Thursday, March 27, 2014

Save the date! The 4th Annual Flats & Handwashing challenge is right around the corner!

Whether you're new to the cloth diapering community or you've been around for a while, it's that time of year! We get to discuss the upcoming annual challenge from Dirty Diaper Laundry.


I will admit, the first year this began, I initially scoffed at the idea. Excuse me? A challenge to hand wash diapers, and flats, at that?

Turns out, there's a back-story for this challenge and it makes perfect sense in context. Kim Rosas started this challenge as a way to prove to herself that if the situation was ever dire enough, she could and would successfully have a way to diaper her children, even in less than ideal circumstances. At the time, the media was reporting on diaper need and how many people were reusing disposable diapers or letting their babies sit in the diapers for far too long yet never considering cloth.  And thus, the flats and handwashing challenge was born!

Why flats? Because flats are the easiest to get clean and they are generally the most inexpensive diaper you can buy. In fact, flats can be made out of many things, including tshirts, "flour sack towels" - anything that is one layer of cloth that gets folded down to use as a diaper. This is the type of  diaper most of our grandmothers used. 

Hemp Babies Flat Weeds diaper

This year, the date has been set for May 11th through 17th. I'm posting this now so you can have plenty of time to prepare - this isn't something a lot of cloth diapering families are going to be equipped to start overnight so I definitely wanted to give you time to prepare if you plan to join in on this challenge. Official sign-ups will be next month and I will be sure to share the sign-up link on the eLeMeNO-Pee Facebook page.

The official rules will be released then as well but they are generally always the same. The two most obvious rules being that you  must use flats and you must hand-wash.





Last year's rule list looked like this, for reference:


Materials Allowed

The following diapering items can be used:
• Any flat cloth diaper, store bought or handmade. A flat should be only 1 layer of material for easier handwashing and faster drying.
• 1 night time diaper per night of your choice although you are asked to make flats work for you (this diaper must also be handwashed)
• Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if you absolutely must.
• A diaper sprayer.
Wet bags/diaper pails for storage.
• Handmade “washing machine” for diapers such as the camp style washer I made last year.
• Non Electronic Portable washing machines (must be powered by you and cost less than $100).
• Commercially available or handmade covers.
• Commercially available or handmade detergents.
• Snappi, Boingo, and Pins for closure.
• Pocket diapers STUFFED WITH FLATS. (note that the potential for repelling on the stay dry lining could make your challenge harder but you can see what happens)
• Homemade or store bought fleece liners.
• Iron (to use in order to expedite drying time or sterilize)

Materials Not Allowed

• Electronic washer/dryer.
• Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIO’s, Fitteds, Contours, Prefolds, AI2’s, etc.
• Flushable liners.

Rules for Everyone

• You cannot use your washer or dryer.
• If for some reason something arises and an exception is made you need to disclose in the Conclusions Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
• There is no limit on the number of flats or covers you can use. Should you purchase 100 flats for $100 and go a whole week without washing? No. Use your common sense on this one. As a tip, the more diapers in your camp washer/ sink/ tub the harder the washing will be.


So, what do you think? Do you plan to join hundreds of other families in this year's challenge?