Each year we recognize a cloth diaper from years past, the flat! Flats are sometimes referred to as your Grandma’s cloth diaper because mothers used to cut flour sacks into large pieces of fabric to use for clothing and diapers for their children. Today most store bought flat diapers are 100% birdseye cotton but can also be made of hemp or bamboo. Flats don’t have to be store bought though, they can be made from any piece of absorbent fabric including bed sheets, t-shirts, and kitchen towels.
With so many modern cloth diapering options why would a family choose old-fashioned flat diapers?
It may be hard for you to believe but 1 out of every 3 families struggle to pay for diapers. Disposable diapers aren’t cheap and a family who is trying to stretch a budget to pay for housing, transportation, groceries, and clothing may not always have enough money for all of the necessities.
Fact: Diapers are NOT part of any low income assistance programs by the government.
Because diapers are a necessity for babies from birth through potty training some of these struggling families stretch the length of time that they leave their baby in a disposable diaper which can lead to rashes, infections, and illness. Many of these parents don’t realize that there is another option….cloth diapers!
While modern cloth diaper brands start at $15, flat cloth diapers can be purchased for just $2.00 a diaper plus the cost of a cover. For as little as $50 a family could have enough flats and covers to diaper a baby for 1-2 days, even less if they use found items like t-shirts, old sheets, or towels. Using flat diapers can save a family about $50-75 a month that they can use to pay for other necessities and their reusable so they will save that money each and every month. What could you afford if you had an extra $50-75 a month?
Fact: Not all families have access to washing machines.
Did you now that you can easily hand wash cloth diapers at home? Since flat diapers are thinner they are easier to hand wash (compared to other types of cloth diapers) and they dry very quickly. This will save a family additional money from having to go travel to a laundromat and pay to wash their diapers. Hand washing can be done at home, with minimal supplies and effort for almost pennies a load.
Supplies needed to hand wash flat diapers:
- Laundry detergent
- Bucket or tub
- Hands, feet, plunger, and gloves (optional)
- Drying rack (optional)
How to Hand Wash Flat Diapers:
Depending on how many cloth diapers you have you may need to hand wash every 1-2 days. The more often you wash the easier your diapers will come clean and the less effort it will require.
Pre-rinse (optional) – quickly rinse solids and urine from your diaper after you remove it from your baby with cool or warm water. Wring out the diaper and place it in your diaper pail or wet bag until it’s time to wash.
When it’s time to wash, rinse your diapers in cool or warm water to remove any urine or solids that are left. You may use your hands, feet, or even a plunger to help you get the diapers rinsed well. Wring out the diapers before the next step.
For the wash cycle, fill up your bucket or tub with hot water and laundry detergent. How much detergent? It really depends on how large your wash bucket is but don’t be afraid to use enough to get your diapers clean. Add your diapers to the tub of soapy water and begin to agitate to get your diapers soapy. This can be done with your hands, feet, or with the help of a plunger. Continue this process of washing until you feel that your diapers are clean. You may find that doing this process twice may end with cleaner diapers.
After your diapers are clean you’ll need to rinse all of the detergent from them. Drain the soapy water, squeeze out the excess water and begin to add clean water (temperature of rinse water is not as important) to rinse. Rinse by agitating the diapers in the clean water. You may need to drain your rinse water and repeat this process a few times until there are no more soap bubbles in the water.
After your diapers are rinse clean you’ll need to squeeze out as much water as possible. The more water you remove at this step, the quicker the diapers will dry. You can sandwhich your diapers between a few dry towels to help squeeze out even more water before you hang your diapers to dry.
Hang or lay your diapers to dry. Depending on your climate this can be done indoors or outdoors.
Would you like to learn more about flat diapers and hand washing? May 20-26th Dirty Diaper Laundry blog is hosting the 3rd Annual Flats Challenge with over 225 participants around the world. Participants will use only a limited number of flats and covers to diaper their babies for a period of 7 days AND they will hand wash for the entire week. To learn more visit Dirty Diaper Laundry and follow this years #flatschallenge online.
To purchase a complete starter stash off flats and covers we think you may like our Flip & Flats package for $62.85.