Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day #4 - How's the handwashing going?

Today is the fourth day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  As a reminder, this is a 7 day Challenge where participants can only use flat cloth diapers and have to ditch their washer and dryer in favor of good ol’ fashioned handwashing.  We are close to 500 participants this year and many are blogging their journey.

It's "hump day" for the challenge week.  We have all (I hope!) made it half way and are on the downhill now so to speak.  It really is going so fast and its crazy how easily you can adapt.  I just read Kim's post  and I found myself nodding my head in agreement more than once.  Yes, our modern conveniences make cloth diapering a breeze compared to the old style handwashing, but anything is possible if it is important enough to you.

So how's the handwashing going?  Honestly, its much easier than I expected.  I purposefully did not do a trial run before the challenge because I thought it was going to be awful and that I would back out on the challenge.  After the first "load," I knew it was going to be something I could handle for a week.  Do I love it?  Absolutely not.  But is it manageable?  Yes.

I would consider myself a very efficient person.  Lazy? Not so much, but I like to do things well in the most efficient way possible.  Do I like to go above and beyond?  Only if its truly necessary.  That is the approach I have taken while handwashing our flats, covers, and wipes this week.  My initial wash turned out just fine. I didn't go above and beyond, and I found I didn't need to.  I had no interest in constructing a camp style/bucket/plunger washing system that a lot of moms chose to do.  I asked around on the Facebook page before the challenge if anyone strictly washed in their sink and I found many mamas who successfully had.  I took that as proof enough that I could go without a bucket washing system.

Here is my washing routine in a nutshell:
  1. Rinse flats right after changing to get the pee and the poop off.  Unfold the flat and rinse under the sink faucet until water runs clear.  Store flat, cover, and wipes in a mixing bowl.  Set rinsed diapers aside until wash time.
  2. Fill sink with warm water and put in all flats, covers, and wipes.  Swish around, squeeze with hands (in gloves), swish some more.  Drain water and refill.
  3. Swish and squeeze a bit and let soak (time depends on what I'm doing).  Drain water and refill with HOT water and a small amount (just covering the bottom of the scoop) of Charlie's Soap.
  4. Swish around, squeeze with hands, agitate, etc. for anywhere from 2-3 minutes (honestly, I don't have the patience for much more than that). Let diapers soak for awhile (time varies depending on what I'm doing). Drain water and refill with warm.
  5. Swish and squeeze and immediately drain.
  6. Depending on bubble status, may refill and swish and squeeze again.
  7. Drain water and run each flat, cover, and wipe under the faucet and squeeze twice.  Wring out each piece until not much water comes out (again, I'm efficient and don't go overboard to say no water comes out, just good enough).
  8. Snap/shake out each flat to get out wrinkles and some more excess water.  Roll covers in a towel and squeeze to get more excess water.  Put wet wipes back in wipes container, no need to dry and re-wet them :)
  9. Hang flats and covers out on the line or on the drying rack.  We've been about 50/50 since the last 2 days have been very rainy.  Outside drying takes about an hour.  Inside drying takes about 4 hours.
Aside from a few red dots on the bum here and there, this has worked well to get diapers clean.  They smell good and look clean, so I must be doing ok.  In total, I think I spend about 20 minutes actively washing the diapers 2x/day.  So less than an hour of diaper care - its really not that bad at all.

I know this is a topic for another day's post, but I can't stop thinking about how much I like the simplicity of cloth diapering with flats and covers (minus the handwashing!).  I find myself looking at ALL my pockets and hybrid fitteds and wondering why on Earth I need so many (truthfully, we don't).  The last few months I have been buying adorable hybrid fitted diapers, and though I do like them and love that Mallory's bum gets more air when she is in them, I'm honestly thinking the number I have is a bit excessive.  Flats and covers just make sense.  They are affordable, easy to care for, and oh. so. trim.

Anyone else feeling this way?!

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