Have you ever had to do off-grid or emergency diapering?

Amanda Witman
By Amanda Witman on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - 2:13pm

We live in a culture of disposable...everything.  Many parents I know would not even think of non-disposable diapers as an option.  I've been to numerous baby showers where one gift is a "cake" made of layered rounds of disposable diapers!

Mine are all beyond diapers now, but when my kids were in that phase of life, I used cloth diapers.  I used our electric washing machine and dryer, but when I moved to rural Vermont, I met people who washed their diapers in warm or cold and hung them out to dry. 

One of my preps was to acquire a plunger, 5-gallon bucket, and mop-wringer-bucket to be used for "emergency" non-electric diaper washing.  I never had to employ this system, but I was glad to have it as a backup.

A couple of times, our washer or dryer died or our electricity or well was out for several days, and the dirty diapers kept piling up.  I made sure we had at least 3 days' worth of cloth diapers and washable covers.  On at least two memorable winter occasions, I simply put the bag of diapers outside to freeze solid until they could be washed.  It worked to keep them from getting moldy or fly-ridden during that time.

I've heard of people taking cloth diapers on extended backpacking trips, and that "flat" diapers are best for this purpose as they are thin and air-dry quickly.  They're large square diapers that are folded a number of times before putting on the baby.  "Prefolds" are thicker, sewn rectangles that take longer to dry.

I was lucky to be able to take my machine washing and drying for granted, but looking into our future, I imagine that will become a luxury for poorer families -- as will store-bought disposables.  Sanitation with babies can be tricky.

If anyone here has cloth-diapered off-grid for any significant time, or even for a weekend, please share your stories and tips with the rest of us!  Even if our babies (or grandbabies) are past the need for diapering, this is useful information to be able to pass on to new moms in the future.

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