Target Flats

March 10, 2011

Flat diapers are the cheapest, most basic cloth diapers you can use. It’s what our mothers or grandmothers or great grandmothers were most likely to have used. A flat is, essentially, a large square or rectangular piece of (usually) cotton fabric. It needs to be folded up in order to use it as a diaper. There are many ways to fold them. I’m not here to explain that; a quick Google search will give you a lot of tutorials on how to fold and use flats.

What I want to share today is my source for flat diapers, and why they are so wonderful and versatile. I wish I could take the credit for “discovering” this secret, but I read about it on Diaper Swappers from some of the creative, thrifty parents there. However, I thought I’d explain what they are, how to find them, and how they can be used. My apologies, I included a lot of photos.

What you want to look for are “flour sack towels.” I know they can be found at other stores (including some grocery stores). My experience is with the ones from Target. And I love Target, and do about 90% of our shopping there, so… yeah. These are located in the kitchen towel section and are from their Room Essentials (RE) line of housewares.

They run $3.99 for a pack of 4. See what I mean about cheap? That’s about a dollar a diaper. Disposables usually run about a quarter per diaper (give or take) and can only be used ONCE. They also sit in our landfills for hundreds of years, and can contain a lot of icky stuff.

You can use the flat as a diaper, and use a pin or Snappi to hold it shut (you’ll want a cover of some sort, as it won’t have a waterproof outer layer). They are a very trim option.

Here’s one that is “kite folded” and pinned:

And here it’s folded in quarters (fold it in half, and then fold it in half again… it will be squareish, much like a prefold), and then Snappied on after I “jellyrolled” the sides in (which creates a nice tight seal around the legs). I also placed a doubler inside of it, for extra absorbency. See how trim it is, even with the doubler?

To compare, here is a flat folded into quarters (as above) and placed over a red-edged GMD prefold:

Now, if folding up bits of cloth to diaper your baby isn’t your thing, have no fear. There are two more uses for these. If you’re not a fan of microfiber inserts (many people aren’t) these can be folded up to be used as an insert for pocket diapers. Fold the flat into quarters (again, as above) and then fold it in thirds. Here is one you can compare to a microfiber insert:

Cotton absorbs very quickly and can hold quite a bit, and I swear these things fill in my Fuzzibunz and make them fit my son even better. This is kind of a crappy picture, but you get the idea:

If you like the Flip system, or other systems where you place an insert or prefold into a cover, then these are a wonderful, inexpensive option you can try. I like them with my Gen-Y Universal covers. Here’s a comparison. From left to right: folded up flat, Flip organic insert (folded the shorter way), red GMD prefold (trifolded).

And here’s that flat placed into a cover (this is a Flip cover):

So that’s about it. I’d recommend ANY parent have these on hand, especially those that cloth diaper. These are what you want to have on hand if your washer or dryer ever break and you have to handwash your diapers (or can’t make it to the store for disposables). The single layer of cotton is easier to wash and they air dry quickly. Four of them for the cost of a latte… what do you have to lose?

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21 Responses to “Target Flats”

  1. Laura said

    Excellent post! I love flour sack towels as flats, too. They are softer than my “real” birdseye flats.

  2. FB said

    brilliant! Do the Target ones hold a Snappi well? My flannel receiving blankets & tshirts are hit & miss with the Snappi. Are they super soft?

  3. Rachel said

    Thank you SO much for this post! (I found it via the Cotton Babies blog.) I hadn’t tried flats yet, mainly because I was afraid I would hate the folding and didn’t want to waste money on a dozen. But based on this very comprehensive and helpful post, I bought a $4 pack of flour sack towels at Target today, washed and dried them and had my 1 y/o wear them for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I am in LOVE! First of all, they dried in 30 minutes on low heat – yes, there were only four, but I can’t imagine they would take much longer if there were more. My prefolds and fitteds take at least 90 minutes on low, sometimes two hours depending on the load size. What a waste! They also fit in the Thirsties Duo cover (size two) MUCH better than the medium prefolds we have. Trifolded, they are the perfect length and width, whereas the prefolds are too long and thin. They seem quite absorbent, too – just one flat lasted three hours (could have gone longer but I wanted to see how wet it was). I can’t wait to buy more. I only wish I’d discovered these before! Thank you!!

  4. […] I might have to pick up an extra pack of Target flats! Read up on them here. […]

  5. Heather R said

    I found your link on the flat challenge website and I was just wishing I could find a local place to buy (non-Gerber) flats. I thought about using receiving blankets, but they seemed pretty expensive to use as diapers. I am SO glad I found this post! I LIVE at Target, so I really hope they carry them at my local store, this seem like a perfect solution!

    Do these need to be boiled like birdseye does?

    • I live at Target, too, so I know how you feel! It was so nice to buy “cloth diapers” there!

      Nope, I’ve never boiled them. I just washed them once and started using them. These get used every day at my house, in one form or another. πŸ™‚ Glad you found this post!

  6. […] This challenge takes place May 23-30. Don’t forget that you can also find very cheap flats at Target if you want to find them in town. Otherwise, check out the Diaper Junction link above, they are […]

  7. […] for sending me a dozen of their birdseye flats to use. I’m excited to compare them to the Target flats that I’m used to using. I can already tell that they are better […]

  8. […] but not nearly as bad as I expected. I found the Diaper Junction flats were a bit softer than the Target flats after being air dried… but I’m not going to lie, I had to fight the urge to throw […]

  9. […] Thanks again to Diaper Junction for giving me a dozen of their flats to use during this challenge. I have loved them! I might do a comparison post soon, to compare them to my Target flats. […]

  10. Jennifer said

    I came across this in a round about way from Rockin Green’s facebook.. I seen your last paragraph about they are great to have if your washer or dryer break..lol.. my washer just broke down and I pulled my flats back out of storage and forgot how much I liked them:).. I will defiantly have to try the Target ones

  11. Stacy said

    Thank you for this review! I stumbled across this idea from another website, googled “target flour sack diapers” and it brought me to an old thread on diaperswappers where you had a link to this. I was looking for a cheap diapering system (like REAL cheap!) to do part time and I think I have found it! Thank you!

    • That’s great! I am still using them, both as inserts in our pocket diapers, and as inserts laid into covers (like the Flip system). They are great and wash up easily, too. Good luck!

  12. How funny that there were comments on this as of yesterday! I love that! I found this post quite some time ago……maybe several months or a year ago. I was researching cloth diapering my little one who was almost 2 at the time. We wanted to do CD til we could potty train because the cost of diapers was unreal. But at the same time couldn’t justify buying an entire stash of diapers since he was already a toddler (yes I want more kiddos hopefully asap but wasn’t able to afford a stash of CD’s at the time)…anyway the idea of using household items/flour sack towels, etc blew me away. We had a stash that consisted of mostly FS towels, a package of Gerber flats to use as doublers, a bunch of cheap baby wash cloths for wipes, some fleece pants and a few covers, snappies and pins a friend passed along to us, and a few onesies and Dollar Store fleece blankets for makeshift covers I found on a blog…anyway, mostly makeshift stuff and it worked beautifully. We ended up going back to disposables during a move and things were chaotic as we were living with my mom. Anyway, lived there about six months and we just moved out, and ds just turned three and in the chaos of the move potty training has just taken a backseat. Things have been super tight for us the past month or two and we weren’t even sure how we were gonna afford diapers when we ran out of the pack we were using and I decided to break out the cloth, at least for at home and save the disposables for outings…but after searching EVERYWHERE, we couldn’t find our cloth…so yesterday we went to Target and got a few packages of FS towels (and will be filling the holes in with a few of dh’s old shirts), some waterproof training pant covers (to use as covers), and went to Walmart for some diaper pins. Cost under $15 and we will use the disposable diapers/wipes we have left for outings and I’ll be cutting up an old sheet for wipes since I can’t find my stash and my mom had given us a bag of old socks that had been washed but weren’t being used, I was gonna use as rags, but decided to set aside a bunch for doublers. It is working beautifully. Ds’s bed stayed dry last night with the waterproof cover on over a FS towel with 2 doublers. Diaper was SOAKED this morning, but his bed was safe…I may even lay a fleece blanket down over his sheets for added protection so I don’t have to change sheets everyday lol…but anyway, just wanted to say thanks for this heads up! Very helpful!

  13. Hannah VW said

    Yes, I use flats all these ways! Excellent!

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