17 May 2018

Flat challenge 2018: Day 4, My washing routine

It's day 4 of the flats challenge and things are still going well, it's far less of an effort than I expected it to be. I do try and plan my schedule a bit better to fit in my nappy duties, but overall it's been smooth sailing.

One of the many reasons we use cloth nappies is due to my children getting a very bad burn/rash from disposables, so I always make cloth work, even on holiday. That means I'm not new to hand washing cloth nappies. I've done it a few times when we don't have access to a washing machine on a trip, but it's the first time I'm using the bucket and plunger method and what a game changer it is! I don't know why I never made more of an effort to take my bucket and plunger with, it is so much easier washing this way! Quick, painless and efficient. I'll definitely take along my plunger with our next trip.

I wash about 6-10 flats at a time (It is much easier though if you stick to only 6-8 flats, I find once it gets more I struggle to get good agitation)

Step 1: Rinse - I include my covers, flats, cloth wipes and fleece liners in this step, add some warm water and plunge about 50 times (the rinse water can then be kept as grey water to flush toilets)

Step 2: Washing - I take out the covers (and hand wash separately as it's gentler) and then add new warm water to the bucket, add detergent (I used my normal Ariel auto detergent as I did not have time to get handwashing detergent). I use about half the recommended dose for a 7kg washing machine as my bucket has far less water (roughly 10litres opposed to my washing machine's 36litres) and far less laundry. Plunge about 100 times. Empty the water (Store as grey water)

Step 3: Final rinse: Add new warm water and plunge about 50 times again to get the detergent out. I sometimes have to do this twice (if I add too much detergent in the washing step)

Surprisingly this is a quick process, it takes me about 15minutes to wash. It's definitely easier washing every day opposed to washing a big batch (Which takes longer too)

The "hardest" part for me is being sure that the nappies are clean enough, I keep doing the smell test and then plunging a few times more just in case :D . It still feels incredulous to me that everything gets cleaned properly so quickly. Wringing out the nappies are the least fun part though, I wouldn't mind a hack for that!

How is the flats challenge going for you? What washing challenges have you faced?

This is part of a 7-day series of blogposts for the 2018 Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Learn more about this initiative on the Cloth Diaper Revival page. This is my first year taking part in the challenge and blogging about my experience. However, check out Marisa's experience from previous years doing the flats challenge - Flats Challenge.

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