Tag Archive | "flatschallenge"

Sign Up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

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It is that time again!  Time to sign-up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This year our event will take place beginning on the morning of May 11 and lasts until the end of the day on May 17. The excitement is building as more parents are learning about the event and the benefits of using flats, not just because they are the best for handwashing, but because flats are amazing cloth diapers!  Why are we doing this?  To show that cloth diapers can work for any family- especially for those choosing to buy diapers each week over using the money for other expenses they also need to pay.


First, you will want to understand the rules of participation.

Materials Allowed

The following diapering items can be used:
• Any flat cloth diaper, store bought or handmade. A flat should be only 1 layer of material for easier handwashing and faster drying.
• 1 night time diaper per night of your choice although you are asked to make flats work for you (this diaper must also be handwashed)
• Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if you absolutely must.
• A diaper sprayer.
• Wet bags/diaper pails for storage.
• Handmade “washing machine” for diapers such as the camp style washer I made last year.
• Non Electronic Portable washing machines (must be powered by you and cost less than $100.
• Commercially available or handmade covers.
• Commercially available or handmade detergents.
• Snappi, Boingo, and Pins for closure.
• Pocket diapers STUFFED WITH FLATS. (note that the potential for repelling on the stay dry lining could make your challenge harder but you can see what happens)
• Homemade or store bought fleece liners.
• Iron (to use in order to expedite drying time or sterilize)

Materials Not Allowed

• Electronic washer/dryer.
• Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIO’s, Fitteds, Contours, Prefolds, AI2’s, etc.
• Flushable liners.

Rules for Everyone

• You cannot use your washer or dryer.
• If for some reason something arises and an exception is made you need to disclose in the Conclusions Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
• There is no limit on the number of flats or covers you can use. Should you purchase 100 flats for $100 and go a whole week without washing? No. Use your common sense on this one. As a tip the more diapers in your camp washer/ sink/ tub the harder the washing will be.

Rules for Bloggers

Bloggers are encouraged to participate and chronicle their week.  I will have link-ups for each day of the challenge with blogging prompts.  If you sign up as a blogger you will be sent more information on the prompts and rules to add your links.

For Stores and Manufacturers

Each year this event sees an increasing amount of interest from stores and manufacturers who often offer discount codes and incentives for flats and covers. If you are a company planning to offer any sort of special promotion or discount related to the challenge, or your company is blogging along, please email beforehand to discuss opportunities.   dirtydiaperlaundry@gmail.com

Sign Up.



Resources to get you started…

You can also browse all blog posts made in during the past challenges (in backwards order, skip to the last page and work back for chronological order) by using the Flats Challenge tag.


As always the heart of this challenge is to shine a light on the fact that there are families struggling to provide clean diapers for their babies and to offer an alternative solution not often discussed when the major media outlets cover these stories. There are diaper banks that can help families get started with cloth diapers for free or little cost. If you know a family or are a family in need please visit Giving Diapers, Giving Hope- the longest running nationwide diaper lending program that ships to any approved family in the US. I encourage anyone touched by this challenge to donate to their organization and help them provide more diapers to more families.

Join our Facebook Group for live updates and to learn from other participants while we all get prepared for another Flats Challenge.  On Instagram and Twitter we will once again be using the #FlatsChallenge hashtag, also #bringingflatsback for funsies.

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2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Survey Results

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A total of 260 individuals took the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Survey! I compiled the data from the survey into a document that will hopefully shed some light on the lessons learned. Much of this information is being put to good use for a booklet I am compiling that will be printable and for distribution by anyone who needs it.
Can’t view the survey? Click the link to view the pdf.

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2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7- Reflections on What We’ve Learned

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flat cloth diapers drying

It is Day 7 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge and the final day of the challenge.  I’ve been blogging my experiences all week alongside 50-80 other blogs a day.  You’ll find other blogs linked at the end of this post.  Today is the final day of the challenge and blogging week and we are discussing our final thoughts.

This year was vastly different than last year in a surprising way.  I found it more difficult, physically, but easier to fit into my day.  I found myself dreading the act of handwashing when I knew it was coming near, but not worrying that it would get done or how.

This week wasn’t long enough to truly test my determination but I do feel even more so than last year that I could make it work.  I don’t doubt that I would try to make life easier on myself by practicing EC more often in order to have less diapers to wash.  Or that I would use a disposable diaper if I could afford to.  This challenge was taken mostly by families who advocate cloth diapers but for others in the situation they just need diapers, period.  Most would use flats as a way to stretch their disposable diaper budget, not the other way around.  And that is perfectly fine.  Handwashing is very hard, physical work and a time commitment of 30 minutes to an hour a day (in my experience.)  Not everyone can fit that into their daily routine but if it came to leaving my child in unhealthy conditions I would lose sleep and work hard to wash diapers by hand.

All of the participants are being asked to complete a survey about their experience.  Last year we did the same and the results you can read the results.  Once everyone has completed the survey I will post the results and the final tally of participants.  I am donating $1.00 per person (up to $200.00) who completes the survey to my cloth diaper charity of choice:  Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.  Full disclosure: I also serve on their Board of Directors.  Kelly’s Closet is matching my donation up to $200.00 as well.

If you participated please take the Survey in before June 1.

Take the Survey

Once again I am humbled and honored to complete this event with the other participants.  I’m always amazed at how many decide to participate and the level of dedication and creativity shown.  You can read the reflections of the other bloggers by following the links below.

Thank you to everyone who has made the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge a success.  See you next year!

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2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 6: Going Out, Babysitters, and Husbands

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flat cloth diaper- diaper bag foldWe are coming to the homestretch of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge and have made it to Day 6.  I’ve been blogging my experiences all week alongside 50-80 other blogs a day.  You’ll find other blogs linked at the end of this post.  Today is an “open assignment” day meaning all the bloggers weren’t given a topic so you’ll find all kinds of subjects being covered.

For my post today I want to explain how we use flats and make them fit an active and normal day with 2 kids.  I’m not just sticking to the house for fear of having to change my son’s diaper in public nor am I never leaving my kids because I’m afraid other people won’t be able to figure them out.

The Diaper Bag-

So far since the Flats and Handwashing Challenge began I’ve gone out pretty much every day.  The first time I was heading out I had to remind myself to switch out the diapers in my diaper bag since I’m usually pre-packed with All-in-Ones.  I decided to pre-stuff a cover with a pad folded flat and included an extra flat.  When it came time to change Ev I just grabbed that diaper as if it were an All-in-One and put it on him, throwing the dirty flat and cover into the wet bag.

For a wet bag I used a very small bag that only fits about 3-4 diapers and it is all polyester instead of having a cotton knit print like many brands.  This was the best option for handwashing and drying.

I can’t imagine it being any harder than an All-in-Two system as long as the flats and pad folded flats are packed up.  In my case it was as easy as an All-in-One because I had a cover ready to go.


As luck would have it the Flats Challenge falls over Memorial Day Weekend again.  My husband, who is living in Florida already, was able to come and visit.  I am planning a date night for us and this will mean that a responsible 18 year old will be in charge.  She is fine with our cloth diapers so for the night I’ll make sure I have my covers clean enough that I can have 2 spare all lined up and set with a pad folded flat.  Last year during the first Flats Challenge I had a regular babysitter come over on her usual day.  I did the same for her and she had no problems.


I have to say that my husband isn’t exactly gung-ho about the Flats Challenge, or cloth diapers in general.  He was a hard man to convince in the first place so this is definitely out of his comfort zone.  Last year he participated with the pad fold flats only.  He never fastened a flat onto Everett.  This year since he is here for the last 2 days and I expect the same level of participation.  I didn’t and won’t be asking him to wash any flats.  If this were the reality of our life then I would expect his full participation but that isn’t the case.

I can’t wait to hear what the other bloggers have to discuss today!

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2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 5- What Have We Learned So Far?

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Jo Fold on Everett

Day 5 of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge and we are over the hump.  I’ve witnessed a wide range of emotions and reactions to the challenge so far ranging from one extreme of  ”I LOVE handwashing cloth diapers and could keep this up full time” to “I wish the week were over and this span of my life would be magically over.

Today I’m discussing some of the tips I’ve learned over the past 5 days. This week has held a different experience completely from last year.  You’ll find links to the other blogs participating at the end of this post.

  1. Roll your covers in a towel people!  This can mean the difference between waking up to fresh, dry covers and still damp ones.
  2. If using a bucket washer do no more than 8 flats and 3-4 covers.  The more real estate you take up in your bucket the harder it is to wash (your muscles will notice) and the less likely you will be to get the  diapers clean.
  3. Soaking is awesome.  Let the water do the hard work but please practice this safely!  Keep any buckets out of the reach of children and the lids locked if you choose to soak.
  4. Ikea Burp Cloths are my favorite flat this year.  They are cute, accessible to many, and cheap.  They wash up better than the Target Flour Sack towels and don’t curl up on the edges.
  5. The best new fold I’ve found this year is the Jo Fold- acts like a prefold in the angel wing fold.  I made a video and illustrated tutorial for this.

I stole the flat from Everett's back to wash and he was left with nothing to hold his shorts up!

I’m wearing down a bit earlier than I did last year.  In the moment of washing I’m exhausted and just want it to be over so that I can relax.  I made it a point tonight to wash while the kids were awake so that ALL of their sleeping time was mine to do with as I pleased.  It was overly hectic as they ran around playing tag, then decided to “help” by splashing water all over with the plunger.  After the diapers were finished and wrung out (poorly) I then had to clean the bath tub and throw the kids in, then get them into pajamas.  We spoke with their dad on the phone then I tucked Fletcher in.  Next I bounced Everett on the yoga ball and nursed him until he fell asleep.  Start to finish this whole exercise took 2 hours of mania.  But boy am I enjoying listening to The Cranberries and blogging with no one wiping snot on me!  And after the fact I think to myself “That wasn’t so bad.”  Women seem especially skilled at forgetting how painful/sucky something was and looking forward to it 5 minutes later (like childbirth).  This is also what makes us so amazing at what we do!  When a job has to get done leave it to a woman.

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2nd Annual Flats Challenge: The “Jo” Fold Tutorial in Pictures and Video

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I’m excited to introduce you to a fold I just recently learned about thanks to an awesome reader, Trisha W.  She sent the link over and I immediately knew it was going to become my new “go-to” for the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge!

The original tutorial with photos can be found here on Pepper Place.  She has a perfectly square terry flat so her fold looks very neat compared to my handwashed, skewed, less than square flats.  Not having a square flat did give me a chance to show how you can “square-up” a flat by folding in one side to create the square.  You can also size the flat down to better fit smaller babies since with a 30×30 flat this fold is gigantic.  To size the flat down fold in two sides to the size you need, then complete the fold.

The Jo Fold for flats essentially makes your flat into a prefold, which you would then perform the “Angel Wing” fold- my personal favorite way to use prefolds.

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2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 4- Whatcha Think About Handwashing?

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Airplane Fold

Today is the fourth day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  As a reminder, this is a 7 day Challenge where participants can only use flat cloth diapers and have to ditch their washer and dryer in favor of good ol’ fashioned handwashing.  We are close to 500 participants this year and many are blogging their journey.  You can find their posts linked at the end.

As I write today’s post my hands are sore from wringing my flats dry, my arms could be described as “jelly” after vigorously agitating my diapers with a plunger in my bucket washer, and I would much rather be vegging out in front of the TV or sleeping than blogging.  This is certainly a good representation of the realities of handwashing and being reliant on this method.  Sometimes you can get it done at a perfect time (I prefer to do it while the kids are playing and occupied so that I still have some “me” time after they go to bed.) and sometimes you have to do it whenever you can fit it into your day.  That is what happened today.

We had a busy day and night.  The kids didn’t get ready for bed until after 8:30 and Everett was still awake at 9:30.  I waited until about 10:15 to start washing my diapers since the boys were in the next room upstairs.  A few hours prior I started them soaking just to loosen them up, which seems to help with the whole situation.  I agitated them further then dumped the water and individually rinsed each flat.  My flats tend to want to hold their folds so I unfolded them each by hand, rinsed, then put back into the bucket.

Next I ran the hot water and added some detergent.  I’m using my regular Hard Rock from Rockin’ Green.  Once the bucket was full I went to town and washed those suckers to death.  I was literally huffing but I could see how much was still coming out!  When I was satisfied I dumped the water and ran each flat under the water, squeezed out the water, and put back into the bucket.  Ran a cold rinse and agitated like mad again.  Saw more bubbles than I wanted…… dumped the water and ran another rinse.  Agitated and saw more bubbles.  Kidding….. right?  Ran another rinse, agitated like crazy again…….  dumped out the water, squeezed the diapers in a large mass then laid them out on the bathtub floor.  I stomped some water out because at this point I was pretty exhausted after those extra rinses.

Next was my favorite part- the wringing.  I neglected to buy latex gloves so I’ve been doing this all bare handed.  I wrung out each flat until I could barely squeeze any water out… or at least I did for the first 3 then I started being less and less enthusiastic about it.  I snapped them all as well.  Then I squeezed each of the 4 covers I washed.  The next part is critical, in my mind, to fast drying covers.  Lay your covers all out, side by side, longways on a towel.  Fold over the top and bottom on top of the covers, then roll up the towel with the covers inside (picture).  Stomp them over and over the remove the excess water.  Your towel will be soaked and your covers will be close to dry if using the plain polyester/PUL.  Cotton knits will still be wet but overall will dry faster!

I hung all of these on the drying rack and hope they are dry by the morning.  If you are just participating then you get to go to bed at this point.  If you are me or another blogger you probably have some more work to do!  I consider myself a WAHM by now.  Running DDL is a full-time job but one that gets squeezed into the nooks and crannies of life with children.  In between the breaks of the day I put work in.  Playing nicely?  I’ll answer emails.  Napping?  Let me get a post together, edit a video, plan my calendar, update my social networks.  Another nice playing break?  Time to enter some expenses into my spreadsheet, do some graphics for a post, and approve some reviews in the Cloth Diaper Finder.  Kids asleep?  Great- now I need to print shipping labels for ShopDDL.com, pack orders, and get them ready to ship in the morning!  Work is never done!

So even though I am home the majority of the day I do understand how challenging fitting the handwashing in is for most families.  Last year I did most of the challenge with my husband out of town and alone with both kids.  This year I am staying with my in-laws while we {still} wait for our home in Florida.  I have no husband to watch the kids and I don’t impose on my in-laws to watch them while I wash my diapers.

So far I am still holding strong that this is a viable solution for people willing to explore it.  I almost hate to say that “Well, everyone used to have to do this so suck it up.”  because our modern worlds are so different.  Just because something used to be normal and everyday, like butchering a hog just to get your morning bacon, it doesn’t mean we all can go back to those days (or should.)  I am so incredibly grateful for the modern convenience of my washing machine and dryer.  I’m also thankful for indoor plumbing, cable TV, and wireless internet.  However, we are all used to different things in our lives.  Humans are adaptable.  Most of us, myself included, have adapted to a pretty easy lifestyle and the hardest work we put in around our daily routine involves folding a load of laundry and mopping (unless of course we have a Scooba.)  I don’t iron anything and won’t buy something that needs to be.  I’m just that lazy.

But here is the thing- I’ve done back breaking labor in my life before and I adapted and learned to love it.  It made it possible to pay the car payment at a mere 16 years old.  I went from NO responsibility in life beyond cleaning my room to a fast paced restaurant job washing dishes, running food, busing tables, and scrubbing floors all until midnight or later (all illegal of course… in case you are wondering, this was under the table…)  It became normal.  And if I had to choose between keeping food in my stomach or buying diapers I would adopt this method and adapt.  With no “rules” I would cheat by supplementing with disposables or washing anywhere I could when possible.

I’m in my groove.  My flats are sparkling, smell great, and are working like a charm.  And by the end of this post my jelly arms have fully recovered.  Humans.- We adapt.  We survive.  We thrive.  (While typing this my 3.5 woke up twice due to a stuffy nose.  He needed tissues, cuddles, water, another tissue, more cuddles, and chapstick.   This is just what we do everyday as parents- meet the needs of our children whether it be tissues or diapers.)

Check in with the other bloggers to see how they are adapting to handwashing cloth diapers:

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Flats and Handwashing Challenge Survey Results

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Over 200 babies were diapered with handwashed flats during the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. As far as I know all of them survived and only minor injuries were reported by the parents (including my Snappi scratch).  If you missed any of the Flats Challenge posts you can find them, along with links to the other blogs that participated, by following the FlatsChallenge tag.

Participants were asked to record their experience using the Conclusion Survey that was sent to them and linked through my blog.

Now that all of the results are in I am very excited to share them. The easiest way was to let you view the Summary of responses. After 2 days of research and a little hacking (nothing fancy) I found the easiest way to do it.

Click the image below and a box will pop up showing you the entire Summary of results.

(or click HERE if using a Mobile Browser or results don’t show)

The beauty of this method is that if others add their results later it will always be visible, versus screen capping and posting the images.

Click for Summary

I would also love to share the written responses I received. I’m going to include my favorites here:

Totally Positive:

“I think that this Challenge has solidified my desire to advocate cloth diapering, and get involved with education more regularly. I loved the WIC suggestion and will look into that in my town/county.”

“I had been using flats already about 90% of the time, and going into this I honestly didn’t think my diapers would get as clean as when I used the washer. They actually came out CLEANER because I was using hotter water. I was stunned later when I took off the night diapers and *sniff sniff* NO ammonia smell.”

“The biggest lesson I learned was the following: flats are probably my favorite diaper to use. They fold nicely, dry quickly, don’t stain, wash quickly without the smell of urine, and they are so adorable on my little man. The hand washing was time consuming, but I learned that there are methods that make it easier and that I can do it!!”

Middle of the Road:

“While I think this system is totally doable for stay-at-home moms, I think washing at a Laundromat would be better for working moms. If you had 3 dozen flats you would only need to go twice a week, which if you have a little one you would probably need to go that often anyway.”

“I learned that it was more difficult that I thought to handwash all those diapers everyday….yet it was WAY MORE satisfying than I EVER imagined. When I was finished washing and the diapers were on the drying rack, I felt very accomplished and and had a great sense of pride everytime I looked at the rack loaded with diapers. ”

“I went into this challenge thinking it would be quite easy and not much of a variation from our normal way of diapering. I found that I needed many more covers for 2 babies (10 would have been fantastic) and that my diapers just didn’t get as stain-free as I would have liked based on cleaning methods and cleaning schedule. I think it is doable for a low-income mom with no in-home w/d but I think it would need to be a mom with a fair bit of spare time as well as a decently sized starting stash. I did not complete the challenge — I gave up about half way in due to the chaos in my home. It was just too much to add to my normal routine (5 children, two in diapers, breastfeeding two babies, etc).”

Not so Sunny:

“I think this was kind of a good reality check. I thought that handwashing would be really easy but I was surprised at how much time and effort it took, not to mention that now my bathtub is all scratched up from the bucket which my landlord won’t like. It would honestly be asking a lot to tell someone to handwash cloth diapers. I don’t profess to think that now every low income mom should do this. I think lots of moms have had to take a break from handwashing to tend to a crying child, and that’s discouraging. It’s more important to spend time with a baby than to wash diapers. So handwashing is possible but sadly not always practical. I love my flats though and will continue to use them!”

“I honestly thought I would complete this and that it wouldn’t be difficult. I am sad to say that although I hand washed the diapers I used the dryer twice because they just took too long to dry outside. In the end I stopped after day 6. I just needed a break due to lots of other things going on in my life. I disappointed myself but I also learned that if I thought cloth diapering was flats, pins, and rubber pants I definitely would NOT do it. I makes me more committed to spreading the news about modern cloth diapering.”

“I hate to be the one ‘Debbie Downer’ in all this, but I was really surprised by how much I didn’t like it. I was so excited in the beginning, but I waited until Tuesday for my first wash, and I felt like I was dealing with 50 lbs. of laundry. Add to that the fact that I was 27 weeks pregnant with my 7th child and maybe I was being a little too idealistic about the whole thing. In all, I would do this if I had to, but I gained a whole new healthy appreciation for my washer/dryer and for my awesome AI2, AIO, and hybrid diapers!”

To read all 30 pages of responses download the PDF. I wish I could post them all but yeah, there are 30 pages!
View Responses to the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Bloggers wanting to use the stats in their own posts can link to: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewanalytics?formkey=dFNEMGMxZ0pEMHRtTGp0Q3lZbzY0Vnc6MQ

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Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Over and Done

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For 7 days I, along with hundreds of other families, used flat cloth diapers and handwashed them.  We could only use 5 covers per child, and we had to live without the luxury of a diaper sprayer.  What has this experience taught us?  {if you took the Challenge, please remember to fill out this survey!}

To me the most important lesson from this experience was that it is possible.  Knowing that I can live on less than 60.00$ worth of diapers is invaluable.  I know that I can help others learn how to do the same.  I know that I have learned how to handwash diapers and I can teach that to others.  I’ve learned a myriad of flat folds and I’m sure that if I were given the chance I could teach one or all of them to another parent.  I’ve learned that handwashing isn’t ideal, it isn’t a choice I would make if I could choose between a washer or none, but it is an option if I had no diapers and no washing machine.  In fact, the most personally applicable lesson is that I can handwash my diapers for any vacation situation.

So here is my honest opinion about handwashing diapers.

I didn’t enjoy it. Mainly because I found wringing out diapers to be pretty labor intensive.  If there was a better way to wring out diapers then things would have been much easier.  I didn’t really mind the bucket and plunger washing method at all.  I found that my diapers were cleaner and rinsed cleaner this way than a sink or bath tub.

If I were doing this out of necessity I would…

try to wash them in a washer and dryer at least once every 1.5-2 weeks.  Whether this meant going to a laundromat, a relatives, or using coin laundry in an apartment building.  Especially if I couldn’t sun my diapers I would want to use a washer/dry at least that often.

If I were doing this out of necessity I would…

possibly end up mixing disposable diapers into the mix.  The whole point of this extreme experience was to learn what can be expected of people.  I am a SAHM and I did still find trouble getting diapers washed on occasion.  Some days were better than others.  The worst day came not when my husband was out of town, but while we were in the hotel.  I was on my knees washing diapers with rubber gloves and and the baby started screaming.  I was wringing diapers and preparing for the final rinse.  My husband was yelling at me to hurry and I yelled back that I was close to finishing.  I hasitly rinsed my diapers while I was hearing my baby scream.  Apparently being with Daddy wasn’t enough but I wanted to be done.  I half assed wrung the diapers and flung them over the shower rail.  My husband was insanely annoyed with my absence since he couldn’t hear my yelling back that I would be done soon.  Had he not been there I would have had to stop.  At least I knew he was safe, just pissed.  Without another adult there I would have rushed to his side.  In single parent homes or when the other parent isn’t around, this is every day.  I will say that I had the best success when both boys were watching me wash.  My toddler enjoyed “helping” and I talked to Ev while I did it so that he would be happy.

If I were doing this out of necessity I would…

Use the camp style washer full time.  No doubt about it.  With my bathroom arrangement this just works better.  The bucket doubles as a pail for storing the dirty diapers.  I do know people who have the opposite opinion.  It is all personal preference.

If I were doing this out of necessity I would…

wear gloves for everything!  I learned the hard way that plunging on a wooden stick and wringing out diapers can be hell on your hands.  My old waitressing callouses came back with a vengeance!  When I wore gloves this improved the situation 200%.

If I were doing this out of necessity I would.

and this is why

Yes, I would do this.  I would try my hardest to accumulate enough diapers so that I weren’t close to running out, but I would do this.  Let’s just take cloth diapering for health and environmental reasons off of the table.  For this mental exercise we will say that cloth and disposables are equal.

Cloth still wins on money savings every single time.  When you spend money on a disposable you get x number of diaper changes.  You cannot wash a disposable, you cannot rinse it out, you cannot use it for your next child.

Disposables win in the convenience factor if you are using flats and handwashing.  No doubt about it.  And many low income families are very blessed to receive disposable diapers through various diaper banks.  This isn’t the case for everyone though.

As a community we all have a passion for cloth diapers.  I bet we also all have a desire to make sure that the precious babies in every home out there are dry and healthy.

We can do something.

So here is what I am thinking.  All of us who participated in the challenge, and anyone else who is game, get to Googling. Find out where families in your local area are receiving disposable diaper donations.  Chances are those banks don’t always have enough to go around. Talk to the person in charge.  Ask them if they accept cloth diaper donations.  If they don’t, tell them why they should.  Not all families who need diaper assistance are without washers and dryers so any cloth diaper will do.

If they say they don’t accept them because there isn’t enough demand for them, let them know that that is silly.  One family is enough of a demand to have any available.

Offer your services.

Offer the Diaper Bank, Food Pantry, Church, or whatever it is, your expertise.  Give them your information and tell them that you can personally teach any mother or father how to use cloth diapers and how to use them for under 60.00.  Even if they can’t get cloth diapers for that family, show them that they can get them for very little money.  Or if you are able, show them how to make their own.  Or help them make them.   If you can, why not get some inexpensive business cards made with your name, a title of Cloth Diaper Consultant, and your contact information?  Leave these with the Banks to hand out.  Even if you only teach one family a year this is something.

I know of some advocates who have had success with WIC in teaching a course on cloth diapering.  I am trying to coordinate this myself with little luck in getting calls returned.  I guess we all have to be persistent.

This experiment wasn’t for fun.  It was training.  We have trained ourselves to diaper for little money, with little luxuries, and in good times and bad.  I know it was just a week, but it was Flats Boot Camp.  The extremes of the experience made certain lessons easier to learn.  In real life there are more grey areas.  There are so, so many ways that flats and handwashing can assist families in need.  Use them only when you run out of disposables, or intersperse them with disposables during the week.  Buy enough so that you only need to visit a washing machine once every 4 days, but understand that handwashing is an option in case you don’t make it.

I want to emphasize that I would never tell a family who can hardly buy food for their children that they should get a stash of cloth diapers and slave away handwashing them every day.  I will gladly teach anyone who wants to learn that there is a way to save money and keep a baby in clean diapers.

More importantly, the gift or investment of a modest and simple stash of flats and covers is enabling a family to self sustain.  No more worrying about having to visit a food bank for a possible package of diapers, or spending the last 10.00 they have on a package of disposables.  This simple solution is the proverbial “Teach a man to fish.”

“Buy a package of disposables, diaper a baby for a week.  Buy a stash of cloth diapers, diaper a baby for a lifetime.”

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Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7

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Once again this is going to be short and sweet.  We are in a hotel in Rochester, NY.  I only brought 4 covers and 2 were used overnight.  I’m counting on the one I washed last night to dry ASAP and for the one Ev is wearing now to be useable all day.  I’m getting nervous.  Not to mention that my hubby packed the clothes for the boys and only brought one outfit for the baby and 2 pair of undies for Fletcher.  None of this is looking great.

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