Monday, May 27, 2013

Flats & Handwashing Challenge- Day 7


Day 7: Overview of the Challenge- What did we learn?

First and foremost we wanted to do this challenge for 4 reasons:
  • To create awareness of cloth diapering by way of using flats & shells an easy to use and clean system. 
  • We did this to show those who think cloth diapering is hard and or unsanitary that it's not or doesn't have to be with the right supplies.

  • We also did this challenge to show you how to your cloth diapers while camping or in natural disaster type situations where you don't have access to a washer & dryer.  

  • Finally, we wanted to show our SoftBums users and anyone interested in learning that it can be done using our shells, AND it can be fun, clean, and easy.

Did we accomplish our goal?
Yes, it was a long 7 days but we did it, and we surpassed our goal of just doing flats & handwashing at home. We also took them on the road and on a 3 day camping trip.

Was it fun?
Yes, it was a lot of fun learning all the different ways to fold a flat. It was also fun to hand wash them. It was so interesting and educating to learn how they really get clean. Because you are the one who is actually working the soap and water through the fibers.

Was it easy?
It was a lot easier than I thought it would be for both using the flats and snappi's and handwashing..
It was easy process to clean the diapers and although it was hard work it was not something that you could really mess up. It would be easy to see or smell that the diapers aren't clean.

Did we have leaks?
Yes, there was a learning curve when using flats and folds for the first time. Ultimately the problem was the absorbency wasn't enough using just one flat for our 13 month old. We had to sneak in a half flat with every change to last us a couple hours (2 flats for overnight). But by day 4 we were successfully leak free.

Was it unsanitary?
 No, I would say it isn't any dirtier than washing cloth diapers in a washing machine, because all the dirty work is really the wiping of the butt and removal of solid's into the toilet, which you have to do with any diaper. If you use the camp style washer for washing diapers the rinse cycle is not gross because you don't have to look or smell the mucky water (that of course is depends on how well you pre-rinsed the dirty diapers) If you use a tub for washing then using a rubber glove so you aren't in contact with the dirty diapers and mucky water. I had to do both during this challenge & I would consider the tub style a bit more physical labor not anymore messy.

What did you learn about camping with cloth?
Bring enough diapers to use in one full day and a half, any more would be excessive for your pack. Washing every morning is the best routine.  You get a early work out and your diapers are ready to use in about an hour after washing (depending on the weather). Use fleece liners! It will save you a lot of time pre-rinsing your dirty diapers. Try making a make-shift diaper sprayer by either bringing a hose and a sprayer nozzle, or bring a nice pro quality spray bottle. Another way to pre-rinse would be to bring a 3 gallon water jug with a spout and run the water over the diaper and catch the solid's in it with the bucket below. Kids love to help wash the diapers.. So let them, as long as they are making an up and down motion the diapers will get clean. It saves you from doing it everyday and gives them something new to do for a while.

Yes, they even fought over who got to clean them.

How did you like using SoftBums for this challenge?
They worked great! The microfleece lining keeps the flats in place & every fold we tried fit wonderfully in our Echo & Omni shells with some tucking. We did echos during the day with an airplane or origami fold and for nights we did a pad folded and stuffed and then another flat pad folded and layed on top. We really liked these combinations!

What was your biggest challenge this week?
Using more complicated folds and snappi's with a very wiggly 13 month old was difficult to handle. But with practice we were able to get them on without much struggle. But if we were in a hurry we did just throw a pad folded flat in the shell and throw it on him.

Is this something you think you consider doing again?
To be honest this challenge has really been eye opening to us who are so accustomed to using "modern cloth diapers" 100% of the time & washing in a machine. We never considered it to be a luxury but more of a way of saving money, imagine that. Now that we have been educated on the financial diapering struggles of 1 in 3 families, I can honestly say it can be done. Even if its only part time, that would greatly reduce the cost of diapering a child and it really wouldn't be that hard.

What do you take away from this challenge?
We will definitely continue to use our flats in our current cloth diapering routine. They are a great solution to use under clothes that your child is on the brink of outgrowing, because of their uber trimness. We will absolutely use our flats and handwashing skills again for our camping ventures which are frequent during the summer and fall months. Learning to handwash was also something I will take away from this challenge, not just for cloth diapers but for anything. I never had to hand wash anything before, but now I know how, and feel confident to do it again when needed. Finally, if ever we are in a situation where we are in dire need of a diaper and cant find or afford any we will know how to make our own from things we have in our house (sheets, shirts, towels, etc) and will know how to fold them into a diaper & wash them appropriately & efficiently.

We want to thank everyone for following us on this journey and we hope you gained some new flat folding or handwashing skills as did we!

Please don't forget why this event was started:
Each year Dirty Diaper Laundry hopes that this event will spark a fire in others to do more about the diaper need problem.  So what can you do to help families facing this struggle everyday?  Educate:  Educate others using your online or local influence.  Donate: Donate your used diapers or make a monetary donation to the national cloth diaper bank Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.  They are a non-profit that send cloth diapers to low-income families for the cost of shipping if they meet the requirements.  Share: Share the information about affordable cloth diaper solutions such as this post and video: Cheap and Easy Cloth Diaper Solutions.

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