Cloth Diaper Info

Cloth Diapering Basics

All About Fitteds

All About Prefolds and Flats

All About Diaper Covers

Disposable Inserts

Stay Dry Liners

Why Cloth Diaper?

  1. To save money.  By saving the cost of disposable diapers and simply washing and reusing cloth diapers, you can save a ton of money.  Depending on brand, you can save an average of $1,500 to $2,500 by cloth diapering your child instead of using disposables.  You can save even more if you cloth diaper more than one child and even more if you use cloth training pants, cloth wipes, etc as well.  It adds up FAST.
  2. To protect sensitive bottoms.  Children who are cloth diapered have less chance of developing diaper rash and yeast infections.
  3. Decrease Male infertility.  Researchers have found that due to the fact that disposable diapers do not “breathe” and allow air flow through the diaper, the male scrotum over heats and destroys the body’s natural cooling mechanism thereby making the child sterile.
  4. Decrease Risk of Cancers.  Disposable diapers contain Dioxin which is a carcinogenic chemical.  This chemical is banned in most countries, but not the US.
  5. To save our Planet.  Researchers are estimating that a disposable diaper takes 500 years to decompose.  This means that every diaper your child, you, your parent, your grandparent, etc ever used still exists in a landfill somewhere.  It is estimated that 4% of all landfill waste is disposable diapers, this is the 3rd largest single item in landfills.
  6. Poop.  Most parents state that they do not want to cloth diaper because they do not want to have to deal with flushing the poop.  Did you know that fecal matter is NOT to go into the trash and even if your child is wearing a disposable, you are supposed to flush the poop?  Most disposable diapers state this on the side of the package, some manufacturers have taken this warning off.  However, warning or no warning, fecal matter is to be disposed of in a sewer or septic system.
  7. And Lastly.  It’s cute!  Who can resist those adorable colors and prints on those big old fluffy bottoms!!  Not only is it cute, it can be enjoyable too!

Six basic categories of cloth diapers:

Pockets -  Pocket diapers are a two part system that includes a waterproof cover with a special opening to “stuff” an insert into the diaper.  Once the diaper is stuffed, it is a one step process to put onto baby.  This diaper is great because you can "customize" what inserts and how much absorbency you need for certain times of day (awake, nap, night).  These diapers are easy to wash, dry fast, and are great because you can change how much absorbency you need.  However, some parents do not like having to “stuff” their diapers before they can be used.

All in Ones (AIO) – As the name implies, this is a diaper that has no removable or additional part.  And All in One consists of a waterproof cover with an attached absorbable inner layer.  Simply put onto baby, use, take off baby, and then throw into wash.  While they are extremely simple to use, these diapers can be more expensive and more difficult to dry!  

Prefold/ Flats – These are what most people traditionally think of as cloth diapers.  It is a square or rectangular piece of fabric of varying size, thickness, and fabric.  A prefold or flat needs to either be fitted to baby with pins or a snappi and then a cover put on over top.  Or it can simply be folded and placed in a waterproof cover and then put on baby.  This is one of the cheapest options when cloth diapering, but can also be the most time consuming to put onto baby depending on which method you use.

Fitted – A tailor fitted diaper with a Velcro or Snap closure that hugs close to baby.  This diaper does not require folding or stuffing but does require a waterproof cover as the fitted itself is not waterproof.  This option is extremely absorbent.  However, depending on what kind or brand you get, this can get pricey.  Also, this is a two step process since you have to put the fitted on and then the cover.  This option is great for absorbency, but can be difficult since you have to put two things on baby.

Covers – These are the waterproof outer shells that need to be put over top of fitteds, prefolds, or other inserts.  Many covers can be simply wiped or air dried between uses and do not need to be washed after every use.  Covers can come in a wide range of fabrics from PUL, laimated fabrics, Fleece, Wool, and more!  With this wide range of fabrics, there is also a wide range of prices!

All in Two (AI2) – All in Two diapers are somewhere in between all of the above.  An All in Two diaper consists of an outer waterproof shell and an insert.  The intent of All in Two diapers is that you can simply take out the wet/soiled insert, put in a new insert, and reuse the shell.  Inserts for AI2’s vary and can be a snap in soaker, a long insert, or a prefold-like insert.  These diapers are marketed as an “AI2” because they are sold as a 2 piece system with a reusable shell.  Many of these diapers are also marketed as “hybrid” diapers as they can also have a disposable insert used with them.  This option can also be a money saver since you need less covers and more inserts with the hope that you can reuse the shell throughout the day.

Snaps vs Velcro:

Velcro is also refered to as hook and loop or Aplix closure…for basic purposes, they are all Velcro.

Velcro – This closure is preferred by new cloth diapers, daddies, and grandmas since it is so simply to close the diaper on baby.  Also, this closure is as close to the ease of a disposable as cloth can get.  However, when washing, you do have to take care to ensure that your tabs are secure on the laundry tabs so that the Velcro does not stick to other diapers possibly ruining them or the Velcro.  Also, no matter how well you care for this closure, over time and use, the Velcro may wear out.  Many manufacturers use industrial strength Velcro to ensure that this closure lasts for a long time.  Many manufacturers will also replace worn out Velcro closures free of charge.

Snaps – There are many cloth diapers that only come in a snap closure (ex Fuzzibunz).  Snaps are great for children that have figured out how to get their diaper off since the snaps are harder to get undone and most kids cannot undo them.  Snap diapers are great for washing, there is no wear on the snaps and you do not have to worry about securing the tabs or causing harm to other diapers in the wash.  Snap diapers may not fit quite as well as the Velcro diapers since you have predetermined spots for closure, this may lead to leaks.  Also, Daddies and Grandmas tend to fear snaps.

Snap vs Velcro is a personal choice.  It is all in what you want.  And you do not have to lock into one or the other, many parents have a little of both!  I recommend getting one of each and seeing which you like better and which works better for your child and other caregivers.

Sized vs One Size (and newborn)

Another choice to make is the sized vs one-size debacle.  This is another one of those personal choices. 

One Size Diapers are designed to fit from birth to potty.  Most one size diapers are listed as fitting from 7-35 (ish) pounds.  For many children however, one-size (OS) diapers will not fit at birth or 7 pounds and most likely will not fit well (with no leaks) until 10-12 pounds depending on your child’s build.  Some OS diapers have a lower rise, and may not make it until potty time either.  One Size diapers are great because they will get you through most of the diapering months/years, but you may need newborn diapers in the beginning and you may need larger diapers to get through to potty time.

Sized diapers come in an array of sizes.  They can be x-small, small, medium, large, x-large or size 1 and size 2.  The benefit of sized diapers is that you will have a better fit.  However, with sized diapers, you will have to buy the next size diapers when your child grows out of a size just like you would with disposables.  Depending on how many diapers you buy and how what brand/price you decide on, some parents feel that this can be more costly than OS diapers.  It all depends on how you spend your money, this option could be cheaper than OS diapers.

Newborn diapers are designed to be small enough to fit a newborn typically fitting 5-12 pounds (depending on the brand).  These are the diapers you would need to bridge the gap between birth and when the OS fit or would be the first step in the sized diapers.  Some companies make just a Newborn and a OS diaper, some companies make sized diapers starting with the Newborn size.  Each manufacturer has a different diapering system and lists different weights as the minimum and limits.

What if I don’t want to spend money on newborn diapers?  Honestly, most children make it to the 10-12 pound mark within a month or two of birth.  It is completely up to you as the parent to decide if you want to buy cloth diapers for that period or just use disposables until the OS diapers fit.  If this will be your last child, you may want to use disposables.  If you are having more children, the cloth may be worth the money.  Or, you can always sell your newborn diapers when you are finished with them and get some of that money back.


Many people are intimidated by the wash aspect of cloth diapering.  Really it is very simple.  Store your diapers in a dry wet bag or pail until wash day.  Be sure to wash your diapers every 2-3 days to avoid stinkies and ammonia build up in your diapers.  And be sure to chose a cloth diapering detergent that is A. safe for cloth diapers and B. works well with your water.  You want to chose a detergent that is free of dyes, brighteners, enzymes, fragrances, bleach, and softeners.  Detergents containing those elements can ruin your diapers or cause build up which can cause diaper rash/burns on baby.  So choosing a safe detergent is extremely important.   Most cloth diaper safe detergents are not available in local grocery stores.  The only semi-safe detergent that you can buy locally is Tide Original.  Tide Original does contain fabric softener and could possibly over time cause problems with your diapers.  Many parents use it with no trouble.  It all depends on your water and how much detergent you use.  Be very careful not to use too much detergent…too much of any detergent can ruin diapers or cause burns.

I personally use Tiny Bubbles.  This is an all natural detergent made by a large cloth diapering company GroVia and is made specifically for cloth diapers.  I have had no trouble with this detergent and would highly recommend it.

Websites to research detergents:

**Detergent choice will make or break your cloth diapering experience so please do not take this decision lightly.  Detergent choice is more important than the diaper choice.**

To wash your diapers, run diapers through a cold wash first with no detergent.  I use the delicate cold/cold cycle.  Then run diapers through a longer cycle on hot/cold with the detergent and then an extra rinse.  If you have a washer with a “sanitize” cycle, do not use this, it can ruin your diapers.  Then dry diapers as directed by the manufacturer.  Most diapers and inserts are dryer safe.  Some are hang to dry only.  All are hang dry safe! J

How to decide on a Cloth Diaper

**Number one tip, do not buy an entire stash of one diaper until you have tried a few**

I always compare buying cloth diapers to that of buy a new car.  There are just as many categories and options with diapers as there are with cars.  And just like buying a new car, do not buy an entire stash until you have taken that diaper for a “test drive.”  Allow other caregivers to “test drive” diapers as well before making a large purchase.

First of all, do research about the 6 basic catergories.  Decide which of those categories (or which two) suit you the best.  Think about what suits you, suits baby, and suits others who will be changing diapers.  Maybe even talk to other caregivers about their preferences.

Then decide what features are most important to you ie. Price, Snap vs Velcro, Fabric, Sized/OS, etc.  If price is the most important feature, then find diapers in your price range and this will narrow the diaper options.  If you are looking for only snap or only Velcro, that will narrow the options as well.  It is the same if you are wanting only organic fabrics, this will narrow the list of potential diapers.  All you can do is start narrowing the options by searching for your specific criteria.

Once you have looked around and have narrowed your choices to 2-5 diapers, it is time to buy.  I recommend buying (or doing a trial – I can give you more info on this later) at least 2-3 if not 2-5 different diapers.  It is important to try more than one in order to see what you like and more importantly, what fits baby best.  Different diapers will fit differently and one or the other may not fit your child well.

If interested, I have multiple affiliates that you can purchase from.  If you order through my affiliate links, you can earn me a commission.  Don’t feel that you have to though!

What you need to buy in your first purchase:

  1. Diapers!  As I said above, buy 2-5 different diapers.  This gives you the opportunity to try different diapers to see what works and what doesn’t.  This also gives you the opportunity to see if you even LIKE cloth diapering and get into a routine.  It is very hard to just completely switch to cloth diapering, so this gives you time to adjust and see if it is something that you want to continue.  And at 2-5 diapers, if you don’t like cloth diapering, you don’t have a ton of money wrapped up in it!  (if you don’t like it, there are plenty of places online to sell used diapers and you can easily get a good chunk of your money back)

  1. A wet bag.  Since you are only buying 2-5 diapers, you don’t need a huge wet bag.  Start with a small day size bag that holds 4-5 diapers.  Again, this way you don’t have something huge and expensive to buy up front, it will work well, and if you stop cloth diapering you won’t have a ton of money tied up in it.  If you continue to cloth diaper, as you buy more diapers, you can upgrade to a pail and pail liners if that is what you choose.  I can give you recommendations on a good wet bag if you need.  You will also find that the wet bag comes in handy for a ton of other uses such as to put wet swimsuits in after a day at the pool, to put bath items in for trips, etc.  A wet bag is always a handy item.

  1. Detergent.  As discussed above, this is vital to your cloth diapering success.  Also, since you will probably be ordering your diapers online, you can order detergent at the same time. 


  1. If you are using prefolds and plan to wrap them on baby, you may need a snappi or pins.
  2. Cloth Diaper safe diaper cream.  Most of the diaper creams that you get a local grocery stores and super centers have zinc oxide in them which is not safe for cloth diapers/
  3. Cloth Wipes.  These can be bought or made from baby wash cloths or cut up receiving blankets. 
  4. Cloth Wipe Solution.  You can simply wet your wipes with water or use a wipes solution containing oils that are beneficial and healing to baby skin.
  5. Container or Spray Bottle for wipes or Solution.
  6. Liners.  Many parents would rather use a bio-liner or fleece liner in their diapers to shield the diaper from stains and ointments or to aid in the removal of poop from the diaper.
  7. Some extra inserts for night time use.  Most diapers do not come with enough inserts/ absorbency for night time use.  You may want to purchase some additional inserts to use at night.

One other note:  There are TONS of places online to buy gently used diapers.  If you are on a tight budget or just want to save as much as possible, there are some great places to buy next to new diapers at a fraction of the retail price.  There are tons of people who buy diapers, use them once, and sell them or their child potty trained before the diaper got used.  There are also many people who want to buy something else and sell their used diapers for the money to upgrade.  Let me know if you are interested!

Where to Buy:

There is no place locally to shop.  The closest store is (a)Happy Baby Company in Pittsburgh.  Adam and Lilli (the owners) are friends of mine, so if you are stopping in, let me know!!  They are also online and have free shipping over $35 and $3 flat rate shipping under $35!

There are so many places online to shop.  I would highly recommend:

(a)Kelly’s Closet – Build it yourself Sampler Package – Free Shipping over $49 – Many Coupons
Jillians’s Drawers – Trial Program – OS Sampler – Free Shipping over $99
(a)Diaper Safari – Free Shipping
(a)Fluff Envy – Free Shipping over $35
Nicki’s Diapers – Free Shipping over $75 – Many Sampler packages

Lingo and Abbreviations

AIO - All in One diaper 
AI2 - All in Two diaper 
CD - cloth diaper
PUL - polyurethane laminate; the material used as the waterproof outer on many diapers
WAHM - work-at-home mom (there are many WAHM’s that make diapers and sell online)