Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 4

Day 4: Handwashing & Line Drying

Well we had our second night of handwashing last night and it went a lot better because I got to use the camp style bucket washer. The first night I had to wash everything in the tub, drain the tub, rinse and repeat.. That was a timely task. Especially since my tub is HUGE.. I didn't take all that draining into consideration when I started washing the diapers in there.. Heres a picture..


So if you don't have a bucket and you use a tub to wash them here's a wash routine:

  • Start with a cold rinse, Fill tub with cold water and add diapers. If the diapers are really soiled, you can let them soak for a minutes, then swish them around using your plunger or hand (using a glove).
  • Next drain the tub, add hot/warm water to the tub, detergent and diapers. Scrub the diapers by rubbing or moving the diapers back and forth between your hands or agitate again with the plunger 
  • Drain the tub and add warm water to rinse the diapers out until you see no more bubbles.
  •  Swirl & wring out the excess water and hang dry on a drying rack/ shower curtain rod or clothes line.
I have really bad carpel tunnel in my right hand so wringing out the flats truly frightened me. Thankfully I had been reading up on last years event and I saw someone post they used the stomp method to wring out the diapers by throwing them in a clean dry towel and stomp the water out, I know this challenge is technically called "handwashing challenge" not foot washing challenge, but sometimes you need to do what works best for you. lol

 If you are using a camp style bucket & plunger to wash the diapers here is a wash routine:
  • Pre-rinse poopy diapers immediately after I change them, just a cold rinse under the faucet in the tub with my bucket underneath to catch the chunks and I have been flushing that in the toilet. If you were camping I would bring a couple gallon jugs with a spout on them for pre-rinsing and again let your 5 gallon bucket catch the solids and find a place to flush it. (so your not smelling or stepping on old poop, or your dog will try and eat it, sorry TMI but its true)  That's if your camping somewhere they have toilets.
  • Ready to wash, start by filling the bucket with room temperature water a little over 3/4 full. Then take plunger and agitate the diapers using an up and down motion, all around the bucket for about 5 minutes.
  • Then let the diapers soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water while pushing the diapers with the plunger to get out as much water as possible.
  • Next, fill the bucket with hot water a little over 3/4 full then add yourdetergent andagitate the diapers for another 5 minutes.
  • Drain the water again and fill the bucket with room temperature water a little over 3/4 full. 
  • Agitate the diapers for another 5 minutes.  (Repeat this step if soap bubble, smell, or mucky water is still present).
  • Dump out the whole bucket and run each diaper, wipe, and cover under running water individually and swirl and wring out the excess water. & line dry.
  • Once everything is dry, they will be a bit stiff.. You can beat each flat individually, or throw a lot of them in a pillowcase with a tennis ball, or try ironing them to soften them up.

It has been a typical week in May here in Minnesota. Cold and Rainy. That makes it this challenge extra challenging. But we didn't let that get us down. We just improvised.
Having to line dry inside:

My sears wall mount drying rack holding 7 flats & 4 covers and 4 fleece liners

I opened the window and these flats took about an hour and they were dry
Another example of indoors air drying

Here are some more handwashing tips from Dirty Diaper Laundry:
  • Roll your covers in a dry bath towel and apply pressure (by kneeling) to take out as much water as possible to expedite air drying.
  • Line dry your flats in a well ventilated area if at all possible.  Outdoors if it isn’t humid or indoors under exhaust or ceiling fans.
  • Iron your flats if you need them to dry faster.  This can also kill leftover bacteria that may not have washed out.  Think of it as sterilizing while making them pretty too.
  • Use a light hand with the detergent- too much and the extra rinses will be time consuming.  Remember the volume of you washer/sink is likely a lot less than your washing machine.
  • Rinse with warm water.  According to a laundry expert warm rinses=easier to wring out more (or spin out more in machine)
  • Let the water work for you- if you can leave soiled flats in a SAFE place to soak then do so to remove waste.

  • Don’t use wet bags.  Store dirty diapers in your bucket or sink because handwashing the bags will take valuable space.
  • Wash daily or at every change.  Washing larger loads means harder work, longer work, and the potential for the diapers to get less clean.

  • Got stink?  Probably not enough detergent or not washing long enough.  Set a kitchen timer because a few minutes handwashing can feel like a lot longer.


Thanks for following us on this journey! Tomorrow I will be discussing what is working and what is not in this challenge..

In case you haven't yet entered our giveaway to win a SoftBums Starter Pack for participating in our Flats & Handwashing Challenge here is the link to go enter:

About the challenge: We're participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.

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