Diary of a Cloth Nappy Family 6 – Winter is Here.

Something that often gets asked about cloth nappies is how do we dry them in winter? People often tell me that the environmental and economical cost of washing and drying cloth nappies, especially in winter, outweighs the benefits. This simply isn’t true, and especially for those of us who have never, and never intend to, own a clothes drier.*

So how do we get those soakers dry over winter?

Last winter, with a newborn and before we moved to our new house, our rental was a temporary arrangement. We relied on clothes airers being moved around the lawn during sunny days, and propped in front of the heater inside on cold nights. It was squishy but we made it work.

Very little natural light, poorly positioned windows and walls, and a cold house, but we managed to get those soakers (and the accompanying baby clothes) dry without hassle.

Once we moved to our new house with its glorious north facing living space, and large windows, we found the perfect spot to dry our nappies on days with considerably less sun, relying on the ambient heat which, in summer, would turn this room into a furnace.

Priorities: boxes freshly loaded into the house, begging to be unpacked. But first, nappies! I was so happy I could have cried.

As we got used to the space we now called home, we dreamed of a laundry where all of our nappy washing and drying would take place seamlessly. Enter, a $5 gadget from The Reject Shop, a few screws and hooks, and my constant “reminding” of my handyman husband to get it all secured.

And this was the day someone discovered that the “pause cycle” and “off” buttons have the most exciting noises. Oh dear.

After almost a year of a clothes airer occupying various spaces in our home, most recently this tight squeeze laundry room, we have our suspended nappy drying system fully operational. Just in time for winter, and my nesting urges. It had been operating at half capacity for several months, but now it feels remarkably good to not have to step around an airer to get to the tub, the washing machine, or the door to the garden!

In this arrangement, our nappies have three days to dry before we need to use them again, but often they’re dry on the second day. They’re out of the way, so once they’re up there, there’s no “accidents” involving little hands and a pile of wet washing at the end of the day. This setup also usually provides enough space to dry other small things like cloths, socks and undies, and tea towels. In the future it would be nice to add one more run but we’ll see how we go.

So this, ladies and gents, is how we do it. It’s inconvenient to have a clothes airer taking up living space, it can be annoying and tedious to hang everything up, but for us it’s worth it. We’re a cloth nappy family; we’re not in it for convenience. Cloth napping is just one way we choose to live against the grain of convenience and into the intentional life we feel called to.

I’ve realised that despite all my cloth nappy posts, I haven’t done a single one on our regular washing routine, or how we make cloth nappies work for us at home on a normal day. It’s just so much less exciting than a houseboat, a camping trip, or an opportunity to point out the disappointments of disposables! But it will come soon, so stay tuned.

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*I do not speak for people who live in areas of high humidity, extremely low temperatures, and those without access to clean running water with the necessary black water disposal systems.

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