Tomorrow morning I will be dumping diapers into the washing machine for the first time in over a week. WHEW. My back is killing me. I know that if I had to handwash in order to cloth diaper, I would. But man. Mother Nature blessed me with a slightly crooked spine, and that makes this kind of thing extra stressful and painful. I would probably have to experiment more with washing methods to figure out which is the least stressful on my back, as I only did the kitchen sink method (as described in the previous post), and then the bathtub just once (this last washing...which I waited waaay too long to do and ended up with 20 dipes to wash!). Regretfully, I didn't take any pictures of the bathtub method (sorry -- i know, bad blogger!), but I will describe it in detail below:
1. Dump out wet pail in tub to drain. Lean on pile of wet dipes to help squeeze out excess water (the poopy ones had been pre-rinsed in the sink prior to being thrown into the wet pail).
2. Plug drain and start hot water running, with lye soap bar sitting in the tub near the faucet. Place washboard in tub in scrubbing position. Separate the poopy dipes to one side of the washboard -- these will be soaped and scrubbed first to provide more suds for the rest of the stuff. (Trying not to over-soap again.) Shut off water when everything is covered (about 6" deep).
3. Soap the board and scrub each poopy diaper until all the poop is out. Do the same for poop-stained wipes, and nursing pads (not that they are poo-stained, just that I want to make sure they're extra clean). Stir everything together for a minute in the hot soapy water using large, wooden laundry paddle (I felt like I was sitting on the edge of a canoe, paddling the inside of it, heheh). Drain water, sweep everything to the end of the tub away from the drain, knead/press/squeeze out remaining water.
4. Replug drain, turn on warm water again. Fill to about 6" again, and shut off water. Stir with laundry paddle for a minute or two, lifting and dunking each dipe by hand. Drain water, sweep everything to the end of the tub away from the drain, kneed/press/squeeze out remaining water.
5. Repeat #4 for second rinse. After draining, wring each item thoroughly and toss into awaiting laundry basket.
6. Set up wooden racks outside, snap out each item (3x each per diaper -- woooo! the misting!) and drape over racks neatly.
I did this pretty late in the day and only had a few hours (or less) of sunshine left, so I had to bring them in and sit the racks under an A/C vent again. It was cutting it really close because I needed to have dipes dry by the time Brigit's bedtime rolled around (which is different every night, heheh). It ended up fine; the dipes were dry enough, and the covers were just slightly damp in the front velcro area, but she didn't seem to mind. :)
One thing I noticed during this last wash was that the dipes were feeling a little sticky as I wrung, snapped, and hung them up. I think there was a build-up of lye soap residue. I haven't seen any irritation on Baby's bum, nor any repelling, but I do usually use white vinegar in the first rinse cycle in my washer, so perhaps I should have been doing that with the handwashing as well. Oh well. I'm sure it'll come out in the wash (HA!) tomorrow. I mean, the fault can't be with the lye soap alone; it used to be the only option, and people still managed to cloth diaper (um...also the only option at the time ;)).
I do think that if handwashing dipes became an absolute necessity for me, I would not only do lots of experimenting to find the most back-friendly method, but I would most definitely employ some of my children, at least some of the time, to help. Hey, that's why people have lotsa kids...right??? Heeheehee...
Oh, and one more thing...I am seriously considering switching to flats!!! Like, full time! I am really impressed with them, and so thankful that this challenge introduced them to me! But, I will leave the details about that for my next post, in which I will publish my answers to the Challenge's exit survey. Stay tuned! :D