Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why you need a diaper sprayer

You can survive for the first several months of your child's life blissfully satisfied with whatever arrangement you have to deal with getting poop off of diapers.  The time will come, however, when it becomes both easier and more difficult to remove poop.  This happens sometime after your child begins eating solid foods.  The time for a diaper sprayer has arrived.  The benefits of a sprayer are quite numerous.  Beyond the fact that they help cut down on smell while diapers are in limbo before being laundered they also start the laundry process immediately.  Using the sprayer will dramatically cut down on staining and smell issues that you may be experiencing after laundering your diapers.  It also feels nicer than scraping poop off of your diapers with a plastic poopstick.  If you do that you still have a dirty poopstick that needs cleaning when you are done.  I'm obviously not a fan of the poopstick technique, for those of you who are I salute you but I'll keep my sprayer.

I'm not going to review every sprayer on the market or tell you exactly which one to buy.  What I will do is tell you what I looked for in a sprayer and what I like about the one I chose.  My initial list included just three major things, it had to be easily removable, have an adjustable spray pressure, and have a cutoff valve.  Since I purchased and have been using mine for some time now I would include mounting hardware and a temporary cutoff or flow control valve on the handle.  So my ideal diaper sprayer easily mounts to the cutoff valve of a toilet and has an easy to use cutoff valve of it's own that is independent of the toilet.  This is just in case of leaks or for peace of mind for long absences from home.  Alternatively the ability to easily remove the sprayer from the valve allows it to be portable if necessary.  My sprayer has two ways to adjust pressure.  The first and most obvious one is the sprayer lever.  The more it is pressed the more pressure.  This is important because you want to start the spray gently and ramp the pressure up so as to not splatter poop all over your bathroom walls.  Trust me it can happen and the walls aren't necessarily the only things hit; you are standing there after all.  The second and a feature I like very much is there is a flow control lever on the bottom of the handle.  This functions as an easily accessible cutoff valve so that if your child decides to play with the sprayer they can't easily spray down your bathroom.    It can also be shut partially to reduce the total water volume of the sprayer just in case you have too much water coming through the sprayer.  I installed it myself in very little time and have had no leak issues that some people report with the sprayer I purchased.  I am a very experienced DIY plumber so keep that in mind.  I used small amounts of Teflon tape during the assembly of my sprayer to cut down on leaks, that was my magic trick which I'm passing on to you.  The last thing I want to mention is mounting hardware.  Keep in mind the fact that you will want to hang your sprayer somewhere and look at mounting options included with your sprayer or plan for them if you plan to construct your own.  It just makes the whole experience more tidy and that is what having the sprayer is all about, being tidy.

All of that said it is quite possible that you can fabricate a more than serviceable sprayer from a kitchen sink dish sprayer hose a "T" valve and a ball valve or two.  Now the connection type for a toilet valve and a kitchen sink sprayer are two different types of connections and adapters will have to be used to make it work.  My local hardware store didn't have what I wanted so I opted for a commercial product.  I was not willing to employ hose clamps.  There is an excellent tutorial for a setup similar to what I wanted to do here.  I don't see any reason to reinvent the wheel and they did an excellent job explaining the process.

The diaper sprayer has at least one added benefit.  They are a great tool for helping keep the toilet bowl clean.  It has been a good purchase and something that I think you will appreciate having in your cloth diapering arsenal.