We're 5 days into the Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats & Handwashing Challenge! We're no strangers to handwashing around here. In fact, I try to post a picture or tip on our Facebook page every week on "Wash Day Wednesday" when we hand wash and lanolize our wool diaper covers. We have a photo essay of our wool washing process in THIS POST. This week has been the first time that I have hand washed almost an entire diaper stash on a daily basis though!
Here is how I have been handling our diaper laundry this week:
Throughout the day I spray each dirty diaper thoroughly with my diaper sprayer before placing it in a dry pail that hangs on the back of our laundry room door. After I put my littlest one to bed I go and get the dry pail and empty it into our tub. First I do a cold rinse. I spread the diapers out in a single layer so I don't have to fill the tub with too much water. I use a hand washing plunger to agitate the diapers and push the water through the fabric to rinse them. Then I drain the water from the tub and re-fill the tub with hot water and about 1 half tablespoon of Unicorn Baby Beyond Clean detergent. I agitate all the diapers again thoroughly. I drain the tub again and re-fill with cold water to rinse a second time. After a final agitation I drain the tub and wring each diaper out as well as possible before hanging them on my drying rack. In the morning I move them out to our porch so the sun can finish drying and sanitizing them.
When we first started out I thought I wanted to wash in a bucket, but I ended up deciding I wanted more room to agitate the diapers and flush them with water. They would have been in a big clump in the bucket, which seemed like it would make them more difficult to wash or that I'd need to wash in batches. I think just using the tub has cut down on my wash time and made thoroughly cleaning them easier. Even though the tub is much larger than a bucket, I'm washing in just a few inches of water so I'm still striving to keep our water usage as low as possible. I'm looking forward to browsing other bloggers posts about their wash methods for the challenge to see what is working for everyone and what is not! I'd say the one problem with the tub method is that my lower back starts to hurt from bending over to plunge the diapers. A large/wide bucket that can be elevated on a stool might be the way to go!
The whole handwashing process only takes me about 20-30 minutes before bed. The diapers are mostly dry in the morning and I put them out on the porch for a couple hours before my daughter wakes up and needs them. I have actually found that handwashing does not disrupt our regular routine too much. It has been pretty easy to incorporate it into our day!
I've also cut down on the actual time it takes to diaper my little one by perfecting our preferred fold and pre-folding all our flats so they are ready to go when we need them! I'll be posting about our folding method tomorrow!