As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am participating in the 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This challenge, started by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry, is to show that cloth diapering can be done for little to no cost-and even without a washer and dryer, if need be.
Since this is my second year doing this, I really didn’t have to do much to prepare. I’m still using my flats regularly, although they are mainly used as inserts in my pocket diapers, and the home made camp washer has just been chilling underneath the utility sink in the laundry room.
That’s pretty much the bare minimum that is needed: Diapers and a way to wash them.
The flats I’m using are a combination of unbleached organic flats* from Green Mountain Diapers, unbleached birdseye cotton flats and Hemp Babies Little Weeds Flats from Kelly’s Closet. I have a dozen of each of the cotton flats, with the Green Mountain costing $36(remember, they were organic), and the Kelly’s Closet costing $25(for the purpose of the Challenge, I will only be using 6 of each). I’ll be using two of the hemp flats($13 total) to help with overnight diapering.
Because flat diapers have no waterproofing, they require the use of a cover if you don’t want things getting wet. I’ve got a variety that I use, each with their advantages and disadvantages. This week, I’ll be using a Best Bottom One Size($17), a WolbyBug One Size($11), and a Blueberry One Size Coverall($17) that were all purchased through Kelly’s Closet. I have other covers, but I’m not planning on introducing them into my rotation this week. Knowing Buddy Roo, I really think I can do this with just three covers.
Although the covers do a pretty good job of holding the diapers in place, I am using fasteners on the diapers. Buddy Roo really doesn’t move around so much that they are a necessity, but the diapers do still tend to shift, which could make for a messy surprise upon opening the wrong one. With my flats order from Green Mountain, I was able to get a free set of pins to use. I also own some Snappis, but I think this is the perfect time to work on my pinning skills(Okay, okay…I lost them.).
One thing that is a necessity that I have forgotten to mention, thus far, are wipes. When I’m home, I use cloth wipes during diaper changes. These are just baby wash cloths that I wet with water. They work extremely well, are inexpensive, and are one of those things of which you seem to always have more of than you need. Mine were all gifts, but you can buy them in packs of 6 for $5-$7(for the specific ones I own). It’s a bad day if I need more than 12, so that’s the number I’m sticking to for the Challenge. When I’m out and about, I’m lazy and use disposable wipes. I can get a small pack from Target or similar store for around $3, and I just leave it in the diaper bag.
So-that’s the diaper stuff. Now, how about washing them? What am I using to accomplish that?
I am using a bucket, a plunger, and dish soap. No, really. My “washing machine” a home made camp washer that is a simple 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot(Bucket and Lid: $4), and a plunger($2) with a few holes drilled into it. The plunger acts as the agitator, and the holes allow the water to flow through, leading to better(and easier) washing and less splashing. The bucket also doubles as dirty diaper storage. I can soak the diapers in there until I get off of my duff and wash them. That’s where the lid comes in handy, since neither the children nor the cats can open it and risk drowning.
Last year, I noticed that some people were just using plain blue Dawn to wash their diapers. They seemed to be successful in doing so, too. So, this year, I’ve decided to swap out my regular cloth diaper detergent for a few drops of Dawn($3). I’m curious to see how it works for daily use, since I’ve only ever used Dawn for stripping my diapers.
Once everything’s washed, the diapers will be hung out to dry when the weather is in a cooperative mood. When it’s not, I can hang them up somewhere in the house. Usually either on a rack in the sunroom, or from the ceiling in the laundry room. I use clothespins outside, and hangers inside. Until I bought my clothespins(about $4), though, I was using hangers outside, too.
So, for 12 cotton flats, 2 hemp flats, 3 covers, 1 pair of pins, 12 cloth wipes, 1 pack of disposable wipes, camp washer, soap, and clothespins, I spent about $115. To diaper BuddyRoo from birth to potty training in this way, I would need to have probably another $50 invested. $165 for 2-3 years of diapering? That’s amazing! What’s even more amazing, is that it can be done for less than that, and without too much trouble.
For those of you that are interested in all of this, but have no idea what half of the terms I have been using are, stick around. Tomorrow I’ll break some of this cloth diapering stuff down for you.
*Green Mountain seems to no longer be carrying the organic flats, but they still sell the regular ones. They are the same brand as the organic I own.