5.17.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 4 - Handwashing Flat Diapers #flatschallenge



It's Day 4 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share your wash routine. The easy part of the Challenge is actually using flat diapers. But washing them with no machine is the harder part. Participants are not allowed to use their electric washer and dryer and instead must handwash their diapers. 

To me, the hardest part about handwashing is talking yourself into doing it at the end of a long day. It's best to handwash daily because the more diapers you have to wash, the more of a chore it is! Especially with two in diapers! My two kiddos (Samuel is almost 2 years old and Frances is 1 month old) go through about 18-20 diapers a day! That's a lot to handwash compared to the previous years I've taken the Challenge with one baby in cloth and only using a handful of diapers a day! 




There are many ways to hand wash and if you follow the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media you will see what other parents are doing. Here's my preferred method.  


Diaper Storage
I'm storing my diapers in a diaper pail with no liner or wet bag. It's just easiest to be able to rinse out my pail at the end of the day with the diaper sprayer and not have one more thing to wash. As far as the actual pail goes, it's just a small kitchen trash can from Walmart. Nothing fancy here!


Handwashing

I'm choosing to handwash my cloth diapers once or twice a day. I like the idea of washing once, but if I can make it happen to do it twice it feels like less of a burden than washing them all at once. My kiddos take late morning naps which is great because it gives me time to get them outside to dry. However the weather is really working against me this week!



I'm using my sink to physically handwash my diapers. In the past I've used the bath tub, but the sink is easier on my back. 

One key feature for me is being able to use my diaper sprayer. Many people are taking the Challenge without using one, but for me it really helps. I'm able to spray out all diapers before throwing them in the pail which helps cut down on some of the hand rinsing and helps me to get them clean. 


Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Step 1 - Rinse
I run warm/hot water (warm enough to get them rinsed well, but not so hot that my hands can't stand the heat). Each flat is individually unfolded and rinsed/wrung out under the faucet. 

Step 2 - Wash
I fill my sink with the warm/hot water and add a splash of detergent. I have found that I don't need a ton of detergent to get 5-6 diapers clean in a small sink full of water. In fact, using too much detergent can be such a handful when handwashing because it takes so many rinses to get the soap out. I'm using my regular detergent, I believe it's Arm and Hammer. 

I put half a dozen flats, my covers (2-3) and any cloth wipes I have used in the sink. Using both hands I massaged and squeeze the pile of laundry quite a few times. Then I work individually on each item, squeezing, scrubbing together, working the water in and out of the item. Once I have done this with each item, I squeeze out all of the water and drain the sink.

Step 3 - Rinse
I turn my faucet on with warm/hot water and individually rinse out each item, wringing and squeezing out any soapy water that's left. 

Step 4 - Wringing
Individually, I squeeze and wring out as much of the water as I can by hand. This can take a little muscle and is a great workout!


Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


Step 5 - Drying
Line drying outside is my absolute favorite way to dry flat cloth diapers. It's fast and diapers look so pretty on a line! Plus the sun is awesome gor getting out any stains that may be left behind. I use a retractable clothesline (affiliate link) in my backyard for outside drying. On rainy days or days that I'm unable to handwash until nighttime, I use my indoor drying rack from Ikea. It's large and folds up so nicely. Definitely a great investment!

If I can line dry them outside, I individually snap the water out of each flat. You'd be surprised how much water is left in them even after wringing them out by hand. After snapping, I pin them to the line. If I need to dry them inside, wrapping them in a towel and squeezing the excess water out helps a ton! 

On a bright, sunny day, my flats can be dry in less than an hour! If I wait until later in the day when the sun is going down and there's more shade they take a few more hours. Inside drying takes longer, but they are always dry by the morning. 

Overall, the whole process takes 45 minutes or so for one load. It's totally doable and a great option for anyone that doesn't have access to a washing machine. It's work and it is one more thing on my to-do list. I definitely think it's doable, but I can see how it could be a burden (both time wise and emotionally/mentally) for someone that is overwhelmed by everything already on their plate.

This is just one way to handwash your diapers! Some families are using a camp style washer, a wash board, and more! Check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to see what's working for other families and be sure to hop around on the links below.


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