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!
Since the idea behind this challenge is to put yourself in the shoes of someone that MUST handwash their diapers for the sake of necessity, I didn’t want to go out and buy everything new. On the other hand, I did want to make smart purchases and make sure that what I was buying, would be items that would be put to good use for more than just this week.
I have to say that I was a bit intimidated to wash diapers by hand. How would I know that they were really clean? Then I started thinking about all the tricks I have to pull to get my front loader HE machine to get my diapers clean and I realized that I would probably be doing a better job than it has been doing…. So, how to wash? Many moms are using a camp style washer which consists of a large paint bucket, a lid, a plunger and loads of fun. (Very punny, I know….) I really wanted something that was made to wash clothes by hand. One of the other moms taking the challenge said she was using The Laundry Pod, and after checking it out, I decided that this was the route I was going to go. I now have a hand powered
salad spinner clothes washer that I intend to use (after this week) for delicate clothing that says handwash on the tag. This was one of 4 things that I bought for this challenge. I found it for under $100 including shipping on Amazon.com.
What else did I buy? I bought hinges ($6ish for 4) so that my husband and I could upcycle our baby gates into a drying rack, a 5 gallon bucket (about $3), and a pack of birdseye flats ($12.95 for a 6 pack). I didn’t NEED to buy actual flats, I could have just used tea towels or an upcycled sheet cut into large squares. But, as a cloth diaper educator, I felt I should have experience with actual flats vs. just single layer material I found around my home. In all reality, you can use ANY absorbent material as a flat. If you have no money to buy supplies, you can ask friends and family to donate old tshirts, towels, sheets, and receiving blankets. These all make great diapers!
This is what I wound up with for supplies for the week:
1 Laundry Pod
Charlie’s Soap (Laundry Detergent that has worked best for me so far)
1 diaper sprayer
12 ozycozy birdseye flats
16 flannel receiving blankets
20 halves of large cotton terry washcloths (I had these around the house and cut them in half to add absorbency to this weeks diapers without adding a ton of bulk)
2 drying racks (the first is from Target and I got it years ago for drying diaper covers outdoors, the second is the upcycled one I pictured in yesterdays post.)
30 homemade cloth wipes
30 fleece liners (they keep baby feeling dry, and are great for avoiding stains by keeping poop off the rest of your diaper – especially since poo generally rinses so easily off fleece.)
14 covers (for everyday use)
6 pocket covers (for use when DS & DD are in preschool)
My creative solution in place of a washboard = the lid of my tupperware meat marinade container. It has pyramid shaped protrusions that I have been using to scrub diapers and it cost me nothing because I already had it!
It may seem like I’m using a ridiculous number of covers but, remember that I’m diapering 1 & 1/2 kiddos. I say 1/2 because DD only uses diapers for nap and nighttime. So count 4 flats, 2 terry towels, wipes and at 2 covers a day for her alone. I caught word of this challenge just as it started last year (was bummed not to be participating) and heard many moms running into challenges with how long it took for diapers to dry. This is why I decided to use my full stash of covers. Most of mine are not wipeable inside and once they get saturated with urine, I feel better about washing them than trying to reuse them. Hence, the need for more covers. That leaves about 6 covers to use for the day and 6 to dry from the last wash. The pockets are only in rotation so that DS’ preschool teachers don’t have to stress about this challenge. (They didn’t decide to take it on!)