eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: What I Learned During the Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Monday, May 30, 2011

What I Learned During the Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Well, I finished the Flats & Handwashing Challenge. It was easier and harder than I expected, if that makes sense. Using flats was easier, handwashing was harder. I ended up using a total of 5 covers throughout, but I never used more than 2 covers in one day. My covers were a mix of Econobum, Applecheeks, Thirsties, and GroVia. I used Econobum and Thirsties for the majority of the challenge.

My stash consisted of one Snappi, one drying rack, 8 flour sack towels, 12 Ozocozy birdseye cotton flats, 2 Econobum covers, 1 Thirsties duo wrap, 1 Applecheeks envelope cover (I only used this one once), and one GroVia cover.

The cost of my stash:
Snappi $4
Drying rack $5? (bought this forever ago)
Flour sack towels $8
Ozocozy flats $19 (supplied for this challenge by Cotton Babies)
Econobum covers $18 (supplied for this challenge by Cotton Babies)
Applecheeks envelope cover $18.20
Thirsties duo wrap $12.25
GroVia cover $16.95

Total Cost: $101.40

I won my Applecheeks diaper on a giveaway. If I were diapering for low cost, my pick would be Econobum or Thirsties covers for ease of use and for their low cost. Applecheeks and GroVia are cute, but the others work just as well and they are also easier to wash. You could easily make a stash of 12 diapers, 4 covers, and a Snappi for less than $60. 

What I learned: 

1) This can be done. Would I do this full time? Maybe. It would depend on my circumstances. I feel pretty strongly about using cloth for baby boy so I know I would try. I don't mind using the flats. I put baby boy in a flat tonight, even though the challenge is over. But handwashing was not fun and I'm not sure I would do this full time. If I did handwash, I would want to machine wash them once every couple of weeks or so, just to make sure all the soap was getting out. I felt like my diapers were getting clean. They smell like nothing, which is good. They look white, which is good. I can see that they are white, but I can't see if any soap is being left behind. So I would feel better if I machine washed every once in a while. If I had no washing machine, I would drive them to my mother-in-law's or my sister's or a laundromat, if I could find one. I do plan to handwash on vacation. I will take a stash of flats on our next vacation simply for the reason that they dry so quickly and are also small and easy to pack. 

2) Though this can be done, I wouldn't expect everyone to do it full time. As I mentioned before, if I worked full time, I wouldn't want to handwash. Also, if I had multiple babies in diapers, it might get overwhelming. 

3) Everyone should have a stash of flats and covers and know how to use flats and handwash, even if you don't plan to do this full time. If I had owned flats when our power went out during the tornadoes, I would have been able to wash my flats in the sink with no issues, instead of packing up three days worth of dirty diapers to take to my mother-in-law's house to wash. At the time of the tornadoes, even I wanted to switch to disposables for a couple of days, it wasn't an option because there were no stores open to buy from. So even those who normally use disposables could benefit from having stash of flats and covers and the knowledge of how to use them. I know when my first two kids were in disposables, I sometimes ran out of diapers and had to make a sometimes inconvenient run to the store. This would prevent that. For those who struggle to have enough money for diapers, this would provide a cushion for when the budget didn't allow for disposables. A backup stash could start with one pack of four flour sack towels and one cover (about $13) and be added to as finances allowed. 

4) If you have to handwash, have a large stash so you don't have to do it every night. 

5) If you have to handwash, get the proper tools. I found the sprayer in my sink to be very helpful, but I'm sure a diaper sprayer would have worked even better. It would be worth the investment if you had to wash your diapers by hand year round. I also read on other blogs that the bucket/plunger method of washing worked well. If I was doing this full time, I would try that. 

All in all, the flats challenge was helpful to me because I would love to see our food pantry give away cloth diapers to those families we help instead of disposables. Now that I've done the flats challenge, I feel like I can easily show others how to use them and even like using them. Since most families we serve have washing machine access, convincing them to handwash isn't an issue. So I think I learned some very practical applications for this challenge as well and I look forward to using this knowledge to help others! 

I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here

****Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing me with Ozocozy flats 
and Econobum covers so I could participate in the challenge!****

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