Affiliates Cloth Diapers Flat Diapers Flats Flats Challenge Review

Flour Sack Towels as Flat Cloth Diapers / Comparison to Birdseye Flats

flour sack towels 1 vs birdseye

As you may already know, I signed up for the flats challenge and I needed more flats. I’d never used a flour sack towel as a flat cloth diaper, and wondered how they compared to Birdseye flats (especially since they are often priced similarly.)

flour sack towels 14 pkg

You can find flour sack towels in the kitchen section of places like Wal-Mart, Target and Ikea, or online at Amazon.

flour sack towels 15 in pkg flour sack towels 16 in plg

I found a 24-pack at Sam’s Club online for $20.68. After I paid the non-member surcharge and shipping, they were just over $1 each.

flour sack towels 1 vs birdseye

At first glance, I wasn’t sure about these, but I decided to withhold judgement.

flour sack towels 2 birdseye flour sack towels 3 flour sack

Right out of the package, they seemed to have a very loose weave, and felt more like a thin restaurant napkin. More like polyester than cotton. Above is my hand behind a Birdseye flat and behind one of the towels.

flour sack towels 4 pre washing flour sack towels 5 pre washing

The particular towels I bought are pretty huge at 37″+ square prior to washing (advertised as 36″ square.) Even if you are pad folding and don’t need the extra material to fold around a larger baby, 9 extra inches in each direction is way more absorbency compared to a 27″ flat. (1296 square inches vs 729, or 77% more material if I’m doing the math right.)

flour sack towels 6 after washing flour sack towels 7 after washing

As is typical for any flat, the towels shrank more in one direction, and each flat shrinks a bit differently.

flour sack towels 8 pre and after washing

The towels don’t need to be “prepped,” but I washed & dried them several times to shrink them and get much of the lint off. After doing that, the weave was much tighter (see the photo above with one before & one after) and I was feeling much better about using these as diapers!

flour sack towels 9 doubled flour sack towels 10 single

They are definitely bulky doubled up (above left) but just fine pad folded singly (above right.)

flour sack towels 11 pad fold inside origami fold flour sack towels 12 pad inside origami
flour sack towels 13 pad in origami

One pad folded inside another origami folded give double absorbency with slightly less bulk. It was similar to my son’s night time pockets which are stuffed with a Knickernappies Superdo insert.

flour sack towels 17 in small sz 2 capri flour sack towels 18 in small sz 2 capri

They fit fine pad folded in the small setting of a size 2 Swaddlebees Capri cover (above.)

flour sack towels 19 in lg size 2 capri flour sack towels 20 in lg size 2 capri

They also fit pad folded in the large setting of the size 2 Swaddlebees Capri. A single towel was OK for my 4 1/2 month old and my almost 3-year old, as long as I changed them regularly.

flour sack towels 21 doubled in origami flour sack towels 22 doubled in origami

I put one pad folded inside an origami folded flour sack towel, and my older son wore it for more than 4 hours. It’s hard to judge absorption with him sometimes, since he can stay dry for a while and then flood a diaper, but I intentionally left this combo on him longer than usual to test it. When we took it off, the wings of the origami folded towel were barely damp (though most of the rest of the combo was pretty soaked!) I am pleasantly surprised! I’m also hoping to finally buy the un-paper towel house I’ve been pining over forever, and use these as un-paper towels when I’m finished with them as diapers (I might need to cut them into quarters and find someone to serge the edges for me!)

FTC compliance: All pictured items were purchased at normal retail prices. Although this post contains an affiliate link, I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • October 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

    […] you have a cloth diaper cover, you’re golden. Use a flour sack towel, kitchen towel or even a t-shirt as your absorbency and you’re on your […]

  • Alayna
    February 25, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Hi there! Brand new CD-ing mommy-to-be! I used ‘sposies with my first (7 years ago) and had SO many issues, cloth is just the optimal choice. I want to add flats to complete my collection, but not sure if I should simply buy Target flour sack towels or “splurge” and buy the Diaper Rite flats. Also, if I go with the latter, I would be buying the smaller size and then buying again when baby outgrows (either in absorbency or size). The latter is certainly more of an investment, but in your opinion, is it a necessary one?

    • February 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      If I were you, I’d start out with flour sack towels. With the money you save, you can add “better” or “fancier” diapers to your stash as you like!

  • March 15, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    […] from has reviewed GeffenBaby Hemp Flats, Flour Sack Towels, and Diaper Rite Unbleached Flats.  Maria uses lots of photos in her reviews so you really get an […]

  • May 12, 2014 at 8:30 am

    […] majority of my stash consists of extra-large flour sack towels from Sam’s. I have 23 (it was a pack of 24 but one is in my cloth seminar stash) but will […]

  • December 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

    […] for his favorites and toss rejects back in the basket, hee hee.) However, I know he would learn to origami fold a flat before we went back to disposables and the rash that came with them. In fact, I reminded him that […]

  • October 29, 2013 at 9:00 am

    […] easily rotate 2-3 covers throughout the day. The flats challenge showed me that using flat diapers, flour sack towels or even receiving blankets as diapers is a very valid option. In fact, once you fold them into […]

  • August 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    […] that stash!) If you need to buy diapers more slowly, consider purchasing 2 or 3 covers, and using flour sack towels or receiving blankets as soakers. It sounds crazy & difficult, but I promise it isn’t. […]

  • May 21, 2013 at 7:01 am

    […] bought flour sack towels for the flats challenge last year, and they make up the majority of my stash. They are the […]

  • November 16, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Great info! Did you happen to measure them after shrinking? I have some from Sam’s that are about 32″ just curious if they are the same. Thank you!


    • November 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

      I did! Above I took photos before & after washing. Looks like about 35 1/4 x 31.5″. They were advertised as 36″ and were about that before washing. 🙂

  • May 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    […] am participating in the flats challenge and will be using mostly flour sack towels as flats. (Sign up for the flats challenge!) I snagged some Hemp Babies Flats for night time use, […]

  • Justice
    May 3, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I’m already cloth diapering my infant. We have been trying really hard with zero funds to expand our stash….so our toddler can be in cloth too. On a whim, I bought a lot of 20 inserts a couple months ago knowing that I would be buying more diapers sans insert. Well, I’ve been a MF insert, folded in half at the front of his diaper, and a funky folded gerber burp cloth flat to cover it and the rest of a cover on the toddler to see if we could actually put him in cloth…..I have $30 for diapers budgeted this month. I told DH last night, I’m spending $15 of that on flour sack towels this week. I have a 27 pack of disposables. He can wear them at night if he has to, but putting him in flats with MF inserts will really not increase the diaper laundry at all because I’m already doing it. We basically have $12 at the end of the month for TP and other things that we NEED…and I can make that almost $30 if I put him in flats and share the stash….we don’t have time to wait for me to ‘win’ something, or find a free sewing machine somewhere so that I can make some diapers out of upcycled materials, we need to start NOW. So we are. I personally LOVE flats. They work nice for our infant too. I only have two of the flour sack towels, but I like those in the diapers a lot better than the way too small gerber burpies. The work good in a pinch to wrap around or cover some MF’s though. Plus, I can also handwash in a pinch too!

  • May 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! Now I know that I shouldn’t have put back the pack of flour sack towels at Wal-Mart last night because of the very loose weave. I need to go back to Wal-Mart now…

  • Tamara
    May 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’ve been using old flannel receiving blankets on my 21 month old. I just pad fold them and put them inside a Thirsties Duo cover and they work great–very absorbent. We are a few pocket diapers short of a full stash and these make shift diapers work great as a cheap (free) way to add a few diapers to our stash!

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