Flat diapers and Handwashing
Last month I participated in Dirty Diaper Laundry's 3rd Annual Flats and Hand washing Challenge. In a nut shell the challenge is about using only flat style diapers on your baby for a whole week. You must also hand wash the diapers that you use. For more details about the challenge check out Dirty Diaper Laundry.
I decided I wanted to do the challenge this year basically just to see if I could complete it. One of the many points of the challenge itself is to prove that cloth diapers are accessible to everyone, and can be very inexpensive. For the week I used about 12 flat style diapers; mostly flour sack towels, which can be purchased for about 5 bucks for a pack of 5 at Walmart. I also used receiving blankets, which I had leftover from my sons swaddling days. When using flat diapers you also want to use some sort of water proof cover with them. I used a combination of wool and fleece covers, and few PUL style covers (all which must be hand washed as well). I have recently fallen in love with wool covers, and for this challenge they worked great, especially since they do not have to be washed after every use or every other use as is the case with the PUL style covers and fleece covers. You also may want something to secure your diaper to your child, IE. pins or snappis. Most of the time I put a diaper on my son I folded it on and secured it with a snappi. Alternatively you could also just pad fold your flat diaper, stick it in the cover and secure the cover on your baby. Pad folding is easier in my opinion, but could also led to a messy cover if your baby decides it's time for a messy BM. I used cloth wipes during the challenge as well, which I usually pretty much always use at home with my cloth diapers. They were easily washed right along with my flats and covers.
I'm not going to lie and tell you that I enjoyed hand washing my 10 month old's dirty and sometimes poop covered cloth diapers several times a day. But I will tell you that it is definitely do-able, and it will save you money on your laundry bill each week (especially if you have a pay per use washer/dryer like me). In my case I would save about $6.20 each week on laundry if I hand washed my sons diapers on a regular basis. That adds up to be about $322 saved a year, I'm sure I could find a good use for that extra money.
I used a regular sized mop bucket to clean my sons dipes, and I washed about every third change. For me it was easier to get 3-4 diapers clean at a time, rather than waiting until the end of the day and trying to hand wash 10-12 diapers at a time. I was also nervous about dry time, and the weather was sort of iffy that week for line drying. Washing 3-4 diapers at a time pretty much guaranteed that I would always have some dry diapers around for my sons next change.
Here are the easy steps I followed when hand washing my flats:
- Rinse diaper in toilet with diaper sprayer or by dunking and swishing first if it was a poop diaper.
- Fill bucket up with hot water and soak diapers for about 30 mins, or until the water has cooled down, agitate them every so often.
- Empty the bucket, and wring the diapers out. Fill the bucket up again with hot water; this time add 1/2 teaspoon of detergent. Allow to sit for another 30 mins, agitating every 5 mins of so.
- Rinse, rinse, and rinse. You want to make sure you remove all the suds from your diapers. I usually rinsed mine twice, soaking for about 5 mins each time. If you are rinsing and still seeing bubbles, you need to rinse more.
- Wring your diapers out and try to get out as much water as you can. Line dry them outside in the sun, or just hang them over the shower curtain to dry.