Categorized | Flats Challenge

Sign Up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

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It is that time again!  Time to sign-up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This year our event will take place beginning on the morning of May 11 and lasts until the end of the day on May 17. The excitement is building as more parents are learning about the event and the benefits of using flats, not just because they are the best for handwashing, but because flats are amazing cloth diapers!  Why are we doing this?  To show that cloth diapers can work for any family- especially for those choosing to buy diapers each week over using the money for other expenses they also need to pay.


First, you will want to understand the rules of participation.

Materials Allowed

The following diapering items can be used:
• Any flat cloth diaper, store bought or handmade. A flat should be only 1 layer of material for easier handwashing and faster drying.
• 1 night time diaper per night of your choice although you are asked to make flats work for you (this diaper must also be handwashed)
• Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if you absolutely must.
• A diaper sprayer.
• Wet bags/diaper pails for storage.
• Handmade “washing machine” for diapers such as the camp style washer I made last year.
• Non Electronic Portable washing machines (must be powered by you and cost less than $100.
• Commercially available or handmade covers.
• Commercially available or handmade detergents.
• Snappi, Boingo, and Pins for closure.
Pocket diapers STUFFED WITH FLATS. (note that the potential for repelling on the stay dry lining could make your challenge harder but you can see what happens)
• Homemade or store bought fleece liners.
• Iron (to use in order to expedite drying time or sterilize)

Materials Not Allowed

• Electronic washer/dryer.
• Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIO’s, Fitteds, Contours, Prefolds, AI2’s, etc.
• Flushable liners.

Rules for Everyone

• You cannot use your washer or dryer.
• If for some reason something arises and an exception is made you need to disclose in the Conclusions Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
• There is no limit on the number of flats or covers you can use. Should you purchase 100 flats for $100 and go a whole week without washing? No. Use your common sense on this one. As a tip the more diapers in your camp washer/ sink/ tub the harder the washing will be.

Rules for Bloggers

Bloggers are encouraged to participate and chronicle their week.  I will have link-ups for each day of the challenge with blogging prompts.  If you sign up as a blogger you will be sent more information on the prompts and rules to add your links.

For Stores and Manufacturers

Each year this event sees an increasing amount of interest from stores and manufacturers who often offer discount codes and incentives for flats and covers. If you are a company planning to offer any sort of special promotion or discount related to the challenge, or your company is blogging along, please email beforehand to discuss opportunities.

Sign Up.



Resources to get you started…

You can also browse all blog posts made in during the past challenges (in backwards order, skip to the last page and work back for chronological order) by using the Flats Challenge tag.


As always the heart of this challenge is to shine a light on the fact that there are families struggling to provide clean diapers for their babies and to offer an alternative solution not often discussed when the major media outlets cover these stories. There are diaper banks that can help families get started with cloth diapers for free or little cost. If you know a family or are a family in need please visit Giving Diapers, Giving Hope- the longest running nationwide diaper lending program that ships to any approved family in the US. I encourage anyone touched by this challenge to donate to their organization and help them provide more diapers to more families.

Join our Facebook Group for live updates and to learn from other participants while we all get prepared for another Flats Challenge.  On Instagram and Twitter we will once again be using the #FlatsChallenge hashtag, also #bringingflatsback for funsies.

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • Sam Camerer

    I am so excited for this! (Is it weird that I am excited to wash diapers by hand?) LOL

  • Sharayah

    I recently bought a dozen FST’s from target for under $10! So cheap and easy to use! Your videos on YouTube have helped tremendously with learning all of the different folds. My favorite would have to be the Kite Fold! :)

  • Julie

    I’m actually thinking about participating this year. I’ll have to think about it a bit.

  • Jessica Nye

    I love this challenge usually, but our washer broke a few months ago and I’m burning out on the handwashing- SO glad I use flats, though!! I think we’re getting a washer this week so I think I’ll sign up- should be ready to handwash again by May, lol

  • Michelle Holmstrom

    I would love to join in this challenge this year, but baby is due May 13, and even if he comes early, I’m not going to push myself right away. We are however going to use flats this summer while traveling and camping. There’s always next year I guess.

  • Rhonda Bnez

    I would like to participate in this challenge but I am an American missionary living overseas. Is that permissable?

    • kimrosas

      Yes it’s worldwide!

      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  • drewch00

    I’d love for this year to include a discussion of which covers work best with flats. As someone who lives in East Africa, I’ll being living this challenge. It’s hard to find info on which covers work best for hand washing and drying. I’d be great to see the results include favorite covers this year.

  • amykathryn

    I signed up, and I do have a (small) blog, but checked the never mind box because I don’t know how to do link ups, and I don’t know that I’d be able to post every day, especially with a picture.

  • Heidi

    This is a great idea. Really gives you an idea about how much resources we use etc and a big learning experience.

  • Kelly S

    We already use flats and line dry. I’d love to do this challenge, but I’m not willing to give up the one disposable we use each night.
    It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
    Our local diaper charity will give people a pack of 30 disposables each month, which for our family would be a 1 month supply. Promoting flats should focus first on reducing disposable diaper need. Flats and cloth diapers make affording disposables (or relying on a diaper charity) possible.
    It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and this challenge gives the impression that it does.

    • kimrosas

      The challenge is “extreme” in order to show it can be done at the most difficult level. If you have read my other posts relating to diaper need the overall idea is not 100%, it is to cloth diaper whenever possible to save money. It isn’t about one or the other but it is about teaching people they don’t HAVE to buy disposables if they can’t, or rely on banks who may or may not have enough to give. These diapers (flats) are always there, can be washed when needed, and are easy to find locally. The challenge isn’t the same as real life by any means.

  • Allyssa S

    I did half the challenge last year before teething rash set in :( This year I know my back can’t handle leaning over a camp washer at 6m pregnant. I will take part next year for sure with 1 or 2 in cloth! I’m excited!

    I will show my support silently from home by line drying and using flats during the challenge, but also using my washer!

    Sad I can’t handle the washing this year :(

  • Kasi

    Have started collecting flats in preparation for the challenge. Not sure if I will be able to meet all the official requirements, but at the very least I will use this as an opportunity to become more familiar with flats.

  • Kelley_WithEagerHands

    I did this a couple years ago when my 3 year old was just a few months old…she’s potty trained now, but I’m excited to be joining in again with my newbie who’s just 3.5 months! :)

  • ShaunTay McCarthy

    I posted on Facebook about the challenge and was asked by a caretaker of an elderly gentleman if it was only child related or could adult cloth diapers count?

  • elin

    Since my washer died yesterday and there is no repairman available until tuesday i will be doing my very own unplanned flats and handwashing challenge over the weekend. Time to bring out my mum-in-laws old flats, make an improvised camper style washer out of a bucket and potato masher and start washing!
    (from Stockholm, Sweden)

    • kimrosas

      Sorry for the trouble but at least you have resources!

      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone