Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 4: The Dreaded Handwashing - My Wash Routine

Today is day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing challenge and today we are covering our wash routine.  Hand washing was definitely the most daunting part of the whole challenge and like any wash routine mine has been developing and evolving as I go. As of this posting I have only washed my diapers 3 time (once a day has been working well) and I don't think I have repeated the exact same steps each time but I have been learning a lot as I go. 
The Tools
As my picture above (taking on the first day) shows I am just using a bucket purchased at Lowes for $5 and a Mobil Washer that I purchased on Amazon for about $20.  I originally had a lid for my bucket with a hole in it so that I had a "camp style washer" but I have found that I don't get a lot of splashing and its just easier to see what I am doing without the lid.  I am also washing in my bath tub so that I have easy access to water and a drain.  One adjustment that I did make on the second night was replacing the handle of the Mobil Washer to an extendable handle.  As you can see in the picture above the handle is very short and it required me to bend over a lot and caused strain on my back.  We had an extendable handle in the garage that I found and it screwed right in (you could also use a broom or mop handle that screws).  This handle was easier to hold, easier on my back and kept my face away from the bucket. (sorry for the terrible pictures, I was taking them on my phone late last night but I wanted you to be able to see the height difference). I haven't tried an actual plunger but overall I am really happy with my Mobil Washer, I can hear the water being pushed and pulled through the diapers and they have gotten really clean (even after a huge poopsplosion).
The Wash "Cycles"
The basics for any wash routine (hand or not) is a warm rinse, a hot wash followed by a warm/cold rinse and I have been keeping to this basic tenant.  I start with warm water (bath temperature for my kids) and fill the bucket so that I have a few inches over the diapers.  I then plunge (even though its not a plunger, it's the same motion) about 30 times.  I dump this water and refill with the same temperature, plunge another 30 times.  I then let my diapers soak in the warm water for about 30 minutes.  After the soaking is complete I dump the water and shake a tablespoon of powdered Tide on top of the wet diapers.  I fill the bucket with hot water (as hot as I can get it) and then plunge about 100 times.  I then let my diaper soak again in the hot water for 30-60 minutes.  I dump the hot water and fill the bucket with warm water again (one time I also added a tablespoon of white vinegar but I didn't really feel like it made a big difference so that's optional).  I plunged about 30 times and then dumped the water.  I continued fill the bucket with warm or cold water after that and plunge about 30 times until I didn't see any more soap bubbles.  Between each "rinse" cycle I would wring everything out before putting it back in the bucket and I think this helped things to rinse faster.  Each night it takes about 3-4 rinse cycles to get to the point that I don't see any more bubbles.  Once I am satisfied that everything is rinsed well I dump them all into the tub and wring each piece, shake them out and put them back into my bucket to carry to my drying rack. 
Overall (from start to finish) my washing takes me about 90 minutes.  Actual hands on time though is approximately 20 minutes so the majority of the time is spent soaking.  I have been really happy with my wash routine.  My diapers have been very clean, I don't find it to be particularly hard or time consuming.  Probably the only thing I don't like is that my flats are not as soft as they are out of a dryer.  After 3 nights of hand washing I would say that it is actually easier and less gross than I expected!
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