Introduction: How to Build a Diaper Sprayer

If you are cloth-diapering your wee one, you’re quite used to being called a loon.  If you are planning to build your own diaper sprayer, you can add at least one more person to the folks who think you insane, the plumbing associate(s) at your local home improvement store.
This DIY will show you how to build a higher quality (and safer) diaper sprayer than the commercially available units for the same price or even a bit less.
A diaper sprayer is basically a sink sprayer connected to the toilet which allows you to spray the poopy mess into the toilet while keeping your hands cleaner than the old dunk and swish technique.  Many of the commercial units are just a sprayer tapped into the toilet supply.
My improved design has a shut off valve to take the pressure off of the sprayer when it is not in use and a check valve to prevent fecal contamination of your household water supply. This assembly uses a length of tube so that it can be mounted away from the existing toilet supply valve. The remote installation ensures that when you turn the valve several times each day, you are not transmitting forces to a valve designed to be used a few times per decade. The entire thing is mounted to the wall using bell hangers.

Step 1: Gathering Parts and Tools

Take a trip to your home improvement store or plumbing supply house. Or your father-in-law's basement. 
You basically need a T fitting to connect into the toilet supply, a check valve, an isolation valve, a kitchen sprayer, and nipples and fittings to connect all this together.
I ended up with this
three ½” close nipples
two 1” bell hangers
¾” bell hanger
Sink sprayer (from an old sink)
Add-a-valve fitting (Watts part #BPAV-666)
⅜” compression nuts (Watts part # A-104)
⅜” OD to ½” FIP reducing fitting (Watts part # A-118)
½” swing valve
½” check valve
½” FIP to ⅜” FIP reducing fitting (Watts part # A-828)
¼” close nipple (Watts part # A-740)
2 feet of polyethylene tubing,  â…œ” OD, ¼” ID

The tools I needed for this project are
Channel lock pliers
Adjustable wrench
Phillips head screwdriver
Drill
Drill bits
Utility knife or tubing cutter
Cutting Pliers
Pipe Tape

Step 2: Begin Assembly

Slide the compression nut onto one end of the poly tubing with the threaded end of the nut facing out.
Push the insert into the poly tubing.
Tighten the compression nut onto the ⅜” to ½” adapter.

Step 3: Assembly Continues

Wrap pipe tape around one end of the ½” nipple and screw it into the adapter. I used Schedule 80 PVC nipples which are approved for potable cold water in my area, but not approved everywhere, so check with your local building code office.
Wrap pipe tape around the other end of the nipple and screw the check valve onto that. The check valve is designed to ensure that water only flows one direction, so make sure you install it facing the right way. There is an arrow on the check valve pointing the direction the water should flow.
Use the second nipple and pipe tape the same way to connect the isolation valve to the assembly. I had to use the cutting pliers to cut the label off of my valve.
Use the third nipple and pipe tape to connect the ½” to ¼” adapter.

Step 4: Final Assembly and Mounting to the Wall

Wrap pipe tape around one end of the ¼” nipple and attach that to the assembly.
Wrap pipe tape around the other end of the nipple and add the sink sprayer.
Go into your bathroom and figure out your mounting location. My bathroom walls are made of wood so I just used screws to mount the hangers. If your wall is made of another material, use appropriate anchors. Feel free to tuck a bit of the sprayer assembly behind the bowl or tank, but be sure that you have easy access to both the valve and the sprayer handle.
Using a pencil, mark the location of the input side of the valve and the output side of the check valve.
Drill pilot holes for the two 1” bell hangers at your marked locations.
Open the bell hangers so that they are in an S-shape.
Screw the opened bell hangers into the pilot holes.
Holding your sprayer assembly onto the hanger bases, rotate the front half of the hanger into place.
Using the screwdriver, tighten the bell hanger to hold the assembly in place.
Use the ¾” bell hanger to mount the sprayer handle.

Step 5: Tapping Into the Toilet

Turn off the supply valve to the toilet.
Flush the toilet to drain the tank. Hold the flush handle open until the tank is as empty as possible.
Disconnect the toilet supply line from the valve. You may need to use a pair of channel lock pliers to do this, but be gentle if you do.
Install the T fitting on the valve.
Have a towel handy, the water in the supply line will drip onto the floor, but it's only a few ounces.
Install the toilet supply line on one of the other legs of the T.
Slide the compression nut onto the free end of the poly tubing with the threaded end of the nut facing away from your sprayer assembly.
Push the insert into the poly tubing. Tighten the poly tubing from your sprayer assembly onto the third leg of the T.
Turn on the toilet supply valve.
Check for leaks & tighten any leaky connections.

Comments

author
ninarhoz (author)2015-07-27

nice!!! about how much did the whole thing cost ya? i may be making one soon since me and plumbing are good friends.

author
straycatmeow (author)2012-07-25

Wow, I have often wondered if I could make my own diaper sprayer as I think $40 is WAY too much to purchase one. I've often reverted to taking the messy ones outside & washing them out in our grass with the hose sprayer. THANK YOU! Some how, I am going to have my husband or father do this project for me. Awesome Instructable.

author
Wynnston (author)straycatmeow2012-07-28

Straycatmeow, This cost me about $30. It would have been more than $40 if I had to buy the sprayer head. That being said, none of the commercial sprayers have the check valve which prevents fecal contamination of your plumbing. It's a very low probability event, but it is possible, either through splashback or dropping the sprayer into the toilet bowl. Also, the commercial units I've seen for $40 are all plastic. the reviews often mention leaks.
This doesn't get the pressure you're getting from the garden hose, but it is a lot more convenient. Also, I wouldn't want to use the garden hose in January. When you do use the hose, make sure you're not in the same spot every time. Your lawns can deal with a limited amount of feces, but when you overload it, your family and neighbors will be very irritated.

author
straycatmeow (author)Wynnston2012-07-28

Thanks for the all the info. I am lucky enough to have not 1 but 2 builders in my family. My father and father in law both build custom housing/ commercial properties. I will 1st check with both of them to see what materials they have on hand that I can use. Besides, I'm hoping to sweet talk my dad into doing the whole thing for me. You are right bout' not using the garden hose during winter though, usually I cheat and go with disposables during part of the winter months because I have a heck of a time drying the diapers. As for neighbors, I have none really. I am out on a farm.

author
shazni (author)straycatmeow2012-08-13

$40! you got to be kidding! over here it's like 2 to 3 dollars...of course if you bang it up or pull the lever up too much as kids tend to do...it leaks...but all in all ...compared to the price over there...i think it's ok :-)

author
Servelan (author)2012-07-24

I plan on sending the link to DH, who has wished for a bidet forever. No room for one makes this a great alternative.

author
Wynnston (author)Servelan2012-07-25

Please share this 'structable.
The only issue I would have with using this as a bidet is that this water is going to be COLD!!!!
I don't have any hot water pipes on this side of the bathroom, but DH might want to see about adding a mixing valve if there is a convenient hot water line to tap into.

author
Viaticus (author)2012-07-23

Okay I'm pretty much on the side of those who see cloth diapers as a looney idea in this day and age, except for using them (new and unspoiled) as a polishing cloth for my 1930's vintage Model A.

However...this idea has a lot of practical applications for (modern) bathrooms above and beyond your stated purpose. I have a shower (no tub) and find it messy just to fill a bucket with water. The steam vac is another good example of that - the reservoir doesn't fit in my basin, so to fill it I have to use the shower and try to aim for the little fill hole. Having a sprayer like this would be VERY handy.

It could also be a great self-defense tool in case someone walks in on you when you are indisposed! :)

Very, very well written 'ible. Keep up the good work!

author
Servelan (author)Viaticus2012-07-24

Cloth diapers have several advantages over the disposable ones: no plastic, reusable (meaning over the long haul they are cheaper), keeps the landfill load down, and my fave: they make the best rags for refinishing furniture - or polishing it - when worn soft.

Now, that's not to say that disposables whilst camping and the like are a bad thing because there are times when cleaning facilities just don't exist, but on the whole, there is a very large place for cloth diapers. Cleaning them's no worse than cleaning a cat box.

author
Wynnston (author)Viaticus2012-07-24

You drive an eighty-year-old car, but think cloth diapers are loony? :-)
Yes, this will be used for filling the humidifier come fall. Also, I'm looking forward to having these diapers used to polish a classic car when my wee beastie is done with them.
Also, there are two reasons for the isolation valve; the first is to keep pressure off the sprayer when not in use; the second is to make it less likely that a toddler discovers a squirt gun that never needs to be reloaded.

author
Browncoat (author)2012-07-20

Not sure, but you might be able to enter this in the Water Challenge.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Summer-Water-Challenge/

author
Wynnston (author)Browncoat2012-07-21

Thanks for the heads up, Browncoat. I posted a comment to enter, waiting to see if the folks at Shift feel it qualifies.

author
mygibzone (author)2012-07-19

This is GENIUS!!! My mother would have killed to have one of these back in the day. She had 9 children most of which she used clothe diapers for. I remember her using the dunk & swish method. I myself use disposable diapers but I have friends who use the clothe diapers. I will have to pass this along for sure! Thanks for the awesome share!

author
Wynnston (author)mygibzone2012-07-21

Thanks for the feedback, Mygibzone. Having used this for a few days now, I can say it is awesome. It almost makes me look forward to a dirty diaper. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions that your friends have.

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Bio: Wynnston is a new dad and lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs and a cat. He's a restless tinkerer who can't leave ... More »
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