I’m Bringing Flats Back! Day 1 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

#flatschallengeToday, Monday May 23, is the first day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. In case you haven’t been reading along, the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is a full 7 days where I and the other participants will only use Flat cloth diapers, covers, and will hand wash them for the entire week.  Here is a link to the official Rules if you need a refresher, but unless you are participating all you really need to know is that only flats cloth diapers can be used, any cover can be used but participants are limited to 5 per child, and the diapers have to be handwashed and air dried.  I am vlogging every day of the challenge, so you get to see a lot of me this week!

I will be the first to tell you that cloth diapering was only possible for us because of the modern innovations made since Flats were the one and only way to diaper a baby.  If I had gone to my husband and told him that we were using flat cloth diapers because I wanted to reduce our waste he would have laughed me out of the room.  I don’t know that I could have ever gotten him on board.  Once I showed him the “easy” diapers like bumGenius 3.0’s (now 4.0’s) he hesitantly agreed.

Now though, I feel like Flats have gotten a bad rap.  Maybe it is because we (the collective we) have over emphasized the new “modern” cloth diapers while dismissing the flats and prefolds that are, for some, are the only diapers that are within their budget.  Has our excitement for the new and fun made the “old” and “boring” diapers no longer desirable?  In a strange twist, many find that the flats and prefolds are more effective than the “improved” diapers.  Shouldn’t we let the world know that too?!

Well, I’m bringing sexy flats back. Flats are cool.  Flats are actually WAY COOL (do kids say cool anymore?!)  You know how much you loved your brand new fancy pocket diapers with those handy microfiber inserts, only to realize 10 months down the road that those inserts stink to high heaven and you can’t get rid of that smell?  I’ve been there.  It sucks.

And remember when your pocket diapers started leaking mysteriously and you stripped them over and over until they finally started working again?  You never figured out why they were leaking since you always did all the right things. I’ve been there too!

Flats aren’t fickle. They can be washed with standard detergents (although if you are washing your covers with them you will still want to stick within the “safe” zone of detergents and avoid things like bleaches, enzymes, vinegar, etc) and they don’t need to be stripped because of ammonia build up.  The cotton doesn’t repel pee because you looked at it funny.  Flats don’t take forever to dry like many fitteds and All-in-Ones do.  In fact, they could be dry in 20 minutes in your dryer or a few hours outside.

But aren’t flats hard to use? Meh. Depends on how you want to use them.  There are different folding techniques like the better known Origami and Kite Folds.  But…..  you can also Pad Fold the flat and lay it into a cover, essentially making it into an All in Two. Thanks to more contoured and shapely covers (compared to the old school rubber pants) the Pad Folded Flat can lay inside of the cover without sliding around. If you can fold towels you can Pad Fold! (Easy Instructional Video)

Photos from today-May 23, 2011- Pad Folded Flat in a GroVia Shell.

Flats can be used in pockets too! If you want to replace your microfiber inserts with flats you can!  Pad fold the flats and use them as inserts.  The smaller flats (27″) works best for this, and so do the Flour Sack Towels from Target or Walmart.

When you are finished with your flats they can be saved for more kids or passed on.  If they have seen better days they make excellent cleaning rags and they are lint free!

Now tell me what you are blogging about for the Flats Challenge today. It can be any topic as long as it was posted today!  I will have a linky up each day.  You do not have to join every one.  If you are joining you have to link to the post URL, not your main URL, include a link back to the Challenge Rules, and include the button. {<a href=”http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/take-the-flats-and-handwashing-challenge-may-23-30/”><img title=”smallbutton” src=”http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/smallbutton.png” alt=”#flatschallenge” width=”100″ height=”167″ /></a>}  Take the brackets out and insert into your HTML.  You also need to add the InLinkz code to your post.

get the InLinkz code



Green Mountain Diapers, Diaper Junction, and Orange Diaper Co. provided flats to try for the challenge.  I’ll be sending them to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope after the Challenge is complete.  Special thanks to Diaper Junction and Swaddlebees for sponsoring many bloggers and giving them a chance to participate!

  • I learned about this challenge a bit too late I guess because I couldn’t find many flats that weren’t sold out! I didn’t do extensive searching or anything but all the cheapest places seemed to be out of them. I did learn the oragami fold and have been practicing with paper towels 🙂 I have plenty of covers and a few snappis so I think I will try to get my hands on some flats too! My toddler may not be crazy about them but our newborn won’t know the difference! I am all about using something beside those stinking (quite literally) microfiber inserts! Whether I pad fold, oragami fold or stuff my pockets with the flats I am sure they are worth the money and handy to have around when you need diapers that will dry fast because all the others are dirty!

    Thanks for this challenge and I really hope it does help many moms who are in a financial crunch learn a less expensive do-able way to diaper their little ones. 

    • Anonymous

      Have you checked Target or Walmart? They have the flour sack towels for 4.00 for a pack of 4

  • Lori – The Gnome’s Mom

    LOL. “Unless, it’s just like a little shart.” LOL 🙂

    • Anonymous

      He has been known to shady quite often 😉

  • Tara

    I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this!  We started this morning and I have SO MUCH I want to blog about.  I might be inspired to start a cloth only blog after this. 

    • Anonymous

      You’d be surprised how much there is to cover on a cloth diaper blog!  

  • Todzwife

     Do wool shorts/pants/skirts count as covers? I have a bunch of wool I’d like to use, but not if it counts as one of my 5 covers. thanks kim.

    • Anonymous

      Yes!  Wool counts!  🙂

      • Todzwife

         OK, she’ll just be pants less then today LOL!

      • Anonymous

        I’m confused….  or you are?  Wool covers count as covers, so you could have 5wool, or 2 PUL, 3 wool, or 1 fleece, 1 PUL, 4 Wool.  I hope we are on the same page! 

      • Todzwife

         Yes, we are on the same page LOL! I was wondering if her wool shorts counted as a cover, since they technically ARE a cover, but they are her “outfit” too. We’re using mostly PUL because I can pad fold in it since she’s such a heavy wetter, but I was thinking about doing a pair of wool pants tonight as her night time set up, but I don’t have them in the rotation of 5. Clear as mud?

        Oh, and can we swap out a cover if we are finding it’s not working for this?

  •  Off subject, but I really love Everett’s legs. Adorable.  

  • Andrea

    I am not doing this right now, but you have inspired me!  I ordered a half dozen flats for my baby due in June (along with my prefolds) and I’m looking forward to trying them.  I’m inspired by the idea of using them to stuff pockets!  I have just been brainstorming an absorbent, yet cheap, way to replace my microfiber.  It has been giving me fits!  I ordered mine from Amazon–the Osocozy brand.  I am hoping they are as wonderful as all the reviews say!

  • Brownch6

    Day 1 is going well here. My son was acting sick all day, and yesterday he had a loose poo, so I was waiting for a nasty liquid challenge all day :p Luckily it never came. I had decided not to use flushable liners because it would be another cost on a low income family, but diarrhea might have made me rethink that. I love that you are bringing the “non modern” cloth diapers back! IMO the most important portion of the modern movement has been the covers. I love how much better they fit compared to the “rubber pants” of the olden days aka 1995. To me that is what makes cloth more easily doable these days. Personally I am a huge prefold fan, and use econobum covers more than half the time! And they are seconds I bought for $5 at that!

  • Rejoicing

    For day 1 we used our Disana muslin flats. Day time he had pad folded using thirstys covers. He is sleeping in a pad folded doubler inside a Rosie posie folded. If you have never tried the rosieposie, you MUST look it up!!! It is my FAVORITE fold ever!

  • Mara_moose

    We have been using tradition terries since birth with DS and now DD, they are great! The ultimate birth to potty nappy!  Find they are far better at containment that the shaped nappies we use when out.

  • Mara_moose

    We have been using tradition terries since birth with DS and now DD, they are great! The ultimate birth to potty nappy!  Find they are far better at containment that the shaped nappies we use when out.

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