Hello again and welcome to Day 4 of the 2018 Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.
It's day 4 of the 7 day challenge, during which I will be using only flats and covers as nappies, and I will be handwashing them to get them clean. No modern cloth nappies, no washing machines & no tumble dryers. Am I crazy? Probably! But I am up for the challenge and I can't wait to bring you along with me through my blog and Instagram.
You can scroll through my previous cloth nappy posts here:
For those of you wondering what on earth the flats challenge is all about, here is some more info for you:
Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry founded the Flats and Handwashing Challenge eight years ago as a way to bring awareness that cloth diapers are a valid option for families in need, struggling to provide diapers for their baby.
"Our aim is not to say that every poor family facing the supremely difficult choice of buying diapers or food should use cloth diapers. That would be short-sighted of us to think it's an answer for every family. The flats challenge is a way to show that for families willing and able, babies can be diapered for less than $100 or even $50 and without owning a washing machine. It is a viable option for families who are in homes without washing machines and an effective one." ~Kim Rosas, Dirty Diaper Laundry
Share your wash routine
Today's prompt is all about sharing the way I wash my flats. If you'd like to see what my wash routine is on a normal day (ie when I'm not handwashing like I am during this challenge and I am instead, using a washing machine...then click the image below)
But, the point of this challenge is to show people how cloth nappies can be used on a very tight budget. And so, I have been washing my nappies during this challenge, by hand. I've learned a thing or two about hand washing nappies, and I will share these useful tidbits with you at the end of this post, in the hopes that I can save you some frustration.
My Handwashing Routine for Washing Flats & Covers
1. Rinse all nappies and covers in hot water (you can use your baby's left over bath water/put the nappies on the floor in your shower while you take a shower). I find the hot water is especially important when washing night nappies as it helps to get ride of the ammonia build up from long wearing night nappies. I use either my hands or a plunger. Drain the nappies.
2. Add water (I use warm water) & detergent to your bucket/bath and let the nappies soak for a few minutes.
3. I give my covers a very quick wash in the detergent and then rinse them and put them aside to be hung up.
3. Get to work with your plunger on the rest of the nappies! Plunge about 100 times to make sure the nappies are well agitated.
4. Drain the nappies, and fill again with warm/cold water. Plunge for another 50 or so times. I found this took my ages to do because I used too much detergent the first time and my nappies were soooo soapy. You are basically now rinsing the nappies to get rid of all the detergent. I find it helps to hand rinse each one.
5. Drain & wring out each flat.
6. Shake and shape the flat while wet, before hanging up to dry. Don't hang your hemp flats up by the corners as they tend to loose their shape quite easily. I hang mine in half, over the washing line.
1. Don't overdo the washing powder!
A little really does a long way, and unless you feel like rinsing flats till the cows come home (a very REAL scenario for me!) then I suggest using a little less rather a little more.
2. Wash at night
We had terrible weather on Monday, and by the time I actually got a chance to wash and hang up my flats (and even though flats are very quick drying compared to modern day cloth) they took forever to dry! I even resorted to bringing them inside in the afternoon and they took all night to finally dry. I also very nearly ran out of flats because too many were in the wash. I changed my tactics and did my second load that night, giving them the night and the next day to dry....thankfully we had lots of sun the next day. I also recommend washing at night once baby(ies) have gone to sleep so you can actually get the washing done without needing to tend to baby. My little girl was SO good playing by herself for the first 10 minutes, and then had a full blown meltdown leaving me with half washed nappies and it taking me twice as long to get the job done.
3. Use (fleece) liners to save yourself the trouble of having to deal with too much poo!
Fleece liners are amazing, and poo literally just slides right off them (well, the more solidy poo that comes when baby is eating solids...I don't think much can really help the messyness of newborn poo!). You also save your nappies from needing stains to be scrubbed from the, as your basically just dealing with wee nappies...oh the joys!
4. Wash your nappies in the bath.
Even though the pictures above show me washing nappies in a bucket, I have since changed my routine to washing in a bath. I found a bucket just too small to work with, but if you are washing just one or two nappies (or if you have lots of time to do one nappy at a time) then a bucket will work well.
5. Wear gloves!
This tip is just as much to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals in washing powder as it is to keep your hands clean and dry when dealing with dirty nappies.
Here's my little girl, sitting pretty in her origami folded flat nappy and Buttons cover...