Washing… Oh the washing. The “Flats” part of this challenge was easy (ish) enough. I love flats. They are permastash around here, and surface for all our in between sizes, and just create such a sense of happiness when used.
Handwashing. um. yeah. I have kind of an issue with handwashing. I’m not a diva, I’m not a stuck up snob. I do not send my laundry out to have done and returned to me when it’s clean. I wash laundry.
In order to fully understand handwashing, I feel the need to elaborate for your sake on what an average week of laundry looks like in our household. We have 5 kids, ranging in age from 11 down to 6 months. One of them is paraplegic and doesn’t handle his own laundry. Every single day there are two loads of laundry to do MINIMUM. Three days a week, there are loads of diapers, one day a week we wash towels, one day a week we wash sheets (unless they have been thrown up or peed on, in which case, they get washed immediately). The other 9 loads are usually 4 light loads, 4 dark loads, and 1 load of reds/pinks/purples.
That’s a LOT of laundry. My children are all CAPABLE of washing laundry from start to finish, but still need reminders for steps, so all of the washing and drying falls to me.
Last year, we moved into this house and had no washer or dryer, and no money to purchase them either. So handwashing it was. I found a fantastic method of washing that only took about 30-45 minutes a day to stay on top of the daily laundry and then we could take sheets and towels to the laundromat to dry (I HATE crunchy towels).
I am SO glad that handwashing is behind us. It killed my hugely pregnant body, and stripped my hands of anything resembling normal skin!
Many people use a camp washer, but for the number of people in our family, that just wasn’t going to cut it, so I introduce you to the larger family way of doing things….
Here are all the supplies needed to wash. It’s a terrible picture, but you probably get the gist. I have 2 rope handle buckets I found on clearance at walmart for $4 last year. I use 2-3 for each wash, depending on how many rinse cycles i need.
I start by setting my teakettle to boil, then go and dump the diapers into the first bucket. Covers and wet bsgs go in the other bucket with 1Tbsp detergent. Im using Ecos free and clear for handwashing because my home made detergent is not safe for grey watering my garden/yard.
I fill the diaper bucket with water~ just enough to get everything submerged ~ and then use the agitator (a clean toilet plunger with holes drilled in it to decrease resistance) to rinse for about 5 minutes.
Agitate and wash covers, pull out and set aside to rinse and hang (I keep a basket near by or have used a third washing bucket at times if that was handier). I dump the cold rinse water the diapers were in, and unfold and slightly wring out each diaper and put them into the wash bucket. At this point I add another Tbsp of detergent and more water to get the right level of water for washing the diapers. Agitate for 5 minutes, then take a break from that, rinse the original bucket out and fill it with some fresh rinse water for the covers. Quick rinse and hang the covers to dry on the line while the diapers are soaking in detergent. (I agitate a few times more in between) swish and wring each diaper individually and put them a few at a time in the rinse water.
I don’t like any more than 5 diapers in the rinse water at a time, and wring them out really well and put them in a basket to carry over to my line.
Today (Thursday), I washed 27 flats, one bamboo doubler, 6 PUL covers, 1 wet bag, and 1 pail liner.
Tuesday, I was still washing Sunday’s diapers from before the challenge, so there were a bunch of fitteds on the line that day. They didn’t dry. Well, they did, but they took FOREVER! Flats dry in an hour… fitteds take all day .. and that’s IF I get them up at 10 am!
Here’s Tuesday’s wash…
I don’t enjoy how rough everything feels dried on the line. We have hard water, and line drying makes everything but the bamboo velour flat really stiff and crunchy.
One of my big ways to combat the stiff line dried feeling is to stack all the diapers as they come off the line… And then allow the adorable Alasdair to nap on them, softening the fibers 🙂
And here they are all folded and ready to go!!