I am participating in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For seven days, I will use only flat cloth diapers and hand wash and line dry them. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year, over 450 participants are taking the challenge from all over the world.
We were out of the house a lot yesterday, and I almost ran out of diapers. I had two left last night when I put the baby to bed. I used both of those and quickly washed the other four so they would be dry this morning. That's one of the best things about flats; they dry quickly.
My thoughts on hand washing:
Hand washing really isn't too bad if you are diligent about frequent washing. I find that it's easiest to rinse the diapers as soon as I take them off the baby. This makes the hand washing much easier since the diapers are mostly clean when I start the hand washing. Yesterday we had one poopy diapers that did not get as rinsed as I would have liked by dunking in the toilet. I do have a diaper sprayer but am refraining from using it this week, so I threw it in the bathtub under the faucet. Any residual washed right down the drain.
I am using the same method I would in the washing machine. I pre-rinse in warm after each diaper change and leave the diaper laying in the sink. If I were to do this full time, I would use a small plastic bin to keep the wet ones in between washings. I fill the sink with hot water and around 1 tsp of Clean B Detergent. Because I'm using Clean B which is a clean rinsing, cloth diaper safe soap, I am not having any difficulty rinsing the diapers clean. I massage the fabric with my hands and rub the fabric together (probably creating a stronger agitation than my washing machine does.) I drain the water and rinse each diaper. I twist each diaper, wring the water out, and hang dry. I am washing the covers the same way.
I haven't timed myself, but I estimate it takes about 5 minutes to wash just a few diapers at a time. I'm washing about 3 times a day. That's only 15 minutes each day which is very reasonable.
I'm not concerned the diapers aren't getting clean because I can see and smell that they are clean. If you are hand washing and are concerned about bacteria residue in the diapers, you can iron your flats. The heat will kill any bacteria that could be present. The water in my sink is around 110 degrees. I would feel more comfortable if it were 120 degrees, but after four days of hand washing, that is not a concern of mine. If I were to do this full time, I would use the iron on occasion.
I'll be honest, machine washing is easier, but there is a satisfaction that comes with personally washing your baby's diapers. It's just one more thing I can do for him. And I love to hang clothes outside. I'll even dry sheets and towels on the line in the spring and summer. It brings me a sense of peace that I do not find in other everyday chores.