Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flats Challenge day 4: Washing without the machine

Today is day 4 of the 3rd annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! This challenge is hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This is my 3rd year doing the flats challenge.  The idea is to use flat diapers and handwash them for one week.  Here is why i am doing the challenge and why others are doing it.  

So, handwashing. It sounds hard, doesn't it?  Time consuming? and handwashing DIAPERS??!  Messy? icky? 

Well, let me tell you.  It REALLY isn't that bad.  It isn't ideal - but it IS 100% do-able. (and I am not the only one saying this!)  Now, I can hear you now.. you're saying something like.. 'she's crazy' ..  or 'I don't have time for that' ... or 'that is too much work'  ..  BUT if you are on a strict budget and its a choice between disposable diapers and food, you are passionate about the environmental impact of disposables, or your baby gets rashes from disposable diapers, flats are a realistic alternative -- so, you don't have a washing machine?  If you have access to water, hand washing flats IS an option.  Flats and handwashing is also a great option for camping, or other vacations.  The wash easily, and dry quickly.  I have hand washed flats in a hotel before, and while visiting family. Can i afford disposables? yes.  My issue with disposables is pretty simple.  I hate poop blow outs while traveling. I hate them. and they ALWAYS happen with a young baby. Always.  I've been there far more times than i can count, scraping poop out of a carseat at a rest stop.  That just does not happen in cloth diapers. 
The reason we say washing flats is easier is because they are one layer of fabric.  Most cloth diapers are multiple layers of fabric sewn together and it is harder to get them clean and they take a long time to dry.  You do have to follow a few simple rules when washing flats.  No fabric softener!!!  Fabric softener makes a greasy built up on fabric and makes it less absorbent - that is bad news for diapers - it can also cause your baby to get a rash.  It is best to use a natural detergent or soap.  I use Charlie's soap. I have also tried Dr. Bronners castile soap on diapers.  If you must have some scent to diapers, experiment with tiny amounts of essential oils. 

Our current wash routine involves s teaspoon or less of Charlie's soap and a similar amount of oxiclean.  A kitchen sink full of diapers, and hot hot water. Followed by 2-3 rinses with cold water. 

 I keep the dirty diapers in a bucket under the sink - soaking in a solution of cold water and a teaspoon or so of borax.

On cool, wet days - we wash indoors.. A fan helps the diapers to dry quickly. 

My 7 year old LOVES washing diapers. (She is standing on a stool)  She also loved using the plunger before it broke. 

Line drying outside is ideal.  You have sun to take out stains and kill any possible remaining bacteria.  Again, I have a wonderful helper! 
This morning i learned a new trick! I filled my wetpail for todays diapers, and used its weight to wring out yesterdays soaking water.  Multi-tasking!

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