Flats: The Cost Effective Diaper Option

Posted 07-8-2010 at 04:47 PM by MyFrugalFunLife

There is a multitude of cloth diapering options available. If you’re interested in using cloth diapers to save money one of the best diapers available is the flat. This is the diaper our grandmas used and its still going strong today. For around a dollar per diaper, this cheap diapering method can make your diaper stash very cost effective!

Flats are basically a large square of cotton. It is the original one size fits all diaper as it can be folded in different ways to fit newborns up to toddlers. They can be pinned or snappied and then covered with any of the many cover options available.

Flats are appealing for several reasons. The first is their cost; you can get a dozen for a little over $12 and two dozen is plenty for one child. Flats are also great for families with multiple children in diapers;  just fold to the best fit for each kid. Flats are also incredibly easy to care for; there is almost no prep needed and they wash and dry quickly. They are also easy to use-learn one or two different folds and you’re all set.

I have used flats exclusively for over three years on two children. I love the simpleness of my stash and after three years of heavy use my flats are still going strong. I originally bought 4 dozen Little Lion brand flats and then some used Thirsties covers from the fsot section here on Diaper Swappers. My entire stash for two children cost under $200, including accessories. I also love how well flats work! I’ve never had issues with leaking or messy accidents; flats and Thirsties covers are a leak proof combination!

Flats are also so easy to use! I have only learned how to fold the Kite fold and was able to modify it for when my babies were new to when we hit the toddler stage. Now that my son is older I just add a doubler to give his flats a bit more absorbancy and we’ll be set until he’s potty trained.

If you haven’t tried flats yet I highly recommend these diapers. Not only are they incredibly cheap but their ease of use and wide range of sizing makes them a great cloth diapering option!

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Comments

31 Responses to “Flats: The Cost Effective Diaper Option”

  1. whitneywalters on July 8th, 2010 6:17 pm


    I plan on getting some soon. I want to try them with the new baby.

  2. mom2lukejake on July 8th, 2010 7:18 pm


    You can even use flannel recieving blankets. Even cheaper and you dont have to pay shipping! I pick mine up at the goodwill for .49!

  3. MrsMommy0805 on July 8th, 2010 7:57 pm


    What do you use for doublers in your flats?

    I love pockets but I’m tired of leak issues. I used receiving blankets for my DS when he was in size SM to maybe Med. but I didn’t realize I could fold flats different ways to make them fit different sizes. I am also tired of having to use 1.5 to 2 dryer runs just to dry my inserts. Thank you for posting this!! I can usually find the blankets for .25 at a yard sale. I’ve even found them for .10 at some yard sales! I’m off to see how easy it would be to make some flats :)

  4. flmamao2 on July 8th, 2010 9:30 pm


    Love it! I have been building a stash for the baby we are TTC, very interested in ordering some flats as my OS diaper :) Thanks for the great post.

  5. badhayrday on July 9th, 2010 2:39 am


    I have tried every kind of diaper, mostly because I’m addicted..lol…but I have to say flats are amazing. They are so wonderful to wash and dry and they really are easy to use.

  6. FaeryGnomeHome on July 9th, 2010 2:44 am


    it’s even cheaper if you make your own flannel flats from king-sized sheets at the thrift store. You can get a full stash of homemade flannel flats for about $2. they are the PERFECT diapers.

  7. jks06457 on July 9th, 2010 4:33 pm


    i also love flats. i simply folded them down to a rectangle-the easiest fold- and layed them in a a prorap. really wish i had found these 3 years before i did! we now use the same ones in place of paper towels. they look like heck, but still work the best!

  8. emmylou81 on July 9th, 2010 6:50 pm


    I am new to cloth diapers and am using flats with my 3 week old baby boy and LOVE them…I tried the prefolds but did not care for them…I tried to cloth diaper my first but b/c of lack of information, I gave up on just the first day:( Now with my second, I read up alot and asked tons of questions…

    Flats dry in no time and I am able to get a better fit with them then with prefolds…

    I am a flat lover!

  9. ChicanaCoqueta on July 9th, 2010 10:10 pm


    I recently bought some flats to try out. They definitely are cost effective and easy to wash.

  10. issybissy on July 10th, 2010 10:19 am


    flats were discovered after using fbos and bgos…both which took forever to dry. so i invested in flats and have since sold off my entire pockets stash! i love how versatile the l.l and gmd flats can be. i use one when i wash baby in the sink so baby wont slip, i use another to damp dry my baby so i can lather her with lotion after her bath, and i use one whole wet one to clean up super huge bf poos! i also use one as a changing pad, i keep one in my diaper bag as a light blanket, or nore recently as a lining to use on top of the car seats that are attached to shoppping carts. VERSATILity for a dollar a piece! oh and did i mention they make super trim, super absorbant, and super leakproof diapers too!? i couple mine mostly with a FLIP, but the duo wraps work well too, as do swaddlebees abc, kawaii, and kissaluvs.

  11. cd18 on July 10th, 2010 2:16 pm


    What kind of doubler do you use?

  12. chiarore on July 10th, 2010 8:41 pm


    Great one!! We use flats at home (pockets for daycare). I love them, and they’ll still be useful after all my kids are out of diapers!

  13. AQW on July 10th, 2010 10:30 pm


    I will admit I haven’t used them yet. But I wish people that are “freaking out b/c they can’t even afford diapers” would really consider this option. Spending $20 a week on sposies is crazy, especially when money is tight! I think these are great for people who have to use a laundry mat as well.

    One question, what do you do at night? Double diaper? Doublers? PUL cover?

  14. angelami4 on July 11th, 2010 12:12 am


    I wish I had some real flats! I have some flannel receiving blankets that I use as flats and they work great really…they just don’t take to a snappi so I end up just tucking the ends around DD to get it to stay on and then put the FLIP cover over it. Overall it works great! I use the Origami fold…super easy and fits great! ^_^

  15. newbiesmama on July 11th, 2010 12:45 am


    At night I use a double up the diaper by sticking another flat in the center or one of the gerber prefolds I have. Then I cover my Dd in a recycled wool cover. But, I’ve used the old school plastic pants before too.

  16. ColeandBrady on July 11th, 2010 6:14 am


    I fold them to the same size as a trifolded prefold (in half 1 way, in half other way, then trifold) and just lay them in a cover. Flips are nice because of the flaps – works wonderfully & couldn’t be easier or cheaper! My whole OS stash was $80!

  17. Cristin87 on July 11th, 2010 3:05 pm


    I read this and started to try using flats a few days ago, after fretting about what the initial cost of investing in good pocket diapers would be… I have found that some microfiber towels that I bought from Sams club work excellently. They are very good quality Microfiber, like the type of microfiber used in Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz inserts. If anyone is interested they are called Pro Force and come in a 24 back. They are blue… (Not to be mistaken for the crappy Chinese while one with green edges!) These work so well I don’t think I will buy anymore expensive cloth diapers… I use them with diaper covers from Chelory.com… great covers homemade by a WAHM, superior to any commercial ones I have tried!

  18. jks06457 on July 11th, 2010 4:53 pm


    i just double and use a pul cover. maybe used a 3rd if needed.

  19. whitneywalters on July 11th, 2010 9:21 pm


    I bought six yesterday at a local cloth diaper store, I am prepping them now!

  20. cyclamen on July 12th, 2010 3:04 am


    We love the thirsties covers too. I have been using them with a handful of boughten prefolds, plus about 15 “flat diapers” which are basically the bottom rectangle of a teeshirt with the collar, hem, and sleeves cut off. Works great, so soft, & it’s free if you use worn out tees! (cut into smaller pieces for wipes and mama cloth too.) We just fold them into thirds and put in the cover. My boyfriend says that it is just as easy as using a disposable.

  21. cyclamen on July 12th, 2010 3:06 am


    And… one last comment… We don’t have washer or dryer, so we do the diapers 1-2x a week at the laundromat. Flats seem to be the cleanest, although the PFs are not bad either.

  22. issybissy on July 14th, 2010 6:34 pm


    at night i use a flat, oragami style wrapped in a joey hemp topped with a stay dry bg doubler. i cover it up with a flip and it can keep her happy for 8-10hours :) happy= soggy but leakfree!

  23. MommaYoung on July 15th, 2010 3:34 pm


    This is very helpful info. Many people I have spoke to are intimidated by all the different options and upfront cost, but this seems the most effective.

    Thank you.

  24. issybissy on July 17th, 2010 12:19 pm


    @ cristin….PLEASE DONT TELL ME YOU ARE PUTTING THE MICROFIBER AGAINST YOUR BABY’S SKIN TOPPED WITH A FLIP!!! microfiber will create a very rough baby booty and it wont be comfy at all for baby!

  25. MyFrugalFunLife on July 17th, 2010 12:30 pm


    For a doubler I use some wahm ones and then at night I use two Thirsties Hemp doublers (large)

  26. littlesteps on July 18th, 2010 1:26 pm


    I just started CDing this month (DH is on board too woo hoo!), using 6 pfs and 6 ffs. I love my flats. They are SO easy to care for, I’m going to buy another two dozen at the end of the week :). MY DD is 11mos, a super front wetter – how who knows lol. We use the kite fold with wings overlapping, and the orgami fold for the “doubler” it makes, all with fleece me-made liners to wick moisture away. Still working on the dry feeling for all night sleep. Thanks for the topic. I totally feel the flat love here!

  27. Momma Carlie on July 18th, 2010 8:50 pm


    what do you women do when your in a tight spot out of the house and dont have much room to change your LO?

    or when you LO is being especially fussy and wont hold still for a change?

  28. Josies Mama on July 19th, 2010 11:19 am


    I have been seriously considering using some hemp flats!

  29. Mommy2Regan on July 19th, 2010 9:40 pm


    Looking forward to trying this with the blankets I have. Just curious…for anyone who has tried both, what are the benefits of the flats over receiving blankets?

  30. issybissy on July 22nd, 2010 11:17 am


    pp, receiving blankets dont snappi well, whereas the fabric on the flat catches a snappi easily. and i thought blankets were a bit bulkier.

    at other pp, when im out and about i keep my flats trifolded in a flip with a fleece on top, all ready to go, this way, its really no different than changing a disposable. you could essentially fold the flat into any shape you choose ahead of time to save on space issues. for instance do the oragami fold with a fleece liner and doubler already in it. when time comes to change, lay baby in stroller with another flat as the changing pad, lift baby, tuck new flat under, undo baby, do the switcheroo (wipe and all), and snappi adn cover! simple. if i have a super mess to deal with, i just use a flat and wet it in the bathroom sink or from a water bottle, and wipe baby up nice and clean with it. one big mess gets taken care of rather nicely by one big flat. toss it all into a wetbag and u are ready to go!

  31. charmommy on August 31st, 2010 4:55 pm


    I’m inspired to try out flats! Thank you for all the fantastic info!!!

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