Flats and Handwashing Challenge COMPLETED!

I did it!

Today is the last day, and I survived!  Two additional kids this year, one in diapers, and on solo parenting duty most days.

Overall, the challenge was what I expected it to be.  With the added personal challenge of only washing after work hours, that put a lot into perspective.  I’m not sure if working parents or a working single parent, would be able to cloth diaper full time without a washer and dryer.  I’d like to think it would be possible, because, after all, my mother-in-law did it (out of necessity).  Knowing that inexpensive cloth diapers options are available and could be handwashed, allows parents to make an educated decision for their families.  A back up stash of flats and diaper covers could be an option for those families who have diaper needs, even if they only used it part time…which alleviates funds for other necessities.

This was my third year that I participated, and here’s what I’ve learned:

  • If you want your kid to poop, decide to handwash for a week
  • If you want your kid to poop more than once a day, decide to handwash for a week
  • If you need rain for 7+ days in a row, decide to handwash for a week
  • Men’s cotton t-shirts work GREAT for overnight options (and don’t cut them)
  • My baby uses less diapers than I thought — approximately 6 or 7 per day (at 10 months old)
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a good soak
  • Keep your hands slathered in olive oil, gold bond, or petroleum jelly if you decide to skip the gloves to wring out your diapers

Honestly, we use Flats regularly.  I don’t mind handwashing occasionally, and will do so for my ‘pre-wash cycle’ before tossing them into my washer.

I really hope that everyone learned something this week…and if so, I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Here’s a recap of the week-long challenge:

Day 1 – What and Why?

Day 2 – My Stash / How Much?

Day 3 – Fave Fold

Day 4 – Wash Routine

Day 5 – Open Topic ~ CD Banks

Day 6 – Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.

What’s Working Out — What’s Not?

We’re almost done with the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. It’s Day 6 and today we’re talking about what is working and what isn’t.

Since I’m up before the kids, watching The Royal Wedding right now as I type this…

This year, though I have only 1 in diapers like I did last year (but was pregnant), I have 2 additional kids than last year! I also challenged myself this year, to wash “after work hours,” to simulate what it would be like for a working mom with kids or a single, working mom with kids.

Let’s start with “what isn’t working?”

Even though my wash routine takes less than 30 minutes, I wait until after I’ve eaten dinner with the kids, after they’ve done H.W., after they’ve showered and after they’ve gone to bed. That’s somewhere between 9pm – 10pm. That would usually be the time I hurry to the shower myself and hop into bed before the baby wakes again…because, well, he never sleeps longer than 2-3 hour stretches. I won’t lie. It’s been tough and takes discipline to get up and handwash diapers at that time. Essentially, I have enough diapers that I wouldn’t have to handwash everyday, but allowing them to pile up would make the washing process longer when I got around to it. So technically, I’m making it work but I won’t lie to ya, it isn’t easy!

Time is money and money is time. You either would need the money to buy disposables or in this case, make the time to handwash cloth diapers.

What is working?

As silly as it sounds, our Flats and FSTs are working. They always have and they always will! That’s why we’ve used these diapers before the challenge and will continue after. They’re easy and cheap!

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival

Are You Willing To Help??

It’s Day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, and this is an “Open Topic” day.

Thank goodness, because I have A LOT to say!

The whole purpose of this Challenge was to not only show parents, that cloth diapering without a washer / dryer, is possible…but that it can be done with limited resources, including the expensive upfront costs of cloth diapering. With “budget” stashes costing $40-100, that’s still money that some do not have readily available.  So what’s the next option?  Well. Apparently there are non-profit, cloth diaper banks that will loan families a small stash to use, then return either when they’ve acquired their own stash or when their child has potty trained.  The only requirement is, usually, proof that you’re receiving some type of government aid. I’ve spent 3 years pointing families to these organizations.  I also recently found out that these organizations are turning parents away and / or making it difficult to obtain approval for a stash!!

Why?!  Here’s some of the reasons I’ve heard from parents:

  • I had twins and couldn’t afford diapers, but wasn’t approved because I (mom) wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
  • It was a lengthy application process that also wanted me to write and submit a 2 paragraph essay before considering me
  • I couldn’t apply because I couldn’t afford the $40 shipping charge for them to send me the diapers
  • They’re no longer accepting applications
  • I applied and I never heard anything back

WHAT?!?!? Soooo…they pretty much “weed out” the obvious people who are TRULY IN NEED of cloth diapers, and provide these loaner stashes to the privileged few??

GroVia, the company that moms love to buy because they’re “ethically made” (whatever that means)…well their lending program, GroVia Gives, charges families a MINIMUM of $40 to borrow the diapers, only crediting them $20 to be used to purchase their own diapers upon receiving the stash back. If a family can afford $40, I can provide them an entire stash to KEEP!

Other organizations are saying they’re no longer accepting applications because they don’t have enough diapers. But I’m confused. Because this same non-profit, flat out refuses to accept Alvas, Sunbaby Diapers, Happy Flute, or any other brands that are directly made in China ::GASP::  Apparently those diapers aren’t “deemed” safe and / or compliant, but the jeans and shoes and disposable diapers with chemicals in them, are ok to touch babies???

So what have I done to help??

For the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve personally collected and bought inexpensive cloth diapers, sanitized them, and stored them in bins in my home.  When I hear of a family in need, I have them personally pick up or I ship a small stash to them, using my own dollars…no questions asked.  If someone can go as far as swallowing their pride and ASKING for help with diapers, surely they need the help.  I trust them to return the diapers when their done with them, and ship back.

What can you do to help??

If you’d like to send a monetary donation, feel free to send it to PayPal Donation to Alyson

I’m also happy to take ANY working diaper donations, shipped to my home.  Comment below or contact me via Facebook.

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.

Grab a Bucket and a Plunger!

We’re onto Day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge!

Lots of people will hear “handwashing,” think about poop, and they’re automatically turned off.  I’ve got some good news!  If you grab a bucket and a plunger, I promise you won’t have to touch the poopy diapers.  In fact, if you grab a pair of rubber gloves, this will be even easier!

Cloth diapers in water in a clear bucket with a plunger

Here’s how you do it…

  1. Take your plunger, cut/drill a few holes into it.
  2. Grab a 5 gal bucket (or I use a Rubbermaid bin that holds a little more than that)
  3. Choose your detergent

The wash routine is pretty simple, but a little tedious (when compared to dumping clothes into your washer, starting it and forgetting about it). I loosely follow Fluff Love University’s camper washer routine…

Cold Pre Wash

Add detergent – 50 plunges (wait 5 minutes) 50 plunges

Dump water

Hot wash #1

3 Tbsp detergent + 1 Tbsp Borax

50 plunges (wait 10 minutes) 50 plunges

Dump water

Hot wash #2

1 Tbsp detergent + 1 Tbsp Borax

50 plunges (wait 10 minutes) 50 plunges

Dump water

At this point, I either do a quick “cold rinse” in the bucket (which is really just plunging in plain cold water) or rinse them under running water depending on how many diapers I’m washing. The point is to make sure they don’t feel soapy or slimey. Then put on your rubber gloves and wring them out (its so much easier with gloves)…and onto my pop up stand, clothesline, they go! If left indoors, the flats dry in about an hour, and covers dry in under 3. Outdoors, everything dries quicker and the sun removes all stains. Voila!!

This whole process takes me under 30 min from start to finish.

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival

It’s Origami Time!

Day 3 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge — and it’s pretty straight forward!

Half of our stash this week, is made up of Flour Sack Towels (FSTs).  Yes, the same kind that you buy in the kitchen towel section of Walmart that people use to dry their dishes with.  If it can dry dishes and it’s 100% cotton, you can use it as a diaper!  This cheap option is perfect for folding down into different styles — like origami — and it washes easily by hand, drying in no time!

I’ve tried MANY kinds of folds, but I keep coming back to the same one, The Kite Fold!  I love it for boys, but it’s also great for girls too.  There’s also a way to fold it so it’s smaller for newborns, called the Mini Kite Fold.

Image result for kite fold flat diaper

Here’s what it looks like a toddler…

IMG_1675

 

If you need to modify it for an itty, bitty, tiny newborn…try The Mini Kite Fold.

Related image

 

For reference purposes, here’s what it looks like on my 6 week old guy…

**He’s wearing a Tots Bots Stretchy Wrap over the FST to make it waterproof**

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I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.