So, I've dreamed of cloth diapering for awhile! Now it seems like my dreams have become incredibly complicated.
My husband and I live in an apartment. We've thought about moving several times, but our location is just so desirable in terms of safety and locational convenience. Our building has shared washer and dryer. It's coin operated and costs 2.50 dollars to wash and dry a load. A fair price, but not if I'm going to daily wash diapers. Bulk disposables would then be cheaper(I think). I thought about washing by hand and just machine drying since it uses less coins than the washer(1.00). The problem is that people in my building go crazy with fabric softening sheets. I don't know if that will end up depositing a waxy/allergenic substance onto the cloth diapers. My husband did the math and thinks it still would be cheaper to get disposables even if we just used the dryer.
My other option is washing *and* drying the old fashioned way, but that has it's issues as well. I can't dry anything outside (against apartment policy) and it seems like a bit of work. How long would it take for diapers to dry on an indoor drying rack? Where would I put it? Is it going to take a lot out of me? This is my first child and I don't want to put tons of stress on myself.
I love the idea behind saving money and being greener. Any tips on how to make this work? My husband isn't eco-conscience and doesn't want the cloth variety if it will end up costing more with our circumstances.
Using shared washers aren't really a big deal. First, they tend to be commercial washers so they have lots of water and that is good for cloth. You can get around fancy settings by varying your wash routine. If you use synthetics (like fuzzi bunz) instead of natural fibers the dipes will dry quickly overnight if line dried. Natural fibers take much longer unless they are prefolds or flats.
Is it $2.50 to wash AND dry or $2.50 each load. We still saved a lot of money in our apartment.
Also, do you have the option to get a portable washer. We had one briefly and it was awesome for diapers.
Some Ideas-look at http://www.laundry-alternative.com/
I recommend the larger spin dryer (I got the smaller one-and the crank washer). I do not recommend the crank washer. I wash clothes in a wide plastic waste pail that I can stomp clothes in or use a clean toilet plunger to agitate. There is also "the laundry pod" which is a over sized salad spinner costing about $100. If you can find a way to hide the Denby twin tub portable washer/spin dryer in your apt-that would be best. After "spin drying" with centrificial force things dry quickly on a rack. When I'm in a hurry I get two loads ready and spun-then finish drying them in coin op for the price of one load!
Stay away from all in one diapers-harder to clean thoroughly and take longer to dry. Check out Assunta store covers (a charity too) and Kawaii covers/diapers (6 covers plus some prefolds for about $50). Microfiber inserts dry quickly-as do three layer diapers-don't get prefolds with 6-8 layers in the wet zone. Pocket diapers dry quickly also. Babies are us selling perfect bum/cocalo T shirt/cover/insert sets for about $8 currently in my area. (Not all stores) Grovia makes a nice disposable biodegradable soaker to use with diaper covers/g-diaper inserts work as well.
Unfortunately the pedal spin washer dryer that you sit on to operate is not yet available in the States and will market first in third world countries to ease the life of women doing laundry in primitive situations. There is something called the Venis Twister-but It looks a lot like the Laundry Pod. Asia has a lot of nice twin tubs made to be used in a tub-but not compatable with our electric.
Some ideas to get you started.