What’s the Deal with Flour Sack Towels in Cloth Diapers?

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting Hacks

Don’t forget to check out my post about using FSTs on a newborn!

Have you heard of FSTs? I’ve been seeing threads popping up all over cloth diapering forums about Flour Sack Towels, aka, FSTs. To be more specific, Flour Sack Towels sold at Walmart:

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting HacksMamas have been raving about using them as inserts in their cloth diapers. In Canada, a package of five sells for $7 (it’s less in the States), so that works out to $1.40 per insert. The towels are made of 100% cotton, and are extremely thin, like a cheap hotel bedsheet!

Here are some of the other inserts in my stash to show you how an unfolded FST looks in terms of size. (Top left corner is Öko Creations, Bummis medium-sized prefold on the right, BumGenius regular insert below.)

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting Hacks

I wanted to investigate the effectiveness of FSTs as an alternative to more expensive cloth diaper inserts. I know that some Mamas use them in lieu of flat diapers, but having never diapered using flats, I don’t feel qualified to compare. I used my FSTs as inserts in my pocket diapers and as inserts in my “AI2” systems:

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting Hacks

You know what? They worked just fine! Cotton is super absorbent and super easy to launder (compared to microfiber). The shape of these towels (28 in x 29 in, and I noticed minimal shrinkage after washing) makes it extremely easy to fold them just as you wish to get the perfect fit and maximize absorbency as needed. To make sure there are extra layers up in the wet zone for my son, I’ve been folding like this:

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting HacksI found the FSTs to be sufficient for my 2-year-old average wetter (I definitely don’t consider him to be a heavy wetter) for about 2 hours. Normally I use Öko Creations inserts in my diapers, which are definitely more absorbent, but definitely more expensive if you’re trying to get your babe diapered for the lowest price possible.

If you want to cloth diaper effectively and extremely inexpensively, I absolutely would recommend investing in good, durable diaper covers and using FSTs as your insert in an AI2 system, meaning you don’t need 24 separate covers since you can reuse them for multiple changes. If you want to use them in pocket diapers, then choose a brand of pocket diaper that can be purchased without inserts (so that you’re not paying for inserts you don’t need). For example, you can buy Funky Fluff shells without inserts, and AMP and AppleCheeks are both sold without inserts.

For a cheap “stay dry” effect, you can add a fleece liner to your FST insert when using as an All-in-two.

For a cheap, boosted insert, I tried folding a small microfiber dishcloth from Dollarama and placing it in the center of a FST like so:

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting HacksAs you can see, the dishcloth, when folded in half, is the same size and thickness as a BumGenius newborn insert, which I use as a booster in my pocket diapers for day care! (Make sure you do wrap the microfiber in the FST, as microfiber shouldn’t touch baby’s skin.) I found this system to be extra absorbent, and this could be a better option for a heavy wetter.

Flour sack towels are trim inserts, even when folded up as shown above:

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting Hacks

If you are just short a few inserts for your collection to make it til wash day, definitely, buy a 5-pack… you can’t really lose. Worst case scenario? You’ve got some dishcloths, or… a cape!

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting HacksNo Walmart near you? You can even order them online (affiliate link)! Wash your FSTs once before use. They will continue to gain absorbency with subsequent washings.

I have also found FSTs at Loblaws (in western Canada, Super Store, I presume!), a 3-pack is $5.50. They are the same dimensions and seem pretty much identical, but we haven’t tried them yet.

Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) as Cloth Diaper Inserts - Cloth Diaper Parenting Hacks

Have you tried FSTs? How do you use them?

29 responses to “What’s the Deal with Flour Sack Towels in Cloth Diapers?”

  1. Cassandra Rae

    I find they work great as an ai2 but bunch a lot and don’t work stuffed in a pocket. If I stuff I need to use 2 of them. But I think they are great for anyone on a budget! Putting them in my grovia shells is my fave, they fit better than prefolds. I usually use them while I’m doing diaper laundry because I’m weird and I don’t like my good diapers sitting the longest. Ya know what I mean haha. Someone has to feel the same!

    1. Lindsay

      I do know what you mean! I’ve so far not had a problem with bunching in my AppleCheeks, no more than with other inserts.

    2. Sheridan

      You could try adding a snap to your diapers and the FSTs in the same spot they usually line up when folded? Not foolproof but it might help?

  2. Cassandra Rae

    Also I keep a few in the car and diaper bag. I’ve used them as burp cloths, bibs, face wipes , and a substitute for an aden and anais swaddle blanket ! (not to swaddle but my 13 month old rubs the swaddle blanket with her hands and on her face in the car when she is sleepy so I’ve given her one to help her fall asleep in the car. You truly can’t lose if you purchase a pack. You can also use them for cleaning up messy toddler spills or dryin dishes.

    1. Lindsay

      Great ideas, Cassandra!!

  3. Danielle

    The best part about FSTs is that they dry really quickly. I’ve made the switch from micro-fiber inserts to FSTs because my micro-fiber inserts took forever to dry!

  4. Kim

    I bought 25 FSTs with 6 Assunta diaper covers and they have been working pretty good for the price. I do have a pretty heavy wetter and end up usually having to change once an hour. I fold them into the diaper bag fold. I just recently started to tri-fold another FST to add to it, so I could go without changing except maybe every 1.5 to 2 hrs. During his 2 hr naps, just to be on the safe side, I use a hemp doubler with just one FST. At night, I still have to use disosposables until I could buy some bamboo flats and something else with more absorbency.

  5. Melissa K

    Love love love fsct! We use them almost exclusively in Applecheeks covers! Thanks for the idea about dollerama microfiber inserts!!

  6. […] Another very cost effective option to get you through the “until our one-size diapers fit” stage is to buy half a dozen newborn covers, and a set of flour sack towels. […]

  7. Katie M

    I haven’t tried fsts but when I try when I start cloth diapering next month I think I’ll give them a go since it’s not that expensive to try out. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Jennifer Young

    I couldn’t find the mainstay fst at walmart and at walmart.ca they are out of stock. Any idea if this is just temporary?

    1. Lindsay Gallimore

      LOL I sadly don’t have the inside track on Walmart inventory 😉

    2. Cassidy Leigh Lorent

      They no longer sell it. But target has a 4pk of flour sack towels that are similar for 4$

      1. Lindsay Gallimore

        I think Canadian Walmart still does, and Target is closing here 🙁 However I have seen them at the grocery chain, Loblaws!

  9. […] What’s the Deal with Flour Sack Towels in Cloth Diapering? […]

  10. […] hemp/cotton boosters and inserts. If you’re on a budget, you may be able to work with flour sack towels to increase your diapers’ […]

  11. […] (correct me if I’m wrong!). I will be writing a post about how to bridge that gap using flour sack towels and newborn covers in the near future, so stay […]

  12. Jaime Spear

    I am in the process of creating a newborn stash for baby number 4. Baby 3 was our first experience with cloth diapers at 4-5 months old. I came across the idea of using FST and I love it! You can find them for $1 a piece at Target stores and Target.com- an even cheaper option!

    Thanks for the post!

  13. Landrillion

    Just picked some up the other day, love them! Walmart in scarborough just got more in stock after being sold out forever

  14. […] it can safely touch baby’s skin.   You can also wrap a microfiber insert in a flour sack towel to make your own “all-in-two” […]

  15. Kelley

    Do you prefer flour sack towels over prefolds? I am expecting and have never cloth diapered before. I am trying to figure out which to go with. Thanks!

    1. My favourite inserts are Öko Créations hemp trifolds, but they are pricey. Prefolds are awesome, too. For me FSTs are the best “cloth diapering on a budget” option, especially on a newborn (I have a post on that), but if there’s a bit of money to invest in a stash, I would go with prefolds or hemp trifolds over FSTs.

      1. Kelley

        I ended up purchasing 2-10 packs of flour sack towels at Walmart for $7.88 each. I’m super excited!! Do I have to do anything special to prepare to use the FST for cloth diapering or can I just wash and dry them normally? Thanks!!

        1. Lindsay

          Nope- I mean, I figure they might gain a touch of absorbency after a few washes, but one wash is fine!

          1. Kelley

            Thanks so much!!

  16. […] is to use an “all-in-two” system made up of reusable diaper covers and either prefolds, flour sack towels or receiving blankets as inserts. You could easily set yourself up for less than $100, and as you […]

  17. […] moms use flour sack towels. These are highly absorbent cotton kitchen towels that can be repurposed for cloth diapering. Flour sack towels can be purchased at many big box stores (Walmart, Target, Real Canadian […]

  18. Mary

    Ladies, Sam’s Club has 12 FSTs for $12.78

  19. Connie

    You can buy these at Dollar General.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

Wildcard SSL Certificates