Washing cloth diapers has become so easy thanks to the modern washing machine. But did you ever plan ahead in case something happened and that luxury was taken away? Last October, the Northeast was hit with a huge snowstorm which took out power to most of Connecticut! In fact, 95% of my town was without power for more than 1 week! This experience brought a whole new meaning to washing my cloth diapers!
So how would you handle washing your diapers without a washing machine? Do you know how to hand wash your diapers, or even where to begin? In this article, I hope to give you a few helpful tips on hand-washing your cloth diapers.
- When hand-washing cloth diapers, sometimes keeping it simple is better. What I mean by this is go back to the basics – prefolds, flats, and covers. These types of diapers are the easiest to hand wash and tend to dry quicker than All in One’s or Pocket diapers.
- Try making your own washer with a 10 gallon bucket and plunger. This can be done indoors or outdoors. You could even fill up your tub with water and plunge the diapers in the tub. I have found that the plunger is the best way to agitate the diapers and get them clean.
- If you are however washing fewer diapers at a time while hand washing, which is what usually ends up happening, you may want to adjust the amount of detergent you are using for each wash accordingly. Use too much and you’ll have trouble getting it rinsed off.
- My typical washing machine routine consists of 3 washes (cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, and hot rinse). When hand washing cloth diapers, you may not have access to hot water, or even have enough water to do 3 washes. You may need to adjust your wash routine to fit your needs. I found it best to use this routine while hand washing my diapers:
- Cold Rinse (plunge/agitate diapers in cold water for 50+ plunges). If you feel you need to do more, go right ahead. It may be a trial and error in the beginning to see what works best.
- Refill with cold water and wash with detergent (plunge/agitate diapers in cold water for 50+ plunges). I then like to let the diaper sit in the soapy water for 30 minutes or so. If you can was the diapers in your tub, you can use hot water for this one. I always hand wash outside and did not have access to hot water.
- Come back to soapy diapers and plunge 20-30 more times. Empty water and refill with cold water.
- Plunge diapers again until soapy water is gone.
- Hang dry diapers or better yet, sun them. The sun will act to kill bacteria and get out the stains. If you have access to a dryer, you can always throw your diapers in there as well.
- Depending on how many diapers you are using, while hand washing, you may need to wash more frequently.
These are just a few tips to help you if you ever had to hand wash your cloth diapers. I was very surprised at how easy it was to hand wash. I did have some serious doubts in the beginning, but those were quickly put to rest as I dove in head first.
Even if you have access to a washer and dryer, you never know when you might not. It is always good to have the experience and knowledge just in case. I will admit that it was a little more time consuming, especially in the beginning when I was figuring out my wash routine. Once I had it down, it was simple. Plus you get a good arm workout from the plunging too, add in a few extra calories burned, seems like a win-win to me.
Have you ever had to hand wash your cloth diapers?
What tips and tricks do you have for hand washing your cloth diapers?
Bio: Julie is a semi-stay-at-home mom to her handsome son J.T. who is 7 months old and wife to hubby Jered who is a teacher and pastor. J.T. provided her motivation to start Cloth Diapering! Not wanting to expose his little bum to all those chemicals in disposables and not returning to work full time, she was looking for a safe and inexpensive alternative. Cloth Diapering were her answer! Julie considers herself an advocate for cloth diapers and with her blog, My ClothDiaper Stash, she hopes to share her passion and help others reap the benefits too. She is also a contributor for She Thinks Media.