We're on day three of Dirty Diaper Laundry’s Flats and Handwashing Challenge! Participants of the challenge have promised to use flat cloth diapers AND wash them by hand for one full week. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families regardless of their budget and whether or not they have access to a washer and dryer. 

Today is an open topic day, so I thought I would talk about how I added a little pizazz to my stash for the Flats Challenge...


hanging flats



I decided to test out my tie dye skills on my flour sack towels. I don’t find them as absorbent as my birdseye flats, so just in case it turned out to be a total flop, I'd rather it be the ones I don’t care for as much!


Many mamas swear by Dylon. I’ve also heard good things about Jacquard, so that’s the one I went with. The Tie Dye Kit came with:

  • •Three bottle of Dye in Magenta, Yellow, and Turquoise (which I would call Red, Yellow, and Blue)
  • •Soda Ash Dye Fixer
  • •Rubber bands
  • •Rubber gloves
  • •and instructions



dye kit

I waited until my toddler fell asleep for a nap, since he is always into EVERYTHING, but my let my seven year old join in on the fun (which she eventually got bored of and ran off to play with her older brothers since it was such a beautiful day!).

I used a plastic tablecloth to protect my table and make it slick so I could slide my rubber bands around flats without lifting them once I had them folded and ready to dye.

First things first… the instructions recommended to soak the fabric dyed in a bucket of hot tap water mixed with the soda ash for 20 minutes before dyeing. This helps the article hold onto more dye and makes the colors more vivid. Once the twenty minutes was up, it was time to dye!

I went back to the instructions, which were… eh. Not the greatest. There were instructions for different patterns of tie dye, but they were black and white and not very detailed. So my recommendation? Put down the instructions and check out Jacquard’s YouTube Tie Dye T-Shirt tutorial! Here are the tutorials I used. They are great and very easy to follow:

First I tried the Spiral Tutorial:

I layed my wet flat out on the table.Then, following the tutorial, I twisted according to their instructions. Next, I added the rubber bands. After all I was sure the flat was going to stay folded, I applied the dyes. This kit had just enough dye for me to do five flour sack towels and a child sized t shirt. 

dyeing process

A couple of tips: Make sure to shake the bottle of dye very well to completely dissolve the dye before you start adding your color. I had some undissolved powder clog the tip of my tub and it sprayed out the side of the tip. To prevent it from happening again, before I started stuck a needle in the tip to make sure there wasn't any lingering powder blocking it. Also, be careful when flipping the flat to dye the other side, that you don't accidently mix the colors if some has leaked through or you have some spilled on the drop cloth. The colors could end up muddied and not the way you intended.

I also followed the Heart Tutorial and Rainbow Tutorial.

Next, was the hard part... the waiting! The instructions state to wrap each shirt (flats in my case) in plastic and wait 24 hours before rinsing. The reason for this is so the dye can set and the colors will come out nice and vivid. Little did I know, I wouldn't be waiting that long...

About nine hours in, I was getting ready for bed while I thought my toddler was occupied playing with toys. While I was washing my face, he came into the bathroom and said, "Hey, mom!" I looked down to him holding one of the tie dyed flats in his hands!

kid with dye on hands


He had scooted a chair over to the counter and moved all the tie dyed flats to the kitchen table. I grabbed it from him and then realized he was also wearing a VERY limited edition diaper. I ripped off the diaper and tried to rinse the dye off of him. Not only did it make my son a Smurf (luckily it wore off by the next day!) AND dyed my kitchen table, the dye also bled into the other colors of the flat, making it look like a muddy mess. I knew if I let them set any longer they would look like that permanently, so I decided to go ahead and rinse them. I would rather have less vivid colors than muddy ones!

First I rinsed my son's htf diaper off in cold water and luckily ALL of the dye came out! phew! Then I rinsed and wrung out the flats in cold water. I actually had to do this a few of times to get all the residual dye out. Then, the moment of truth. Time unfold the flats and see how they turned out...




I was so happy with the results! I continued rinsing them in cold water until it ran clear, following the instructions in this tutorial: Rinsing and Washing Then I threw them all in the washer. The written instructions did not specify whether or not the wash needed to be hot or cold, but the video indicated that it should be cold. Once I took the flats out of the wash, I notice that there still seemed to have residual dye. I rinsed them again in cold water in the sink. I looked online and found a different site that recommended washing on hot with a little bit of detergent, so that's what I did and it seemed to do the trick. Just to be safe though, I didn't start using them until I had run them through a few hot wash cycles. 

I would suggest washing them separately for several wash cycles before using them or washing them with other laundry. I'm actually washing them separately from my other flats because I'm nervous about them possibly bleeding. I've seen a couple of sites that recommend waiting months before washing with other laundry, so just be careful and use your own judgement!


I've been using these flour sack towels during the challenge and haven't had any trouble yet with the colors bleeding or rubbing off onto my son's skin or diaper. I was very nervous to try my hand at tie dying, but honestly it's really easy and so much fun! If I can do it, you can too!


tye dyed flat



The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is giving me a trial separation from my pocket diapers... I'm considering breaking up with them! ;) Check out my personal blog, Apron Strings Attached to read my open letter to my pocket diapers. :) 


Also, follow me on Instagram where I’ll share the good, the bad, and the yucky throughout my week participating in the Flats Challenge! (@apronstringsattached) If you’re participating in the challenge, be sure to use the hashtag #flatschallenge and #bringingflatsback so we can follow you too!  :)




Stephanie Beck is a busy mama of four. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family. Stephanie started her blog, Apron Strings Attached, because she wanted to share her experiences with raising kids, breastfeeding struggles and success, and cloth diapering. She now enjoys blogging about life in cloth diapers for TGN.



*Although I am compensated for my time writing, all opinions expressed are genuine and 100% my own.