We are expecting our first child the beginning of next year. Knowing how expensive disposable diapers are, I have been trying to do research on cloth diapers, cost effectiveness,etc. via the internet. Upon my many internet searches, I came across a site that sells a mini, non-electric, hand cranked washing machine. I have never heard of such a thing, but it sounds like it might be a great investment for daily cloth diaper cleaning. If anyone has had any experience with one of these machines, any and all input/advice would be appreciated!
I would say save your money on this contraption. I'm from the old school where we had no option except cloth diapers. Use a diaper pail with lid to soak rinsed soiled diapers and wash them in a regular washer. (10/10/2002)
When our first child was born we lived in a 5th wheel camper trailer on the road. I bought a 12v. portable washer that used 3 gallons of tap water and ran off the car battery, specifically for washing cloth diapers. It was great and saved me a few extra trips to the laundry mat - the biggest pitfall was that it did not have a spin cycle - that made for a lot of extra labor wringing all the diapers out by hand! We've had 4 kids, all have worn cloth diapers - it isn't that much of a big deal - I did like the luxury of the laundry mat! Good luck! (10/12/2002)
Having a baby and raising one is enough work! Do yourself a favor and use your washer (don't bother with a manual hand crank). You will be glad you were able to spend more time with your baby and less time doing the tons of laundry babies create! (05/20/2004)
Don't know exactly which kind you are seeing, but the one I bought is a big round thing on a plastic triangular base, and you load the stuff from the top and screw the lid on, and then turn the handle and it flops it over and over (kind of like an old fashioned crank butter churn idea.) DO NOT buy one -- they break after the second use, it makes a HUGE mess all over trying to pull the wet clothes out of the smallish hole at the top, and you have to turn the whole darn thing over in the sink to pour out the soapy dirty water - the drain thing never works right.
Then you have to repeat the whole thing when rinsing, and then hand-wring the clothes. What a horrible mess! You can get old antique ones (they look like a small pressure canner with an agitator inside)on EBay or at antique stores that sit on the counter top and run off electricity and do small amounts of laundry - don't know how well they work. But DON'T buy the plastic ones with the hand crank.
Maybe you could find an inexpensive "portable" (roll up to the sink) washer in your area -- I used one 25+ years ago for our family's laundry, and it worked very well. You can't do king sized sheets/blankets in them, but they worked fine for everything else. Also, because you filled them up with a hose that fit on the faucet into the washing tub, you could vary the amount of water needed. Some portables have preset water levels, and that wastes a lot of water. It was good if all I had was a couple of days of diapers and baby clothes. Hope this helps! (08/15/2004)
Just a thought: an old retired friend of mine used to sometimes wash a few of his clothes in his bathtub, and he had an interesting method. He had a toilet plunger he'd bought just for this purpose, and after a brief soak of the clothes in detergent and water he'd use a 'plunging' motion to force soapy water through the clothes. Then he'd drain the tub and rinse them a couple of times using the same method. I know it sounds kind of crude but it worked well for small batches, and plungers don't cost much. BTW if you try this don't get an expensive plunger that is tapered on the bottom... get one that flares out but not back in. (08/16/2004)
There is a link you can go to for a catalog on everything for living without utilities of any kind and how to furnish your home with self supporting conveniences.
I used to work at a diaper service... where they bring the CLOTH diapers to you and all you do is change the diaper and the rest goes into the hamper. Because I worked there I got the service free for my own. What a blessing!
My suggestion: For shower and new baby gifts, make it known that you would like diaper service 'gifts'. Find a reputable DS in your area and ask about gifts/certificates and tell a few of your closest friends/relatives. (08/17/2004)
I don't know if they still have diaper liners, but I used them in the diapers and clean up was flushed away and the diaper was not usually soiled. It still had to be washed but it saved a lot of yuck. I can't remember what I used instead of the store bought liners. Something that was safe to flush, yet sturdy enough to do the job. Too long ago to remember.
I would use the washing machine as you are dealing with a sanitary problem. I would not wash out by hand. You can save lots of money using cloth diapers and just buy the disposables for when you go out. Use coupons and get sales and sign up at all the diaper companies. What got me started on the cloth diapers was the shower gift of a di-dee service. They weren't that bad and I went and bought the cloth diapers. They last forever. (09/22/2004)
Do not waste your money! They are sloppy wet, you end up wringing the clothes out by hand, they don't get the clothes clean..I had one, they are not worth anything. You're better off washing by hand. (09/22/2004)
Please do not take your diapers to the coin op laundry to wash unless you have thoroughly rinsed them out. I had an unpleasant Laundromat experience one time because of two really thoughtless people. (11/01/2004)
By k guy
I went to nanny school back in the 80s. At that time, if you bought enough diapers for one child, you could use them for the second child as well as they would not yet be worn out and the total cost including laundry for 3 years was $3000 cheaper than buying enough paper diapers for 2 children for 3 years. I am sure that this is much much more today because of inflation. What a chunk of change! If invested at the time the children are tiny, by the time they are ready to go to college they would have a pretty nice nest egg. (11/16/2004)
I have five children and use cloth diapers all of the time. A newborn baby will go threw so many diapers that it is best to wash in the washing machine (I rinse in cold water then soak in hot water and peroxide with a little ALL). Trust me I washed them out by hand. It was tiring and not to mention how sore your hands will get scrubbing and ringing out the diapers. I LOVE WASHING MACHINES! I go to the laundry mat NOW! (03/08/2005)
We had an aluminum one on strong tubular base for the yacht. Pour in one pint boiling water, soap (clothes first). Crank for 2 minutes. Pour out filthy water. Add cool then wring out. Clothes brilliantly clean. Sold the boat, now with hurricanes and power outages, I want another. Paint it black, expose to sun and wait 2 hours then you don't even need to heat the water.
Hurrah for "back to basics" when you need it (10/28/2005)
A hand crank washer just because you want to use cloth diapers? Save your money. Cloth diapers are not at all as hard as many make them out to be. It was old-fashioned cloth diapers, with diaper pins, and rubber pants in our home always, and here's what I did. After changing a wet diaper, the diaper went into the diaper pail. If the diaper was poopy, I took it to the bathroom, rinsed it in the toilet, then tossed it into the diaper pail. Every 2-3 days I would empty the diaper pail into the washing machine, run a load of diapers through a wash cycle, then pin everything up on the outdoor clothesline. Simple. A few hours later, I would go out and take all the diapers and rubber pants down off the line, fold them, and stack them on top of the baby's dresser top. Easy! Cloth diapers are the best! If you do go cloth, I suggest the two piece diaper method meaning flannelette diapers, either pre-fold or flat fold, and rubber pants. You will also need some baby diaper pins too. It's the best cloth diapering way going, even if it is old-fashioned by today's standards. (01/02/2006)
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