Thursday, 24 May 2012
I am participating in the second annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge by Dirty Diaper Laundry. The idea is simple. I will use flats for 7 days and wash them by hand in an effort to raise awareness that clean diapers can be affordable and accessible to anyone. This year I am one of 450 participants to take on the challenge.
I decided to take on the challenge this year for a few reasons. I first heard about it last year and really wanted to participate. I chose not to because there are rules to follow. I was at the time handwashing diapers for two children in my bath tub. We lived in an apartment and had a washer and dryer accessible to us but I was not trying to carry diapers and two very small children across the street. Handwashing just worked better. I was using prefolds which are not allowed in the challenge. This year I thought “Hey. I have a washer and dryer that I use all the time this would help give me renewed respect for the things I use every day.” And even on day two it already has!
Another reason is to prove a point. I have friends who have come on hard times and have had a hard time buying diapers. I am not the girl to preach cloth diapers (although I do use them and I do love them!) I just want babies to have clean butts. However you need to make that possible. If I do the challenge I can let people know that it can be done for cheap and also express my experience with it. Maybe I can help someone who really does need it. I don’t want to tell someone it can be done if I can’t even do it for a week.
My Husband saw I wrote the flats challenge on the calendar and asked “Are you going somewhere?” Ha, I wish! I told him how it’s supposed to raise awareness about how cheaply it can be to keep clean diapers on your children. I told how some people try to re-use disposable diapers. He was like well those people are irresponsible. I told him maybe so but some people just come on hard times. It’s not all bad people. And even if the parents are irresponsible the children don't deserve to suffer. I am SO thankful for this challenge because even my hubby will get a better understanding!
The last reason is there is power in numbers. I am one of many people taking on this challenge. Although many think this challenge silly, or some plain just don’t want to do it even though they think it’s a great idea, the fact is it is helping. The more people who get behind this, blog about it, tweet about it, just plain tell someone they are doing it. They are helping spread the word. And if it reaches even one person who really needs to hear the message, it’s completely worth it!
So how cheap can this really be done? Well let’s tally up what I am using. I have 4 birdseye flats and 15 flour sack towels. The flats were about $1.50 each. The flour sack towels from Walmart were about $5.50 for a pack of 5. Tally so far: $21. Next I have made a camp style washer. The bucket and lid were $4 form Lowes. The plunger was $2. Total so far: $27. I use tide powder to wash my diapers. The box says to use up to the first line for a large load. I use like 1/10th of that for each load. Walmart.com has tide for $9 for 40 loads of regular washing (so $9 for 400 of these washings or less than a penny a load!!) I also add a tiny bit of clear vinegar to the wash to help with softness and stinkies. This too would be pennies on the dollar and is NOT necessary well say $2. I wash about 10-12 flats with this much soap each night. They have come out clean so far these first two nights and smelling great. I bought two sets of Boingos (it is what holds the diaper on in place of pins) for $10 and a large wetbag to put dirty diapers in $16. Grand total $64. Imagine diaper your child for 2-3 years for $64. Yes you will need to buy more detergent but at less than a penny per wash you won’t have to buy too much! Also much of this can be bought slowly. You don’t need all of it right away. Two packs of four sack towels and some detergent could get you started. How much do you spend on diapers a week? Do you think someone who was pregnant and needed to save $20 to get their baby started on diapers could do it? I do!
I am using two wool covers self knitted. I got the wool from Joann fabrics with a 50% off coupon. So each cover was $4. I am also using 3 PUL cover which cost me about $9 each. It adds $33 to the total cost. But really someone could get away with just two PUL covers. And they can be found for as little as $5 each including shipping.
This is an experience I am excited to continue. My husband is now involved because of his curiosity. My son, 2 and a half, even *helped* wash the diapers for baby sister, 13 months, tonight.
And now you are involved.
Two days down, five to go.