One thing I quickly noticed while practicing full time Elimination Communication, was that once we were over the newborn phase, we really were not going thru too many cloth diapers. So I was getting to the place where I didn’t have enough to do a full small load of laundry. I started just doing a soak and then washing other towels with them and then doing a dry. Simple solution right?
Then we moved into a place that had no washing or drying facilities. Drying became an issue because in humid Florida indoors, prefolds never really feel dry to me. (When I air dry and I don’t have the ability to hang them outside.)
This presented the issue of public laundry facilites. Which meant many different types of detergents, chemicals and who knows what else is going inside the machine on top of the energy it takes to run the giant machines. So I started researching possible alternatives and finally came up with a process that works very well for us.
If you are in the same situation or are looking for a way to make less of an impact (even if it is just one load a week) I will share our washing process. *This could also be an alternative if you are cloth diapering and don’t have the means to use a washing machine and dryer in your home.*
Here is a typical weeks worth of cloth wipes and diapers for us at the moment (my daughter is 8 months right now) :
I start by putting my detergent with a little hot water to dissolve it in the bath tub. Then I fill it the rest of the way with warm water.
*Even though Exclusively Breastfed babies elimination is completly organic and you CAN just wash it without rinsing it, in the case of handwashing, I choose to rinse off all of my diapers as we use them the best I can to make it much easier.*
I typically allow them to soak for an hour or so swishing the water around occasionally. Now I will drain and squeeze a little of the water out.
Next I pull out the trusty Wonder Wash:
This thing is great for small spaces and works well for diapers. You could also soak in the wonder wash, but I just prefer to use the tub for that step. It works with centrifugal force once you have the warm water and lid on tight. So it forces the detergent into the clothes quickly for an economic easy wash. Believe it or not, it also uses less water than hand washing I might add.
Now I will do the same as before adding hot water to the wonder wash, adding my laundry soap and swishing it around to dissolve. Next, I pop in the clothes/diapers and close the lid on the top with an 1/8th of a turn and twist the knob on the top until it will not twist anymore:
Now you turn the barrel one full spin a second. I usually do this for a minute and a half to 2 minutes depending on how much I have in the barrel. Then you screw the lid off (you will hear the suction when you start twisting) next, pop an attachment on the bottom and drain the water. Next you can take the attachment back off and add water again and follow steps over again to rinse minus the detergent (again I prefer to rinse by hand as prefolds tend to hold in detergent).
Now comes the magical part, the part that made my routine a snap. The Mini Spin Dryer:
This thing is amazing in my eyes. There are two sizes this being the smaller one. It works perfect for our needs. It is very energy efficient and works off of a basic 110v using 82 watts of power. It works by spinning the water out of the clothes, so it uses no heat, just force. Your diapers or clothes come out just slightly moist. Most of my items will dry in about 30 minutes inside my house after I spin them in this.
Here are all the diapers wipes and clothes I put in one single load in this thing:
Pretty amazing right?
Next, you put the plastic divider in on top of your clothes. This prevents the clothes from escaping the bin and getting caught in the machine:
Now you plug it in, close the lid, and make sure the hose is placed inside your sink and twist the timer on the front to the desired time. This load I spun for 2 minutes. The machine WILL shake at first as it balances so I suggest holding on to the top until it does so for the first few seconds and again right at the end of the cycle as it slows down.
Here is what it looks like when you are finished:
Now I simply pull the items out and hang them up to dry the rest of the way. I would estimate that I used maybe 5 gallons of water to do this whole load of items…much less than your typical washer and very little energy to dry them as well.
So after investing in these two items, I can easily say I have saved quite a bit on my laundry bill. Next project is perfecting my homemade natural laundry detergent. Once I master it, I will post it here on the blog to share with you so check back.