At some point during your cloth diaper journey you’ll notice something a little funky. Now don’t get me wrong, funky can be fun. But this type of funk is often a little bit foul. It may challenge your senses. You may need a little extra help.
Enter the cloth diaper sprayer, a handy tool for those who don’t want to use their hands. A diaper sprayer looks a lot like a kitchen vegetable sprayer, except for one important difference — you hook it up to your can.
Many branded models boast adjustable spray pressure, plumber-free installation, and a stream so strong that even the messiest diaper can be spritzed clean.
I wanted one for a few reasons. I wanted cleaner diapers hitting my laundry, I liked the idea of less staining on my cloth, and I preferred the poop flushing down the toilet where it belongs. Less fuss, less mess. Sold.
Don’t pay to spray: Save 29% by making your own diaper sprayer.
The problem is both branded and generic models seem a little pricey for what you get (a hose that sprays?), and many product reviews cite leaking, breaking, and the inability to replace parts as common faults. For example, the bumGenius Diaper Sprayer sells for a pricey $69.99 on Amazon, and boasts as many negative reviews as positive. Not sold.
Why not just build one with quality components to last from diaper to potty? If something breaks (which is unlikely), then single parts can easily be swapped without the expense of replacing the whole unit. It’s like plumbing, people!
I wasn’t alone in my search for a handy DIY plumber-grade diaper sprayer. Blogger Nicole over at Gidget Goes Home gave it a go. So I took her lead to see if a DIY diaper sprayer could cut the cost with higher quality. Sold.
Here’s how to get the dirty job done.
How to make your own cloth diaper sprayer
Start by getting the right plumbing parts. Carl avoided a few diaper changes by popping on over to Home Depot (Canada). The same parts are available in the United States and sell for less.
The stuff you need:
- toilet connected with a 3/8″ compression fitting
- compression T-fitting, 3/8″ x 3/8″ x 1/4″
- 1/4″ compression connector for 1/4″ pipe
- 1/4″ valve
- kitchen sink sprayer
- 1/4″ pipe nipple (or an adapter to connect sprayer to valve — varies depending on the sprayer)
- Teflon tape
- 1/4″ tubing for compression fittings (or a 1/4″ compression fitting ‘ice maker hookup’ tube kit)
- towel, small container for catching water
- adjustable crescent wrench (ideally, two)
- small pipe wrench
- Sink sprayer: $21.41
- 1/4″ ball valve: $6.80
- Adapt-A-Valve T: $6.59
- 1/4″ brass pipe nipple: $2.12
- 1/4″ ice maker connection hose: $5.57
- 1/4″ compression connector: $2.02
TOTAL (after tax): $49.85
8 Steps: How to install a diaper sprayer
STEP ONE: Water shutdown. Turn off the water to your toilet. You don’t want a leaky can.
Place a towel and plastic container under the valve to catch any possible water drips.
STEP TWO: Disconnect. Use your wrench to disconnect the hose going from the valve to the toilet. Careful, some water is still going to be in the hose.
STEP THREE: Assemble pieces. Connect the T-Adapter to one end of the tubing, and the compression connector to the other.
Tighten firmly, but do not over tighten.
STEP FOUR: Tape it. To create a water-tight seal, wrap a little Teflon tape around the threads of the compression connector (Yep, you just attached it to the tubing).
Wrap the tape around the threads on one side of the pipe nipple.
STEP FIVE: Assemble valve. Screw the compression connector and the pipe nipple into the valve.
Handle Position: Adjust the valve handle to your preferred position — it might be easier for you to use one way or the other. It shouldn’t matter which direction the water runs through the valve.
STEP SIX: Connect sprayer. Wrap a bit of Teflon tape around the other end of the pipe nipple (it’s attached to the valve), and screw the sink sprayer assembly onto it. (Yes, I really wrote the words ‘pipe nipple’ and ‘screw’ in the same sentence. Sigh.)
STEP SEVEN: Connect T-Adapter. Connect the T-Adapter to the water supply. One end will fit on the valve, the other end attaches to the hose leading to the toilet. Tighten firmly, but do not over tighten.
Lefty or Righty? Use the T-Adapter to determine whether the hose points to the left or right. Handy for left-handed types or for those who favor their right hands.
STEP EIGHT: Turn the water on. Dry everything carefully. Turn on the toilet water. Check for leaks. Turn on the valve and give the sprayer a quick test. Check for leaks again.
Got leaks? If your diaper sprayer leaks, carefully tighten the leaking joint. If water is leaking from the valve or sprayer, take them back to the store — you may have bought a faulty part.
Go ahead and spray those dirty cloth diapers clean. Your diapers may stain less, should launder fresher in the laundry, and you won’t get dirty in the process. Sold.
Put a cork in it: A clean demo for a dirty topic.
Besides, when diapering is done and the kiddlet is potty trained, convert your diaper sprayer to a vegetable sprayer (kidding) or use it outside to hose the kids down on a hot summer’s day (sorta kidding). Dirt always finds the kid, right?