After receiving great advice on Facebook from Stacy at Diapershops.com, I was confident I could wash them. My diaper stash consists mainly of pocket diapers, a couple of fitteds, hemp inserts and cotton prefolds for stuffing. I don't use microfiber inserts at all due to a sensitivity.
We traveled by train from Newark, NJ to Birmingham, AL. By the time I arrived at my mom's house there were plenty of dirty diapers to be washed. The next day, Saturday, was a beautiful sunny day and the temperature was predicted to reach 85. Perfect for line drying!
My mom and I gathered supplies: two empty storage bins, a big spatula, Dawn soap, kite line for hanging, and two plastic garbage bags. I started by filling up one bin with cold water for rinsing the diapers. I laid one of the garbage bags on the ground and separated diapers from inserts. I added the diapers to the rinse bin and left the inserts on the bag. While the diapers were soaking, I filled a huge stock pot (think lobster pot) with water and heated it on the stove. I preferred hot water to really wash the diapers, but I understand that in a desperate situation you can wash everything with cold water. Thankfully my mom had propane gas running through the house so we were able to cook and get hot water.
After that, I filled the empty bin with the hot water and soap. I added a tiny bit of cold water because I didn't want to melt any of the snaps on pocket diapers. That would be bad. Next, the rinsed diapers were added to the hot soapy water and stirred with the spatula. I let them soak while I emptied the dirty rinse water and refilled with clean, cold water. I added the inserts and repeated. The tricky part about this was I needed to rinse the soapy diapers, so the garbage bags really came in handy as a holding spot between washing and rinsing.
Everything was hung to dry on the line.At the end of the day we pulled the diapers and the inserts off the line and they all smelled clean, even the dirty diaper. The inserts were a little stiff from line drying, but I don't believe it affected the absorbancy.
My heart goes out to the Alabama families that lost their homes and their loved ones.
By Shanon Tranchina
Shanon Tranchina is a stay at home mother to 10 month old daughter Reilly and wife to Dennis. She is the author of the blog I'm That Mommy, www.thatmommy.com, where she writes about cloth diapers and other mommy things.