According to the American Water Works Association, many washing machines use 40 or more gallons of water PER load of laundry!
So how do you conserve water while cloth diapering? That might not be such an easy question to answer, but this Earth Day, we're all being asked from some blog or another to conserve more water.
Of course by USING cloth diapers, you're conserving the Earth's water supply as a whole, because the manufacture process and use of disposable diapers consumes 2.3 times MORE water than that of cloth diapers according to The Real Diaper Association and a 1993 HarperCollins publication.
But, the obvious answer here would be to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak. In this context, the most gusher for your gallon!
If you normally wash a load of 12 diapers at a time (say.. 16 diapers is all you have!), try being creative around your home to stretch your cloth diaper imagination! Now would be a great time to pull out those old tshirts that you have stuffed in the top of the closet in hopes that they would fit again! Face it, you're probably going to get more use out of it as a diaper than you would waiting to fit back into a size Small! Check out this link to see how you can fold a t-shirt to fit your baby as a diaper.
That said, you can go an extra day without washing diapers, and when you do wash them, you're able to wash a full load, helping to save our precious water supply! Who knows. You may have fun with it!
Another way to conserve water while washing cloth diapers would be to hand wash them. Of course this method isn't as convenient as a washing machine, and quite a bit messier, but if you're looking to make an impact via keeping diapers out of the landfill while conserving water, this could be the way to go! A typical kitchen sink is approximately 5-6 gallons (you could also soak in a 5 gallon bucket), so a soak, a wash, and two rinses, would DRASTICALLY reduce the amount of water you use by approximately 20-24 gallons! Even if you have a larger basin, saving 10 or so gallons of water is better than nothing!
For hand laundering, though, make sure you put a stopper in the washtub for both wash and rinse. Don’t let the faucet run as you would be defeating your purpose!
Addendum: Thanks Jennifer, for reminding me to add this! A great way to conserve would be to use a wet pail of cold water for dirty diapers! If the diapers are soaking in a wet pail, there's no need to do a first rinse before the actual washing process begins! All the ewws of dirty diapers will already be loosened, and you can just pour the pail of water directly into the machine!
If you want to go a step further, and conserve energy as well, think about line drying! The sun is a natural stain remover as well as a bacteria fighter!
So, are you up for the challenge? Who says we can't conserve water while cloth diapering! Pfft on them! :)
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