Why I don't Like FST
FST were not a good choice for me.
Why FST Might be the Best
But FST were a great choice for Kaitlynn at Modern Bottom Babies.
What is a FST?
FST is an abbreviation for Flour Sack Towel and it is a common kitchen towel found at most home goods stores. For cloth diapering you want a FST that is made with natural fibres and has a very low polyester blend. Most families pick up the $5-7 package from Walmart as a great intro flat diaper for boosting their stash.
FST offer about 6-8 ounces of absorbency, but may differ depending on the brand and product.
If FST are so cheap, why all the expensive flats & prefolds?
This is a good question because in the world of cloth diapering you have an unbelievable amount of options. You can cloth diaper for nothing by repurposing cotton materials in your home, or you can cloth diaper for thousands by using high quality luxurious hemp, bamboo’s and the like.
There are affiliate links in this post, but it is not a sponsored post.
So, if Flour Sack Towels, available for $5-7 for a package of 6 work, why doesn’t everyone use them? Why do these $10 Bamboo Prefolds from Nuggles exist, or even the $4 osocozy bamboo/cotton flat diapers (which by the way, long time users are telling me they shrink like crazy).
Because we all cloth diaper for our own reasons and we all have different needs.
Flour Sack Towels, yes, they are cheap, but I don’t like them. I even an entire post on my personal blog about why I don’t recommend them. I don’t like how they wash up, and because my kids are moderate to heavy wetters, they are not absorbent enough.
Some of the Many Reasons Families Use Expensive Absorbency for Cloth Diapers
- They didn’t know – many parents don’t know that you can use anything inside a pocket cloth diaper or a cloth diaper cover. We often get wrapped up in these ideas about only this way or that way, only cloth diaper products, but really cloth diapering has no rules (except don’t put microfibre against the skin).
- Brand Loyalty or Support – for some families it is about the brand, but not in a brand snobbery way, but in a this brand makes a great product that works for me and I can afford it way. I also know people who just need to use Best Bottom Inserts with Best Bottom Diapers and that’s the only way they work. It’s who they are as a person, and that’s okay.
- They need a simpler product like a prefold because they would rather fold twice and not 5 times.
- They need more absorbency and while FST are cheap, maybe they are okay with spending more money to buy a product that will meet their child’s absorbency. Many kids need 15 ounces at nap or night and that means 3 FST or a Nuggles 3 Ply Size 2, Smart Bottoms Large, Flip Night Time, and many others.
- They want more sustainable textile choices – for many families the environment is the reason they cloth diaper and make choices in their life, and the textiles we choose can impact the overall sustainability of cloth diapers. FST tend to be just regular old bleached cotton, nothing fancy but also not the best ecologically speaking if you’re going to get down to the nitty gritty.
- They have other needs – maybe someone needs stretchy large flats for a toddler because they fold them onto their child or maybe they need something trimmer to pair with a different insert.
- Their child just doesn’t respond well to wet cotton – it appears that some kids get rashes from wet cotton and it’s called a wetness sensitivity and treated with fleece liners, but the more parents I’ve talked with the more I’m wondering if its cotton and not the wet, because when these parents switch to hemp or bamboo products they dont’ experience the struggle. Food for thought because the world is just a little more complicated.
If you use more expensive prefolds and flat inserts for your cloth diapers, why?
For me it’s about sustainable choices and supporting small businesses with a product that just works better for my family. I can afford to cloth diaper in the upper mid price range and these products work best for my family; however, my reasons for cloth diapering are mine only.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fold a flour sack towel for cloth diapers
The easiest way to fold a FST for cloth diapers is to fold it into a pad, or a rectangle, and add it to a pocket or cloth diaper cover.
What is the best insert for cloth diapers?
The one that works for your family. This might be a FST because it’s cheap, easy to wash, and fairly absorbent.
When is the best time to use FST?
How do you sew a FST into a Prefold?
Fold it to the shape you want, and stitch together.
Can I use a FST like a flat?
Yes, you could use it like a flat and fold it onto baby using any number of fancy flat folds
Can I hand wash FST?
YES! FST are incredibly easy to handwash.
Is a Tea Towel a Flour Sack Towel?
Not really, tea towels are more decorative kitchen towels and often a thicker material. FST are 100% cotton and more like a muslin blanket.
Professional Cloth Diaper Educator
Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.
Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.
Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.
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About the Cloth Diaper Podcast
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is a somewhat regular podcast sharing stories from cloth diaper parents, brands and retailers from around the world.
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is not affiliated with any school of thought of diaper laundry but instead focus on the power of peer-to-peer story telling to empower you to make your own cloth diaper journey.
Cloth Diapering is not this or that, but rather many different experiences.