23 May 2013

Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 4

No surprise, hand washing is the hardest part of this challenge. 

I have not hand washed anything before, so I was pretty clueless about what the process would entail and a bit nervous that I wouldn't get the diapers properly clean. 

On Monday (day 1) I simply soaked and washed my diapers in the bath tub, using a mixture of swishing, plunging and stomping on them to get some agitation going. That didn't work very well and after the diapers dried I realised they still had a faint whiff of pee. Fail. 

I spent some time reading blog posts from the 2012 challenge and picked up some useful tips that I've been using over the last few days. Many people recommended bucket and plunger method of washing and I switched to this method on day 2 of the challenge and so far it's working very well - fresh smelling diapers every time. On day 3 I realised the washing process could be sped up by using a wet pail system (vs my regular dry pail system) and so that's what I will be continuing with for the duration of the challenge.

First washing attempt on day 1 - flats plus previous day's pockets, AIOs and fitteds.

My process is as follows: 

1. Put diapers into wet pail (bucket full of water) when I take them off A
2. When you're ready to wash, dump the water that is currently in the bucket and re-fill the bucket with hot water. Diapers should be fully submerged in water. 
3. Now plunge the diapers 100 times - this is equivalent to the first rinse you would normally do in a washing machine and gets rid of most of the pee. 
4. Dump the water and diapers out (if you're water conscious, you can save the water to flush the toilet with later). Fill the bucket with hot water again. Rub each diaper with boerseep (no need to scrub, just get some soap on each diaper) and place back in the bucket full of water. 
5. Now plunge 80 times. Let it soak for 20 - 30 minutes (this is the part where you can kick back and relax a bit) and repeat with another 80 plunges. This is the equivalent of the wash cycle in the washing machine.
6. Dump the water out again and re-fill the bucket with cold water. Plunge 100 times. This is the equivalent of the final rinse in the washing machine.
7. Repeat as many times as necessary until water is no longer soapy. I usually only have to repeat this once. Obviously the more soap you use, the more rinses you will need to do. Dump the water when you have finished.

Note --> If you have a bucket with an opening in the lid, it's best to keep the lid on while plunging, inserting the plunger into the bucket via the opening in the lid. Without a lid you run the risk of splashing water on yourself.

Congrats! The wash is complete and your diapers are now sparkling clean. 

Now comes my least favourite part - wringing the diapers out to get rid of as much water as possible. The more water you can get rid of, the quicker your drying time will be.

Once all your diapers have been wrung out, it is time to hang them on the line outside or drape them over a drying rack inside. I usually vigorously shake each diaper a few times (like you would with a rug to get rid of dust) before I hang it up to get rid of the last few drops of lingering water. 

This would be much easier in summer since it would only take a few hours in the sun for the flats to dry completely. Instead the terry squares are taking about 18 hours to dry and the pocket shells about the same time. The receiving blankets dry super quickly and are fast becoming my favourite flats for that fact as well as how trim they are.

Using pockets is also kicking my butt in that I am going through a lot more covers since I can't re-use those. And without the magic of the spin cycle on the washing machine, they take much longer to dry than what I'm used to. 

I'm definitely going to appreciate my washing machine a whole lot more once this challenge is complete. And I am thanking my lucky stars I don't have to hand wash our clothes too. 

This post is part of the 2013 Flats Challenge, a 7 Day Challenge to draw awareness to diaper need. No washer, No Dryer, No Problem.

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