Thursday, May 24, 2012

DAY 4 - DDL Flats & Handwashing Challenge - My Handwashing Routine

Flat Cloth Diapers On The Clothes Line
Padfolded Flat in a Blueberry Coverall
It's Day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge!  We're officially over the hump.  For those of you that have not been following my recent journey, I'm currently 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!

I'm so proud of myself for making it this far.  I'll admit I was a bit scared of the hand washing before I got started, but now that I've got the routine down it just seems like a regular part of my day.  I'll admit it would be a LOT easier if Linc wasn't so attached right now.  It takes me quite awhile to get a load done because I have to take quite a few breaks to entertain Linc (who is not entertained by diaper laundry), but I eventually get it done.  Now that I think about it, I actually get diaper laundry done a lot faster than I do when I wash it in the machine.  That's a crazy thought.

So what am I doing you ask?  Ok, even if you didn't ask I'm still going to tell you.  LOL!  That's the perk (or problem) with blogging.  I'm kind of just talking to myself.  Anyways, back to my handwashing routine.  It's been quite the evolution through the week and who knows, it might just change again.  I'm liking my current routine though, so I feel good about letting you in on my secret.  {wink} {wink}

My Cloth Diaper Handwashing Routine:

  • After each diaper change I rinse all pee and poop off of the diapers and throw it in my 5 gallon washing bucket.  I keep the bucket in the bathtub.  It's an ideal location since I rinse all my pee diapers in the tub faucet and spray all my poopy diapers in the toilet next to the tub.  This way I don't have to carry wet diapers that far.
  • I wash dirty diapers each morning.  This gives me the entire day for drying and gets my most potent diaper (the nighttime diaper) in the wash ASAP.  I usually have anywhere from 4-7 flat diapers per load plus about 5 wipes and 2-3 covers.
  • I fill my bucket with room temperature water a little over 3/4 full.  I then take my plunger (with holes drilled in it) and agitate the diapers using a full up and down motion.  I make sure to bring the plunger up out of the water with each stroke so that the air pressure works the mess out of the diapers.  I also make sure to agitate all around the entire bucket and not just in one spot.  I do this for about 5 minutes.
  • I then let the diapers soak for about 30 minutes.
  • I drain the water while pressing the diapers with my plunger to get out as much water as possible.
  • I fill my bucket with hot water a little over 3/4 full then add 1tbs of detergent (I've been using Eco Sprout, but I'm going to try Tide today).  I then agitate the diapers for another 5 minutes.
  • I drain the water while pressing the diapers with my plunger to get out as much water as possible.
  • I fill my bucket with room temperature water a little over 3/4 full.  I then agitate the diapers for another 5 minutes.  (I'd repeat this step if suds, smell, or mucky water is still present).
  • I dump out the whole bucket into the tub and run each diaper, wipe, and cover under running water individually.  After each item is squeezed out then I throw the item in the bucket.
  • I then line dry everything outside.  Birdseye flats take about 1 hour to dry.  Bamboo and hemp flats  take about 2 hours to dry.  Wipes and covers take about 3 hours to dry (I think because they aren't big enough to be blown around by the wind).
  • Once the laundry is dry I take each item off the line and shake them out and beat them against my leg.  This helps to soften them up a bit.  They're not as soft as the dryer, but they aren't crispy anymore.
  • I fold and put away.
Washing Cloth Diapers In A Bucket

There you have it!  That's my current handwashing & drying routine.  So far it's working great!  Sure, it's not as great as my machine washing routine, but it works.  Not to mention I get the extra added bonus of a workout without the gym.

- Last night I used my Orange Diaper Company Toddler size Bamboo Square with a washcloth and a Swaddlebees Capri Cover.  No leaks!  I did have his wool longies over just in case but took them off halfway through the night.  It was too hot.
- I've noticed that my flats are getting off square from hanging them on the clothes line.  I hope that they get back to a more regular shape after I dry them in the dryer again.  Maybe I should try using a third clothes pin in the center of each flat.
- I'm liking the padfold more and more everyday.  It's just so easy.  I'm going to continue using it after this challenge.
- Oh how I LOVE Tide!  Today was my first day using it in my wash and it works soooooo much better than Eco Sprout.  Oh how I never should have doubted you for handwashing Tide.  I should have been using you all along.


  1. No drawings today. Very sad. ;) I LOVE the ODC diaper as well; if I used flat diapers full time, I'd definitely get more. If only they weren't so expensive.

    1. Boo! I know. I just couldn't think of anymore. Maybe I'll think of another for the rest of the week, but I'm drawing blanks right now. : (

  2. love your routine chana, i don't have a bucket and a plunger been using a wash board.. I've also been like that a lot too.. sounds like the plunger is a portable washing machine maybe i should try that next year.


Thanks so much for taking the time to show your support with a comment! I LOVE reading all of them and will try and answer any questions that you might have. :)