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How to Hand Wash Cloth Diapers

Woman hand washing Clover Rumparooz

"Why would I want to hand wash my diapers?!"

A question you might ask yourself. This may appear to be a return to traditional cloth diapering, but there are times when this may be the only option for families and a few families in the cloth diaper community actually even prefer this method. Well, there are several compelling reasons that might prompt parents to consider this alternative method, making hand washing a viable solution in various situations, such as:

  • Power Outages: During a power outage, when electricity is unavailable, hand washing remains a viable option for cleaning cloth diapers. This situation may occur due to various reasons such as severe weather events, electrical grid failures, or other unforeseen circumstances. Hand washing (and being prepared ahead of time and knowing how to do so)  allows parents to maintain their cloth diapering routine even when their washing machines cannot be used, ensuring that their baby's diapers stay clean and usable during power disruptions.
  • Conserving Energy: One of the primary reasons to opt for hand washing is energy conservation. By avoiding the use of electric washing machines, you contribute to a greener environment by conserving energy resources, aligning your efforts with eco-conscious practices.
  • Limited Access to a Washing Machine: For families living in areas with limited access to laundry facilities, hand washing becomes a necessity. It ensures that your cloth diapers remain clean and usable even in situations where a washing machine is not readily available.
  • Limited Access to Water: During a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, or blizzard you may find yourself with limited access to water. If time permits, you can fill buckets with water to help prepare for the event.
  • Traveling or Camping: Families on the move, whether camping in the great outdoors or traveling to destinations without laundry facilities, can benefit from the simplicity of hand washing. It allows parents to maintain their cloth diapering routine without relying on modern conveniences.
  • A Forgotten Diaper: In the chaos of parenting, it's not uncommon to find a forgotten diaper tucked away somewhere. When faced with an unexpected shortage, hand washing provides a quick solution, ensuring that your baby stays comfortable and dry.
  • Small Diaper Loads (While Potty Training, for example): During the potty training phase, diaper loads naturally decrease. Hand washing becomes a practical choice for handling smaller quantities of diapers, allowing parents to efficiently manage the laundry without waiting for a full load.
  • A Good Arm Workout: Believe it or not, hand washing cloth diapers can give you a decent arm workout! The manual effort involved in scrubbing and rinsing diapers provides a physical activity opportunity, making it a unique way to multitask by staying active while ensuring your baby's cloth diapers are clean.
Items to hand wash cloth diapers

Step-by-step guide to hand washing your cloth diapers:

Whether your reason is listed above, or something else, hand washing is always a great alternative! Hand washing cloth diapers only takes a few simple steps, and some manual power, so get ready. The most common method is by using a bucket and plunger and so below this process will be explained. 

Reminder: Don’t forget to spray or dunk and swish all poopy diapers after changing them.

What you will need to hand wash diapers:

Step 1: Put your soiled diapers in the bathtub/bucket, hand rinse each diaper and then put them in a bucket and fill with cold water.

*NOTE: When filling the bucket with cold water and adding your diapers, we want to be aware of how full the bucket is. One key factor to clean diapers is proper agitation and in order to achieve this, the diapers need enough room to rub and agitate against each other, so do not over crowd your bucket! Also be sure there is not too much water such that the diapers are just floating around.

Step 2: Plunge 50 times.
Step 3: Drain the dirty water, refill with hot water.
Step 4: Add detergent
Full Load: Line 1-2 of detergent to the diapers
Small load: Half way up to line one on detergent cup

Step 5: Plunge 50 times.
Step 6: Let sit for 10 min.
Step 7: Drain dirty water.
Step 8: Fill the bucket with cold water, add your diapers and plunge 50 times, then drain and repeat until no suds remain.

*You can speed up this step by hand rinsing each diaper. We find this makes the process MUCH quicker.

Step 9: Wring out diapers.
Step 11: Roll inserts and shells in clean towels to help get any excess water out. 
Step 12: Hang dry or dry flat. 

*NOTE: If drying outside, remember to not let Rumparooz Covers sit in direct sunlight as this can cause unnecessary wear on the interior TPU.

Woman hand washing Bamboo 6r Soakers

Hand Wash Cloth Diapers with Ease

So, whether you find yourself in a situation where hand washing is a necessity or you simply prefer the eco-friendly and hands-on approach, this method provides a reliable way to keep your baby's cloth diapers fresh and ready for their next adventure. Plus, the added bonus? You get a mini workout in the process! So, roll up your sleeves and embrace the simplicity and effectiveness of hand washing – a practical solution for parents in various walks of life.

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