Even though we are currently learning the ins & outs of elimination communication with Baby B, we are still using a significant number of cloth diapers every day. We use them to lay under B when we put her down. We usually hold one under her butt just in case we miss a pee, which we do every so often. We use a diaper to wipe up the mess when B pees on the floor. And at the end of the day, when us parents are exhausted and just need some vegetation time, we throw B in a cloth diaper or two just to give ourselves a break. So while B spends most of the day with a dry butt, we still have lots of dirty diapers to wash, and all without a dryer.
Being without a dryer shouldn’t sound so bad. After all, it’s great for the environment. When we lived in New York, I wanted to set up a clothes line for quite some time in order to both save energy and a little money. Unfortunately, our New York house had several logistical issues that made clotheslines a very difficult proposition.
Here in Costa Rica, things are quite different from New York. I have met very few people who actually own a dryer here. Everyone has a clothesline. Actually, everyone has multiple clotheslines. Our current rental has 3 sets of clotheslines. Sure, there are a few of the more affluent gringos that have dryers, but most get along fine without one. Even if I wanted to buy a dryer here, it would likely cost double the price than I would get it for in the United States. Electronics and appliances are very expensive here. I’m not getting a dryer anytime soon.
Overall, I feel very good about letting my clothes line-dry. I’m saving energy, harnessing the power of the sun, and saving some money while I’m at it. Those are all very good things. Plus, drying my clothes on a line really is no big deal. Most things dry pretty quickly. And with 5 people in our family, we have to keep up with the laundry anyway.
But diapers are another story. I’m using nice, plush prefolds with 8 layers of fabric. They take quite some time to dry! Drying clothes wasn’t a problem in the dry season. Up until May, I could leave clothes hanging on the uncovered clothesline overnight, with no fear of rain. And with the incredibly dry air, my clothes would dry fast anyway. But B was born at the beginning of May, just in time for the rainy season. Not only has the general humidity gone up, but we now can expect almost daily rainstorms that come by 2-3 pm on most days. This complicates diaper drying significantly. I have one uncovered clothesline area, pictured above, that catches the sun. Even if I wash the diapers at 7 am and have them out by 8 in the hot morning sun, they are usually still not completely dry by the time the rains roll in. Then I have to take them all down and move them to one of the other 2 covered clotheslines for further drying. Then they are usually dry by the next morning, as the humidity that comes with afternoon rains further delays drying.
Many days I don’t get the diapers up until 10am or so. It’s hard to be regimented about things when you are up all night nursing a baby. So on those days, I don’t even bother with the direct sun. I just hang the dipes right under a covered area. Thankfully, they still usually dry by the next morning. But no matter how you cut it, half my diaper stash is out of commission each day. Which means that I basically have to wash a load of diapers every single day. Takes some time, I tell ya. Much different than what I did back in the states (wash and dry in a dryer in under 2 hours).
Regardless of the effort, I remind myself of these things:
- By harnessing the sun’s power, I’m helping the world a little every day.
- Diapers and clothes smell fantastic when they are sun or air-dried.
- I can’t afford a dryer anyway, so I might as well make the best of things!
(Thanks to www.Strocel.com for the idea for this post).