For the week of May 23-30, I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry!
Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t know what flats are (I’ll explain in a minute), in the age of dishwashers and washing machines, handwashing anything sounds like a crazy thing to do. And yeah, my husband looked at me funny when I first mentioned this. I think he wonders why I would take on handwashing when I already feel like I have too much to do! Well, here’s what first caught my eye about this challenge. Dirty Diaper Laundry posted an article about parents who were letting babies sit in too wet or dirty disposable diapers because they could not afford to change the babies very often. Some of these babies became ill from this practice. It broke my heart. Those poor babies. Because we work with low- income families giving out food through our food pantry, this story hit home with me. We often provide disposable diapers to people who have told us they cannot afford diapers. I have been trying to figure out a way to help these people start cloth diapering on a limited budget and this seemed it might offer a solution. What if I could set mamas up with a cloth diapering starter kit for the same price I could provide them with a couple of packs of disposables? But I need to be able to tell them that they don’t need special tools (diaper sprayer, special washing machine, etc) and I need to be able to show them how to use the flats.
Okay, so what’s a flat? A flat is a large square of fabric, usually birdseye cotton. Flats can be folded in many different ways to fit inside a waterproof cover. You can pin the diaper or Snappi it on the baby, or simply fold it pad-style and place it inside the cover.
The challenge is to give up our "fancy" cloth diapers for a week and use plain old flats and covers and handwash them for a week, proving that anyone can cloth diaper if they really want to. Cost need not be a concern to get started with cloth. Access to laundry facilities doesn't even have to be an issue!
So my goal is to not only do this but also to be good at it so I can share this method with others. Maybe offer a flats and handwashing class at the church one night or something?
But I also have a selfish reason for participating. We travel a few times a year. Baby boy is 3 months old and has already been on 2 week long trips and 2 weekend trips. Each time, I pack up my entire stash and wash several times while we are there. The last time we thought our room had a washer/dryer and it didn’t. I was walking to the laundry room down the hall a bunch to do laundry. If I had brought flats and covers I could have washed in the sink in the room. Also, prefolds and inserts can take a while to dry when laying over chairs in a hotel room. A flat is thin so it can dry quickly, in just a matter of hours. So this could make traveling easier. And I wouldn’t have to pack as many diapers either if I washed each night.
Check out my post coming soon about how I’m preparing for the challenge.
Are you taking the Challenge? What is your motivation for participating?