Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 5 of the Flats and Handwash Challenge

I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all.  You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post.  This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

Here we are at day 5 of the challenge. I ended up washing diapers last night after B had gone to sleep. I was worried about waking him up, because the bathroom is right next to his room, but there was no problem. But now, we have our entire stash of diapers clean, except for the night time diaper, which means I think I have a day off!

Wringing out diapers last night.

I have been trying to think of tips for making this whole process easier. Since this is my first time doing the challenge I pretty much relied on everyone else's tips. The three tips that I found most surprising and helpful were to iron dry flats to help them dry faster, to set a timer while agitating because it feels a lot longer than it is. These both came from the Dirty Diaper Laundry website. The third tip is to repurpose an unused baby gate into a drying rack. This idea came from the Mamawords blog.

I discovered a few things that I think made the process easier:

  •  I used a wet pail to store my dirty diapers, so that became my first rinse. I would agitate in the diaper pail a little, and then dump everything into the bathtub.
  • I used a long dowel to agitate while washing. This meant I didn't have to bend down the whole time. 
  • Also, I actually had two dowels, and I was able to use them like giant chop sticks to get the plug in and out of the bath tub. That way I didn't have to reach into the yucky water.
  • I also spent a lot of time sitting while I was washing. I happen to be sitting on the toilet because it was there next to the tub. But if you set up your camp washer somewhere where you can sit while using it, I think it makes the whole process less strenuous. 
  • I had two drying areas, outside and in. There is more space outside, but the diapers take longer to dry (in our weather). I found it helpful to cycle the diapers through; I would hang as many inside as would fit, and the rest outside. Then, when the inside diapers were dry, I would fold them and bring in some of the ones from outside to help them dry faster.
  • I had read this somewhere, but I ended up sticking my pins in a bar of soap to help them slide in and out of the diaper more easily. 
  • And one last thing. I am not sure this is really a tip, but I was surprised at how smell was a good indicator of where I was in the process of washing. The first, diaper pail rinse, was really stinky. Then I did a hot rinse, still stinky. Then I did a hot wash with soap (scent free), and until I drained that load, it was still stinky. But when I filled up for the first rinse to get the soap out, the stink was really gone.  That soapy load did its job!
I hope these ideas can help!

1 comment:

  1. I was really loving that baby gate too! I'm sad that my only gate is plastic.

    Your comment about chopsticks made me laugh...I kept trying to figure out a way to reach into my tub and let the water out without actually using my hands. I finally figured out how to use the plunger and basically suction it out.