Day 1: The 5th Annual DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge!

Today kicks off the 5th Annual Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats and Handwashing Challenge! Read more about the challenge HERE. I guess I must have been living under a rock for the past few years since I only recently discovered the DDL blog!  I just love all the information provided there by Kim and Laura.  What a fantasic resource for cloth diapering parents and parents-to-be!  When I heard about the #flatschallenge I jumped right on board!  I have cloth diapered for 9 years now and used just about every style of cloth diaper imaginable, but I have never actually hand washed diapers!  I have been fortunate enough to always have access to a washing machine.  Even during military relocations when we were in temporary housing or hotels I was able to use communal washers or laundromats to launder diapers.

I remember, way back at the beginning of my cloth diaper journey, reading a blog post about a family that traveled the world with their infant son and hand washed simple flat diapers and covers as they went.  That kind of dedication amazed me!  I also know that some families are in financial crisis and do not own a washing machine or dryer.  They might wish they could use cloth and save money over buying disposables but feel like that wouldn’t be a practical option.  Or they might not even know that cloth diapers are an option at all!  This challenge illustrates just how possible hand washing is as well as how economical and simple cloth diapering can be!  It’s also another way that we can get the word out about the many benefits of cloth diapers so that we can #makeclothmainstream!  A flat diaper can be made from an old cotton undershirt for pennies (and I’ll have a tutorial on how to do that soon!), a flat diaper can also be made from any type of natural, absorbent cloth fabric, which can often be purchased by the yard inexpensively.  Certain types of fabric don’t even require finishing with a sewing machine or serger!  We have a passion here about certified organic fibers, both to support sustainable, organic agriculture and to keep harmful chemicals and pesticides away from our baby’s skin.  I was able to make a stash of certified organic flat diapers for less than $30.

Here's a little intro to what our set-up is for the challenge: I will be diapering my 19-month-old, 30 pound daughter using homemade organic cotton interlock flats, upcycled cotton T-shirt flats, organic cotton and hemp french terry flats (as our nighttime option) and organic wool diaper covers (both our OS Wool Wrap style and our Large Pull-on style covers).  We will be washing using Unicorn Baby Beyond Clean and a hand plunger.  I wanted to keep our stash reasonable and small, because part of the challenge is to illustrate how economical cloth can be.  I made 8 organic cotton interlock flats, 8 upcycled T-shirt flats (I have to use these doubled so this gives us a total of 12 diapers for the day), and 2 nighttime flats.  This means we will have to wash every evening to be prepared for the next day.

So far on day 1 my observations have been:

* I’m amazed that we are getting enough absorbency for a large, older baby with just a single flat diaper!  This is with the organic cotton interlock.  With the upcycled undershirts I have to use two layers because they are much thinner material.

* We have not had a single wool cover with a damp exterior, so I know we have the absorbency right!  I also loved that when we had a poop diaper, the way the flat was folded and secured kept our wool cover CLEAN!  Big plus there!

* Because the interlock is stretchy I am able to get a great fit, even on a larger child, with a 26” x 26” flat and 1 Boingo fastener (see picture). 

* Definitely glad I have a diaper sprayer!  Thorough spraying is going to save me a lot of time and ick-factor when it comes to the handwashing! ;)

More updates after we wash tonight!

~ Heather

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