If you haven’t already heard, the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is coming up! The Challenge will be from May 21-27 this year, and I highly encourage you to at least try it. Why? Well, first of all, while the Challenge itself is difficult, it’s also awesome to know that you can handwash. That you don’t need a washer or dryer to cloth diaper. And if something does happen to either, you’ll know it isn’t the end of the world. The second reason why you should at least attempt the Challenge? Flats rock. They’re inexpensive, durable, indestructable, and they. hold. up. As much as I love my pocket diapers, I’ve had several issues with them over time. I’ve never had an issue (other than growing out of the smaller size) with my flats.
The biggest problem that I run into with flats (and any natural fiber, really) is prepping them. Since my washer doesn’t have a hot water heater hooked up to it, I’ve gotten a bit creative with prepping inserts, prefolds, and even flats. I boil my diapers.
When I first started cloth diapering, I read several posts where mamas boiled to prep their diapers. The time that they boiled them varied, but the main “ingredients” didn’t. All you need is a stock pot (or your biggest pot), blue original Dawn dish soap, and water. I boil my inserts, flats, and prefolds (without elastic or snaps) for 45 minutes.
**Please remember that boiling diapers with elastic or snaps could damage them. I did boil my sustainablebabyish multi-fitted snapless diaper along with these inserts, but I only boiled it for 25 minutes instead of the 45. Sisters ‘N Cloth does not recommend boiling diapers with elastic, snaps, or PUL.
Just a note: I’ve had the water boil out of the pot every time I’ve boiled diapers or inserts. If this happens or if too much water evaporates out of the pot, you’ll want to add more water to the pot. Of course, this does make the water stop boiling for a bit. The same is true if you’re boiling several “loads” of diapers. You’ll need to add water and a squirt of Dawn before adding more diapers.
When your diapers are finished boiling, the water will have a brown tint to it. This is especially true if you have unbleached natural fibers in the “load.” I used some kitchen utensils and my collander to get the diapers out and let them sit for a bit before trying to move them. They will be VERY hot after boiling. Then I wash/rinse them without detergent (the Dawn will be enough by itself) and dry as normal.
Voila! Your flats are ready to go, and you didn’t have to spend all day washing and drying them!