The secret to keeping your potted plants or vegetable container garden lush might be hidden in the contents of a diaper.
Tearing a diaper open may seem strange at first, but the results of this life hack speak for themselves. Grant Thompson, also known as the “King of Random,” testifies to the efficacy of this gardening tip as he demonstrates the different ways in which he repurposes diapers. Not only does this tip benefit your plants, but it also offers a brilliant way to use extra diapers that your baby may have outgrown.
Thompson begins the demonstration with a disposable baby diaper, though he mentions later that adult diapers work just as well. He saturates the diaper with water, which expands the absorbent gel core. Thompson then combines the “fiber-rich hydrogel” with equal parts all-purpose potting soil. This mixture slowly releases water over time and absorbs any excess that might collect from overwatering, ensuring plants have just as much hydration as they need. This life hack saves time, money, and water while allowing a grace period if you happen to forget to take care of your plants.
The star of the show is sodium polyacrylate. This polymer powder is composed of networks of molecules that, as demonstrated in the video below, swell into a gel when put into contact with water. On their website, Pampers claims that the super-absorbent substance that makes up the core of their diapers is capable of holding “up to 30 times its weight in liquid” while keeping the immediately surrounding areas, like the baby’s skin, dry.
Hydrogel usage extends far beyond diapers, vegetable container gardens, and backyard plots. Sodium polyacrylate is also available to purchase on its own and can also be used to mop up spills or as fake snow. But it may have worldwide repercussions, especially in the context of agriculture. According to this article from Popular Science, Belgian scientist Willem van Cotthem foresees a greener future thanks to these polymers. Popular Science describes his invention, TerraCottem, as “an 8- to 12-inch layer of dirt impregnated with hydrogels, along with organic agents that nourish the natural bacteria in the soil.” Van Cotthem hopes to reverse desertification and alleviate world hunger through this ambitious endeavor. If hydrogels function on that large of a scale, imagine what a single diaper can do for your home garden.
To learn how this life hack is carried out with more detail, watch the video below and be sure to note all of the different ways he utilizes diapers around the house. As always, we’d love to hear what you think about these tips and tricks, as well as if you’ve tried them out before.