Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flats Challenge: DAY 4

I am participating in the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  I have pledged to use flats, and handwash them, for 7 days.  The Challenge was an idea that came about after numerous articles referenced the practice of reusing disposable diapers.  Families with no money for new diapers were scraping out the solid contents or using a hair dryer to dry the diapers for reuse.  Not only is this unsanitary but it is also extremely dangerous. {read the original article} It was the personal mission of Kim of DDL to educate others that, although not ideal, hand washing the inexpensive flat cloth diapers was an option to families who had no other way to diaper.  No baby should have to suffer when there are ways to diaper for less than $50.00.


Yesterday E definitely "challenged" me!  We had a playdate at the mall with a friend (who cloth diapers her LO's).  We happened to meet another cloth diapering mama there (her little girl was showing off a Zinnia BumGenius under her dress).  E was wearing a Clementine Flip cover over a pad folded receiving blanket.  While the "flat" wasn't soaked, he leaked out of the cover onto his shorts.  So after that he ran around in a Twilight Flip cover with a pad folded organic cotton flat.  So far, I'm not super impressed with receiving blankets as flats.

After playing, we had some lunch, then went to the car to head home.  As I was getting E in his carseat, he told me he pooped.  Of course he did, and it wasn't "clean". It was a big squishy mess. He had 4 of those yesterday.  Thanks, E. 

After the Flats Fail.

This is my first time to handwash diapers.  I am not a fan of handwashing anything!  I am one of those people who won't buy an item if it's handwash only.  The very few items I have, I still put in the washer on delicate cycle, and just line dry or lay flat to dry.  I don't do handwashing.  The only thing I wash by hand are E's wool diaper covers.  But that's super easy!

Which makes it even weirder (is that even a word?!) that I am taking this challenge!

I don't wash them in any fancy manor.  If he poops, I rinse well in the toilet to get as much off as I can, then add it to the wetbag or bucket until time to wash.  I don't own a sprayer, don't really care to.  I'm not afraid of poop.  I wash my hands anyway, so it doesn't bother me if my hands go in the toilet water a little.  If you're squeamish, then get a sprayer! 

Here's how I handwash in the bathtub:

~  Rinse all items with warm water under the faucet.  I tried the handheld shower head we have, but it's busted (thanks to the kids) and not spraying correctly.  Wring out excess water.

~  Fill tub to cover diapers.  It doesn't take much since I haven't washed many items at a time (about 5-8 total, including covers and maybe a wetbag).  I get the water as hot as I can stand.  Sprinkle 1 tsp detergent (my regular diaper detergent, Rockin' Green) over diapers.  Agitate by hand for about 5 minutes.  Let soak for 30 minutes, or so. I tend to forget, so a couple times it's been over an hour...

~  Check Facbeook, eat lunch, play a game with the kids...  Agitate diapers for another 3-4 minutes.  Drain water.

~  Rinse each item with warm water under the faucet until all suds are gone.  Wring out as much water as possible.

~  Line dry outside.  The sun kills any bacteria, speeds up dry time, and fades stains.  Flats and PUL covers are dry in less than an hour, wetbag and any night inserts used (bamboo) take a little longer.

Day 2 - First day to wash!  Diapers soaking in detergent.
5 flats, 1 small wetbag, 1 PUL cover, & 1 bamboo doubler.

It has been easier to handwash the diapers daily.  Fewer diapers makes it easier to rinse well.  I prefer to wash in the morning so I can line dry them in the sun. 

Had I thought about it ahead of time, I would have bought a cheap plunger to use to agitate so I could use HOT water, and not use my hands.  However, I already mentioned on Day 2 that I didn't prepare well for this.  I am only using items I already had, or needed to buy for future use.  I did not buy anything specifically for this challenge.  While we have a plunger, it grosses me out to think about using it to wash diapers.  I can't be the only one, right?!  If I were to handwash diapers on a regular basis, I would invest in a second plunger just for diapers. 

Handwashing diapers has not been as difficult as I thought it would be.  As with cloth diapering (and later, using wool covers), it was more intimidating than it actually is.  I was hesitant to try it, but then I quickly realized it is easier than anticipated!  That doesn't mean I would want to handwash diapers all the time.... I love my washing machine!  But, I know that I won't freak out if I'm ever without a washer.

Showing off his Cloth Diaper Advocacy Tee, ordered from Gnomes' Naturals.


  1. only 5 flats to wash!!!! Oh how I dream of the big boy days of fewer diapers! Though I can imagine the poops probably get worse ;)

    1. Yes, the poops are worse! I have 5 flats, 3 receiving blankets, and supplement with t-shirts if needed. However, because I handwash 1-2 times a day and they dry so quickly outside, I don't really need more than this.

  2. Do you think its possible your receiving blankets have detergent or fabric softener build up? I just ask because I've been using receiving blanket flats for years, and find them super absorbent. I hate that you are having leaks! That is never fun :/ ~Melissa

    1. I thought about that. I thought I prepped them enough to remove any residue, but I guess not:( They are 100% cotton. What's funny is 1 of the 3 I've been using is fine, and hasn't leaked. The other 2 have. They are from the same batch of blankets, too. I think they just aren't absorbing quick enough (he's 2.5, so he pees a ton at one time). I've tried different folds with them, and they still do the same thing.

  3. I'm the same way about the sprayer! I keep thinking of getting one, but seriously....I just dunk and swish. It's not a big deal.