Today is the first day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For one full week, participants from all across the country promise to use flat cloth diapers, just like our grandmothers and maybe even our mothers used to use, AND wash them by hand. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have easy access to a washer and dryer.


There is another reason why today is a special day... It’s Mother’s Day! A day when we celebrate motherhood, and all the moms in our lives. On this day, as I’m folding and using flat cloth diapers on my baby, I’m thinking of my grandmother… She passed away when I was a junior in high school, so I never got the chance to have a conversation with her about what it was like for her raising my mom and her siblings. I am sure she did this many times over for all seven of her children… folding flat cloth diapers and washing them by hand.  She didn’t have the luxury of a washer and dryer or the convenience of tossing a disposable in the trash. When she needed clean diapers for her babies, she most likely got out the washboard and scrubbed them by hand and dried them on the line. That’s just the way it was done back then. How things have changed…


flats on line


Nowadays, the new norm is disposable diapers. Besides the environmental impact of disposables piling up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to decompose, there is another BIG problem. One in three families struggle to afford clean diapers for their babies. When using disposable diapers, families are essentially throwing money away with each diaper change… much needed money that could go toward groceries or bills.


We need to spread the word to these struggling families, that no matter what your budget or whether or not you have access to a washer and dryer, you have options. There are families who have to choose between putting food on the table and affording clean diapers for their babies. Some even try to reduce the number of diapers they use per day by stretching out time between diaper changes, even going to such lengths as blow drying wet diapers and scraping out soiled diapers and putting them back on their babies. These families need to know, there is another way.

I’m certain that there are families out there who would benefit from learning about the option of flat cloth diapers and handwashing. That's the reason why I am taking the challenge. If the time I spend helping to spread the word and washing my son’s diapers by hand helps just one family, it will make it totally worth it for me.


Many of our grandmother’s used flats and washed our parents’ diapers by hand because that’s the way it was done back then. They had to make do with what they had, and that was most likely a wash board and old flour sack towels. Throughout this week, as I hang diapers out on the line, I'll think of my Grandma doing the same thing way back when. I imagine her outside, probably with a few barefoot, filthy kiddos running wild beneath her feet while she hung their diapers out on the line. What a beautiful sight I bet that was...  


baby running under clothesline  


Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!


Spreading the word about cloth diapers is important to me... so important that I will be working not one, but TWO blogs this entire week! Check out my blog Apron Strings Attached where I get a little more personal, explaining why I think it's so important to spread the message to families struggling to afford diapers, and how I can relate...


Also, follow me on Instagram where I’ll share the good, the bad, and the yucky throughout my week participating in the Flats Challenge! 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.