I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. This is the third annual flats challenge, designed to bring awareness to diaper need and how cloth diapers can solve the problem. As of my writing, I still have another day of flats and two days of washing, but I’ve almost made it!
Overall, I didn’t have many issues. I thought it would be harder with a toddler vs. breast fed baby, but it was almost easier in some ways. Although the dirty diapers were yuckier, there weren’t as many of them, and in general, the covers stayed clean. It was windy/rainy/cold a lot, so I didn’t hang diapers outside, and I have a couple stains from when my son gobbled the leftover green icing I used to make carrots on my son’s carrot cake. I also had one “batch” that I didn’t wring very well, and between that and the humidity, they took forever to dry. By the time they did, they had a bit of a musty smell.
This year wasn’t as stressful for me since it wasn’t all totally brand new and foreign to me. I have also found that I’ve relaxed my standards quite a bit. Last year I was panicky all the time about keeping up. This year, I didn’t stress too much if I had diapers hanging and diapers in the sink. Since my son was only going through 6-8 diapers a day, I wasn’t in as much of a crunch to get them done. However, if you were doing this in your bath tub, you’d really need to get it done & out of the way.
Would I hand wash flats permanently? Sure, if I had to; if the other option were using disposables that we couldn’t afford. I’m glad I have a washing machine and find cloth diapers hassle-free. In fact, I find it much easier to wash diapers than the deal with the stress of bargain hunting for disposables, stocking up, making sure I don’t stock up on a size he’ll outgrow, dealing with stinky diaper trash, not to mention diaper rash, blowouts, and the wasteful feeling when your kid goes through 5 diapers in as many minutes.
Hand washing would be more difficult for a mom who works out of the home full time, but even buying just 1 or 2 covers & using receiving blankets as diapers when you’re home is an option. Every disposable diaper you don’t use is money saved. Or using flats/hand washing, but using disposables if you’re ill or unusually busy.
When I was brand new to cloth diapers, the idea of flats was totally foreign to me; I pictured origami folds & pins. I wish I had known how easy it is to fold them into a neat little rectangle and use as an all-in-two. Even a single econobum cover combined with receiving blankets you already have would make a significant impact on your overall disposable diaper expense.
If you have a washing machine, it almost seems like a no-brainer. The hand washing is trickier. Although it seems like it takes forever, it really isn’t that time consuming, though the minutes I’m agitating by hand sure seem to creep by!
So I feel like flats/hand washing really are an option for every family, even if it is only part time. How about you? Would you do this?