The Flats and Handwashing Challenge starts on May 23rd and ends on May 30th. For this week, those who join the challenge can only use flat fold diapers, no more then 5 covers, and hand prep and wash these diapers for the entire week. We cannot use diaper sprayers, washers, or dryers. The purpose of this challenge is to show parents that any one, in any circumstance, can cloth diaper their babies for about the cost of a case, or a months worth, of disposable diapers. In a baby’s first year, new parents will have brought home an average of 2,788 diapers for a total cost of $557.60 *based on an average price of 20 cents per disposable diaper. I am joining… will you?
To prepare for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I first started asking for sponsors. As soon as I mentioned the Challenge to Hubs his first remark was, “We are not buying more diapers are we?” I understood his concern, our daughter is about ready to potty train! So I went sponsor hunting. I have been blessed with a sponsorship from Green Mountain Diapers, Aliyah’s Hope Chest, Momma Micki’s, The Green Scene Diapers, Thirsties and the Peaceful Housewife. I have been sent three different kinds of flats to try, unbleached birds eye cotton, flannel and bamboo fleece! I have also been sent several kinds of covers to use. I will have to pick only five though! I have a Thirsties cover, a Thirsties wrap, a wool cover and a fleece cover and a pair of plastic pants I will be handwashing my flats with The Peaceful Housewife’s laundry detergent. I started giving myself pep talks, about how I COULD do this challenge with 6 children that are homeschooled without loosing my mind!
Yesterday, Hubs and I hung out a rope to hang dry my diapers. I bought this rope for less then $3, and clothespins for $1. I will most likely use it even after the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is over, since sunning your diapers is the best way to get out stains. Not to mention the yummy sunshine smell it leaves on them! Now that the weather is turning nice here, I hope to sun dry my diapers more often! I hung one on the side yard of the apartments where we live, and a small one out front on the metal poles that hold up our overhang. That way, I can still dry diapers outside even if it’s raining! If you have diapers that have stained, you can hang them out even in the rain to remove stains. The UV rays are magnified through clouds so cloudy days are actually better for sunning your diapers then sunny ones! I have a few diapers hanging in the rain right now.
To hang a line for drying diapers, you want to get the line up high enough that animals and children can’t get to your diapers while they are drying. We have a large feral cat problem here so I am worried about my diapers being sprayed while they are on the line. I am hoping they are hanging high enough to avoid that. On the other hand, I have to be able to reach the line, and being only 5 foot 2, that is problem for me! 🙂 You also want to get the line tight enough that when you add the weight of wet diapers or other clothing, it doesn’t cause it to sag so much it puts your diapers in the line of animals or children or drags on the ground! Nothing is worse then doing all that work and then having a dog or a child pull it all down and run it through the mud! Not that I would know from experience or anything!
Here is how Hubs and I hung mine, though I am sure there are more professional looking ways to do this:
I also prepped my flats by boiling the birds eye cotton ones for 30 minutes and the bamboo fleece and flannel ones for 45. I used two large pots, lots of water, and a tad bit of cloth safe laundry detergent from The Peaceful Housewife. I had to sit right there by the stove the entire time, pushing the diapers under. I then dumped them into the sink, and allowed them to cool, rinsed them, wrung them out and took them outside to hang. It only takes flat diapers a couple hours to dry outside. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, you can hang a line inside and they will dry overnight. Which it looks like I will be needing to do! My diapers were rained on soon after I got them hung, so I have no pictures of them hanging to dry.
By the end of the day my kids were joking that I had boiled, drowned and then hung our diapers and I was ready to sit back with a cup of hot tea and enjoy this: