Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 4: Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Today is Day 4 of the Dirty Diaper Laundry's Flats & Handwashing Challenge. (For info about the challenge, you can view Dirty Diaper Laundry's site, my blog post about my preparation, Day 1, Day 2, & Day 3.)

This morning, I was able to wake up about an hour before Hubby & El. It was time to do my first handwashing of El's flats and covers, which I was a little excited to do. (Odd, I know!) I decided to wash in the guest bathroom sink downstairs to avoid waking up the two. Boy is that sink tiny!

I've washed in tiny hotel bathroom sinks before so this was no different but I quickly realized that I would normally wash those every 1-2 nights. I was even lucky during the last trip since the bathroom had "his and hers" sinks so as I would fill up one sink, I agitated the load in the other sink. It would take me about 15-20 minutes normally to handwash dipes during trips. This was my first time with a larger load of diapers as I haven't washed for about 5 days so there were quite a few diapers more.

I started by gathering all the used diapers into the plastic baggy that had yesterday's used dipes. (I normally use "wet bags" but for some reason, I have only been able to locate 1 out of the 3!)

my temporary wet bag and about 4-5 days worth of used diapers

I knew better than to use bare hands but couldn't find any more nitrile gloves, opting for the kitchen sink gloves and brought those to the guest bathroom. I also brought down my Crunchy Clean detergent from the laundry room, which I absolutely love! I decided to wash the covers first, as those are the easiest to wash. I could only fit about 2 flats at a time to handwash in the sink.

covers and one lone pocket shell

Here are the steps I took:

Step one: Rinse in warm/hot water. (This load had no soiled dipes, otherwise I would have started with a cold rinse to avoid setting any stains. In 21 months, I have yet to get a soiled diaper stain!!!) Fill up the sink with water. Swish the items around. Drain the sink. Wring out the items.


Step two: Hot wash. Add about half a tablespoon of detergent (which I later realized was a bit much and should have been about 1/4 T) to the sink and fill up basin with hot water. Agitate with hands for about a minute. Drain the sink. Wring out the items.

hot wash with detergent

Step three: Rinse in hot water. (You can also use cold/warm water but hot water tends to rinse cleaner and faster.) Fill up the basin with water and swish items around. Agitate. Drain the sink. Wring out items.


Step four: Repeat as necessary until water is free of bubbles.

I notice that my second set of flats that I washed had a ton of bubbles. I realize that one of the flats was used to wipe up a spill that El made when she was blowing bubbles yesterday. This load didn't even need any laundry detergent and needed about 4-5 rinses. They sure are clean though! (Using a tiny bit of dish soap is actually one way to "strip" cloth diapers if there is any soap/residue buildup and diapers begin smelling or repelling.)

bubble city!

I am always checking to be sure the diapers are clean so after each rinse, even the first "pre-rinse," I would do a quick sniff test. Flats are so dang easy to wash that after the initial rinse, there was no odor whatsoever. That was before the soap! So I know these dipes are truly clean.

Step five: Wring out water as much as possible. (This is actually the hardest part of handwashing but isn't a real biggie.) Hang over stair banister and child safety gate to dry.


morning workout in my nightgown. =)

For more air circulation, I asked Hubby to turn on the window fan that is in our loft, which is just at the top of the stairs. At first, I thought it would take forever for everything to dry but after about 3 hours, the flats were almost 100% dry. The covers were about halfway dry. I know flats dry super fast but even this impressed me!

makeshift "clothesline"

I ended up moving these two items to the baby gate upstairs to be closer to the loft window.

Including the prep work and hangdrying, it took me about 20-25 minutes to wash all 4 used covers and 4 flats. I haven't yet decided if I should wash the other items and today's items tonight or with the next load. I know I should be sure to rinse the diapers out if I plan to wait a couple more days between washing. It's also a good idea to rinse out any diapers with elastic or PUL (i.e. covers, fitteds, pocket diapers) if you're not washing every 1-2 days as I've read that the urine can wear out synthetic diapers sooner. 100% natural fiber items (i.e. flats, prefolds) are not picky so pre-rinsing isn't necessary.

I ended up only being able to wash 4 flats and 4 covers. There were still a couple of flats, a prefold, pocket diaper, and pair of training undies to wash by the time El woke up. If I were really to hand wash on a full-time basis, I know I would have to make the commitment to do so more often than just every 4-5 days, like this time. There should have been a few more diapers but due to my error in not informing the grandparents, they ended up using other types of diapers. I believe my mom had washed at least 2-3 diapers during this time. She ended up telling me that since El doesn't really use so many diapers, she ends up hand washing them anyway. So not necessary but I'm grateful nonetheless!

And maybe because today is my birthday, El finally let us film a diaper change. =)

Padfolded flats preloaded into covers make for speedy diaper changes!

Check out the blogs of other participants below!

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