Friday, July 31, 2009

Poverty.Jane Review & Giveaway

"I have a driven purpose to helping families, passionately, choose the right thing for their loved ones and for our planet." ~Poverty.Jane

Poverty.Jane offers a wide array of interesting, useful, and carefully planned out products for the naturally inclined family. When viewing her items, one can tell that the creator is an artist by the way her items are crafted with vibrant colors and prints, comforting textures, and documented by beautiful photography. Her personal blog is worth checking out for even just the photographs she posts! Everything she does is impacted by her personal philosophies about using natural materials, providing safe diapers and clothing for little people, and protecting the environment by selecting materials that are safe and reduce waste.

All of Poverty.Jane's diapers are made without the use of PUL. Why? Here's what she has to say:

"Not only are PULs the product of a petrochemical and not to mention non renewable, they contain a chemical compound known as Isocyanates (-NCO). Isocyanates(-NCO,) has been scientifically researched by the United State Department of Labor, stating that health effects from polyurethane products include "irritation of skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, difficult breathing...compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause caner in animals. The main effect are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin." Not to mention other disputes about PUL covers and disposable diapers locking in high temperatures within a babies diaper, resulting in reproductive damage. "

We had the privilege to test quite a few items from Poverty.Jane. She first mailed us a pair of wool shorties, vegan shorties, and a one-size all-in-two bamboo valour diaper (pictured here). What a treat it was! We'd never used true shorties before and I was really happy with how easy everything was to pull on, how soft the materials were against my daughter's skin, and with how they really did do a pretty good job of containing liquids. Once I felt the diaper, I fell in love with bamboo valour. Seriously, I want my own underwear to be made out of this stuff. It is so stinkin' soft and amazing! Poverty.Jane uses a lot of bamboo in her creations. She has a lot of information on the benefits of that too, which I'll be posting about shortly (yeah, she deserves a few posts).

Poverty.Jane is able to make an All-In-Two diaper (without the snaps in the insert--as she said, who wants a snap digging into your skin when you're sitting?!) without the use of PUL by using nine layers in her One Size diapers (the newer diapers--check the description to see how many layers the diaper you order has). Five layers are found in the diaper and four in the insert, providing a lot of absorption but still remaining pretty slim considering all of the layers! I love the looks of her diapers, and was like a kid on Christmas when I got to open a second package from Poverty.Jane containing a new and improved AI2 One-Size diaper along with another pair of shorties and bamboo wipes (and a package of family cloth, but that's another review...)!

The new diaper we got to review (shown in this post) is even better than the first. She's put more elastic in her diapers, making it easy to bring the wings around to the front of the diaper for snapping. The workmanship is still fabulous and I have no doubt about these diapers and snaps holding up for the long haul. I found that the crotch area is wider than a lot of diapers, but I actually like this because it assures me that it really will fit my daughter as she gets bigger. The first time we used the diaper without a cover, we did have a leak, but that issue has been resolved with a few washings and dryings (bamboo reaches its full absorbency after a few washings). I never thought we'd find a diaper that contained wetness without the use of PUL! I kind of want to switch to all natural diapers now...

Really, I can't recommend Poverty.Jane enough, and a lot of it is because of the passion she puts into her products, way of life, and Etsy store. She is generous, personal, and dedicated to your happiness with her products. Please check out her store and marvel in the beautiful items that she creates (it's not all diapers...)!

Buy It! I think I already convinced you, but be sure to check out her store if you aren't positive yet.

Win It! Poverty.Jane is giving one of my readers an entire cloth diapering package for FREE. In it is a One Size AI2 bamboo diaper, a small pack of bamboo wipes, and a 100% wool cover lanolized and ready to go. The value of this is over $50.00! To enter, you'll need to visit Poverty.Jane's site and pick your favorite item(s) and tell me one thing that you learned either from her Etsy Shop or Blog. Yeah, I know, it's some work...but you're making out like a bandit with the prize! Contest will end August 7 at 1530 hours. Leave an email address and separate comment for each entry.

To earn an additional entry...
* Follow/subscribe to me
* Sport my buttons
* Blog about this contest or otherwise spread the word
* Subscribe to or follow Poverty.Jane's blog

Gen-Y Diaper Cover Review & Contest

Gen-Y creates beautiful and fun snap on diaper covers and wet bags all made in the USA. Elizabeth, the owner, sent us an awesome PUL cover in the "Fresh Cut" pattern to try. It offers a great combination of being thin on the baby while remaining virtually leak proof. We've used it over night many times now and haven't had any problems! One of my favorite features is the non-wicking stretch binding. It is so gentle on the skin even though it keeps a snug fit on baby legs and bellies. Our regular pocket diapers leave marks on my baby's legs all of the time, but I haven't experienced that at all with our Gen-Y diaper cover and this really pleases me.

Gen-Y just recently opened a new line of Minkee diaper covers. Similar to their original covers, this one has a PUL inner which contains moisture but with a plush minkee fabric on the outside of the diaper. I've never used a minkee myself, but they look very soft and snuggly! Need a diaper or something else to go with your Gen-Y cover? Elizabeth has it covered by offering a whole slew of things including bamboo prefolds and wipes, fitted diapers, kid's underwear, laundry bags, and all sorts of other types of bags! Just visit her outlet store to view these different products--many of which are unique to Gen-Y.

Buy it! Gen-Y offers free shipping within the USA and flat rate shipping outside of the USA all the time. You can also visit the discount section of her website to find some great deals.

Win it! When you place an order through Gen-Y between now and August 11, 2009, enter the code "Life More Simply" in the notes section. Everyone who does this will be entered into a drawing for a free minkee diaper cover from Gen-Y! Let me know which print you hope to win!

Poverty Jane Contest

Review and Giveaway
starts at 1200 hours, today

All-In-Two bamboo valour diaper with no PUL.
Diaper Cover.
Cloth Wipes.
One Blessed Winner.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sunday's Wash Review & Giveaway

Sunday's Wash provides non-toxic, biodegradable detergent for everyday and nursery laundry. Packaged in reduced, reused, and recyclable paper, the creator is both environmentally and family conscious both in the product she makes and the delivery. Think that reusing is boring? Think again-- Sunday's Wash packaging is hand assembled and stamped with suns in fun vibrant colors!

The owner of Sunday's Wash, Cindy, developed her Diaper/Nursery Wash to be comparable to Allen's Naturally powdered soap. According to her website, "special enzymes help break down spit-up, baby food, and all sorts of baby messes," leaving no residue on clothing. I was pre-warned that the soap doesn't really suds up, but that this isn't necessary for clean clothes.

When testing this product, I found a few things:
1) It works well! No leftover smells or leaky diapers.
2) There is a slight odor when first dissolving the soap (the powder needs to be dissolved in water prior to adding to machine unless you have a HE washer), but this goes away and the clothes don't smell after washing.
3)You should use the amount that Cindy recommends, not half the amount as is commonly done when laundering diapers.

Buy It! The cost of using this product is minimal--$0.18 a load! This is a product that you can feel good about. It cleans well, keeps money in your pocket book, and even the plastic baggies that the powder comes in are reused from a children's clothing store. Also, if you enter this contest, you will be getting 1/2 off of your shipping when placing an order (mention that you entered the Life More Simply Blog contest!).

Win It! Sunday's Wash is giving away 5 loads of sample packs to one of my readers for free. To enter, please visit her site and tell me one ingredient in her soaps. Everyone had better not tell me the same ingredient! Leave an email address and separate comment for each entry. Contest ends August 11, 2009 at 1530, EST.

Earn extra entries by:
* Contacting Cindy Bylsma and requesting a sample of her detergent
* Sporting my buttons
* Subscribing to/following me
* Otherwise spreading the word about this contest!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bellies, Babies 'n More Review & Giveaway

Bellies, Babies 'n More started as a branching out of the owner, Charlene Chartier's, doula services. Opened in the Fall of 2007, the business has expanded to now specialize in fleece diaper covers while offering cloth diapers, cloth wipes, mama items, and pregnancy blessing jewelry. Charlene says that her goal is to "offer my clients and families around the world items that celebrate pregnancy, birth and childhood!" which is evident in the effort she puts into providing more natural products for young families to use.

We recently reviewed a pair of crescent moon shorties from Bellies, Babies 'n More. They are made of a light yellow colored fleece with a white trim around the waist. Though I still need to get some photos of these great shorties (maybe I'll post them tomorrow if I'm really industrious tonight when I get home after working late...), we do like them. They're surprisingly easy to pull on, and also are easy for the baby to move around in while wearing them. I think the key to this is the special circular fabric that makes up the seat, allowing for more room to move and to fit over a diaper than a traditional shorts pattern. One of the nice things about the shorties is that they can be washed in the washer and dried in the dryer. Charlene does recommend to not dry them with items that produce a lot of lint (like towels or pre-fold cloth diapers) as this will cause premature pilling of the fleece.

Similar to the shorties, Bellies, Babies, 'n More also offers fleece soakers and crescent moon yoga pants. These are very cute options, all with the same type of pattern and same materials as the shorties. Everything that Chalene offers can be custom made and she has a huge selection of fleece prints and solids to choose from on her website. Prices are very reasonable, with soakers for $8.00, shorties for $10.00, and yoga pants for $12.00. Her biggest deal is on the wipes-- 20 for $15.00! Smaller amounts are available as well.

Buy it! When you place an order from Bellies, Babies, 'n More, mention the code "LifeMoreSimply" for 10% off of your total!

Win it! Bellies, Babies, 'n More is offering one pair of custom made fleece shorties in your choice of color/print for FREE! To enter, visit their website and choose what print/color and size you want the shorties to be if you win. What you pick is what you'll get. Contest will end on Aug. 11, 2009 at 1530 hours, EST. Leave an email address in your entry and a separate comment for each entry or they won't count.

Earn extra entries by:
*Subscribing to or following me
*Blogging about this contest or otherwise spreading the word
*Sporting my buttons

Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Laina's Laundry Review & Giveaway

Laina's Laundry is a shop owned by stay-at-home mom, Laina. She creates "Diapers, Leg Warmers and other Laundry" as her shop states. She sent us a whole package of wonderful things to review--leg warmers, an embellished cloth diaper, and two different types of wipes. We began using the leg warmers on Amara right away...and we think they rock! They are thick, snuggly, and have elastic at both ends of the tube which means they stay in place. They haven't pilled or shown any other sort of deterioration from use and washing. In fact, I will even go so far as to say they are the best quality leg warmers we've ever used. Way to go, Laina!

The pre-fold diapers found at Laina's Laundry are all embellished with cute fabric, meaning that she's sewn a strip onto the diaper's center (on one side). It makes the diaper so much cuter and more desirable than the plain white or cream color that they come in!

Laina's Laundry offers a few different types of cloth "washies," with the ones she sent us being a cotton flannel one and a flannel/bamboo valour one (would someone please send me a whole towel and washcloth set of bamboo valour?!). They're great! Sewn carefully, made with cute fabrics, and soft as can be, I would certainly recommend them. I was just looking in her shop at the different prints that she offers for her "washies," and they really are unique. She sent us a monkey print (flannel/bamboo) and a retro-mystery-date print (flannel).

Let me end by saying a few things: 1) get a pair of her leg warmers, and 2) I'm giving away the embellished pre-fold diaper and both wipes that she sent me to make a nice "cloth diaper and wipes" package for one lucky reader.

To win this

cloth diapering package for free, visit her shop at and tell me what item(s) you like best. Be sure to leave an email address and a separate comment for each entry! Winner will be chosen after August 7, at 1530 hours, EST. Contest only open to US mailing addresses, unless you're willing to pre-pay the fact, anyone is welcome to pay for postage since I'm mailing this myself. ;-)

Earn extra entries by:
*Subscribing to/following me
*Sporting my buttons
*Otherwise spreading the word!

Be blesssed!

10 Random Thoughts

Sometimes the thoughts in my head just need to get out...

1) Only a few more days before I'm going to start an awesome giveaway for a Cloth Diapering Package from Poverty Jane! Included will be a fabulous one size diaper with insert, wool cover, and bamboo wipes! You will love. Keep watching.

2) What's "BlogHer?" I've seen a lot of mentionings on other Blogs but have no idea what it really is...

3) I cried when I had to leave my daughter to go to work yesterday. I thought this was supposed to get easier?

4) Is it possible to start ovulating after giving birth, only to have it stop again while you're still breastfeeding (not due to pregnancy)?

5) My biggest Blog-Events in the works are: a "green cleaning" series with a lot of great products to highlight and giveaway to my readers, and a "fun in the sun" event with tons of very important information and, of course, giveaways that will be very helpful in your life.

6) I'm sitting in an office with no windows right now. I sit here five days a week. I'm pale.

7) Am I going to make it through Excellsior's RN program or not? It's so annoying that I have a Bachelor degree but can't make enough money with it, so I have to go back for an Associate degree. Oh well. Hopefully I'll finish before baby #2 decides to come around.

8) In case you're wondering, the reason that I sometimes go a few days without a Blog post and then catch up is because I don't have Internet access at home--only at work! I can really only Blog on my breaks, so it makes things difficult sometimes. Stay with me, I'm always coming up with great ideas for my posts, even if I can't post them right away.

9) Isn't it nice that we have the ability to live?

10) I'm having lunch with my husband today and am really excited. It doesn't happen often. :-D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Organic Coconut Bliss Review & Giveaway

Did you know that July is national ice cream month? Luna and Larry of Organic Coconut Bliss understand that even people who can't or won't eat dairy products love ice cream, using this knowledge as the fuel for creating their company. They say, "we just wanted a tasty frozen dessert that we could enjoy eating without feeling bad afterwards" about their motivation for starting Organic Coconut Bliss. Since that time, their frozen desert brand has climbed to now be named as the #1 item on VT's Veg 25 hot list for 2009 and is said to be not only healthy, but delicious as well.

Coconut Bliss is:
  • made from a base of naturally rich coconut milk
  • sweetened with agave syrup
  • certified organic
  • 100% vegan kosher pareve
  • and made with certified fair trade ingredients

WOW! Eleven different flavors and two different types of bars make up the palette for Organic Coconut Bliss. All of the ingredients, nutritional information, and product descriptions are available online at their website so you can research before you buy. There's also a wonderful and informative FAQ section on their site that answer a lot of questions including if this product is safe for people with diabetes, allergies and their product, the manufacturing, and gathering of well as a bunch of other stuff! One question came up about their "fair trade" claim. Here's what they have to say:

"We are committed to fair trade principles and have secured certified fair trade sources for our vanilla, cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee. Many ingredients are not yet available with fair trade certification, including coconut milk and agave syrup. We have visited the coconut farm in Thailand as well as the facility where it’s made into coconut milk and we are very impressed with the quality and sanitation standards of the facilities, the integrity of the owners, and the working conditions there. We hope to visit the agave supplier in Mexico soon to personally assess the conditions there as well. We are excited to be using some locally grown ingredients: our organic hazelnuts are grown right here in Oregon, and our cherries come from our neighboring state of Washington."

I'm very excited that Luna and Larry agreed to let me represent them during National Ice Cream Month. They sent me 3 coupons each good for a pint of Coconut Bliss, and I would have posted this Blog about them sooner but the stores near me that claimed over the Internet to carry Coconut Bliss actually don'! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test Coconut Bliss because of this. Now if you have the same problem, don't worry--you can actually order their products online and they can be shipped to you through Diamond Organics. Unfortunately, nowhere can I find that you can use the coupons for free pints at Diamond Organics. Otherwise, I'd be eating Coconut Bliss right now...obviously.

In the spirit of blessing others, I'm going to pass my coupons on to 3 readers. That's right--I'm picking three winners! To win a coupon for a free pint of Organic Coconut Bliss, just head over to their website and tell me 1) What flavor you want, and 2) Where you can really buy it at. Please don't enter unless you can actually get your hands on a pint! This contest is only open to US mail addresses and will end August 9th at 2359 hours, EST. Remember to include an email address and separate comment for each entry.

Earn additional entries by:
*Blogging about this post
*Sharing your own experience with Organic Coconut Bliss
*Sporting my buttons
*Subscribing to or following me
*Otherwise telling the world about my blog and/or this post!

Lyanna Jean Designs Review & Giveaway

Lyanna Jean Designs is an Etsy store that sells a variety of neat things for babies and adults as well as things useful for sewing. The owner and creator, Lyanna, sent us a pair of pretty black leg warmers to try out. They're made of a woven black fabric, creating an intricate pattern of fiber and space decorated by delicate pink flower buds. Amara's worn them quite a few times with everything from a pink diaper to shorts and dresses. They have kept her both warm and fashionable while providing padding to her knees as she avidly crawls everywhere.

Elastic is found only on the top of the leg warmers, so I advise everyone to look for that to know which way they go on before you try to put them on. I didn't do so and put them on upside down the first time, causing the ankle part to stretch out a little bit (yeah, we've got some chubby thighs here). With the elastic on up at the thigh, these stay on well and are great as far as leg or arm warmers go. Not only are they cushiony, but they're nice to look at and we often get compliments when she wears them in public. Now if only Lyanna Jean Designs would make a pair in adult sizes... ;-)

Lyanna also makes a handful of other nice products, including diaper pail liners—and she's giving one away for free! We love having a diaper pail liner and use it for every single washing ever since Amara was born. They are a MUST for putting into your diaper pail when using cloth diapers. It makes transporting to and from the washing machine a breeze, helps control odors, and keeps everything clean since you can just throw it in the wash with the diaper load.

She describes the pail liner better than I could, so here ya go from her own Etsy shop:

This liner is a product of my not being satisfied with the ones already on the market. The one pictured in a pail is actually mine, enlisted in my "set up" (a $7 Wal-Mart trash can, 34 Qt sized). I didn't want to put one I would sell in my pail, even though I clean it quite regularly (I hope you understand). But, the one hanging IS the one for sale (they are identical...).

The fabric is 2 mil PUL, white. The liner measures 54 inches around and about 28 inches high. It fits into pails/wastebaskets designed to hold 13 Gallon trash bags. The opening has 3/4 inch elastic sewn within a casing with a decorative wavey stitch. The seams down the side are double-stitched. The bottom corners are sewn so that the base makes a rectangle and will sit flat in the base of your pail.

There are 2 handles on either side of the top, each measuring about 9 inches in total length. It is ideal for hanging on a doorknob, over-the-door hook, or even for sheer convenience to carry when heading to the wash.

To win the diaper pail liner, you must visit Lyanna Jean Design's shop and tell me which item she has that you like most and why. Be sure to leave an email address in every comment and a separate comment for every entry. Contest will end August 7th at 1530 hours, EST.

Earn additional entries by:
*Telling me one item that you'd like to see Lyanna create (I'm convinced that the woman can make anything with fabric--just check out her Blog!)
*Joining Lyanna's newsletter list by sending an email to lyannajeandesigns [at]
*Blogging about this contest
*sporting my buttons

Good luck and be blessed!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baby Legs Review & Giveaway

With 13 different collections, BabyLegs is quickly becoming a regular noun in households across the US. Especially popular within the cloth diapering community, BabyLegs is a company that proudly claims to be the "original leg and arm warmers for children and adults." Their products are all tubular in design, fitting a variety of arms and legs, as well as offering collections specific to different needs or looks.

Some of their collections really interest me, including their Earth Organic (which has both wool and cotton options in an array of beautiful, earthy colors and designs), Super Soft (boasting lots of fun stripes as well as a "flame pattern" pair--I want these for myself!), and BabyLegs Cool! (which offers 50+ UV protection while featuring a lightweight and singly-ply mesh design). All of their collections are fun, purposeful, and versatile in their use and longevity of fitting your child as she grows.

We've found that the BabyLegs Cool! Sailboat pair they sent us to try has been great for the unpredictable weather we're experiencing. We just put the BabyLegs on Amara in the morning, and can easily remove them or just scrunch them down later in the day if the weather gets nicer out. They're easier to put on than pants, and also make diapering an easier task. Knowing that she's being protected from UV rays is another huge factor that should win everyone's heart over on this product. We love that the Sailboat pair is great for either boys or girls, and goes with a variety of outfits because of the many colors it includes. It looks especially great with just a red diaper!

Be sure to check out BabyLegs' website, and also to search around the Internet for deals. There's a lot of places that run sales on these, sometimes marking them down to just a few dollars! BabyLegs is currently offering 10% off of your new order after signing up for their newsletter. You can also win a pair of BabyLegs Cool! for free in the Sailboat pattern by letting me know what your favorite pair of BabyLegs are from their website. Include your email address with every entry, and leave a separate comment for every entry as well. Contest ends 8/07/09 at 1530 hours.

Earn extra entries by:

*Blogging about this contest
*Sporting my buttons (1 per button)
*Subscribing to or following me
*Faving me on Technorati
*Otherwise spreading the word!

Good luck, and be blessed!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mumtaz Creations Giveaway & Discount

Monique, the creator of Mumtaz Creations, uses the phrase "original wearable fiber art" to describe her business. Wearable art is surely what she offers, and her items are gorgeous, too! With original patterns and over 70 different color combinations to offer, your eyes will not be left unfulfilled when looking at one of her items. They offer pre-made and custom made goods "of many natural, renewable sources including wool, cotton, soy, hemp, bamboo, silk, and recycled fibers." --and EVERYTHING is hand made either in the "mile high mountains of Montana, and in the musical bayou of New Orleans," as Mumtaz Creations says. Do you want something hand-dyed? Hand painted (who knew that you could paint yarn)? Or even something that you or your child could dye yourself and then actually want to wear around? Now you can!

Mumtaz Creations offers hats, clothing, scarves, purses, specialty items, and (of course) beautiful diaper covers/soakers. The diaper covers come in all sorts of colors and patterns, and many are hand painted or hand dyed. I want everything that she has, but I'm absolutely in love with this mommy-daughter hat set: (I'm thinking this would be a great item for a Fall review...hint, hint) ;-)

*Buy it! Monique has generously offered to give all of my readers a 20% discount on any of her diaper covers. Just mention the code "LifeBlog09" when placing your order.

*Win it! Monique is also giving one of my readers a hand crocheted custom diaper cover for free! To enter, you'll need to visit her site at and leave me a comment telling me which one you want including the style, colors, and size. SEE EDIT BELOW Be careful--what you post is what you win (as approved by Mumtaz Creations, of course). You must include your email address with every entry. Contest ends August 7, 2009 at 1530 hours,
EDIT: MumtazCreations experienced technical difficulties and wasn't able to let me know until now this important information: the soaker for the contest will be in a size small (0-6m) in either wrap or shortie style.
*Earn extra entries by spreading the word, subscribing to/following me, sporting my know, I'm pretty generous, so get busy with your entries. Just make sure that you leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry or they won't count!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Permanent Water-Guard Review & Giveaway

*NOTE: the original post, entitled "Silicone Water-Guard Review & Giveaway mistakenly identified the object for review/giveaway as the Silicone Water-Guard when it should have been for the Permanent Water-Guard. Corrections were made on 8/05/09.*

Let's be honest: sometimes, even when diapers are stripped, they still leak. We've had this problem with used FuzziBunz that we've bought offline in particular. I can't rag on the FuzziBunz company for this since I have no idea how the diapers were previously cared for. The fact remains though. They leak.

I'm sure that many other parents out there have experienced the same phenomenon, and so you'll be quite excited about what I'm going to tell you next: there is a solution. You know Atsko, the company that makes Sensi-Clean? Well, they also make Permanent Water-Guard. The concept is pretty simple:
It comes in a spray can. You clean whatever you need to waterproof. You spray the spray on whatever needs to be waterproofed. You let dry. The item is now waterproof. The end.
Permanent Water Guard comes in two different types--a 17 fl. oz. Trigger Spray for "natural obsorbent materials" (cotton, wool, down, etc.) and a 10 oz Aersol spray (this is the one I tested) for "synthetic materials and blends" (polyester, micrfibers, fleece, waterproof breathables, etc.).

Here's what Atsko says about their Permanent Water-Guard:

Permanent Water-Guard is a solvent free, water-based fluorocarbon polymer water and stain repellent. It dries odor free and without U-V brighteners.
Guaranteed to remain effective even after 25 washings in Sport-Wash or Sensi-Clean. This is an extraordinary claim no other product is willing to make -- not even factory-applied Durable Water Repellents.

And the best news of all for us is that it re-waterproofs pocket diapers while keeping everything else the same. I love it! You don't need to throw those old diapers out (or pass them on to an unsuspecting mama over the Internet...) any longer. Simply wash your diapers, turn them inside out, stretch them (so that it all gets coated) while you spray the "wrong side" of the PUL layer (the shiny side), and then let it dry. I did all of our diapers at one time outside on a sunny day. It worked so well that I pulled all of our old diapers out of storage (waiting for the next baby) and sprayed them before packing them up again.

The aeresol spray cost $9.15 on their website (trigger spray is $15.70) and will last a long time if you're using it just for diapers. In fact, I think one can may last me my entire diapering career. Being an active outdoor enthusiast though, I'm pretty excited to have a quality product that I can use to re-waterproof my camping gear. There's nothing worse then waking up in a puddle!
*Buy this product (everyone using CD's should have Sensi-Clean and Permanent Water-Guard on hand) at Atsko's website,

*Win it! Atsko's giving one of my readers a can of Permanent Water-Guard for FREE. All you have to do is leave me a message and tell me that you want it! Be sure to include an email address and enter by August 7, 1530 hours, EST. Also, leave a separate comment for each entry.
Earn additional entries by...
*Entering one of my other contests (one entry per contest)
*Sporting my buttons (one per button)
*Subscribing to me or following me
*Emailing some friends with "lifemoresimply(@)" CC'd in
*Otherwise spreading the word. Just tell me what you did!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sensi-Clean Irritation Free Detergent Review & Giveaway

You may remember the mentioning of Atsko during the Pro-Tech-Skin cream review and giveaway. They are a company dedicated to providing awesome cleaning products that leave no residue on skin, hair, or fabric, allowing for the ultimate clean experience. Cloth diaper enthusiasts will readily recognize the Atsko company in reference to their Sensi-Clean Irritation Free Detergent.

Sensi-Clean is a biodegradable laundry detergent that's safe to use on every type of fabric including wool and down insulation. It's been proven to rinse completely clean and thus is a great product for anyone with sensitive skin, anyone who wants to avoid excess exposure to chemicals, or anyone who launders cloth diapers.

The key is really in what Sensi-Clean doesn't contain. Think that regular detergents don't really leave anything behind? Atsko suggests that you test any "free & clear" soaps by shining a UV light on clothing that's been washed in them. If it glows, then you've got FWA brightener dye still hanging around on your fabric. Not very good for cloth diapers! In Sensi-Clean Irritation Free Detergent, you will find no:

  • dyes
  • fragrance
  • phosphates
  • oxidizers
  • color
  • fluorescent whiteners
  • lubricants
  • bleach
  • phosphate
  • or fabric softener
There's a lot of neat things about this product that Atsko makes. My favorite "besides the point fact" about Sensi-Clean Irritation Free Detergent is that improves the flammability properties of the fabric. Firefighter or not, I think this is pretty great.

According to a research specialist at Clemson University: "I believe that you will be able to distinguish that Sensi-Clean does indeed improve the Flammability properties of the Children's Sleepwear samples tested. In fact, you will note that after the Seventeenth wash and dry cycle the samples did not burn nor ignite, the samples only melted with no residue. Even when the flame was held longer than the specified three (3) seconds there was still no burn, only melting."

My personal opinion? Go out and buy some immediately! We regularly use this product now to strip any smelly and/or leaky diapers (with wonderful success) and also to keep diapers from getto to the leaky point by washing them with Sensi-Clean every month or so. It's very reasonably priced at $12.08 for a liter bottle (34 loads--less than $.38/wash!)

Get it for free! There are two ways to do this.
#1) Call 1-800-845-2728, tell them you heard about them on Life More Simply's blog, and ask for a free sample. They'll send you an ounce--enough to strip an entire load of diapers!

#2) Enter this contest. Atsko's giving one of my readers a full sized bottle of Sensi-Clean Irritation Free Detergent (34 loads) for free. Because this is such a fabulous product, you'll need to visit their website and choose an article on the right hand side of the page. Find an interesting fact about Sensi-Clean from one of the articles, and then come back and share it with us. Include your email address in each entry or it won't count if I pick it! Contest will end on August 7th at 1530 hours, EST.

Earn extra entries by:
- Calling Atsko and asking for a free sample (include the date on which you called in your comment)
- Blogging about this contest
- Sporting one of my buttons (one entry per button)
- Entering another one of my contests (tell me which one--leave a new comment for each entry)
- Emailing 3 friends with "lifemoresimplybiz(@)" CC'd
- Faving me on Technorati
- Following me on Blogger or Subscribing to me

How To Strip Diapers

Cloth diapers are not meant to be stinky or leaky. If they are, then you probably have a buildup of soap, fabric softener, or some other substance that's causing them to retain odors and leak fluids. You can avoid this problem by not using certain detergents, not using any fabric softeners, doing an extra rinse after washing your diapers, and only using particular diaper creams.

What to do if your diaper start to smell or leak, though? Strip the diapers. The term "stripping" is simply meant to refer to a process of removing any build up that may be on your diapers (soap, usually). It's a very easy thing to do--we regularly strip our diapers, and always strip any used ones that we buy before putting them on Amara.

Here are the different ways to strip diapers:

1) Run the diapers on a hot-cold wash cycle but with no soap. Look for suds when they're agitating. Continue this process until there are no suds.

2) Use 1/2 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle when washing diapers. This reacts with soap, causing it to dissipate. Don't worry, your diapers won't smell like vinegar when they're dry. You can also try adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle with or without a little bit of tea tree oil. It does the same thing as the vinegar. The tea tree oil works to disinfect the diapers and also works against fungi (great if you're suffering from a yeast rash!)

3) Soak diapers in a hot water/dawn dish soap mixture for 30 minutes, and then scrub away with a tooth brush. This is particularly effective with fleece pocket diapers. Wash as usual before and after, and by golly, make sure that there is no soap left in the diaper!

4) Use a stripping agent. This is my favorite method since it's easy and takes no extra time. Bac-Out, Calgon, Dawn Dish Soap, OxiClean, and Sensi-Clean are all additives that I've seen recommended for stripping diapers. You'd simply add the agent in with your diapers when washing them (instead of a detergent), and then make sure the product rinses completely out (no bubbles during agitation!). We regularly use Sensi-Clean to strip our diapers. Any time that we think they're getting leaky or just need an extra good washing, we just use Sensi-Clean in place of our regular detergent. The key to these agents is that they're supposed to remove all residue that may be lingering on clothing. Be careful, though. A handful of these are known to cause rashes on some babies.

Still having problems? You may need to strip your washing machine. Believe it or not, soaps can build up on your machine walls, and fabric softener can build up on your dryer walls. To strip a washing machine, simply run a load on hot with Sensi-Clean (or another stripping agent). Put a few towels in to aid the process. Some people opt to run an empty load, though. You may need to do this a few times depending on your build up.

The Diaper Hyena suggests this baking soda-vinegar method of stripping a washing machine:

Loosening the grunge and grime. Starting with an empty washing machine, run HOT water up to the highest washing level your washer offers. When the water is full and the washer begins agitating, add 3 cups of distilled white vinegar (2 cups of lemon juice can be substituted) and 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water. Allow the cycle to run almost completely, advancing it to 'spin' right as the water starts to drain. By doing this, the washer will spin and drain at the same time. Follow by wiping down the inner tub, removing any residue that has been loosened by the cleansing process. To remove all remaining residue, follow this with a complete COLD water cycle. Adjust your washer's agitation to high (where you would place it for heavily soiled clothing). This technique should remedy any lingering soap scum or mineral deposits both in the drums of your washing machine and the hoses.

Any way you do it, it's a good idea to strip your diapers and washing machine every few months as maintenance, and any time needed in between. It'll prolong the life of your diapers, and make your life a bit easier and happier! Do you know of any other methods for stripping diapers?

Storing and Washing Cloth Diapers 101

Washing cloth diapers is easy, affordable, and fast. To keep things uncomplicated, here are some instructions on the storage of and cleaning of dirty diapers.
New Diapers
Some new diapers use fabrics that aren't fully absorbent until they've been washed and dried a few times. Fabrics like hemp and bamboo are the top ones in this category. If you're using a diaper with any of these fibers, instructions should be included on how many times you should expect to wash and dry before they reach maximum absorbency. These fabrics will usually shrink some as they reach max. absorbency.
1) Try the diaper on your child with a barrier (paper or something) between baby and fabric. If it fits him correctly, proceed. If it doesn't, return the diaper.

2) Remove inserts from pocket diapers (unless you're using Pocket Change diapers which agitate the insert out during wash).

3) Turn embroidered diapers inside out to protect and separately rinse out hand dyed diapers a few times since the colors may bleed.

4) Follow washing instructions as below.

Storing Dirty Diapers

Dry Pail Method
This is the method that we've used from the start with our diapers. It's the easiest method and works great for us. If you are having any odor issues with this method, you can simply sprinkle baking soda (even with essential oils) in after adding diapers, or use a deodorant disk in your pail.

1) Remove solids from diaper (we use a diaper sprayer; read the review here). If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you don't need to remove any poo since it's water soluble. Seriously, just throw the diaper into the pail.

2) Make sure that diaper isn't dripping wet (wring out if needed) and throw into the pail. Keep a lid on the pail--you don't want flies getting in or smells leaking out! We use the SafetyFirst Easy Saver Diaper Pail. It's inexpensive (around $18.00), holds about 20 medium sized pocket diapers with inserts and a few wet bags, contains smells, and is easy to use. I definitely recommend it. We line it with a WAHM made diaper-pail-liner-bag and just throw that right in the wash with the diapers so that it's clean each time.

3) When you're ready to wash, just dump the diapers and wet bags into the washer!

Wet Pail Method
I haven't used this method, nor do I suggest it due to the risk of drowning, the extra messiness involved, and the greater potential for odors involved in using stagnant water.

1) Fill a bucket with a locking lid 1/4 the way full of water. Some people also put in some baking soda, vinegar, and/or essential oils to help neutralize odors.

2) Remove solids as outlined above.

3) Remove liners from diapers, open up, and place in the diaper pail.

4) When ready to wash, either dump the whole pail into the washing machine and set on "spin/drain" to remove the old water, or pre-dump the water into the toilet. Changing the water every day (even if you don't wash the diapers every day) will help control odors.
5) Wash diapers as directed below.

Washing & Drying Diapers

1) Remove all solids unless baby is exclusively breastfed.
2) Use your washing machine's highest water setting, and don't fill completely with diapers (we wash about 20 at a time, every three days). If you pack the machine with diapers, the fabrics will rub against each other quite a bit and increase pilling at an earlier age.

3) Pre-rinse your diapers in cold water to prevent stains from setting and to remove any particles still stuck to the fabrics.
4) Wash diapers on a full hot-cold cycle, using 1/4-1/2 the recommended allotment of soap (be sure to read the "what detergents to use" section below).
5) Run through an extra cold rinse if you're worried about soap residue. If you're not worried, don't bother with an extra rinse.

6) Put in dryer on medium or high heat until dry (depends on the diapers and fabric. Pocket diapers dry quickly while AOI diapers take a while. Microfleece dries pretty fast, while hemp takes a while), or line dry (great method--saves money and bleaches stains and microbials out of fabric using UV rays).

What Detergents to Use

A few things first...
You can not use regular detergents when washing cloth diapers. They leave residue on your clothing, which will build up on the diapers, causing them to leak. "Free & Clear" detergents don't cut it, either. They may not contain any scents, but they do contain special "brighteners" or "whiteners" which cling to your fabric.
Do not use fabric softeners--liquid or sheets! These build up residue on your clothing and will cause your diapers to leak.

Do not use regular diaper rash creams on a baby wearing a cloth diaper. They get stuck on the diaper. Instead, I recommend California Baby or Burt's Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment (this is what we use--never have had a problem with our pocket diapers). If you must use a regular cream just put a disposable liner into the diaper so that the cream doesn't touch the fabric. Don't expect a cloth-diapered baby to have a rash, though! They rarely do, so make sure you investigate the cause if one pops up.

Minimize the use of bleach. We avoid it altogether. While some manufacturers recommend using it (bumGenius suggests using it 1x/month), it will break down your diapers. Not to mention it stinks and is toxic.
What To Use...

There are a variety of detergents that are safe to use when cleaning cloth diapers. Generally, you'll end up trying one for a while and if it doesn't work, switching to something else. The best guide to detergents that I've found is at Jillian's Drawers. Charlie's Soap and Allen's Naturally are the most popular detergents to use for cloth diapers. We use Charlie's Liquid Soap in the amount that they recommend. It works great, leaves no residue, and actually increases the fire retardant-ness of fabrics! Whatever soap that you choose to go with, keep in mind that you'll probably only need to use 1/4-1/2 of the amount the company says to use (even less if you have a HE machine). If your diapers seem to keep odors (even pleasant ones), then you're using too much. Cut back and do an extra rinse. If they continue to be smelly, you need to strip your diapers.

Monkey Foot Design's Wet Bag Review/Giveaway/Deal

Note: all images in this post are from
The storage and cleaning of cloth diapers is an easy thing and certainly not worthy of intimidation. The first thing that people should know about are wet bags. A wet bag is a waterproof bag that closes (usually by zipper) and is small enough to be put into a diaper bag or sent to the babysitter, but big enough to hold a short day's worth of diapers (we can fit about 6 medium sized diapers into a standard wet bag). We always carry one or two in our diaper bag and just throw them in the wash with our regular diapers after use.

Not only are these bags great for wet diapers, but they're also wonderful for anything else that may be wet like swimsuits, toiletries, or cleaning rags. Most bags are made using PUL (one layer bags) or a thicker waterproof fabric on the inside and a fabric on the outside (two layer bags). The two layer bags seem to hold liquids in better, as well as provide sturdier carrying.

We've used numerous wet bags from various businesses and can say that the bag recently sent to us by Monkey Foot Designs is the best one we've ever seen. We tried their X-Large bag in Michael Miller Black Damask Fabric--it's wonderful and perfect for either a cloth-diaper-road-trip or a day at the beach! Monkey Foot Designs offers wet bags in four different sizes, the smallest being 9x7" ($14.00) and the largest being 16x22" ($28.00). Their bags are made with two layers and include the addition of a small cloth strap used for carrying that's attached by way of a snap (great for slinging onto a stroller!). Only classy, fun, and fashionable prints are used for the outside layer and a white ProCare fabric used for the insider layer. Monkey Foot Designs describes ProCare by saying that it's "a fabric that is machine washable and dryable and is known for its high duty barrier protection- it is used widely in the medical and diaper fields." This provides a quality product while offering aesthetic beauty. Nothing could be nicer than function and good looks when dealing with dirty diapers!

You can purchase one of Monkey Foot Design's wetbags from their Etsy shop at They're offering free shipping on all US in stock orders now through the end of July, 2009 and a 10% discount on in stock items to my readers. Just mention Life More Simply's blog and the discount in the "comment" section when placing your order.

Win it! Monkey Foot Designs is giving one of my readers a medium size wet bag in the print of your choice for free. To gain an entry, visit their website and let me know which print you want in the medium bags if you win (choose wisely--it's what you'll be getting). Include your email address in every entry! This contest will end on August 7, 2009, at approximately 1530 hours, EST.

Gain additional entries by:

*Subscribing to me
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*Otherwise spreading the word about Life More Simply's Blog!