We’ve made it to day four of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry! Participants of the challenge promise to use and hand wash flat cloth diapers for one full week. The reason Kim Rosas, the founder of DDL, started the challenge was to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapering IS a viable option for families struggling to afford diapers.


Today we’re focusing on wash routines. Using flats cloth diapers may seem intimatidating, but I really think that's the easy part of the challenge. Heck, I wouldn’t call using flats a challenge at all! I enjoy using them, so I think of it more like… a pleasure. :) The challenging part? Washing them by hand. Here’s how I do it…

I keep my son’s dirty diapers in a bucket in the bathtub. After I change him, if it’s just wet, I toss it in the bucket. If it’s soiled, I cry. Haha, no just kidding :) At this point I’m dearly missing my diaper sprayer! (Check out my post on my personal blog Apron Strings Attached to see why I’ve decided to not use my sprayer for the week of the challenge.)

This may be a little TMI for some, but my son still isn’t to the ploppable poop stage. With as much as he still nurses, I don’t think we’ll get there by the time he potty trains. Every once in a while, we get one and I cheer! But for the most part, it is just yuck. So I’m donning a pair of gloves and doing the good ol’ dunk n swish + flush. Check out this post for a more in depth explaination on what to do with the poop. It sounds bad, but it’s really not THAT bad. Once the mess is dealt with, that flat goes in the bucket too. 

Here’s what I do when I have a load of diapers ready to be washed:


If I wash in the evening, I’ll wait until after my kids have taken a bath. I toss the diapers into the bathwater, after they get out of course ;) and agitate them by hand AND feet. I don’t worry about stains setting, because the water is only warm, not hot.

rinsing flats

If I wash before anyone has had their baths, I just fill up the bucket it warm water and agitate them by hand, dunking, stirring, swishing and squeezing them. After a couple of minutes, I empty the water out of the bucket and fill it back up with warm water and repeat my dunking, stirring, swishing, and squeezing. After another couple of minutes I dump the water back down the drain. My goal is to make sure the water is mainly clear before I start washing, and doing this twice usually does the trick for me.

Hot wash with Detergent

Once I feel they've been rinsed enough and the water has been drained, I dump my bucket of flats into the tub. I then fill it up with water that is hot, but not so hot that I can’t tolerate it. I fill the tub with just enough water so that the flats are covered. Then, I add about a tablespoon of detergent and hop on in! I use both my hands and feet to agitate the diapers. This may not be the safest method, but it works for me! I do this for about 10 minutes or so. Then drain the water from the tub.

washing flats


Next I turn on the faucet and rinse out each diaper individually. Any diaper that needs special attention, I scrub with a bar of ivory soap. After I’m done rinsing, I wring each diaper out and throw them in the laundry basket. Many find it easier on their hands to wear gloves when wringing out their flats. It doesn't really bother me. I wring them out well and then give them a couple of good flicks to remove even more water. 

rinsing flats


Once the diapers are wrung out, I hang them to dry. The weather has been kind of hit in miss in my area, so I've dried them both outdoors on the clothesline and indoor from hangers on a shower curtain rod. They do dry more quickly when I'm able to get them outdoors on the line, but if I wash before bed and hang them inside, they're ready to go by morning.



drying flats

Here's a very awkward and terribly edited (thanks hubby, lol!) Instagram video of me handwashing my flats! haha! :) I call it, Washing Flats in a Nutshell:

So there you have it! My wash routine. However, this isn't the only way I've been washing my son's diapers... Check out my personal blog Apron Strings Attached to see what I consider to be a much easier way to manage handwashing my son's diapers. There's also another awkward (but not as awkward!) video of how I handwash my covers. :)

Follow me on Instagram where I’ll share the good, the bad, and the yucky throughout my week participating in the Flats Challenge! (@apronstringsattached) If you’re participating in the challenge, be sure to use the hashtag #flatschallenge and #bringingflatsback so we can follow you too!  :)



 Stephanie Beck is a busy mama of four. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family. Stephanie started her blog, Apron Strings Attached, because she wanted to share her experiences with raising kids, breastfeeding struggles and success, and cloth diapering. She now enjoys blogging about life in cloth diapers for TGN.



*Although I am compensated for my time writing, all opinions expressed are genuine and 100% my own.