Ask ten people whether you need a toilet sprayer for cloth diapers, and you’ll get ten answers. So, today we are talking about toilet sprayers - what they are, how to use them, whether you need one, and what the alternatives are.
First things first
Do You Need A Toilet Sprayer For Cloth Diapers?
You do not need a toilet sprayer for cloth diapers, BUT many people find them useful. Some people say toilet sprayers are unnecessary and more trouble than they’re worth. Others say their sprayer’s essential and they couldn’t do without it and a third group can take them or leave them.
The only way to know whether a toilet sprayer is suitable for you is to learn all about them and maybe give one a try. Whether you’re entirely new to the subject or you have some idea about toilet sprayers, this rundown will share everything you need to know so you can make an informed choice.
Let’s start with the basics.
Baby Poop & Toilet Sprayers
If your baby is 100% breastfed, their poop is water-soluble. Consequently, you can throw dirty diapers straight into the washing machine without any kind of removal, and the poo will dissolve. Breastfed baby poo varies in appearance but is generally similar to loose mustard.
If your baby is:
- 100% formula fed,
- Partially breastfed and partially formula-fed,
- Eating any kinds of solids in addition to either formula or breastmilk.
Their poop will look more like thick peanut butter.
You have to remove as much poop as possible before washing the diapers. It will not dissolve like breastfed poo.
It is best to get rid of the poop as soon as possible after you have changed the diaper. This is for several reasons:
If the poop dries onto the fibers of the diaper, it will be more challenging to remove. This can happen pretty quickly.
When your baby’s poo sits in the diaper for a prolonged period, it is more likely to cause stains. This is especially true once your baby begins solids.
Personal experience has shown me that when you feed your baby carrot puree, they poop, and you become distracted before cleaning the poop out of the diaper; you end up with pretty spectacular orange stains in your diaper that can take weeks to get out!
Poo hanging around in your dirty diapers is more likely to cause unpleasant odors in your diaper pail or wet bag.
- Suppose your babysitter changes a diaper and drops it, poop and all, into the diaper pail, and you do not notice. In that case, it can be pretty shocking to put your hand into the pail, pull out the diapers for washing and end up with mobile poo in your pail, on your hands, and on the laundry room floor. Unfortunately, I also speak from experience on this point!
What Is a Toilet Sprayer?
A toilet sprayer is like a small hosepipe with a nozzle at the end. You hold your diaper at the top of the toilet bowl and spray the diaper with a focused stream of water, dislodging the poop. Once the poop is in the toilet, you can flush it away and drop the diaper into your diaper pail or wet bag.
Most diaper sprayers are easy DIY installations, there’s no need for a plumber, and most have everything you need in the box.
How Does a Toilet Sprayer Work?
A toilet sprayer works precisely like a hosepipe or a kitchen sprayer on your sink. While the exact design may vary, sprayers have a metal hose that ends in a handle. The handle will have either a trigger or a button to turn on the water, and in most models, you can control the water pressure.
To use the sprayer:
Hold the diaper at one end and let the other end fall into the toilet bowl.
Top Tip: Avoid letting the other end of the diaper fall into the water. Not only can it make your diaper wetter and heavier than it was, but you might end up with the solids in the toilet bowl being pulled back out when you remove the diaper.
Take the sprayer and point it at the top of the poopy area on your diaper.
Turn the sprayer on and use the water pressure to separate the poo from the diaper and let it fall into the water.
- Turn off the sprayer, lift your diaper out of the toilet bowl, and place it into your dirty diaper storage.
Some toilet sprayers come with a shield or a special pail so you can spray the diaper without splashing water anywhere.
How do You Install a Toilet Sprayer?
At the back of your toilet, you’ll find a shut-off valve.
Turn the valve as far as it will go and flush the toilet. If the tank fills up again, turn the valve in the opposite direction and try again.
When the tank does not fill up again, you have shut off the water to the toilet.
Unscrew the water line from the bottom of your toilet. You do this by reaching up onto the underside of the tank, where you’ll find a nut. Have a bucket handy just in case there is any water left in the system.
Take the T-valve from your sprayer kit and find the end with the rubber washer. This end fits up against the underside of your toilet tank. If your valve has a turn-off switch, make sure it is on the outside so you can reach it easily.
Connect the end of the water line that was attached to the bottom of the tank and attach it to the bottom of the T valve.
Take the metal hose from your kit and screw the end with the nut onto the remaining spot on the T valve.
If your sprayer comes with a mount, work out where to fix it, either on the wall or the toilet, whichever is most convenient.
- Turn the water back on and test your sprayer. If the pressure is too high, even on the lowest sprayer setting, you can turn the valve at the wall a little. But do not turn the pressure too low, or you may affect how your toilet tank fills.
The finished set up will look like this:
What’s the Alternative to a Toilet Sprayer for Cloth Diapers?
A toilet sprayer is not the only option for cleaning the solids from your little one’s cloth diapers. The three main alternatives are Scrape, Swish, or Shake it off.
Scrape it Off
Some people clear the feces from the diaper using a spatula. Most popular are the small, plastic, or silicone options you can pick up almost anywhere. It’s essential to have a firm spatula because a slightly softer one will bend and flex, resulting in a “more unpleasant than it has to be” experience.
Turn the diaper inside out, over the toilet bowl. Put your hand inside so you are touching the outside of the diaper, and hold firmly. Then you use the spatula to scrape the solids into the toilet before putting your diaper into your diaper pail or wet bag.
Some people keep disinfecting wipes in the washroom to clean the spatula afterward. Others wipe it off with tissue and put it either in the toilet brush holder or a pot near the toilet.
Swish it Off
Swishing is a method as old as toilets, and similar techniques have been used in many cultures throughout history. You do not need any additional equipment for this method, meaning there is nothing to store, maintain, or sanitize.
To swish the poop, you either:
- Fold the diaper inside out over the toilet bowl, or
- Hold the diaper at one end over the bowl.
Then, whichever way you prefer to hold the diaper, you dunk the pooped on area in the water and move it around in the water. Some solids will come away pretty quickly without much effort, some will need a degree of firm movement in the water to get things dislodged, and for some, you will have to resort to intervention with toilet paper.
Maria over at Change-Diapers.com made this video demonstrating how to swish poo off of dirty diapers.
Shake it off
This version of shake it off is not as glamorous or as energetic as the Taylor Swift version. There’s also a lot less seeing and dancing, and people are usually less enthusiastic.
Just like it sounds, this method involves holding the diaper with a large proportion of it in the toilet bowl but not in the water. You then shake the diaper until the poo dislodges and falls into the bowl.
This is a good option for solid poop, but the more liquid or pressed into the diaper the poo is, the less likely it is to shake off.
Do You Need a Toilet Sprayer?
Now you know your de-pooping options, you may be able to rule out one or two. The good thing about toilet sprayers is that you can pick up a good quality model for under $30, so you don’t have to break the bank, only to discover it’s not for you.
How do You do?
What is your preferred method of poop removal? Get on over to our Facebook page and let us know your technique, any hints, and tips, or share some poop wins and disasters.