I’ve been handwashing laundry since 2011 when I moved in with my now husband. We were both college students so not a lot of money after bills were paid. I started by washing small amounts in the bath tub a couple days a week, once a month we could do laundry at laundromat.
In 2013 I learned I was pregnant with my almost 7 yr old. We started out with throw away diapers but something happened, my son had rashes after two months.
Nothing worked, not even switching brands as was recommended.
My son was 18 months when we gave cloth a try and overnight the rash vanished. I
started in middle of the night after running out of diapers and no money to buy more. I found a flat fold tutorial on YouTube and gave it a try with regular safety pins.
We got paid following day so we went to Walmart and bought Gerber flats, prefolds and those plastic covers. Afriend gave us a drying rack which I used a lot. I convinced my husband to buy a small washboard for me. I immediately got all laundry much cleaner.
I was doing two loads a day.
One our clothes and the other his cloth diapers.
I used the washboard for almost 2 years when I discovered the laundry alternative Wonder Wash. We got one and it is so simple to assemble and it essentially does the equivalent of a small load of laundry for a normal top loader. I used that until I had my daughter. My husband didn’t want me hand washing laundry anymore so he got me a portable washer, a top loader that was the largest capacity possible for a portable top loader; I could even wash queen bedding in it.
In 2018, we moved to Illinois out of necessity. We started with nothing but a week’s worth of clothes and the diapers. After we stayed a month at my dad’s and a week at my aunts until we finally got our own place.
We didn’t have a washer till November of that year so almost 6 months of hand washing everything. First chance we got we ordered another washer – the eco spin. But with diapers I used plunger bucket method and ecospin to spin them out. I still dried everything on drying racks. My father gave us a fan so I could dry them faster.
Last year, in last week of August, we came back to Texas due to my husband
getting transferred through his work. I hand washed everything for almost 3 months when our landlord finally decided to install a washer.
The washer was an old school top loader that wasted water almost 40 gallons per large load. I hated that. So I still hand washed clothes. Fast forward to February we have a new place with water smart washer but I still like hand washing smaller loads of laundry. I use a hand cranked washer from laundry alternative and line dry everything despite having a dryer .
This story is from Barbara Ann. Barbara has been a member of the Flats & Handwashing community for many years now. I reached out to her, asking her to share her story because I knew cloth diapering and handwashing had become a part of o her life. This is her story.