Day 7 – The End of the Flats Handwashing Challenge

I can honestly say that I enjoyed this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love my washer and this challenge has given me a new sense of gratitude for it. Before this challenge I was expecting it to be near impossible and I met May 11th with excitement and dread. Excitement because I was going to learn something new and dread because no one seemed too fond of the idea.
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When I asked around a few weeks prior to the challenge I was met with a lot of laughing and “Good Luck’s”. Everyone else made it seem like it was this impossible task that couldn’t be accomplished in modern times. Dare I say it almost seemed like it was beneath them to handwash their child’s soiled diapers. Why waste time washing diapers by hand when we have washing machines?

I did this challenge for a few reasons. Allow me to re-cap:

  • I participated to raise awareness that, regardless of socioeconomic status, parents and caregivers can cloth diaper their children.
  • To gain the skills I would need to successfully handwash my son’s diapers if we were in a situation that required it.
  • To answer the question of whether or not I would cloth diaper, now in modern times, if I did not have access to a washer or dryer all the time.
  • Every child deserves to have a clean diaper.
  • Cloth diapering is affordable when using flats, receiving blankets, flour sack towels etc. and covers.

I believe that anyone can cloth diaper using flats and covers. Whether your flats are receiving blankets, actual diaper flats, or flour sack towels YOU CAN CLOTH DIAPER!
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What did this challenge teach me?

This challenge taught me that anyone can cloth diaper and that flats are the most customizable diapers a person can use to diaper their child. I also learned that if I didn’t have access to a washer and dryer all the time, I would still cloth diaper my son using flats and covers. I know that at times it may become a daunting and tedious task but I started cloth diapering to save money.

I wasn’t aware of how many parents are already handwashing their child’s diapers until the challenge started. The Facebook group was a great resource for me because I was able to learn from other people’s experiences.

Now that I have been using flats for 2 weeks exclusively, I have decided that flats will make up the majority of our stash. They are simple, work well, wash well, and I get a perfect fit on my son every time. My son also has sensitive skin and since being in flats his skin has been much better!

I do think that anyone can handwash their child’s diapers. I think that it is doable, once a routine is found.

The one question I got asked a lot was “Doesn’t it take forever to handwash?”.

No, I can handwash 7 diapers, some wipes, and covers in less time it takes my washer to finish a cycle.

I really enjoyed this week and I truly enjoyed getting to know each of you! Thank you for checking out my journey for the week.
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How did the challenge go for you? If you were unable to participate this year, will you try next year?

Day 6 – Favorite Flat Diaper Folds

I have taken a liking to a few folds.

The Jo Fold- This one provides the best fit for J. I can get it snug around the back and legs. I can also customize how many layers of absorption.

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The Origami Fold- This fold provides a lot of layers of absorption and the fit is great. The wings are long and it is a fold  I can use for a long while. This fold actually contained a poopy mess, I was impressed.

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The Diaper Bag Fold-  This fold provides all the absorption in the front. That is where boys need the most absorption. It fits around his waist snugly and the legs need to be rolled in.

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The Pad Fold – Easiest fold, lots of layers of absorption,  and I use it on the go. The pad fold does not require the use of pins or a snappi.

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The first 3 folds will perform better, when it comes to poop, if the legs are rolled in. The diaper bag fold has the loosest fit around J’s legs so I have to remember to roll them in. To get them to fit under a cover, the legs will need to be tucked in.

What folds do you like? Is there one that you always use?

Day 5 – How Do You Wash Flat Diapers?

I can’t believe I have made it 5 days. Believe you me, I have been staring at my washer while I scrub away at diapers in the utility sink. I must admit that it hasn’t been as bad as everyone told me it would be. When I tell people I am CHOOSING to handwash my son’s diapers for a week they give me an odd stare.

I have enjoyed it for the most part. The only time I cringe is when I get done washing J’s diapers and he decides to poop! Even then, it is no big deal because I just throw it in the utility sink until a few more diapers are soiled.

For the past week, I have been washing J’s diapers by hand in my utility sink. It has a washboard built into it so it has made things easier when it comes to scrubbing and stains.

Step One.

  • I do a cold rinse and scrub all the diapers so at least some of the pee and poop is off of the diaper. I try not to wash more than 7 at a time. The most I have washed at one time is 7 and that was enough for me!!

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Step Two.

  • I fill up the sink using warm water. I then add either 1 – 2 tablespoons of detergent, depending on how many flats I have.

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Step Three.

  • I walk away and let them soak. Sometimes I forget about them for a few hours and sometimes I remember 15 minutes later.

Step Four.

  • When I get back to the diapers, I scrub them using the wash board. Once I am done scrubbing one, I lay it on the side of the sink. I found if I don’t do that I am then washing the same diaper over and over again!

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Step Five.

  • After step 4, I ring out the diapers. I then drain the wash water and turn the cool water back on and rinse the diapers. To conserve water between each diaper I turn water off while wringing them out. Turning the water off not only saves water but it also allows me to see if there are any suds left over.

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Step Six.

  • I hang them out to dry. Before hanging I would recommend wringing one more time. It is amazing how much water they hold!

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I have learned that a simple wash routine is good and sufficient for, not only flat diapers, but all cloth diapers. If it works for you, don’t tweak it! I learned that the hard way. We had a wash routine that was working and I decided to switch it up due to someone else’s suggestion. It didn’t work well for my son and he started getting rashes and was uncomfortable. Trust me when I say, if it works for you it is okay that it doesn’t work for someone else.

Keeping the wash routine simple also allows me to know that when we start traveling this summer I will be able to wash his diapers and not have to carry a whole lot with us!

I love flats!

Are you taking the challenge? How has washing gone for you? Do you handwash clothing as well?

Out On the Town With Flat Diapers

I woke up earlier than I would have liked this morning.  M woke with the roosters and J was up shortly after him. Since J woke up a little earlier than usual he hasn’t wanted much to do with anything unless he is nursing or being worn. But, today was a good day. We still went out and about.

When we go out, I always make sure to carry a few essentials in my bag ALWAYS!

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I take 3 flat diapers with me because I have found that to be a good number. There have been times where we have been out and J will poo, I change him,  and he poops again. I figured it is necessary to have at least 3.

A snappi to hold the diaper on him. He typically is already wearing the snappi so I rarely ever have to carry it.

I carry a wetbag that has 2 pockets. The outside pocket,  I use for wipes, cream,  diapers etc. Basically whatever I put in there. The main larger pocket I use for all soiled diapers. Keeps my diaper bag from messes and smells. If I forget the wetbag (which I often do) I will use a plastic grocery bag or zip lock bag. I usually have one or the other in my car.

Wipes. Wet and dry. You can never have enough wipes in my opinion. I keep the wet ones in the container and the dry ones float around in the diaper bag. It isn’t fun trying to clean up a huge poop with 2 or 3 wipes.

Peri bottle with water. This comes in handy believe you me! If I forget wet wipes or the mess is huge, I know I have enough water to clean him up.

2 extra covers. Typically J is already in a cover so that makes 3 unless he soils one. I like to have 2 so that way I know he will have a clean cover. Hopefully!

These are the items that are with us all the time. Sometimes I forget things, so I have gotten in the habit of making sure all these items stay in my bag.

What items do you always have to have?

Would I see cloth diapers as an option if they weren’t modernized and we didn’t have a washer and dryer?

The whole reason we started cloth diapering was to know J would always have diapers and to save money…

When I found out I was pregnant with J and I started looking around on the internet and joining mommy boards, I learned about cloth diapers. At first I was skeptical. I wondered how I would be able to keep up with diaper laundry when I can barely keep up with regular laundry. I loved the idea of savings but I didn’t know if it was something I could keep up with.

I remember when M was little and there were times where I had to stretch X amount of money until payday. It pained me to have to put $20+ towards a box of diapers that may or may not last us until payday. I never, ever, wanted to be in that position again. We never had to reuse one of M’s dirty diapers or have him in one for an unreasonable amount of time, but we did have to choose diapers over food or gas to get to work. There were times I scrounged up change just to get gas so I could get my husband and I back and forth to work. You see, we made enough not to qualify for any assistance but not enough to not live paycheck to paycheck. Interesting how the system works, but that is another conversation for another day.

We decided within the first few months of my pregnancy that we would use cloth diapers for J. We wanted the peace of mind that he would always have diapers that were clean and ready to go. We also wanted to be able to save money wherever we could without compromising another area of our life.

When I decided to take part in this challenge originally I wanted to raise awareness to the fact that flats are universal and socioeconomic status should not determine whether or not a baby has clean diapers. I then asked myself if I had to hand wash all the time, would I still cloth diaper?

Would I still cloth diaper without my luxurious washer and dryer?Would I still cloth diaper without all the bells and whistles of modern cloth diapers?

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Yes, I would. I know it would be hard and time consuming. However, that is unimportant because I have the peace of mind knowing my son will always have clean diapers. So far this challenge has taught me that having a washer and dryer is a luxury. It is one that I have taken for granted and now I realize how grateful I am to be able to have a washer and dryer.I have also learned that I love flats and I wish I would have invested in some in the beginning.

When you first start using cloth diapers it is always good to have a variety so that you are able to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Flats were one thing we didn’t have until a couple weeks ago and since they have arrived that is all we have been using. Flats are economical and are not as hard to use as it may seem at first. It takes a few tries to get a fold just right or to learn how to use pins or a snappi but I find it enjoyable. This challenge has caused me to start selling my son’s pocket diapers and hybrids because I have fallen in love with flats. They wash up nicely, and since they are natural fibers, rashes are less likely to happen and his eczema doesn’t become irritated and flare up. Also, after adding up how much it cost for our current stash of flats and covers it has come out much cheaper than what we have spent on pockets and hybrids!!

If you use cloth diapers, and modern cloth diapers weren’t an option, would you still use cloth diapers?

Find me on Facebook! I love hearing from you!

Wanna See My Stash?- Day 2 of Handwashing Flats Challenge

Simple, to me, is better. 

In the first post I mentioned one of the reasons why I wanted to participate this year was to simplify my son’s diaper stash. I admit, I got caught up in the whirlwind of prints and options available. There are so many options when it comes to cloth diapers, and in reality, a good ol’ fashioned flat will do you just fine. There is nothing wrong with having variety of diapers but I have learned that for us, simple is better.

Let’s break my son’s diaper collection. He has:

12 Green Mountain Diaper flats. I bought these new and it cost me $12 for 6 flats. I paid $24 (plus shipping) for 12 flats. Let me tell you, there is a difference between flats and flour sack towels. Flour sack towels are thinner than flats that you buy from a diaper company. They function the same but absorption, in my opinion, will be better with a flat from a diaper company.

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The flour sack towel is on top and the green mountain diaper flat is on the bottom. The FST reminds me of gauze and the GMD flat is birdseye cotton.

3 Geffen Baby flats. I bought these new as well and I got them through a co-op so they were cheaper than average. I honestly don’t remember what I paid, but, they cost $7.99 each on the Geffen Baby website. I use these specifically for night because they are made from 60% Hemp and 40% Organic Cotton. The quality and absorption of Geffen Baby is top notch. My son is a heavy wetter and 2 Geffen flats last us 12+ hours. I use a windpro cover over them at night.

4 Target flour sack towels. I was strolling through Target last week on a hunt for more things I don’t need and saw they had flour sack towels and I picked them up for a trial run of handwashing. They do the job well, are cheap, and are easily accessible. They cost $3.99 for a pack of 4. I know that they also have coupons you can use which would probably make them cheaper than $3.99.

2 Windpro fleece covers. I bought these from a shop off Etsy called Dragon Cloth Covers for $17 each. I wanted something that was low maintenance that I could throw in the washer and dryer. In my opinion, they work just as well as wool. Windpro is AMAZING at repelling moisture and it would take a heavily, heavily (and I mean heavily) saturated diaper for the outside to feel moist.

3 Nicki’s Diapers PUL covers. These are easy to wash and that is why I invested in them. One I bought used and I don’t remember how much I paid and the other 2 I bought new. They cost $10.95 on the Nicki’s Diapers for prints and $9.50 for solid colors, but if you watch for sales and use coupons you can get them for much cheaper. The thing I love about their covers is the double gussets. My son has runny, breastfed poop and these covers contain it!!!

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3 Wool covers. All the wool I am using for the challenge was bought used. The knit soaker and wrap are one size and they will last him through to potty training with no problem. The longies are sized and he has been wearing them since he was about 4 months old. I am sorry I don’t remember the prices. The wrap and longies are upcycled which made them cheaper than buying interlock. I can tell you I paid no more than $15 for any of the wool pictured.

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1 drying rack. I bought this a few years ago (it has taken quite a beating) when our dryer broke down and we didn’t have the immediate funds to purchase a new one. I got this at Fred Meyer for (I think) $25. I know it seems steep, but it has definitely paid for itself.

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Drying rack

The only things that I bought new specifically for this challenge were the flats and the flour sack towels. I already had the covers, wool, and drying rack. I hope this gives you a better idea of how economical cloth diapering can be. You only invest ONE TIME and the items should last you through potty training + multiple children. When adding the up the flats, flour sack towels, windpro covers, and PUL covers I got a total of $100.74. You easily spend $100 on diapers in 2 months time.

You can cloth for even cheaper by:

Using flour sack towels, t-shirts, or receiving blankets

Buy used (trust me, it will save you a lot of money)

Reuse on multiple children

Looking at the cost now, I wish (oh, how I wish), I would have started with some flats and covers. If you only want to invest in 12 flats and 3 PUL covers, your total would be $54. Or if you wanted to use flour sack towels and you got 12 of them + the 3 PUL covers your total would be $42. Cloth is affordable and it doesn’t have to break the bank!!!!

Up Next…

Would I even bother cloth diapering if I didn’t have the luxury of having a washer and dryer?

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Flats Handwashing Challenge – Why am I participating?

Every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, deserves to have clean diapers.

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Awhile ago, I had touched on taking the blog in a new direction and sharing more areas of my life with you. That starts, right now!!

J is 6 months old and we started using cloth diapers on him when he was about 4 weeks old. At first, I must admit, I was intimidated with all the options. However, I joined different Facebook groups and found other helpful mamas who were willing to share there advice and experiences. Our diaper collection slowly started growing until we had a little bit of everything. Or so I thought.

I had yet to try flat diapers. I had heard plenty of amazing things about flat diapers. When Dirty Diaper Laundry blogged about the Handwashing Flats Challenge, I knew I had to join for a few reasons.

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1) Every child deserves to have a clean diaper. There are families who are unable to afford disposable diapers. Since they cannot afford them, they reuse them. No child should ever have to experience that and no parent should ever have to choose between food, bills, or diapers. You can read about families reusing disposable diapers Here

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2) I have been wanting to simplify my son’s diaper stash. My son has a lot of diapers. I like the simplicity of flat diapers. It is so easy to buy all the diapers and try them all but I am learning simple is better. I was wasting too much time trying to find “the next best thing” when what I already had worked for him.

3) You can afford to cloth diaper, even on a minimal budget. I was able to pick up a set of 4 flour sack towels (version of flats) for $3.99. You can also cloth diaper for free using old t-shirts and even receiving blankets.

I hope that you are looking forward to this week as much as me. I want to be able to share this with you and inspire you to give cloth a try or at least teach you something new!

Up Next:

What does my diaper stash look like?