How to Hand Wash Flat Cloth Diapers

As a follow up to yesterday’s How to Cloth Diaper Your Baby for $50 here is a brief tutorial on how to hand wash flat cloth diapers.  The point of this exercise is to show that even if you don’t have access to laundry facilities that you can still cloth diaper your baby.  Keep in mind that my child is 29 months now and we are working on potty training so we only use 5-8 diapers on a bad day.  Today I sent her to day care in an birdseye flat (pad folded) and a flip cover because she refused to put on her big girl panties for me.  We’re still using diapers at nap at night-time but at school they are using big girl panties and/or training pants.  For the sake of the exercise I’m including any wet/soiled clothes from school in our hand wash challenge.

Today we ended up using: 3 flat diapers, 3 diaper covers, 1 pair of panties, 1 training pant, 1 wipe (disposable at day care), and 1 pair of shorts.  These all needed to be washed before I went to bed so we’d have a fresh clean stash in the morning.

How to Hand Wash Flat Cloth Diapers

Hand washing suppliesSupplies for hand washing:

  • tub, sink, bucket, or other basin to wash in (I used a small car wash bucket that I found at Wal-Mart for $1.50)
  • plunger
  • laundry detergent (I used Rockin’ Green Soap – my current choice for my cloth diaper laundry)
  • water
  • place to hang everything to dry

Directions for hand washing:

  • Pre-rinse diapers and covers under the faucet
  • Place 1 scoop of Rockin’ Green Soap (or about 1/4 cup or less of other detergent) into your basin
  • Add hot water to dissolve detergent
  • Add dirty diapers and covers
  • Agitate with plunger briefly to ensure that all diapers are saturated
  • Soak for 20-30 minutes (longer for heavily soiled diapers)
  • Agitate diapers again for a few minutes (by this time my water was quite dingy)
  • Drain bucket and add fresh water over diapers
  • Agitate diapers again to remove any detergent (again 3-5 minutes is all I spent on agitating during each step)
  • Drain bucket and rinse diapers under the faucet one final time
  • Wring and twist diapers and covers to remove excess water
  • Hang dry (dry time should take 2-3 hours for flats and covers)

Here are a few short videos of the process that I captured on my iPhone.  It’s really not all that elaborate but isn’t that the point behind the challenge?  :)

Part 1: Soak & Wash #1

Part 2: Rinse #1

Part 3: Final Rinse

Part 4: Hang Dry

For the next 7 days I’ll be using only 5 one-sized diaper covers and 17 flat diapers on my daughter as part of the Flats & Handwashing Challenge. To learn more about why I’m participating you can read: http://www.theecochic.com/2011/05/11/flats-and-handwashing-challenge-cloth-diapers/.  For additional information please visit the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog.


This week only (May 23-30, 2011) when shopping at Kelly’s Closet (www.kellyscloset.com) use coupon code FLATSCHALLENGE and receive a free one-sized diaper cover with any $49 or more order. All orders over $49 receive free shipping within the US.





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5 Responses to How to Hand Wash Flat Cloth Diapers

  1. great to see such sites on the web with so much information – all helps in the cause for the cloth diaper. I am amazed at the lack of thought parents have when buying disposeables. I mean not in a bad way just in a way that doesn’t realise the a) They are “doing their doe” and b) they are burdening our land fills. The stats on disposable diapers in land fills is just awful!!!
    Mary Cosedine is for prefold cloth diapers recently posted..Bummis Tots Bots Easy Fit Cloth Diapers 8-35 lbsMy Profile

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