After a couple of days of dreaded diaper hand-washing, my attitude had changed.
At first, my main goal was to prove that anyone can cloth diaper their child easily and quite afford-ably. I also knew that I had others "watching" (reading my blog posts) to see if I could actually go through with this challenge.
Looking at that small pail of diapers, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I remembered the time when my husband and I were unemployed and our washer broke down. In effort to save money from using a laundry mat, I hand-washed dirty diapers in the sink. It was nice to know that if my husband was out of work again, that I could always make sure that my Leettle could always have a clean diaper at no cost...just some minutes of my time.
Since I have yet to discuss my method of washing, I thought that this topic was fitting for today's post.
Hand-washing Flats and Covers
Step 1: Rinse & Store
Immediately after changing Leettle's diaper, I rinsed out as much urine as I could using the bathroom sink. I wrung out the flat and cover and placed in my two gallon bucket, which was filled 3/4 of the way with water (to help remove any "mess" from dirty #2 diapers). If he did have a "messy" diaper, I would swish and dunk the cloth in the toilet until the mess was removed.
* Note - since this pail contained water, I made sure that I topped the bucket with a lid and kept out of reach from curious children and pets. My bathroom has a linen closet with a child proof lock. Please make sure that if you store any container with water that you take the proper precautions to keep your children from drowning.
Step 2: Agitate & Dump
After 3 diaper changes (this is all my bucket can hold), I put on my gloves, put the pail in the bathtub, and "agitated" the diaper wash with my hands to make sure that all "mess" was removed from the diapers. I then poured out the water and wrung out the diapers and covers.
Step 3: Fill Bucket & Add Detergent
Fill the bucket with warm/hot water. Keep in mind that diaper manufacturers suggest not to wash items with waterproofing (such as PUL) in temperatures above 100°F or 60°C. You can test the water with your childs bath thermometer if you have one. Add about 1 tsp of detergent, I used my homemade detergent. Make sure that you do not use too much, because you do not want to leave any soap behind to cause rashes on baby's skin.It is wise to start with very little detergent, then add a little more after step 5 if diapers do not smell clean.
Step 4: Agitate & Dump a Second Time
With your glove covered hands, swish the diapers around the bucket, squeeze, and move the cloth up and down. I continued this process for a few minutes and then dumped the water down the drain. Squeeze the water from the cloth and rinse your bucket. Toss the cloth in the bucket.
Step 5: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
This step I have completed in two different ways and both work equally as well.
* Rinse and squeeze the cloth under running water. Wring out and hang up.
* Fill bucket and "agitate" cloth a second time (no soap!) in effort to remove the soap from the cloth. Then rinse the cloth under running water while squeezing the cloth, wring out, and hang.
Now wait for the diapers to dry! If you are lucky enough to dry them outside, then do so! In 80 degree weather, my diaper wash was dry in an hour or so.
This process took less than 15 minutes total, but I was also dealing with a small load at a time.
If your child breaks out in a rash, try decreasing the detergent and make sure to rinse more thoroughly.
Have you hand-washed your baby's diapers before? What was your favorite method?