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!
Tip 1, wash frequently: I think the biggest lesson I have learned through this challenge is that it is easier to wash a few diapers than it is to wash a bunch. Tonight I was VERY tempted to skip washing. I wasn’t able to wash during the kids naptime today. This morning I had to take my son to the radiology department of our local hospital for some testing as to why he got a urinary tract infection (UTI). (It’s much less common for a boy to get a UTI because their urethra is so much longer than a girls. All it takes to infect a girl is wiping baby girl’s bottom up instead of down, and with some fun bacterial growth, BAM! UTI. It’s harder to get poo into a boys urethra and the bacteria have farther to travel to start a party in a boys bladder.) So after an ultrasound to check on DS’ kidneys and bladder, we made our way over to X-ray where they catheterized him and filled his bladder with dye infused saline. They then took X-ray video of his bladder and watched as he peed. They found pee going toward his kidney instead of out his bladder so this requires lots of follow up. During nap time I had to make phone calls to schedule appointments and get a disk copy of the procedure for the specialist. The kids were up before I even thought of washing diapers. After being up until 12:30 or 1AM every night working on blogging (and a video that I couldn’t post) I am beat. I pushed through the pain and washed the diapers knowing that I would have at least 3 loads to wash tomorrow by nap time if I put it off.
Tip 2, dry in full sun: Another thing that I have learned is that the terry doublers and wipes take quite a while to air dry indoors. They took about 18 hours to dry in our California climate. Outside, on a nice warm day, they were dry in about 6 hours. Lesson here is that if you can dry outside, do so! My main drying rack for flats is a permanent fixture of our laundry room so I can’t move it outside. My flats are drying in about 8-12 hours. If I can wash during the day and can take advantage of full sunlight, I will!
Tip 3, pre-dry your covers: Many other moms that either took this challenge last year or this year, shared a tip about helping dry your diaper covers. I have found this information invaluable! If there is anything you want to air dry quickly use this tip! I fold a towel in half and lay the covers about an inch in from the edge. I fold the one inch over the ends of the covers and roll them up in the towel. Then kneel on the towel, mashing the layers of towel to the covers (or garment). My towels were pretty wet and my covers were nearly dry after this process! I hang the towels over the shower door and hang the covers to dry a bit more. This cut drying time for my covers dramatically.
Tip 4, stick to what works: When I first started handwashing I was using a tsp of Charlie’s soap alone. I didn’t like the lack of suds and found that if I added the Charlie’s water softener (which I use in my washing machine normally), the wash seemed much more effective.
Tip 5, washcloths rock!: I LOVE using the terry cloth for a doubler. I will never buy another doubler (and this has nothing to do with the fact that DS is almost potty trained). Half of a washcloth trifolded in the wet zone is like a magic fix. Magic I say! I dare you to try it and comment with the results!
Tip 6, everyone should try fleece liners: I think my last tip for hand washing is that it has been much easier to wash poopy diapers with the fleece liners. Poo hardly sticks to the fleece at all and I haven’t had any issues with my flats staining because they are mostly protected by the fleece. It also doesn’t hurt to have them soak in the oxiclean water until I’m ready to wash, however, today, DS’ last diaper of the day was a poopy one. It didn’t have time to soak in the oxiclean water and it came out clean as a whistle.
I can’t wait to have a chance to read the tips of many of the other moms taking this challenge! Check them out on the links below this post!