I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!
1. Flats are awesomely versatile...
I use the origami fold to achieve the most coverage and avoid getting our covers soiled. I padfold flats in our gDiapers for quick uncomplicated changes while out and about. I use the origami fold with another flat padfolded inside all under a wool cover for overnight.
1. Flats are awesomely versatile...
|Drying by the light of the moon|
but not all are created equal
I made two flats out of bamboo terry fabric and they are incredibly absorbent and handle anything I throw at them. I've been reserving them for overnight and naps. Padfolded the bamboo double terry alone holds my son overnight but is extremely bulky.
The t-shirt flats on the other hand... they are trim and great for daytime changes, but they don't hold a lot. Even 3 padfolded doesn't work well for overnight.
2. Flats are awesomely cheap...
I made my t-shirt flats from t-shirts I got for free. Due to the weave of jersey fabric it doesn't need to be finished to prevent unraveling, so quite literally the only thing I did to make my t-shirt flats was take a pair of scissors to some t-shirts. Many flats can be bought for $1 a piece.
but not all flats are that cheap
Flats made out of higher-quality fabrics like hemp and bamboo can run between $5-10 each. I calculated the cost of the 30x30 flats I made and they weighed in at $5 (bamboo french terry) and $7 (bamboo double terry). That seems steep compared to the other options, but like I said they are very absorbent! On a limited income, I think the upfront savings when compared to a quality fitted would be worth it.
3. Flats are awesomely easy to care for...
They rinse cleanly and they dry quickly on the line. I'm impressed.
but the key is small loads
I'm used to handwashing 10-15 inserts at once. I figured I would be able to do the same with flats, but the large amount of fabric flowing around makes that impossible. Loads of 6 flats plus 4-5 wipes with the bucket and plunger seem to be a good size for me. If I had more flats I might try 7 or 8, but no more than that.
4. Flats are great for the bum. No caveat.
My son had a rash when I started this challenge. I almost didn't go through with it because of that doggone rash. He's had it off and on since the moving process started a month ago. I blame inconsistency. We switched back and forth between cloth and disposable inserts during the move, I washed our diapers in three different washing machines in that time period, and with all the craziness he wasn't getting regular diaper changes. You can imagine I was less than thrilled to introduce more inconsistencies: new inserts, new diapering method, yet another washing system.
Well the rash is almost gone. Maybe its the rhythm we've developed. Maybe it was switching to a coconut free rash cream. Or maybe, just maybe, its those flats. A flat wrapped in a wool cover breathes wonderfully.
5. I'd rather introduce possible cloth converts to something else
I've been carrying around a bumGenius Freetime in my diaper bag lately, not to use on my son, but as a show-off diaper. If the Freetime were a 1950's pinup girl, the flats would be Alexandra Bergson from O Pioneers!. The flat isn't sexy until you spend some time with it. If I had ten seconds to make an impression, I'd rather show off the Freetime or a pocket diaper.