Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY Plumbing Project: The Cloth Diaper Sprayer

So I'm going to do it:  I'm going the cloth diaper route with baby #2.  I've got my supply of prefolds, covers, pocket diapers, liners, reusable wipes, the whole lot. I'm feeling pretty good about it, too. I'll be sure to report how it's working for me once baby gets here. 

Anyway, as I was researching cloth diapering, one recommendation was to get a diaper sprayer. The hose of the sprayer just attaches to the toilet's water supply so you can spray everything off the soiled diaper into the toilet. When I was convincing my husband to try cloth diapering, getting a sprayer was one of the things that finally got him to concede: "Well, if this will keep me from having to stick my hand in the toilet..."

Diaper sprayers cost anywhere from $40 to $60, plus shipping (if you buy online). The reviews of the sprayers were mixed, depending on the brand. There was one, manufactured by a cloth diaper company, that only had 1-star reviews on Amazon, saying it leaked terribly. A few of the other sprayers had similar complaints. As I was figuring out which one to buy, I found a website that suggested making your own diaper sprayer for less.  Could it be done? Would doing it yourself be worth the savings? The answer is YES! Not only did we make our diaper sprayer for less than the ones that you can buy online (it cost $33.76, to be exact), but it also only took about 20 minutes, from start to finish, to construct and attach.

{Of all the instructions we looked at on various sites, the tutorial that stood out as the easiest was on the blog, Gidget Goes Home. So the parts and instructions are adapted from their tutorial. Gotta give credit where it's due, after all.}

We found all the parts necessary for the project at Home Depot, all of it (except one part --see explanation below in the supply list) in the same plumbing aisle. I'm proud to say that I found all the parts by myself. Is it weird that I find pride in that?  Here's what you need:

{Clockwise from top left}
  • Ice-Maker Supply Line (also called 'filter connector splicer')  -- 1/4" OD Compression x 12"
  • Kitchen Sink Spray Hose & Head Assembly
  • Teflon tape (optional)
  • Ander-Lign Compression Connector -- 1/4" OD x 1/4" MIP w/insert (it will have all these measurements on the outside of the bag)
  • Adapt-a-Valve T-fitting  -- 3/8" x 3/8" x 1/4" (again, all of ths is right on the bag)
  • 1/4" Full Port Ball Valve  (This serves as a shut-off valve and it's the part that wasn't in the plumbing aisle with everything else. I found it in the section with the air compressor supplies.)
After I brought home all the parts, my ever-obliging (and, might I add, handsome) husband put them together.

On one end of the ice-maker supply line, he attached the t-fitting. On the other end, the compression connector, then the full port ball valve. Don't attach the compression parts too tightly because it can shred the washers and cause leaks at the connections.  See below for a close-up of the order of parts (FYI: there will be a couple little parts of the compression connector that you won't use):

Attach the sprayer hose to the valve and the sprayer is fully assembled.

Note: As I mentioned in the supply list, the Teflon tape is optional, but my husband thinks it's a good idea to use it since there are so many connections. This will help combat any leakiness. He used it on all the connecting areas. The tape only costs about a buck and doesn't take that much more time to put on, so it's worth considering.

Now that it's all assembled, it's time to attach it.

First, turn off the water supply to your toilet by turning the knob. Very important. I took this staged picture after everything was all done because I forgot to take a picture while the husband was doing it. Also, it's a good idea to put a towel under the area where you'll be working, just in case.

With a crescent wrench, unscrew the toilet supply line. From what I've read, you have to have flexible supply lines for this whole project to work. If yours are rigid, you can replace them with the flexible ones. The flexible ones seem to be the norm, though. Also, please excuse this blurry picture. I was trying to take pictures over my husband's shoulder.

Install the t-fitting on the end of the tube to the area.  Re-attach toilet supply line by screwing it onto the other end of  the t-fitting.

A quick aside about the ball port valve:

Since the sprayer will be under constant pressure from the water supply, the ball port valve serves as a shut-off valve for the sprayer.  When you want to spray, push the red lever so that it's in-line with the tube. To shut off the water supply, pull the red lever away from the water line, so that it's pointing out.

That's it. Now just spray away!


errin julkunen-pedersen said...

this is awesome.

Nisha said...

Wow! It looks like you're getting great water pressure there. Nice job!!!

Kim HB said...

Great post! We've been considering this for awhile in lieu of an expensive bidet. Why the refrigerator supply line, may I ask? Is it just an extension or is there an additional purpose for it? Thanks!

Heather said...

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why -- we just followed the plans and directions we saw on other sites and they called for the supply line. I think it's just as an extension, but I'm not totally sure. Or it might need to have the supply line because the sprayer hose itself doesn't have the correct hook up pieces. It's not a very expensive part if I remember right, so it doesn't hurt to add it. You could always buy the other parts and try without, I don't know. Hope that helps a little! :)

Misty Queen said...

This is awesome! I have been looking for a sprayer, but I just can't bring myself to spend the money that everyone seems to want for it. My question is: How do you store it? Most of the sprayers come with a "holder". What do you do? Thanks!

Heather said...

We hang our sprayer on a hook that hangs from the side of the sink, since they're so close to each other. I imagine you could find a hook to mount on the wall by the toilet that would work, too -- even one of those inexpensive ones that are made for hanging holiday decorations. It's not very heavy (unless you get a metal sprayer head), so it doesn't need much. I hope that's sort of helpful. :)

M Prindle said...

This worked great. Got all of the parts and then realized that our house has an older 1/2" compression connection at the toilet valve. Ended up having to get a 1/2" to 3/8" converter, but besides that everything went together well. When finished putting everything together I'd recommend looking for leaks at all of the connections. I had one connection that had a very very slow leak and then one at the sprayer head since I didn't have the seals installed properly. You can lay the connections on a flat surface, put a layer of paper towels below it and then let it set for a few mins. When you check on it you'll be able to see if there's any wet spots on the towel. Again, thanks for the post.

Heather said...

I'm so glad it worked for you! And you're right -- it's a really good idea to check the connections for leaks (that's why we liked using the teflon tape). I like the idea of using the towels to check.

Thanks for the comment and I'm glad it worked out!

random said...

Hi, I am surprised that there are some things that are taken for granted when living in a certain cultural context. You see in India, especially down south, this diaper sprayer is called a 'health faucet' and it is a must in most european and indian style toilets here, because people generally wash themselves after they visit the loo:). And ofcourse it is extremely useful in cleaning soiled diapers, :)

Unknown said...

This is an awesome tutorial! Thank you very much. What happens if you always leave the valve in the on position?

Heather said...

There have been lots of times when I have left the valve in the on position because I'm busy and forget to switch it or, if I'm being completely honest, I'm feeling too lazy to bend over and switch it. It's usually fine, though we've had a few instances where I left it in in the on position and it started to drip -- once it left a small puddle on the floor.

Unknown said...

Does the valve have a male end on one end? I bought a 1/4" full port valve and it won't connect to the sprayer hose. It is female to female.

Heather said...

Hmmmm...I'm looking at the picture (it's been a while since we put this thing together) and it looks like our ball port valve had a male end on it (where it connected to the sprayer). Is there a difference between a full port valve and a full port ball valve? I'm not sure. I'm sorry I'm not more helpful. :(

Andrea K. H. Agüin said...

I just found this post in searching for this very thing and have taken a gander at your other post. I feel like we could have been bossom buddies in another life. I look forward to perusing your blog and Pinterest. Thanks For a great post! My husband will know that there are other nutters out there when I show him this.

JLC said...

Thank you for the comment about using a compressor valve. I had been designing my own and was stumped by the lack of an in-line shut-off valve in the plumbing area. They are all set up to connect to a 1/2" water supply line, and I was going to need a ridiculous amount of adapters to match the various thread types and pipe sizes, this is much simpler.

The part about not connecting the compression parts too tightly applies to the parts of the compression connector that you didn't use. Since you aren't connecting to a non-threaded pipe (which is what those little parts are for) you don't really need to worry.

As for the ice maker supply line, it is partially as an extender, but mostly it is there because they don't make another connector with female compression threads on both sides.

Unknown said...

It does look really simple to fix and since all items can be found at home depot, then I reckon it must have been much cheaper to DIY rather than buying a ready-made one. However, since I do not have any skills in this field, I think I would just hire some plumbers near Sydney to do a perfect job for me, rather than regretting it later on when I have all that nasty things on the bathroom floor after each diaper change. Good job by the way, for a successful sprayer.

Unknown said...

I never thought this will be so easy! I looked for possible DIY tutorials about adding a sprayer, but unfortunately, I never succeeded. Good thing my friend's plumber worked to fix those plumbing issues. Hehe! Well, I'll still bookmark this post and preferably try this again when we start fixing the basement bathroom. Thanks for the share! :)

Zulema Sennett @

Unknown said...

Well done for having the initiative to make and attach this yourself, I do get frustrated sometimes at the prices some manufacturers or plumbers charge for simple pieces and systems that don’t need to cost that much. Actually, while we are on the subject of dirty diapers, I have a few friends with new-borns who just might be interested in one of these sprayers. They have other uses too, not only for spraying diapers clean, as mentioned in a previous post they are used in some Asian countries as a form of bidet.

Harry und Luna said...

This is one of the really decent descriptions for an DIY diaper sprayer! Those pictures are so incredibly helpful!!!
There has been a comment whether you can skip that step with the ice maker supply line. You cannot. At least I have not found a way yet do do so but I also don't know a lot about plumbing as to say that. The problem lies with all those different connections. There is an OD and MIP connection available. The valve comes with an OD connection. The T fitting comes with an MIP connection. Therefore, you need the compression union. But then you end up with two male ends, for which you will need the supply line with female ends.
Also, look out for the valves! I ended up ordering a cheaper one and was really annoyed getting one with lead in it! I had to buy a new one. Not sure, if this one in this DIY instruction contains lead.
I am sitting here with tons of little pieces and still haven't decided yet what to do.. I ordered only those three parts as I thought I could skip the ice maker thingy. So first, the parts did not fit and now I bought additional supplies, which cost me 40CDN!!! I could not get a supply line and had to buy a new valve, a different t fitting, a compression union and a dishwasher line, items that are far more expensive. The guy in the store told me to do everything with 3/8'' instead of going down to 1/4''. Not sure what to do but its quite frustrating. :(

jaxattack said...

I was super psyched about this and after 2 tries, 4 stores & $48.43 at the cheapest way possible in my area, I'm going to just order one from for $37. I did write down every bit of info that was left on this blog and still came home with parts that don't fit together after a second try. So frustrated.

Heather said...

That is a bummer! I wish I knew how to help. Hope you find a solution that works for you. :)

nuttydrew said...

Thank you for the tutorial! The pictures of the parts made this a relatively easy job, however some of the part numbers have changed, adding "LF" for Lead Free. Most of the other DIYs on the net seem a tad more complicated with some even cutting the hoses! My total cost $25. USD, I picked up the sprayer at a flea market for $1., the rest at HD like you said. Thanks again!

Unknown said...

You did a great job! The cloth diaper spray can really help you save more money on water bills, because you don’t have to turn your faucet on and leave the water running. All you have to do is to click the tab and spray, and you have a full control on how much water you will be using.

Lavern Knight @ Midland Mechanical

julie03me said...

Thank you for this! I have been trying to figure out how to make a diy "health faucet or bidet" but have been stuck on how to get warm water to it without having to add another faucet to blend the hot and cold. ...Unless people are just gritting their teeth and using straight cold water (for the bidet type, not the diaper spray). Any ideas? ��

Life with Leah said...

My diaper sprayer was a disaster! Had to make 5 trips to various hardware stores and spent over $40. The instructions assume all your plumbing works perfectly but we have a geriatric toilet that malfunctioned when I went to turn the water off. The only sprayer head I could find did not fit the rest of the equipment and if it weren't for the sales ppl I never would have gotten the additonal part needed to get this assembled....Not nearly as easy as it looks!!!

sweetpea said...

While You're buying the supplies to for this project, pick up a 5 gallon bucket or a cheap mop bucket. Drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket, large enough to dispose of solids being sprayed from the diaper, sit the bucket on the toilet seat, and spray the diaper while in the bucket. This keeps the over-spray at bay. If you buy a bucket that has a lid, You can use the lid to sit the bucket on after spraying the diaper, to keep your floor dry and clean.
As a second inspiration, if you hand wash your diapers, an easy way to squeeze the water from them, is to buy two more 5 gallon buckets, drill holes in the bottom and sides of one of them, resembling a "colander". Place the wet diapers in the "colander", insert the second bucket on top of the diapers, and simply push down to press the diapers.
If You use the solid, non-drilled, bucket to rinse the diapers, simply leave the rinse water in the bucket and slip it into the "colander" bucket, making it easier to expel the water from the wet diapers.

Unknown said...

That saved you the cost of installation fee. Well, the process didn’t seem to be too complicated. All one had to do is to follow the instructions thoroughly, and everything should be fine. Now, rinsing soiled diapers is just a spray away. Cheers!

Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing

Anna Schafer said...

I'm feeling pretty good about it, too. I'll be sure to report how it's working for me once baby gets here. Serrurier sur Paris 15

Mommy Brain said...

Looking back to when this post was published, how was it doing the cloth diapering? Im considering making the switch too

Lauren said...

I realize this is an old post but did you just leave the part with the valve sitting on the floor? Then hang the sprayer?

Lauren said...

I realize this is an old post but did you just leave the part with the valve sitting on the floor? Then hang the sprayer?

Bronx NY Sewer & Drain Cleaning said...

Wow! I'm blown away from this DIY plumbing project. Haven't seen anything like it yet! Wonder if this is involved in sewer cleaning in the Bronx, NY 

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jade said...

The pipes with red duct tape are planned for hot water. best local plumbers

Unknown said...

The supply line is what makes the connections work. Theres some discrepancy between the standard fittings & compression fittings that the supply line solves. It took an hour & a half & two associates in home depot to gigure this out...

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