Friday, May 27, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Days 2-4

With my flats prepped and ready to go, I stuffed all my other diapers (and extra covers) into our 2 wetbags and tucked them away...just to avoid temptation, in case flats turned out to not be my thing. Since I would be washing in a camp-style washer (5-gallon bucket rigged with a toilet plunger for agitation), I decided it would be easiest to put the dirty diapers directly into the bucket for storage rather than use a wet bag that would also need to be washed by hand. The top of the bucket is not airtight, as there is a small gap where the plunger handle comes out, but thankfully, this has not caused any odor issues - likely since I am washing every day. I had considered that this might be an issue and was prepared to use a spare bucket lid for storage if necessary.

I have to admit that I was quite surprised to find that a mere 27" x 27" flat performed just as effectively as any pocket or all-in-one or other fancy diaper in my stash. For naps and overnights, 2 flats have gotten the job done WITHOUT ONE SINGLE LEAK.  I was sure that they couldn't possibly perform that well, since they are SO TRIM. I would say that the cover with 2 flats is about equivalent in size to the average pocket diaper we would normally use. Using a single flat with the cover is about equivalent in size to using a disposable diaper (no, I am not joking).

So, the washing must be terrible, right? Well....not so much. The first day that I washed in my camp-style washer, I had used about 1/2 tablespoon of Charlie's Soap in the cold rinse and another 1/2 tablespoon of Charlie's in the hot wash, each with 5 minutes of agitation. I did find that there were a lot of suds, and I ended up doing a few extra rinses to get the suds out. After the first day, I started using soap nuts instead, and the suds issue has resolved. The worst/hardest part by far is the muscle involved. I set my timer and do 5 minutes of agitation in the cold rinse, another 5 minutes of agitation in the hot wash, then 2 minutes of agitation in the cold rinse. It is a decent workout. The very first day I kept stopping to check the timer, as I was certain that at least 20 minutes must have elapsed since I started agitating. It has gotten progressively easier each day, though. Don't get me wrong, it's not torture, but I will say that I clearly am not used to 12 continuous minutes of upper body activity. We'll see how that is at the end of the challenge.

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