Flats and Handwashing Challenge – Day 6


Check out the rules here!

Check out the rules here!

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is an annual event started in 2011 by DirtyDiaperLaundry.com  to raise awareness about how cloth diapering can be done economically and with minimal resources by almost anyone. Cloth diapering can allow families to allocate more resources to food and other necessities, without worrying about affording a product that is literally designed to be thrown out.

Day 6: Open Topic – Working this into a busy day

I wasn’t sure what to write about today. I’d thought about writing about how to work the hand washing into a busy day, but thought it was too silly. Then I asked my husband for topic ideas, and he said that he thinks it’s a silly idea that creates more work for women that already have too much to do. Since that’s along the same lines (roughly!) I decided to go with it.

I do work from home, but I do the diaper laundry in the evening so that it can dry overnight. It gets done in between feeding the baby, eating, straightening up, and other chores.

Washing the way I am for the challenge, I often get sidetracked during the “soak” periods, so it can take several hours from start to finish. I think the fact that it’s not urgent contributes to this. The numbers below reflect a load of 12 diapers, which is in our normal range, and getting ready with the diaper bag fold. Doing only 8-10 diapers at a time makes things easier, and gets things cleaner, but I’d rather do a little bit extra than do a second load. These numbers also assume I don’t get sidetracked, though when I do it only prolongs the soak cycles.)

Filling the bucket with cold water for the first soak– 2 minutes
Agitation – 2 minutes
Let soak – 10-30 minutes
Agitate again – 2 minutes
Drain & squeeze out excess water – 3 minutes
Refill bucket with hot water & detergent – 2 minutes
Agitate – 2 minutes
Let soak – 10-30 minutes
Agitate again – 2 minutes
Drain & squeeze out excess water – 3 minutes
Refill bucket with cold water for rinse – 2 minutes
Agitate again – 2 minutes
Let soak – 10-30 minutes
Agitate again – 2 minutes
(If the water still looks less clear than I’d like I’ll do another rinse cycle.)
Final drain, sqeezing out water, and rolling into a towel – 5 minutes
Hanging to dry – 2 minutes
Folding to be ready for changes – 6 minutes.
TOTAL TIME – 46 minutes of active involvement (if allowing for an extra rinse.) 86+ minutes from start to finish. (Though the drying time is in between…but that is inactive time.)

When you see it broken down like this, you can see that it only takes a few minutes here and there, which can be done in between other tasks. None of the steps will be harmed by waiting a bit longer if necessary (other than maybe overflowing the bucket if you left it filling.) You do want to make sure that any toddlers won’t be able to get to the bucket, since a bucket full of water is a drowning hazard.  My little guy isn’t walking or crawling yet, so it’s not a concern for us yet.

Most of these steps can be done while multi-tasking. I’ve done each step while wearing my baby, which keeps him happy. The time could be used to catch up on phone calls if you use a hands free device or speaker phone. If you have older children you could listen to their reading, or quiz them on various subjects. Of course it can also just be a few minutes of time away from everything else, which is how I’ve been using it. It is sort of calming, and becomes a sort of meditation. That’s great for me since I never relax, and I’ve failed at meditation many times. Who’d think that washing diapers would help me find peace!?

The last wash cycle was 13 diapers, 5 wipes,   and  4 covers (again, 24 hours worth.)

What do you do to find a few minutes of peace in your day? Do you think you could find a few minutes here and there to wash diapers if you needed to?

To read other people’s experiences with the challenge, check out DirtyDiaperLaundry.com’s post and the link-up at the bottom of her post.


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6 Responses to “Flats and Handwashing Challenge – Day 6”

  1. KT @ Cup of Tea Blog Says:

    It’s nice to see it broken out in time increments! I assumed it would take much longer than that! Keep on going with the challenge!

  2. Mama's Happy Hive Says:

    You are doing an amazing job at this challenge! I am really impressed! 🙂

  3. Michelle Says:

    You’re an inspiration — and doing a great job in the cloth diaper challenge. Keep up the great work (and meditation)!

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