Sign Up for the 2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge!

Sign-ups are now open for the 9th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! In case you missed the announcement, this year's event will take place May 13-19. This year's event starts the day after Mother's Day and a couple weeks before Memorial Day. So hopefully you won't have to worry about traveling during the challenge this year.

Last year was a rough year for me taking the Challenge. I had just given birth to my third baby, had two under two, two in diapers, we moved into a new home and I was having serious health complications following my daughter's birth. It really opened to my eyes to how challenging using flats and handwashing diapers full time could be for some families.

But this year I'm hoping it will be a bit easier! I only have one in diapers and life has settled down quite a bit compared to this time last year. I have changed a few things this year (nothing major!) to keep up with the way that we use social media (influencers particularly) so please read carefully before signing up!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 9 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to show that flat cloth diapers and hand washing are real solutions for families that struggle with diaper need. Many families are unable to provide diapers for their baby due to financial constraints. No child should have to go without basic needs and diapers definitely fall into that category. A small stack of flat cloth diapers is inexpensive and can even be made for free using t-shirts, dish clothes, or other materials found around the home. Many times, these families also lack access to a washing machine. Hand washing flat cloth diapers is easier than you think and flat cloth diapers dry very quickly, often in just a few hours.

Are you up for the challenge? For one week, you'll set aside your modern cloth diapering stash and switch to flats and covers. There's no washing machines allowed this week! Read the rules below for more details.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Rules

Materials Allowed

  • Any flat cloth diaper, store bought or handmade. A flat is defined as 1 single layer of material for easier handwashing and drying.
  • One nighttime diaper of your choice, although it is preferred that you make flats work for nights. This diaper must be handwashed.
  • Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if absolutely necessary.
  • Diaper Sprayer.
  • Wet bags/Pails
  • Handmade washing machine, such as a camp style washer.
  • Non-electric portable washing machine (must be powered by you and cost less than $100).
  • Diaper covers, store bought or handmade.
  • Detergents, store bought or handmade.
  • Snappi, Boingo, or diaper pins.
  • Pocket diapers stuffed with FLAT DIAPERS.
  • Fleece liners, store bought or handmade.
  • Iron to expedite drying or sterilizing diapers.

Materials NOT Allowed

  • Electric washer or dryer
  • Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIOs, Fitteds, Prefolds, AI2s, etc.
  • Flushable liners

Rules for Everyone

  • You cannot use your washer/dryer.
  • If something comes up and you must use an exception, you must disclose this in the Conclusion Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
  • There is no limit on the number or flats/covers you can use. However, a reasonable amount is preferred (no more than enough for a day or two of cloth diapering).
PLEASE NOTE that there is no prize for completing the Challenge. This is just a way to advocate for another way to provide diapers for a baby, to challenge yourself and what you can do, to raise awareness about diaper need, etc. If you are unable to complete this year's challenge, it's okay! If something comes up and you can't finish the challenge once starting, that's okay too. Do your best! Not being able to complete the challenge once starting was a huge eye opener for me and a great conversation starter. I still learned a ton by not finishing the challenge myself (particularly about what is and is not doable in life sometimes). You can read more about that here

Rules for Influencers

In the past this section was referred to as "Bloggers". However, I feel like the way we use social media has evolved a lot over the past 9 years. While some of you may be bloggers, there are also Vloggers on Youtube, social media influencers on Instagram, etc. So if you have a public space that you share about your experience, this section is directed towards you and for the duration of the Challenge I will refer to you as "Influencers".

Influencers are encouraged to participate and share about their experience using whichever platform they prefer. There will be a daily discussion topic (shared below). There will NOT be a daily linky on my posts as in the past.  Please tag your post using #flatschallenge. You are also welcome to share your links daily in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge Facebook group as this is where the majority of the discussion from other participants will take place. 

There will NOT be a separate email sent to Influencers for the Challenge and you will not need to indicate that you are one on the sign up sheet.

Each day you must link back to the following: the rules post, Cloth Diaper Revival, and also explain about the challenge. I realize that linking may be difficult on some Influencer channels. On Youtube, you can put it in your description. On Instagram/Instagram, you can mention Cloth Diaper Revival. On Facebook, you can put links in the description. This isn't a hard/fast rule, just a way to help people find as much information as possible if they are interested.

You can use the following as a template if you choose or reword it as you see fit. 

"I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. This event ______" 

You may also use any official graphics, found on this site or in the group. 

If you have any products that were sent to you by a company, you may use them, but please don't focus your post on promoting the item. A separate review would be more appropriate for that. 

My social handles are below. If you need to link up you can use the following. These are all ways you can get in touch with me regarding the Challenge as well. 

Instagram @jamcclamroch

If you are a store or brand participating, please follow the same rules as Influencers when introducing your post. You may link to the products you sell, but please refrain from turning the post into a sales pitch. The heart of this event is to raise awareness and the goal is to keep it from being too commercial. 

Daily Blog Prompts

Monday - Why are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

Tuesday: What's in your stash/materials used? How much does it cost?

Wednesday - Share your favorite flat fold. 

Thursday - Share your wash routine.

Friday - Open topic 

Saturday - What's working for me? What isn't?

Sunday - What did I learn? How did it go?

If you have any questions, please send me an email.

Stores and Manufacturers

Each year this event sees an increasing amount of interest from stores and manufacturers who often offer discount codes and incentives for flats and covers. If you are a company planning to offer any sort of special promotion or discount related to the challenge, or your company is blogging along, please email me beforehand to discuss opportunities.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Grab this image and share that you are taking part in the challenge!


and stay tuned for details about sales and helpful links to get you through the week!


2019 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is coming!

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

It's almost time for the Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I'm honored to be hosting again this year! Get your supplies ready because this year's challenge kicks off on May 13th! This will be the 9th year of the challenge and I hope you'll join me!

About the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby.

"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry

Why Flat Diapers?

Flat Diapers Cloth Diaper Revival
Flat cloth diapers are inexpensive. They are the most affordable diapering option, selling for less than $2 a diaper for a traditional flat diaper or can be DIY-ed for free using almost any excess material (receiving blankets, t-shirts, etc.) found in your home.

Flat cloth diapers are easy to care for. With only one layer of fabric, flats are easy to handwash and quick to dry! Even the smallest stash of flat cloth diapers works well as they only take a few hours to dry in the warm sun or overnight indoors.

Flat cloth diapers are easily accessible. Flats can be found in your local cloth diapering boutique, but can also be found in the kitchen aisle at your local big box store labeled as Flour Sack Towels. A DIY project to create your own flats stash can be completed in minutes using materials found around your home.

While modern cloth diapers, like pockets and all in ones, are excellent diapering options, the simplicity of flats is something to fall in love with. We have quite the eclectic cloth diaper stash, but from the newborn stage to potty training, I've always been a fan of flat diapers. I fell in love with flat cloth diapers when I took the challenge in 2012 with my first born. I was impressed with how easily it is to use flat diapers, something that seemed so intimidating to me prior to the challenge. And handwashing was something that only took minutes each day.

Families all over the world have discovered that flat cloth diapers and handwashing are viable options for cloth diapering and many families are using this as a full time solution for diapering their baby.

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

The Challenge

Join me and hundreds of other families as we challenge ourselves to use flat diapers for one week. Not only will we set aside our modern cloth diapers, but we'll skip the washing machine too! It's a week of handwashing and line drying to get our flat diapers clean.

Each day will have daily blog prompts for bloggers to follow and share their experience. Individuals can share and follow along on social media using #flatschallenge and #bringingflatsback.

Are you up for a challenge? Rules and a sign up form will be posted in the coming weeks. See more info on last year's challenge here.

Connect with other families taking the challenge and join the discussion in the Facebook Group


8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge SURVEY RESULTS

Just a few short months ago we completed the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. I have been busy with a new baby, a new house and getting used to being a mama of 3. I finally found that magical spot today where everyone napped at once! Hallelujah! To celebrate I tallied up the final survey results and can't wait to share them with you!

This year we had 212 participants sign up for the Challenge. Of those, 143 completed the survey (about 67%). And then 64% of those that completed the survey said they completed the Challenge. The information presented in the graphics below represents the answers from the survey.

If you're new to the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and would like to learn more, please start here.

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Here's some feedback from this year's participants:

"Unfortunately, with graduations, baseball and work, I didn’t have time to hand wash, but I still CDed my kid. I think CDing is doable by anyone, but you have to take into account your life/work schedule. Not being a SAHM at this time makes this challenge almost impossible time wise. I need sleep and still have other household responsibilities." - Kayla
"This is my second time participating in the challenge. The first time prepared me for when our washer and dryer broke and I had to hand wash everything for a couple of months. This time I learned more about using other items, such as shirts, as diapers and how to use flats for a heavy wetter. Now I just need to learn how to make it tight enough to hold all of the poop in!" -Ashley
"It was a wonderful experience and learned a lot. I have Fibromyalgia and the washing did increase my pain some, but not as much as expected. I did all the washing except the last day my husband helped some. Using breaks and the salad spinner really helped me keep my pain from getting to bad. I’m so happy I took part in this wonderful challenge!! I look forward to doing the challenge again next year." -Jennifer
"I didn't expect the washing to be so fast and easy but I also didn't expect the rinsing and wringing to be so difficult. Overall I'm more satisfied with how clean my diapers smell, and I plan to do the washing by hand and use my machine only for the rinse and spin. My wash routine used to take close to 2 hours, and now it will be about 30 minutes. I also want to set up a nicer area outside to hang up my laundry as I really prefer the energy savings now that I've seen how easy it is." - Alexandra
Thank you for following along with this year's Challenge! If you missed the Challenge or were unable to participate, we'd love for you to join us in 2019 for the 9th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge taking place in the spring.

If flat diapers or handwashing is something you're interested in learning more about, please join our Facebook group!


Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7 - What did I learn? How did it go? #flatschallenge

The last day of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is here! 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 about your experience. What did you learn? How did it go? Do you think this is a feasible option for families experiencing diaper need? Did you find a new love for flats or handwashing? 

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

If you read yesterday's post, you know that this year was a flop for me. The world was working against me. I knew this year would be a struggle for me with a newborn, two under two, two in diapers, and a move to a new house. I didn't anticipate a week stay in the hospital two days after my daughter was born for a serious infection, many doctor visits for said complication, my daughter getting thrush the week of the Challenge, and my toddler having high fevers this week as well. There was a lot of things not working in my favor and I failed. 

Not only did I stop using my flats and handwashing, but I switched to disposables. I just can't take anything else on and getting rid of the thrush is my top priority. I needed to bleach everything and in order to keep her from getting reinfected, I would need to bleach after every wash. So I took the easy road and grabbed the box of Pampers we were gifted. 

It's hard enough being one month postpartum. Life is a struggle and I'm trying to give myself some grace, but I do feel like I have failed everyone. As the host of the Challenge I'm supposed to be able to complete it, right? But the truth is that sometimes you have to prioritize things. And for me I learned the lesson that life dumps a lot more on you than you anticipate. 

Keeping up with handwashing and worrying about the thrush was just too much for me. I'm a stay at home mom with a husband who helps me tremendously. We are fortunate to be able to afford a box of diapers. We have a laundry room with a washer and dryer. I didn't have the added stress of worrying about where the money would come from to pay our bills or feed our family this week. 

I can't imagine what a parent who works full time outside of the home, possibly even two jobs, or a single parent would have done in my situation. It would have been really hard both physically and emotionally to keep up with all of it. I have cried many times this week from being exhausted, overwhelmed and my hormones adjusting. It's hard. 

So do I think that using a small flats stash is doable? Of course. I've proved it the other two years I completed the Challenge. But do I think it works for everyone? Not likely. I mean you do what you have to do to get by, but I can see how that would be very hard in some cases. 

And handwashing? Again, totally doable. But it would be just one more thing on your plate on top of everything else. Some people may not be able to keep up with it. 

While I wasn't successful this year, I'm glad I participated. I really did learn something new and unexpected. Once you complete the Challenge successfully you walk away thinking that it can work for everyone. But this year really threw me some unexpected curveballs and taught me that it would be really hard for some people. 

Thank you all for following along with my journey this week! I hope that those of you that participated for the first time were successful and learned something new that can be useful to someone else. And if this was your second or eighth time participating, I hope you are still learning new things year after year! Be sure to share how your week went in the comments! If you completed the Challenge, feel free to grab this graphic and share!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Stay tuned for the Flats and Handwashing Survey that will be sent out to everyone that signed up. Results will be posted on this blog this summer.

Bloggers, Youtubers, and other influencers, link up your experience below!


8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 6 - What's working and what's not! #flatschallenge

It's the last two days 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 what's working for you and what's not working. If this is your first Challenge, you may be surprised by how easy (or maybe hard!) this is. Maybe you've had to change things up half way through the Challenge. Share your expectations vs. your reality!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

This is my third year doing the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. The first year I had no issues and really thought this was totally doable for everyone. The second year I even debated doing it because "I've done it. I know I can do it." But this year really changed my thinking.

I knew when I scheduled the Challenge for this year that May would be a busy month for me. We sold our house and we're moving to a new house this month. I also knew I'd have a newborn and would be adjusting to life as a mom of 3 with 2 under 2. But there's a lot of other things working against me that I didn't anticipate. Call them excuses if you want, but here they are.

My daughter is 5 weeks old. The day after being discharged from the hospital I was readmitted with a very serious infection. I spent a week separated from my newborn and my other kiddos trying to heal. It's been a month since that week in the hospital and I'm still dealing with the infection I had. We're talking lots of doctor appointments, lots of tests, and lots of medicine.

The medicine has brought on thrush for my daughter. A few days into the Challenge I saw the symptoms and went into panic mood. I needed to bleach everything.

I was worried that 2 under 2 would be hard and it is. My toddler is insanely busy and my newborn is, well, a newborn! Those two things alone are stressful enough. But add in the move, my illness, and now my daughter's thrush and I had my hands full.

Then the day after the thrush started, my toddler spiked a high fever. When it rains it pours!

So. What's working and what's not? The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is not working for me. I'll discuss tomorrow about how I feel about that. But honestly I can't handle one more thing on my plate. I needed to switch to disposables. I can't keep up with the laundry of bleaching everything daily and I can't risk not getting rid of the thrush. Even these daily blog posts were hard to fit in!

As the host I feel like such a failure. Like if anyone can do it, it should be me. But that's what I love about the Challenge. Is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge doable? Yes. I've done it twice successfully. Many of you have completed it more than that. Many of you make a month out of it instead of a week!

In a perfect world, I would have been successful. But this year the cards were stacked against me. Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out what I learned and my final thoughts on whether I still think using flats full time and handwashing them when there's no access to a washer and dryer is doable.


Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 5 - Diaper need and how you can help #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 open for the bloggers following to choose. I'll be focusing on diaper need and how you can help with a spotlight on Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. But many bloggers, Youtubers, etc. are focusing on topics related to handwashing or flat diapers. So be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post.

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 8 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to show that flat cloth diapers and hand washing are real solutions for families that struggle with diaper need. Many families are unable to provide diapers for their baby due to financial constraints. 

One in three families struggle to provide diapers for their babies. Often times these families may not change a diaper as often as needed or may try to reuse a dirty diaper. It's hard enough to be a parent. I can't imagine having the added stress of not being able to provide the necessary basics for a child. This is a real problem and there are ways you can help!

There are diaper banks all over the country. Many provide disposable diapers to families in need. And while this is a very helpful solution, it is short term. Disposable diapers must be thrown away and the need is still very much a problem. With cloth diapers, a family can receive a one time donation that solves the problem of diaper need in their home. 

Diaper Need Cloth Diaper Revival

The mission of Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is "to provide free cloth diapers to low income families to help alleviate the cost of diapering their children which will help them use their money for other essentials." They are a non-profit organization that accepts donations of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories, as well as monetary donations, to help with shipping fees and to purchase cloth diapers for the organization as needed.

How you can help!

Currently, Giving Diapers Giving Hope has stopped accepting applications for families in need. They do not have enough diapers to provide what is necessary for these families. You can help by donating any diapers that are in good working condition (no repairs needed), diapering accessories, or by making a monetary donation to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. To donate, please visit Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.

Be sure to follow Giving Diapers, Giving Hope on Facebook as they are planning a charity auction in the near future. 


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!


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.


8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 3 - Favorite Folds for Flats! #flatschallenge

Welcome to Day 3 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 favorite flat fold! What folds are working for you in the Challenge?

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

One of my favorite things about flat diapers is how versatile they are. There are tons of folds out there you can try to make them work for your baby and we all know every baby is different! And while I love fancy folds, I'm not going to lie, this year I'm all about simplicity!

For my toddler, the pad fold is my saving grace. He doesn't want to sit still for diaper changes 99% of the time. And I don't have time to fight him on it! So we're going simple with pad folds. I love that I can just have a cover with a pad folded flat ready to go at each change. Text instructions for the pad fold can be found here.

Flat Diapers Cloth Diaper Revival

My 1 month old is still pretty tiny and under 10 lbs so for her I'm relying on the Mini Kite Fold. I can get the flat folded small enough and it provides enough coverage to keep the poo off of the diaper cover. It helps that she isn't really mobile and doesn't fight me on diaper changes! Text instructions can be found here.

Mini Kite Fold Cloth Diaper Revival

How are you using your flats? What's your favorite fold? If you need some ideas, you can find more flat cloth diaper folds here.

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