Last year we went through about 8 flats per day and washed every night. This year we’re actually using slightly less and only washing every other day. Quite honestly, we’re approaching potty training pretty rapidly with her, so I’m sure this will be our last challenge year!
This year I am again washing in the bathtub. Diapers get thoroughly sprayed into the toilet immediately at changing time with a diaper sprayer. Then they bide their time waiting for washing. When I go to wash I put all the diapers in the tub and fill with the minimum amount of water for a quick rinse. I swish them around then drain. Next I fill with warm water. I add Unicorn Baby Beyond Clean to the water. I find I need much less than if I were putting the laundry in my machine. If I use as much as I would for a machine load it takes too many rinses to get the suds out! When the diapers are covered by the water I shut the water off and begin washing. Last year I had this awesome hand-washing plunger that I borrowed from Becky (if you don't know Becky, she's the mama who sews our products at One Love Diaper Co. Now she's our head sewer and we'll have 4 new mamas to introduce soon!). Since we moved to the farm, Becky and I live an hour apart, so it wasn’t as easy to borrow the plunger! I am washing without one! I use a big pair of stainless steel tongs to swish the diapers around in the water. Not really because I don’t want to handle them or get my hands dirty because, c’mon, farm-girl here, dirty hands don't scare me! I use the tongs because I feel like I get better agitation with a tool to swish and push and pull them around the tub. I make sure I’m giving each diaper individual attention during the washing stage and then I swish them around all together. Next I push all the diapers to the far end of the tub and I drain the water and suds. I finish with another rinse and as the rinse water is filling I grab each diaper and rinse it by hand under the running faucet. Then I swish them all around in the cold water, drain, wring out and hang up.
We have a collapsible drying rack (photo taken during last year's challenge):
I love it and on sunny days I can put it out on the porch and everything is dry in no time. This is the rack we use every week for our wool covers as well!
What about the wool covers, you said? Well yes, we hand-wash those as well, of course! I boost lanolin every time I wash, because why not?! I don't wash these with my flats because the diaper detergent will wash OUT the lanolin in the covers. We use a different Unicron Baby product for covers. I usually air and rotate my covers at every change, allowing the previous cover to fully dry then give the sniff test. After thoroughly airing any ammonia odor will vanish! Lanolin converts urine to salt water, isn't that amazing?! If you still smell ammonia on your wool cover after airing, then it's time to re-lanolize! If a cover gets poopy then of course it gets sprayed off and put into the dirty laundry pile immediately. I have an open basket on my laundry room shelf that I keep wool covers waiting to be washed in. Prior to putting my diaper covers in the wash basin on wash day, I rinse them in cold water.
On wash day I:
- Grab a coffee mug and put my electric kettle on to boil
- Put 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of lanolin for each cover in my mug (I usually wash 6 covers at a time and I use a heaping TBSP)
- Add 1 oz. Unicorn Baby Beyond Fibre Wash to the lanolin in the mug
- Pour over the hot water and STIR!
- Watch the lanolin emulsify almost immediately in the wool wash - awesome!
- Place my covers in my wash basin and begin filling with warm water from the sink
- Slowly pour the mug of hot lanolin water into the running water so it evenly distributes in my wash basin
- Swish covers around and let them sit in the water, swishing occasionally, for several hours or overnight
- Gently wring covers out, fold in half (so as not to rub off the lanolin) and roll in a dry towel (**NOTE: When I'm allowed to use my machine I put them on a SPIN ONLY cycle and they are practically dry when done!)
- Hang to dry