If you don't own a washing machine, you can still use cloth diapers:
- use a diaper service. Not as cost-effective as buying and washing your own cloth diapers, but certainly a better alternative to disposable diapers.
- invest in a mini washing machine. The Wonderwash portable washer is suited to washing small loads, making it ideal for washing cloth diapers. With its small footprint, and low pricetag (less than $50.00!), it's a worthwhile investment for anyone who lacks access to laundry facilities.
- wash your cloth diapers in a laundromat. Sure, it will cost more money than washing cloth diapers in your own washing machine, but you'll still spend far less money than if you were to use disposable diapers. You can offset the cost of a laundromat by buying more cloth diapers, and washing less frequently. If budget is an issue, buy your cloth diapers a few at a time before junior makes his debut, or consider using prefolds. Line-drying your cloth diapers in your home or apartment will also offset the cost of a laundromat, while reducing the time you spend at the laundromat.
- wash your cloth diapers in someone else's washing machine. Make use of the laundry facilities at a friend's or relative's house. If nothing else, it's a good excuse to visit often -- you do the laundry while Grandma enjoys the extra cuddle time with junior.
- hand-wash your cloth diapers in the bathtub. Granted, this approach isn't for the faint of heart, but I've hand-washed cloth diapers on vacation, and I lived to speak about it. You can use paper liners or a mini-shower to make dealing with poopy diapers easier, and I would suggest you invest in a pair of rubber gloves, but it's definitely doable.
So there you have it. No washing machine? No problem! Not owning a washing machine is not a barrier to washing clothing (paper clothing, anyone?), there's no reason it should be a barrier to washing cloth diapers. And besides, you can always put the money you save by using cloth diapers towards the purchase of a shiny, new washing machine, right?