Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge, Day 4

Yesterday at about 1:30 pm my two babies and I hit the road for an overnight visit to grandma's house. For the drive, I just added a Gerber flat in a pad fold inside the origami folded receiving blanket. Worked just fine! The only time we ever have any wetness come through is when I just opt for Gerber flats (two, pad folded). Alone (or even doubled with another of it's kind) isn't worth it, but as an extra insert, it does seem to help, even if just a little bit.
I decided to wash in the sink last night. I didn't bring my camp style washer (on purpose). I wanted to be able to try different ways to find out for myself what really works the best for me. The sink too FOREVER. Same amount as it's been, about 12 flats (blankets), about 6 covers, and two wetbags. I guess the sink was too small for this method to really be worth my while. I didn't bring my drying rack, either, in hopes of drying them on the line outside. But I don't have enough to dry them during the day without washing and hanging periodically throughout the day. When you're visiting, that's just not really an option. Instead, I used some old dog runners and stretched them across the utility room (which is actually a pretty nice size compared to most). I did take pictures, but my laptop decided it really didn't feel like uploading my pictures tonight. When I get back home (we're still visiting), I'll add in the pictures.
They still weren't very dry this morning, so I used a hooded towel on my little man, and it worked very well. I was really hoping to slice and dice some old flannel sheets my mom had offered me in the past (I declined then because I did not even begin to fathom using them for anything other than sheets--believe me, you folks have definitely led me to a much more recycled way of thinking!). Much to my dismay, they are at the camp, a couple hours away and in a flood, okay, above the flood, at least! Since we were anticipating the flood here, as well, she didn't have too much else in the way of materials to upcycle. By the time I needed another diaper, at least a thinner one was dry!

Okay, I'm confused on the rules with the dryer bit. So many people have suggested tossing the scratchy stiffness into the dryer on air for about 10 minutes to bring back some fluff and softness to them. Is that allowed? I mean, if you're not supposed to have access to a dryer, isn't this cheating a bit? Or is the suggestion simply for when you do hang dry? I've always fluffed my diapers in the dryer after a line dry, but I thought about it, and came to the conclusion it would just be wrong somehow, to do it during the challenge. Tonight I have an oscillating fan on them as best as I could get it (what with my criss cross lines) in such a small space. Hopefully this helps. I did read the other suggestions of beating the softness back into them; scrunching them up and such. It's just not much help to these old receiving blankets. I wonder if perhaps the true flats are somewhat softer in their drying than my make-do ones. I certainly would imagine if I had cut up my sheets, they would be softer (I also have some 500 thread count sheets that I tore an enormous hole in one night in some sort of night terror that I wanted to use, but it, too, is at the camp) and not such a hassle to soften. I picture the true flats to be more like prefolds in this aspect, I guess, and I know for a fact those do come out softer than my blankets after line drying. Maybe it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but I know I'd certainly refuse to have a stiff blanket wrapped around my delicates. I feel a little guilty submitted my babies to stiff butts! Maybe if I literally beat them before I take them off the line/rack? Like with a flyswat, or something. I don't know why I think that would make it better!

Flats, I know I will continue to use and purchase in the future, but this whole no washer and dryer deal is just for the birds. I do appreciate what those without would have to go through. If I did not have access, I would wash them by hand though, because I am so commited to cloth. In a financial situation, I still find it hard to imagine why some would think that diapers are an absolute expense (the disposables, I mean). I think all daycares should at least advertise cloth and propose it as a viable option. It should be required that daycares accept cloth diapers! I worked at a daycare for about a month, and while I was there, I often had to remind parents daily that their child was OUT of diapers and had none left. It wasn't because they just kept forgetting to bring them all the time, I KNOW that (for some, anyway) it was a financial situation. They could not afford to buy more diapers. I always mentioned cloth and I really wish that I had the time to do into the whole spill with the parents instead of just quick quips when they were retrieving their child. I was always running after other children and didn't really have the time, nor did they really want to hear it (because of preconceived--you all know this already!). Some days I just wanted to show my child's butt to all the parents. "SEE! It's CUTE, even! NOT what you think!" Wow. I digress.

We're still succeeding. Night time is still dry and day is still chugging along just fine. Tonight, though, I hand washed in the bath tub with a MUCH faster wash rate than last night in the kitchen sink. It also helped that I only had two poopy diapers instead of 4. But so it goes.

I really love all y'all! It makes my heart swell with joy to be a part of something so great right now. God bless each and every one of you!


kelly the nut said...

When I was handwashing my DD's diapers (not for a challenge - we were actually in the situation that the challenge is imitating!) whipping the diapers and flapping them in the air helped, but the thing that helped most was a cup of white vinegar in the rinse. I did a semi-scientific trial, washing a few without the vinegar and a few with, dried them in our bathroom (I stuck a space heater in there and turned on the exhaust fan) and the vinegar diapers came out noticeably softer. It was a daily ordeal. The worst part was that we couldn't afford to order covers - I was stuck with those lousy Gerber pull-on pants. I wish I had known how to sew my own covers back then!

Kerry said...

Thanks, Kelly! I'll definitely try that out tonight when I wash.

I am SO very thankful for my covers! I am trying to learn to sew myself and can't wait til I can make my own!