Why You Should Use and Love Flats {Video+Infographic}

whyloveflatsintro

To say I love flat cloth diapers is an understatement.  There are no diapers that compare when it comes to versatility, affordability, and wash/dry friendliness.  So they may take longer to learn than a wrap and go style of modern diaper… so what?  Practice on your teddy bears and bribe your baby with a toy while you get the hang of it, or just use them as inserts or soakers rectangle style!  I told you they were versatile!  I filmed a video that shares why I love flats, and why you should too.  Disclosure- I was facing the sun but it was the only time I had to film so waiting for an overcast day wasn’t an option.  Sorry for my squinty face and the brightness!

Why flat cloth diapers are awesome- cheap, easy, carefree!

Why should you love flats?

Because they’re…

Cheap.

You can find flats for free if you raid your old t-shirt collection or for as low as $1-$3 each, even with name brands.  Flats can be just about anything, but they’re easily found at online diaper shops.

One layer.

washerThe thing that makes flats intimidating and a bit harder to use than modern diapers is also the thing that makes them amazing!  Being one layer of fabric means they wash up easier and dry faster than any other cloth diaper!  Flats are less prone to build-up of bacteria because they are just one layer and there are no other layers for things to hide in when being washed in a machine or by hand.  Drying is easy too!  On the line on a sunny, breezy day flats can dry in less than one hour!  Inside or outside in less than ideal conditions it can take half a day or even a full day but that is still faster than bulkier cloth dipers with lots of layers sandwiched together.  Using your dryer with a few wool dryer balls to help bounce them around, flats can be done is less than 30 minutes.  If you want to save the electricity and line dry your flats, soften them up by tossing in the dryer for a few minutes.  No dryer access?  Scrunch your stiff flats in your hands and twist them and they’ll be just as soft!

Versatile.

There is no other diaper that can do as many things as well as a flat can.  Fold it onto the baby using any of the dozens of folds available!  There are folds that can made this large square of fabric any size, even small enough for a newborn (Mini-Kite Fold) or folds that suit boys, folds for girls, and every stage.  Folds like the Jo Fold and Diaper Bag Fold are great because they hold their shape!  Fold ahead of time and just put on the baby like a contour, then secure with a modern Snappi or Boingos.  Other folds need to be done on the spot.  Also use flats that are folded into rectangles (pad fold tutorial) and lay them into a cover, or use as inserts in your pockets.  See?  They’re totally the transformers of the diaper world.

Natural Fibers.

cottonAs much as I appreciate the advances in textiles cloth diapers have made, there is nothing like the natural fibers flats are made from.  Most often, they’re made from birdseye cotton but can come in other fabrics like bamboo or hemp in a variety of blends or in textures like muslin, gauze, or terry.  In the UK their flat “nappies” are cotton terry squares and that’s all the royal families uses.  Think you’re too good for flats?  The Prince even wears them!  With natural fibers you have a lesser chance of stink and detergent build-up.  Microfiber, the most common pocket insert material also used in some All-in-Ones and other diapers has strands with hollow cores (more on this and why they stink more than other diapers here).  Bacteria and ammonia have nowhere to hide in natural fibers and especially with only one layer!  They also rinse easier meaning if you accidentally add too much detergent or need to add extra due to hard water you won’t need to rinse an additional 5 times.  Flats are forgiving!  There’s a reason our grandparents didn’t suffer from the same washing woes as we do.  Modern diapers’ convenience factor increases the washing difficulty with the synthetic stay dry layers, thicker soakers and inserts, and other parts.  Flats can take it all in stride.

Easy to Handwash.

The inspiration for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was the flats themselves.  Their very nature and simplicity got my gears turning when I considered how easily they should handwash and air dry.  I tried it myself, though I was nervous about how they would perform (I had never ever tried flats before then!) and fell in love with everything about them.  For all the reasons listed above, they are prime diapers to hand wash.  Less layers= easier to clean and faster to dry.  Natural fibers= easier to rinse.  Use a camp style bucket washer and plunger or a breathing washer, or wash in the tub or sink.  Flats pack tight so you can still travel and use cloth and wash in the hotel bathroom (done it!) or take them camping if you choose.  They make excellent diapers in an emergency so keeping a pack in case the power goes out is a good idea.  Learn how to make your own camp-style washer and how to handwash.

Budget Friendly.

tshirttinyNo other diaper is as cheap unless it is free.  If you’d like to try one right this instant you can, because flats are everywhere.  Make your own DIY T-shirt Flats (tutorial), run to Target and grab a pack of Flour Sack Towels, or hit up Ikea for their burp cloths.  These options are free or just $.25-$2 per flat.  Our flats challenge survey reported that the average value of a stash of flats was $87, but it can be even less!  Cloth diaper for under $100?  Yes please!    Don’t forget that flats are modernized with the invention of the Snappi, and you can still buy adorable and modern cloth diaper covers in fun prints and modern hues!  There is absolutely no sacrificing convenience, you can even use one size covers.  Flats work great in Flips, Econobum covers, Best Bottoms, GroVia, Gen-Y, Blueberry Capris, Applecheeks covers, Bummis covers, and more.

Sing it with me ya’ll!  

bringingflatsback

Try them, love them, and re-think how you’ve imagines flats.  Then, become a flat-evangelist like me and teach others how they too can not only diaper inexpensively, but effectively, simply, and amazingly with the world’s most underrated cloth diaper.  You’re gonna love the way flats work, I guarantee it.  (Your voice switched to the Men’s Warehouse Guy didn’t it?  HA, gotcha.)   Don’t forget to check out the Flats Challenge happening soon and pin this fun infographic!  Sign-ups start next week.

Tell me why you love flats in the comments, your voice is appreciated and ther readers love to hear your thoughts.

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  • Lesley Shea Powell

    Why Have I not thought of this before! I have several extra scraps of fabric, blankets and such that could finally be put to good use!

  • Linda Hawes

    I love that you love flats! And kuddos for your infographic! Thx for putting it together!

  • Stacie Manrique

    I’ve never used flats, but I might try after reading this.

  • Caitlin

    I don’t have my baby yet and have actually never changed a diaper in my life, but I think that just means I have no preconceived notions about flats being too hard and nothing to compare it to. I might just try it.

  • Christine Kangas

    I don’t love flats nearly as much as you, but thanks to all the information you have put out there on flats and handwashing, I know that I am safe if my washer ever breaks down! I do love my prefolds, though. Perhaps I should learn a few more folds for flats other than just padfolding them or the origami fold, eh?

    • kimrosas

      The diaper bag and jo folds are so great, try them!

      • Christine Kangas

        I need to, I need to. I will eventually… I remember how hard it was for me to figure out the origami fold, and I hesitate. I was looking at the paper for eons and finally had to google it and check out youtube.

  • Krissie M

    This has definitely gotten my interest in flats piqued. Now I just need to find some that work for us and try some of these folds. Thank you for all that you do to help us learn different ways to make cloth diapering work for us. 🙂

  • Brianna

    Great video! I’m hoping to use flats for our first baby, who will be arriving around Thanksgiving. I’m expecting that it will take some convincing to get my husband and other caregivers to join in the fun, but I love the idea of how economical and energy saving they are. I like the other commenter’s suggestion to look at yard sales and resale shops for deals – I’ll definitely be doing that this summer!

  • Elizabeth N.

    I love flats! I bought them during a black friday sale just to try out and fell in love. I think for baby number 2 I am going to beef up my current diaper stash by investing in flats. It will be much cheaper that way.

  • Tia

    I really want to find the flats love. Especially with having twins and these being my last kiddos, Im wanting to try something new. Thank you for the info.

  • Katy Pace

    If it wasn’t for flats and prefolds I wouldn’t cloth diaper. They are my favorites by far! Love how easy to clean flats are.

  • Rachel Zhang

    We’re a big prefold/fitted family here. I’ve been on the fence about trying flats, but it is encouraging to see all this info on them. Maybe they will be my next venture!

  • KD

    I took the plunge and tried my first flat this week. I received a new pocket diaper as a gift, but without an insert. (I only have one other pocket diaper and wanted to use both.) Instead of ordering another insert or waiting until I make the 8-hour drive to our nearest cloth-diapering store, I grabbed a flour sack towel out of the kitchen drawer, folded it, and used it. It isn’t as absorbant as my bamboo insert, but it is much trimmer and cleans really well.

    Thanks for all the great info about flats, Kim!

  • Carly Tea

    I’ve only tried flats a handful of times, but I think the folding is fun, and I like how you can find a fold that best fits your baby’s needs. I just need to practice getting it neater and tighter on baby!

  • Jaimee Andama

    I love flats but idk why I still lean towards other cds lol

  • Julia

    Love this video! I have a bunch of prefolds but no traditional flats. This video convinced me I should try. I love the versatility and that you can shape them into many different fold options.