coca-Cola actually uses the same process to make tee shirts out of their old plastic bottles! It is called PET. Our manufacturer presented it to us when we were prototyping the Ecoposh in bamboo....she said "Here is something I think you will LOVE!"

Q. What's the best way to store cloth diapers between babies? My two year old is almost potty trained and although we're thinking about #2, we will be storing diapers for at least a year I would guess!

A. Washed and cleaned with a good detergent is the first step! Then if you can store them in sealed plastic bags, in the least amount of humidity - that is best! Elastic can do funny things over time... think about your underwear or an old swimsuit. Oxygen and humidity with speed up the aging of the elastic when it is not in use. Just like a rubber band....when it is in use, it doesn't seem to wear out. Let is sit for a while and the next time you go to pick it up it wont stretch and crumbles.

Q. Is there ever an easy way to strip?

A. Stripping isn't really easy. If you have to strip then there is an issue that has come up which is causing the diapers to not preform as they should (usually leak!) We recommend scrubbing in the sink with the original blue Dawn dish soap! It WILL get just about anything out. Even motor oil.....but that is a different story!

Q. Any suggestions for camping with cloth? I'm dead set on trying it, but my husband's telling me I better not complain..

A. Yes! We do this every year! We also stay near a trading post, where we can wash - is that cheating? Otherwise, just take them all and put the dirty ones into 2 pail liners that are inside each other.

Q. We are first timers! We just got our first CD at The GCDC! I wonder how the CEO of a major CD company first heard about CD? Did you love or hate the idea?

A. We were introduced to cloth with our second daughter. She was too sensitive for the chemical sin disposables and thus we were tossed into the world of cloth diapers! Cloth diapers have come a long way since then. When we started out there were only a couple brands on the market and they didn't work for us - that is how the Rumparooz - Kanga Care were born! And no... I wasn't very excited at the first though of having to use cloth! However, after a day or two of research I was all in!

Q. What detergent do you recommend? I like the free and clears. 

A. Free and Clear can cause ammonia stink. If you have a free and clear that has an enzyme you may be okay though. We would recommend that you call your specific diaper brands manufacturer for their detergent recommendations.

Q. What wash routine do you suggest for hard water? We have a water softener.

A. We have hard water! Actually - I LOVE hard water! This is what we do - 12-15 diapers + inserts at a time. First, cold wash/rinse, no detergent (HE setting for heavy soil, and add an extra rinse). Second, Hot wash/cold rinse, 1 full scoop of Tide Ultra powder (and HE setting for 2x extra rinse.) Then off to the dryer on medium! 

Q. I've tried cloth diapering since my daughter was 2 months old. Now she's 9 months old. I have concern on the thickness of the cloth diaper. Will it cause deformity on my baby's leg?

A. Absolutely not! Cloth diapers are actually recommended by pediatricians to help with hip dysplasia! 

Q. How do you feel about bleach and cloth diapers? Safe? Unsafe?

A. The only time we recommend bleach is when trying to kill yeast. Otherwise bleach is not necessary. Some families who have purchased used diapers like to run them through bleach after receiving them and this would be acceptable. We would use the same method as treating for yeast and this would only need to be done once, not regularly

Q. I know there's an organization that gives cloth diapers to low income families. Is there a way to donate gently used diapers to them?

A. Yes! Giving Diapers, Giving Hope or The Rebecca Foundation Cloth Diaper Closet - Denver are 2 that we send donations to!

Photo below from The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2015 with Rumparooz/Kanga Care.



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