Thursday, May 24, 2012

Camp Wash, Hand Wash {2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge}

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I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all.  You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post.  This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!



{Be sure to read posts 1, 235, and 6 to see how the rest of the challenge went!}

So I've decided that handwashing diapers is actually pretty cathartic. More so the first day than the following, but it has made some nice time for me to be alone. My husband refuses to even enter the bathroom while I'm washing, and since the weather has been wet and cloudy all week anyway, I've been washing after the kids go to bed. Funny how physical labor can become so relaxing.

One of my reasons for not using cloth with my son is (aside from the fact it never realistically occurred to me as an option) we didn't have our own washer & dryer. "We couldn't have washed them then anyway." Well, I think I'm proving myself wrong. Handwashing is very doable. We lived in a daylight basement when G was in diapers with a tiny kitchen and a tiny bathroom without a tub. I realize now that I could have used flats and washed them in the sink. WE WOULD HAVE SAVED SO MUCH MONEY!

For this challenge, I decided to use a camp washer, like in this video. Basically, it's a bucket with a lid, and a plunger used to agitate.  You may or may not have noticed in previous pictures that I actually have two buckets... 
Obviously, the bucket on the left is my camp washer, the blue bucket is for "pre-wringing" the diapers. 
diapers after initial soak w/ holey plunger
I use my bucket as my diaper pail during the day and my wash routine basically goes something like this: 
1. fill bucket with warm water and a tiny bit of detergent after putting last diaper of the day in, then agitate a little and let soak while I get the kids to bed.
2. drain water, add detergent, fill with HOT water, then agitate for the duration of one song on my playlist. 
3. drain water, fill with HOT water again, agitate for the duration of another song... 
4. repeat step 3 then "pre-wring" using the blue bucket 
5. repeat step 4 
6. wring flats by hand, roll covers in a towel and press, then hang everything on the drying rack for the night. 

When I'm ready for the "pre-wringing", I dump out most of the water, then set my blue bucket inside... 

flip the buckets over and press

Once the initial water is pushed out, I stand on the buckets to really press as much water out as I can get (this is fully against my husband's wishes as this is really not the safest activity out there)
  
the pancake of diapers ready to be wrung

Voila!
I'm definitely feeling more accomplished with myself these days. I won't be sad about using my washer and dryer again, but there is something to be said for being able to get diapers so clean with your own two hands.