Handwashing? For real? {Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 5}

This post is part of the 5th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, an education and awareness campaign designed to highlight the benefits of using cloth diapers even in less than ideal financial circumstances.

I need to open this post with a disclaimer: I am not a newbie to hand washing. In addition to using our bath tub to wash our clothes early in marriage, I also did a stint of hand washing in Nepal. Specifically, Simon’s diapers. So while hand washing is a deal-breaking, scary prospect for some folks, it’s just not a boogeyman for me.

That being said, here’s my one tip for you: It’s all about the rinsing.


In a nutshell, here’s my process:

  • swish any solids
  • soak for at least ten minutes
  • wash in fresh water using very little soap
  • rinse, rinse, rinse

And that’s it.


In Nepal, I was handwashing workhorses. I can tell you that flats are easier, hands down. I was also hand washing for a toddler. I can tell you that newborns are harder. The volume of diapers is higher (Jude averages 12 per day), the poops are more frequent, and the stain factor is higher. Miraculously, I’ve yet to see a stain that hasn’t sunned out, though. Go figure.


As you can see, I hand wash by, ummm… hand. Many folks prefer camp bucket washers or the Rapid Washer tool. For long-term washing, I’d recommend one of those set-ups, as the charm of playing Ma Ingalls fades somewhere around diaper number five on day two.

But can it be done? Absolutely. I’ve done it both out of principle and necessity. You can hand wash and hang diapers. And survive.