Happy Earth Day everyone! Today is a special day to me because Earth Day appeals to my crunchy side. While I’m not an eco-nut or anything, I try to live my life in harmony with the Earth. After all, she is the mother of us all and we need to take care of her. It’s no secret we use cloth diapers instead of disposable, but there are other things in our household that we have replaced as well. Paper towels, napkins, tissues, shopping bags, cling wrap, paper lunch sacks, the list goes on. We drive fuel efficient cars, buy fair-trade and organic when possible, and walk as much as we can. While we could always improve, I feel we do our part. Oh yeah, and eating a vegan diet is by far the most eco-friendly act you can do! I always tend to forget that, I don’t know why…
Well, in honor of this special day I thought I would share a recent struggle I’ve been having.
Moving has always been so thrilling to me. I’m not very social so saying goodbye was never the hard part. After all, my best friend was moving with me! This has been one of my favorite parts of being a military wife. The recent move was not the same. Our baby was barely 3 months old and I had already established my nest at our home. Having that nest uprooted was upsetting to say the least. Not only that, but we didn’t know where we would be living. I was absolutely terrified of this move.
When we got here, my fears had come true. There had been a huge influx of people and there was no housing on base and an available apartment was rare. We searched and searched, and we couldn’t find many places that allowed pets. We found a place that was very happy to accommodate our pugs, but there was no washer/ dryer hookups.
So I was faced with a hard decision. Do I keep my washer and dryer or my pugs? Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my little puggies, so it was really a no-brainer. We would keep the washer and dryer. Ha! Just Kidding!!! We kept the pugs!
The previous month I had been without the washer and dryer and had been washing diapers by hand, so I was familiar with one way of making it work. But I didn’t want to hand wash diapers for a year! The washing part was easy, but wringing them by hand was killing my hands and the diapers. Of course I could take them to a laundromat, but Charlie’s Soap cleans out washing machines and the gunk inside of a commercial washer accumulates on my diapers. Charlie’s Soap is my favorite, and I don’t like spending $10 a week or more on laundry.
I searched the web for a clothes wringer. I was thinking of something like one of those hand crank things from long ago. I found some, but I also came across a great website. It’s call the Laundry Alternative, and their main focus is to provide an alternative for the apartment dweller and people who don’t have the room or access to a conventional washer and dryer.
I was enjoying my new toys and I stayed on top of doing laundry for a good 2 weeks. But then the novelty wore off and suddenly I found myself in a rut. Being at home with a small baby makes it hard to do anything but take care of the baby. It’s so hard to find a minute to myself, let alone to do laundry and dishes by hand. It only took a day or two and the laundry, dishes, and housework had piled up to where it became a huge burden.
I began doing our laundry at the laundromat and washing the diapers in the tub. I was so behind that I didn’t have time to rinse the poopy diapers. Normally you don’t have to rinse breastmilk poo off diapers as a conventional washer has no problem removing it. But hand washing is another story, and I was letting them sit for days and was dealing with crusty poo and giant stains.
My husband is absolutely amazing. He works 14 hour days while we’re living here and so on the weekdays all this stuff is my responsibility. On the weekends we would spend the day doing laundry, dishes and housework together. I felt terrible because our time together is so valuable and I didn’t want to spend it doing this.
One night after a hard day of playing catch up, I broke down. I missed my washing machine! I would have given anything to have one! I was feeling very sorry for myself.
The next morning I was sick of my “wo is me” attitude. I decided to take action and do something about it. So I did as I always do in this situation and I write everything down. I wrote down the problems I was facing and possible solutions for these problems.
The solution was simple. I needed to make washing diapers the highest priority of my day. If I could just do that, then my day would be complete and I could feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
So that morning I washed a days worth of diapers in the Wonder Wash, spun dry them and hung them to dry on the porch and was done by 7:30. I couldn’t believe I had fixed my huge problem so easily! This is how everyday’s been now for about 2 weeks! I just do diapers in the morning, another load in the afternoon and by doing 2 loads a day laundry never piles up.
So here’s a trick I’ve learned. Rinse the poo off as soon as the diaper is changed. If I do this then it takes me 15 minutes start to finish for a load of diapers. That’s it! A conventional washer and dryer takes hours to finish one load.
The spin dryer is my favorite part. I put the diapers in without even squeezing a drop of water from them and after 3 minutes they come out almost dry. I just put them outside in direct sunlight for about 2 hours and they are dry. With regular clothes it only takes an hour and they don’t have to be in direct sunlight. I would recommend buying a spin dryer with a conventional washing machine and dryer because it will cut your drying time in half. This is good for your power bill and the environment! You would not believe how much water comes out of the clothes!
Well, now my issues have been resolved and I feel great. I know something else will come up soon as that’s how life is. But for now I’m completely happy with our laundry situation. Do I still want for a conventional washer? Oh yes! You would not believe how much I miss it, but this is a temporary situation and I’ll have one soon enough. However, I’ve decided how pointless a dryer is and I don’t believe I’ll ever buy one of those energy suckers again!
Now I just want to point out the benefits of the Wonder Wash. It is hand powered and you don’t have to use electricity. It uses a fraction of the water and soap. There is no agitators so it is very gentle on your clothes. You can even wash wool in it without it felting! I think it gets the laundry cleaner than a conventional washer too. The spin dryer is just amazing! It uses a tiny amount of power and it hasn’t made a bit of difference on our power bill. So there are many things about this that appeal to my environmental side. But like other environmentally friendly things, it’s just a bit more work.
Soon I’ll post a video about how I use it. But for today, I wanted to share my story and say that I could have easily switched to disposables, but I am committed to a cloth lifestyle. Also I just want to say that today (and everyday) all cloth diapering mamas can smile to themselves because you are making a huge difference, to the environment, your babies and to yourself. I hope today you feel satisfied knowing that you have committed yourselves to a cloth lifestyle too.
Here’s a pic of my new washer and dryer.