Prior to this challenge the only things I’d washed by hand were delicate fabrics. Gentle washing is a far cry from what’s needed to get heavily soiled items clean and my shoulders and arms can attest to that. There are several methods we recommend for washing by hand, you can find them here.
I was trying to spend as little money as possible, and really wanted to give washboard washing a try, so I had my husband diy a washboard for me. I cleaned up the broiler thingy I never use (and don’t know the proper name for) and my husband attached wooden legs using scraps he had. I’ve never used a proper washboard so I can’t compare but my diy board has been great. The best part? I didn’t have to spend money on it because I already had the materials.
The wash method is pretty straight forward. All you need is a little detergent, water softener if your water is hard, and scrub away. I’ve been using my utility sink but you could use a bathtub, sink, or a storage tub.
Washing with a washboard:
- Remove solids from diaper if needed, store in your pail or wet bag until wash time.
- When it’s time to wash, start running hot water in your tub and add a little detergent and water softener if needed. My water’s pretty hard so I’ve been using 1/2 cup Borax as my water softener and line 2 of my favorite store brand detergent, H-E-B Bravos Plus with the purple label.
- Add your diapers and stir them up so the detergent is really mixed in. Let them soak for awhile and agitate periodically. I’ve been soaking for 1-3 hours depending on my schedule that day.
- Get your washboard out and place a diaper on it. Soap up the diaper a bit with a bar laundry soap and scrub the diaper on the washboard. I do several passes on both sides and the edges. Really scrub any stains you find. I’ve been using Fels Naphtha or an unscented coconut soap bar but you can use any laundry soap.
- Wring the diapers out as you scrub and toss in a bucket.
- Once all the diapers have been scrubbed, drain and rinse the tub.
- Dump the diapers back in the tub and run cold water to rinse. I fill the tub like I do to wash and agitate by hand for a minute or two. Then I pull the diapers out one by one and wring them out. Be sure to put them in a bucket before draining the tub or you’ll redeposit soap and soil.
My main wash is the same as my prewash except I use the heavily soiled amount of detergent and I scrub longer and more vigorously.
That’s it! It takes me 30 min to an hour to scrub the diapers for each wash. Then I wring them out and hang them on my porch to dry.
Drying has been a pain this week. It’s been very cool and wet so my diapers and covers aren’t drying well. I’ve been hanging them outside until they aren’t drippy anymore and then I move them inside to finish drying. I tried to iron some dry but that didn’t go very well. Thankfully the sun is supposed to come back tomorrow and the last few days should have much faster dry times.