The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge- Preparation and Blogging Prompts

The Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge will begin on Monday, May 21!  Since the date is rapidly approaching I wanted to help get those participating a little more prepared. I’m also going to address the bloggers participating and offer some helpful topics to cover each day during the Challenge.  Visit the announcement to learn the rules and more about this event.

To everyone who would still like to participate but has yet to buy flats there is still time!  No, you probably won’t be able to buy from an online store but you can find Tea Towels from Target (in the kitchen towel area in a pack of 4 for $4.00) or from Ikea (burp cloths in packs of 2 for $2.99 in the baby items).  You can also utilize those everyday items around you such as old  receiving blankets, unused cotton sheets, terry towels (not microfiber towels), or t-shirts.

Using flats can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it.  There is no law saying you have to become a master of folding flats “Origami” style or in any other fashion.  A simple “Pad Fold” is totally acceptable!  Pad Folding is making the large square into an insert sized rectangle.  Pad Folds are fabulous- they turn any cover into an “All-in-Two” system when you lay it inside or they work inside pocket diapers.  There are no pins or snappi’s required and they are absorbent because there are a lot of layers in the wet zone.

If you still want to experience what it is like to truly fold a flat, just like your grandmothers or great-grandmothers used to do then by all means, please do!  I compiled videos and illustrated guides to the most popular flat folds around during last year’s challenge.  The Diaper Bag fold was by far my favorite and worked great overnight.

Washing Tips-

I learned a lot from my experience last year and will save you all some trouble with a few tips about handwashing cloth diapers.  To see a video on how to make your own bucket washer (also called camp style washer) visit the post from last year: How to Make a Camp Style Washer.  

  • If using a plunger/bucket washer wear rubber gloves to prevent sore hands and callouses.  Also use gloves for wringing diapers as this can also cause soreness and chaffing.
  • Roll your covers in a dry bath towel and apply pressure (by kneeling) to take out as much water as possible to expedite air drying.
  • Line dry your flats in a well ventilated area if at all possible.  Outdoors if it isn’t humid or indoors under exhaust or ceiling fans.
  • Iron your flats if you need them to dry faster.  This can also kill leftover bacteria that may not have washed out.  Think of it as sterilizing while making them pretty too.
  • Use a light hand with the detergent- too much and the extra rinses will be time consuming.  Remember the volume of you washer/sink is likely a lot less than your washing machine.
  • Rinse with warm water.  According to a laundry expert warm rinses=easier to wring out more (or spin out more in machine)
  • Let the water work for you- if you can leave soiled flats in a SAFE place to soak then do so to remove waste.
  • Practice EC!  Nothing like handwashing diapers to make you more observant of your little one’s cues!  Let your baby go coverless and you might just notice a pattern to their pees.  Start putting them on a potty, cue them, read to them, and just see what happens.  One less pee/poop in a diaper= one less diaper to wash.
  • Don’t use wet bags.  Store dirty diapers in your bucket or sink because handwashing the bags will take valuable space.
  • Wash daily or at every change.  Washing larger loads means harder work, longer work, and the potential for the diapers to get less clean.
  • Beat the crap out of your dry flats to make them soft again.  Air drying=stiff.  Wring, snap, and roll your flats and this will remove the crunchy feeling.
  • Got stink?  Probably not enough detergent or not washing long enough.  Set a kitchen timer because a few minutes handwashing can feel like a lot longer.

I’d also like to remind people that even though this challenge is fun to a lot of people it is only fun because we are ALL aware that the majority of us will stuff our diapers in the washer the minute this is over.  Simply knowing the temporary nature of this will make the week tolerable and even fun.  Put yourself in the position of NOT having that option.  How would you feel?  What can you do to make this doable if this was your reality?  Would you do this if you had no other option and couldn’t afford disposable diapers?  Keep in mind that all participants will be required to complete a survey at the end (this will also be my way of determining how many people completed the challenge so don’t forget!) and hard questions will be asked.  Be truthful to yourself and to the world.  To better understand the challenge and to get tips from my blog posts, vlogs, and from others you can visit each day from last year and the linked blogs.

All participants are encouraged to tweet using the #flatschallenge hashtag and continue the discussion in the Facebook group.
For those who will be blogging their experience I have outlined some topics that you can use per day.  It is not MANDATORY however I find having a prompt makes blogging easier in these events.  Another reminder to read through the blogger rules and follow them to have your link included.  Each blogger will need to add their link each day to the InLinkz which will be hosted on my post for the day.

  1. Monday- “What Do I Expect to Learn/ Why I’m Taking the Challenge”
  2. Tuesday-“What Supplies I am Using”
  3. Wednesday-“Favorite Way To Use Flats”
  4. Thursday-“How I’m Doing- My Thoughts on Handwashing”
  5. Friday-“What Tips I have Learned So Far”
  6. Saturday- Open Topic Day
  7. Sunday-“Final Post- Reflections on What You Learned.”

I’m looking forward to experiencing this challenge again, this time with a toddler who poops about 3-5 times a day (not even kidding), and who isn’t a fan of diaper changing.  These are the realities of life with children.  The point of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is to determine whether it is possible to handwash and use inexpensive flats.  In real life would people supplement with disposables or go to a friends or laundromat too?  Probably.  We are pushing the extreme end to prove that the real life scenario can be done.

As mentioned in the announcement post I am donating $1.00 per participant (determined by how many answer the end survey, up to $200) to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope– a Non Profit providing cloth diapers to families in need.  Kelly’s Closet is also matching my donation of $200.00 to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope as well.  You can also help by choosing to make a personal donation to a diaper charity of your choice (I have a list of other diaper banks) or send your spare cloth diapers to a charity.  Most will accept those in need of repairs too!
If you are a blogger participating add your blog URL here. Each day you will come back to DDL and link your post for the day May 21-27.

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