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4 cloth diapering choices defined

Anyone looking into the world of cloth diapers for the first time can feel overwhelmed. There are so many different websites with so many different types of diapers available—it’s easy to experience information overload. But cloth diapering is simple once you find the system that works for you.

There are some variations, but overall, there are four basic types of cloth diapering systems. All systems include some sort of absorbent cloth next to the skin, as well as a waterproof outer layer.

1. Pre-folds + covers

This is the primary system I use. A pre-fold diaper is a piece of cloth that’s been folded up and sewn to stay that way—hence the name. A prefold diaper looks like this:

burp cloths cloth diapers

These are not the same as the cheap brands you buy as basic burp cloths; they’re far more absorbent and much higher quality. You fasten them together with diaper pins or a Snappi, which is a stretchy plastic fastener with grippers like an Ace bandage. It looks like this:


This is the absorbent part, but you still need a waterproof cover. You can air out the covers between changes, swapping them back and forth, and re-use them until wash day (unless they get poop on them—then, into the diaper pail they go).

Advantages of prefolds

• This is the cheapest way to do cloth diapers—that’s why it’s our primary system.

• The prefolds are the easiest kind of cloth diaper to get really clean.

• The waterproof cover is separate from the cloth, so you can take better care of it, and they’ll last longer. The waterproof covers shouldn’t go in the dryer, or they won’t last as long.

Disadvantages of prefolds

The only disadvantage I find is that it’s less convenient than some of the other systems because there are more pieces (the diaper, the cover, plus a Snappi or pins). Because of this, other people like babysitters, grandparents, and child-care workers get nervous.

2. Fitteds + covers

A fitted diaper is like a prefold, except that it requires no folding and no pins—it’s already in the shape of a diaper (like a disposable), and fastens either with velcro or snaps. Here’s an example of a fitted diaper:


I’ve also used this system, and I really like it. Grandparents and babysitters tend to be more comfortable with fitteds than pre-folds. You still need to use a waterproof cover on these fitted diapers, just like with the pre-folds.

Wool covers are another solid choice—wool is very breathable, so it’s great for night-time (or anytime, really) and doesn’t need to be washed very often; just aired out, unless poop gets on them.

Wool covers are expensive, though, so we only have two, and only use them at night. Here’s an example of a wool cover:

wool cover

Advantages of fitteds + covers

1. This is still a pretty cheap way to do cloth diapers.

2. Fitteds are easier than prefolds because they’re already diaper-shaped, and you don’t have to deal with pins or Snappis.

3. The waterproof outer layer is still separate from the cloth, which means it will dry faster and last longer.

Disadvantages of fitteds + covers

1. Fitteds are still not as convenient and easy as some of the other systems.

2. Fitteds are not as cheap as prefolds.

3. Pocket diapers

Pocket diapers are a little hard to explain. With a pocket diaper, there’s an outer waterproof layer sewn to a cloth layer that goes against the skin, with an opening in the back between the two. Here’s an example of a pocket diaper:

pocket diaper

You put an absorbent insert into that opening, then remove the insert for washing, and put both the insert and diaper into the wash together. Most brands come with their own inserts, or you can use pre-folds or purchase additional inserts. The whole diaper fastens with either velcro or snaps. We use these at night, too, and they’re very absorbent.

Advantages of pocket diapers

• This system is easy and convenient—you can have a bunch of diapers with inserts already inside at the changing table, ready to go. Babysitters will love it.

• You can separate the inserts out from the rest of the diaper for washing and drying, so you get the inserts really clean. Then you can dry the inserts in the dryer, and you can line-dry the rest of the diaper, making it last longer.

Disadvantages of pocket diapers

• They’re a bit more expensive than the first two options.

• It’s a bit harder to get the diaper itself really clean. I’ve found that anytime the cloth against the skin is sewn to the waterproof outer layer, it’s a little harder to really clean them well.

• Pocket diapers rarely use natural fibers in the layer that’s against the skin—it’s usually a sort of polyester microfiber designed to wick moisture away from the skin.

4. All-in-ones

An all-in-one diaper is what it sounds like: the waterproof layer, the absorbent layer, and the layer against the skin are all sewn together in one diaper. It’s diaper-shaped, and it fastens with velcro or snaps. It’s super easy; it’s essentially a reusable disposable. Here’s an example of an all-in-one diaper:


Advantages of all-in-ones

• This is by far the easiest and most convenient system of them all—the grandparents will barely know the difference.

Disadvantages of all-in-ones

• All-in-ones are the most expensive of the systems. There may be a lot of up-front sticker shock, but you will still save money in the long run over disposables, even if you only use all-in-ones and nothing else. You can re-use them for the next baby and save even more.

• These are the hardest kind of cloth diaper to get completely clean.

• They may not last as long as other systems if you put them in the dryer.

This covers all the major cloth diapering systems. There are a few variations, but for the most part, this is what you need to know to decide which system will work best for you.

There’s a few other things to consider.

Cloth wipes

You’ll need about two to three dozen. I keep a spray bottle with water at the changing table, and either just use spray that onto the bare bottom, or sometimes I use this spray, too, if I need a little extra clean-up help.

For really messy diapers, I still use disposable wipes – I just find it easier.

Washing the diapers

If it’s a pee diaper, you can just throw it into the diaper pail. With the poopy ones, you need to wash the poop down the toilet unless they’re not eating solids yet (then it can still go straight into the wash). You can dunk them up and down into the toilet, or you can use a sprayer attached to the toilet to spray it off.

I spray them with BioKleen Bac-Out; the enzymes start the cleaning process right away and leave no stains behind. Then we have a separate smaller diaper pail in the bathroom, where we put those diapers until wash time.

You need to wash about every three days, or you risk the growth of bacteria. You also shouldn’t use detergents that leave residue behind. Charlie’s Soap is my favorite, but there are a lot of good options. Here’s a good rundown on how to wash them.

No matter which system you choose, you’re making a great choice for the environment and for your budget. And one last thing—they’re so darn cute… Nothing cuter than a baby crawling around with a little cloth diaper on.

p.s. – The 411 of cloth diapering 101, cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and 3 compelling reasons to try them.

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Reading Time:

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  1. Casey

    I used pocket diapers with my son, after finally figuring out that the disposable diapers were causing his serious diaper rashes. The wicking properties were fantastic for his sensitive skin. After switching to cloth and cloth wipes (with just warm water) his horrible rashes finally cleared up for good (and we had tried everything before!) I found them to be just as easy as disposables, and I simply ran one extra wash a day (I run laundry every day, anyway). I really, really wish I had used cloth from the beginning – it was simple, economical, and so much better for his bottom and the earth!

    Casey´s last blog post…Paper Pendant tutorial

    • Laurie

      ditto for us! wish I would have figured it out earlier. Cloth was the ticket.

  2. Emma @

    This post is AMAZING! I wish I had a manual like that when I was trying to choose between cloth and disposable diapers. Because of the confusion I got into reading bits and pieces of information about cloth diapers, my choice was to go with the disposable ones. Cloth ones looked to labor-intensive to me, when they really aren’t – not according to explanation here. Thanks a bunch!

    Emma @´s last blog post…Potty training, step 1 – choosing a potty

  3. Rebecca

    I have a question about washing, since you say you use a full scoop then half a scoop on your diapers…do you have absorbency issues? When we first started using them, I used too much soap and we had some problems with no absorbency (i.e. I was peed on). I finally cut back on soap until I found the bare minimum (around a tablespoon with a small amout of things like oxyclean or washing soda used in the prewash cycle) I needed to get the diapers clean. We also had to change brands of laundry soap.

    Rebecca´s last blog post…Still coughing, plus garden surplus!

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Rebecca, thanks for the question! I don’t have absorbency issues, but it could be different for everyone. It depends on what kind of detergent you’re using, how hard or soft your water is, whether your child is a really heavy wetter or not, etc. So there are a lot of factors that play into it. Trial and error is really the best way to find out how much detergent you should use, which is exactly what you figured out yourself!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  4. Abbie

    I use cotton Pul covers with snaps and a prefold inside, and I just fold the sides of the prefold in to make it skinnier and stick it inside. No pins or snappis needed. I also use homemade laundry soap and it works great.

    • Alissa

      I wanted to note that we also use the prefold system without any pins or snappis. The waterproof cover holds the diaper in place just fine.

  5. Nicole

    What a great and thorough post. I use #2 and have enjoyed the experience for the most part.
    However, I would add to the disadvantages, at least for this type, the bulk of the diaper. My children are on the high end of weight and height for their ages and so I often have a hard time stuffing them into button pants and shorts with the fitteds and covers system. My friends that have the all in one seem to have a more slim package overall.

    Thanks again for the informative post.

    Nicole´s last blog post…You Can Change, Really YOU Can

  6. Abby

    What a great breakdown of the options! We use All-in-Ones, and we’re happy with our choice. They really are quite cute!

    We’re definitely saving money on the Large size, but our daughter had a growth spurt while she was in the Mediums – I’m pretty sure we lost out on those. But that’s okay – it was still pretty close.

    I also like the fact that she isn’t advertising cartoon characters on her tush.

  7. Joanna

    I use a mix … prefolds w/covers at home; AIOs when out and about.

    I wish I had just gone with the AIOs.

  8. Allegra

    If I might add:

    Prefolds folded into a cover can oftentimes be the MOST convenient — no snappis or snaps to deal with, no wings to worry about drooping, less bulk. I wouldn’t have thought so when I first started cloth diapering, but now that my little one is squirming around more and more, I find myself more and more reaching for this option.

    Also, AIOs can be expensive, yes…but there are some fitteds out there that are ridiculously pricey!

    Allegra´s last blog post…Awesome Item of the Day

  9. Rachel

    I have cloth diapered both my girls from about 2 months to toliet training. (didn’t earlier because of recovery time from birth)
    I use prefolds and prorap covers. I do have 1 or 2 AIO in the small and medium sizes to make it easier for changing outside the home or for church nursery. I haven’t needed to use pins or snappies.
    I wash a little differently then stated above. I shake/dunk the soiled diapers in the toliet to remove the majority of the solids. Then it gets put in a dry diaper pail that has a small box of baking soda dumped in the bottom (1lb box). At wash time I dump everthing into the washer including the baking soda. I make sure the covers are velcroed shut inside out so the get clean and don’t make a chain in the washer. I run through a cold cycle without adding any additional stuff (already has the baking soda) Then I run a hot cycle with detergent (only up to the first mark on the cap), 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/8 cup oxi-clean if there are a lot of soiled diapers. I fill the softner well with distilled white vinegar for the rinse (about 1/2 cup – helps balance the pH). I do a sniff test after the hot cycle, if still a little smelly run a cold cycle without adding anything, otherwise put the prefolds and wipes in the dryer on cotton setting and hang the covers to dry (I like to hang in the sun if possible – it will remove/lighting any stains)

  10. Angie

    Great post! I’ll definitely be pointing anyone with questions about cloth diapering this way.

    We use a combination of systems. The bulk of our diapers consist of prefolds with PUL covers. They were the most economical for us and really easy to do once you get the hang of folding the prefold in a way that works for you. We use an assortment of diapers for nighttime. We have 2 different brands of pocket diapers: Happy Heineys and Fuzzi Bunz. Of the pocket diapers, Fuzzi Bunz are my favorite. They seem to be the most absorbent and fit my son really well. In addition to the disadvantages listed for pocket diapers, I would add fit. It’s harder to find a brand that fits your baby’s shape well. We also have a few bamboo fitted diapers (Bamboozle brand) that we’ve used since my son was a newborn (he’s 22 months old now). We use them with an added insert for absorbency with a PUL cover. And when we’re out and about? I always have a small stash of disposables. It just works better for me.

    What’s really impressed me is the durability of the diapers. We are on our second child, and other than replacing a few covers and buying a few large sized Fuzzi Bunz (my 1st was a teeny thing), we haven’t invested any more money into cloth diapers. When you look at the savings as you use them for more than one child it’s amazing. My diapers have held up so well I’m pretty sure I can re-sell them and get even more out of my investment.

  11. steadymom

    Wow – thanks for such a detailed post! I wish I had had this much information when I was deciding for cloth a few years ago. I ended up using prefolds and snappis – it worked really well for my first.

    It’s amazing how much is out there now to make cloth diapering so convenient!


    steadymom´s last blog post…What Do You Think? – Dealing with Frustration

  12. Christina

    Thanks so much for this post! I have been considering cloth diapering for my next child (although I am not pregnant yet) and have had trouble sorting through all the information. Looking forward to the rest of this series!

    Christina´s last blog post…Weekly Link Love

  13. Catherine

    I love that All-in-Ones (AIOs) come in such funky colours and fabrics. I have a full set of AIOs, enough to wash every second day. Yes it was a big set-up cost, but in the long run it is still cheaper than disposables, and I plan to re-use them for my next children. I find having a single system makes it easier for dad, grandparents and friends to know what to do.
    My 18mo knows the difference between ‘his’ nappies (that are brightly coloured) and everyone else’s ‘paper’ nappies. He can also tell me when he has wet himself because he feels wet. That helps me to change him straight away and also helps with potty training. Disposables are designed to feel dry but if you don’t change them and they wee again they overload and leek everywhere.

    Catherine´s last blog post…Our Free? Bed

  14. Christine @ Live to Learn

    I have been using cloth diapers for over a year now with our 5th child and still love to read articles on cloth diapering! We used prefolds and bummis wraps for awhile with a few bumGenius diapers but my husband really liked the convience of the pocket diapers that bumgenius has. So we lent out our entire stash of prefolds and covers and invested in more one sized pocket diapers. I have 21 one sized ocket diapers now and it is more than enough. Our 2 year old just potty trained and only wears them at night and naps so we have plenty for her little brother due in 3 weeks.

  15. Shannon

    We use a combination of things.

    Prefolds and fitteds primarily. I have a couple other kinds for overnight or for wearing under jeans.

    For covers we use fleece, wool and PUL. I like to switch it up! 😀

    Shannon´s last blog post…Initial review of BumGenius OS 3.0

  16. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this article! I really want to use cloth diapers with my children, but I just feel so overwhelmed sometimes by all the options. This really helped to clear up some of the questions I had and make it clearer in my mind which system I would like to use.

  17. jess

    We use prefolds with pul covers & wool covers that I have knit. Once you get used to it, it is really easy (it did intimidate the grandparents at first though) & I like that the diapers are easy to wash & get clean & we can air dry the covers…and rarely wash the wool.

    Now that my son is starting to potty train it is more cumbersome to get on and off in a hurry than I would like…I don’t want to switch to disposables, but not sure I want to make a huge investment in another diaper system. Ideas????

  18. Cat

    Thanks for a great post. We’ve been cloth diapering since my daughter was born (she’s almost two now) and I still learned some new tips I’m going to try.

    One thing I wanted to mention that someone else upthread did also, is the added bulk of the diapers can sometimes be an issue with clothes. As my daughter has gotten older, especially (maybe it’s the extra doublers we use?) we find we need to buy a size or two up in pants for them to go over the diapers. It’s a little annoying because the other pants fit well everywhere but seem really tight in the bum because they are designed for kids wearing thin paper diapers.

    Also, when we first started I loved the Aplix closures, but they seemed to wear out quickly once we’ve gotten to a stage where she can stay in the diapers longer. (We bought several of the one-size pockets.) Now, I prefer the snaps on the pocket diapers because they seem more durable especially on a wiggly toddler.

    Thanks again for a great post.

  19. jill

    Thanks for the concise descriptions of diapering systems. I’m going to link to this post on my blog.

    I use prefolds and covers with newborns and non-crawling babies. With older babies I use a combination — pocket diapers for babysitters and when we are out and about (they are a little easier to pack). For toddlers that love to run away, I tend to switch mostly to pocket diapers, or absorbent underwear with covers. We have two boys, and all I have bought for boy #2 are a few extra PUL covers. Baby #3 is on its way and we will only need to buy some new snappis.

    jill´s last blog post…April mini for Isaacsmama

  20. Megan

    For the most part we use one-size pocket diapers. My husband loves them and they are easy enough for the grandparents and daycare to figure out. At home we also use organic bamboo velour fitteds without covers. I actually like those better because they snap. In addition to fitting my skinny son better, he can’t figure out how to get them off as easily as the Aplix pockets.

    The only thing I wish I had done before cloth diapering was to get a few different kinds before getting a full stash. I found I like other kinds better than our main set, but I didn’t want to sell and restart.

    Megan´s last blog post…Spring Cleaning Continues

  21. tabitha

    I wish I would have had this tutorial when my youngest was in diapers. I looked into cloth diapering but was having a hard time finding any helpful information. The only thing I knew about cloth diapers was the kind that my mom used to use on me thirty-something years ago and I didn’t want to go that route.

    tabitha´s last blog post…My Date With 7 A.M.

  22. Franklins in the Woods

    I think that finding the right cloth diapering system is key to success. I am so pleased with our decision of prefolds with bummis whisper wraps and using a sprayer for cleaning. I have no thoughts of going back to disposables. We are saving so much money and produce a lot less garbage. I think for those who think that they will not be successful would be pleased to find out just how easy it really is. AND, how much money can be saved. Great blog entry.

  23. Mindy M.

    We mainly use one-size pockets (Bumgenius 3.0 to be exact) because my daughter is in daycare & they use them there. At home I use a combination of one-size & sized fitteds, pockets & all-in-ones (with a couple prefolds as spares). When she was smaller (read: less squirmy) I really liked using prefolds at home.
    Also, I was using disposables at night because she was such a heavy wetter, but I’ve started using pockets again since she’s fully on solids now.

  24. The Nester

    My youngest child is going to be 8 years old in two weeks. And yet, I was compelled to read every word in this post–that’s the sign of a great writer and great content! Thanks for being so thorough, I cannot imagine how helpful this would be if I were in this season of life!

    The Nester´s last blog post…Lampapalooza Roundup

  25. Catie

    I’m really enjoying the posts on CD’ing!! 🙂 Thanks so much!! Very informative!!

  26. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Hi, Katie!!! Wow, what an amazingly detailed and informative post. SO much good information here. I can’t think of one thing I could add to it!

    After much trial-and-error and having tried all kinds of diapers from within each system, I finally discovered I love pocket diapers best and have stuck with those for a long time now. We do use some fitteds (coverless around the house) and wool in the summer, but mostly we are a pocket family.

    Thanks for taking the time to write up SUCH a comprehensive post!

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…Setting the Record Straight: On Attachment Parenting

  27. Sarah

    Great post! Very thorough.

    We use pockets here. I cloth diapered my son from birth to potty training and I’m doing the same with my daughter, who is now nearly 2. I love cloth diapers and I’ve never had a single issue with rashes or any other trouble.

    Sarah´s last blog post…Foto Friday, my first edition

  28. Emily @ Barefoot in the Rain

    We use almost all prefolds though I’ve just started using one size Mommy’s touch pockets because my toddler is wiggly and pulls at her Snappi. She doesn’t like bulk between her legs and the OS MT seem to be fairly trim. I prefer to stick with natural fibers but right now this is what works for her.

    If I had a choice I would stick to prefolds and wool like we’ve done since she was about 3 months old…I’m hoping soon we can get back to our prefolds and wool.

  29. merrilee

    I love fitted diapers and wool covers. I started with a bit of everything, and found that I HATED stuffing pockets, and didn’t care for PUL. Luckily I know how to knit, so I knit my sons pants and shorts and don’t even bother buying him any. Eventually I started sewing my own diapers and developed my own pattern. I now sell my diapers and work from home! My husband is totally on board, and we’ve never bought a disposable diaper (his choice!).

  30. katie

    so helpful. thank you.

  31. Shelly

    Okay, here is the question that I am hung up on: You mention in the washing details that you may use oxi-clean if it’s “really soiled”. To me, what poopy diaper ISN’T “really soiled”?

    I’ve always used disposables, it just seemed so much easier. But the cost!!! My third is almost three months old, second is still in diapers, and I am so tempted to switch to cloth for the third, but I can’t seem to get past the gross-out factor. I mean, I’m trying to reassure myself that this isn’t that hard, and that they do come clean, even without major time spent… obviously it’s true because so many are doing it. But the thought of it is just hard for me to get past.

    So without getting TOO gross or detailed here, aren’t they ALL “really soiled”? (the poopy ones, I mean.) Is it hard to get used to being so much more “hands-on” with the poo? Is it really as quick and easy as it sounds when you describe it, to get poopy cloth clean again? I mean, my baby is completely breastfed and the mustard-colored stains can sometimes be challenging to get out of his clothes (he overflows or leaks out of his disposables regularly)… I keep wondering, how much harder to get them out of diapers???

    Also, how often do you get the leaks and overflows, as compared with disposables? We use Pampers, if that’s relevant, because they seem to be the best for leaks. But he still manages to stain lots of clothes! 🙂

    As you can probably tell, I am not driven by being green so much as by money. Also as you can probably tell, I am loath to add another large chore at this juncture. Am currently feeling overwhelmed by beginning homeschooling with an infant in the house! I’m really interested to continue hearing your insights as well as those of the commenters. This is a timely series for me!

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Shelly, good questions. Maybe this will help: I guess what I meant by “really soiled” is this: if I let it go too long between washings, then I use something like Oxiclean Baby. Eeeek, I know that sounds gross – and I know I said you need to wash every 3 days at a minimum. But honestly, sometimes life gets crazy and things come up and you just can’t wash on the day you planned. So, if it’s more than 3 days, I will add in that extra cleaning power. Also, sometimes life intervenes and I can’t wash the poopy diaper off immediately, so it sits on the shelf above my daughter’s changing table until later in the day when I can get to it. One last scenario might be when we’re using something other than prefolds – it can be hard to get all the poop rinsed out of the gathered areas. In all these cases I like to add in the Oxiclean Baby.

      One thing to know about babies that are exclusively breastfed is that there is no need to rinse that poop out at all. You can just throw those diapers straight into the wash! But if they are on formula or solid foods, then the poop needs to be washed down the toilet first.

      We have actually had much less problems with leaks with cloth than we do with disposables. But I think a lot of that depends on finding diapers that are a good fit for your babe, and whether or not your babe is a heavy wetter and/or has really enormous poops. 🙂

      I hope some of that helps!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

    • Alissa

      Oh, these were all my questions.

      So, you would be amazed at how much of the poop just falls off the diaper when you turn it upside down over the toilet. Unless it’s a combo runny/sticky poop, most will come off with a little shake and maype a quick dunk in the toilet water. I got in the habit of adding a 1/2 scoop to the diaper loads just to help get the lingering colors out.

      As to the extra work, my son is turning 2 and we use a combo system – 1/2 cloth, 1/2 disposables. My diaper laundry adds up to 1 load of diapers per week (because my son is in daycare a few days). When he was home and in cloth full time, I was washing 2 diaper loads per week. Not bad.

      I can also solidly say we have only ever had 2 pee leaks with cloth. The ONLY poop leaks I have had were during illness (and then we pull out the disposables for a day or 2).

    • Janey Backer

      I have only been CD for about 3 weeks with my 4th child that is now 4 weeks old! This is so much easier than I expected – I wish I would have tried years ago!!!

      About the poo stains, if they are from being exclusively feed breastmilk than they will sun out. I read about this and thought “NO WAY!” I had never heard of anything like that. But I just put the wet diaper that is stained in the sun and it does the trick! It should work on clothes too since there isn’t anything magic about the diapers. Wish I had known this before.

      Also, I have not had any blow outs with our cd like my kids did with Pampers and Huggies. That explosive runny baby poo stays in the cd and it just soaks it up. I used some disposable yesterday to use them before she grows out of them – they leaked and were much messier to clean then the cloth – what a surprise!

    • Rachel


      I think one thing that no one has mentioned so far is using flushable liners for dealing with poop. We have used these since our son started on solids and we couldn’t just wash the poop. Flushable liners look like really large dryer sheets that you put in the diaper and then if the baby poops you just lift the liner out with the poop in it and you can flush it down the toilet. If the child only pees you just toss the liner in your diaper pail and wash it and you can use it over again when it comes out of the dryer. The liners claim to be biodegradable but I have a few doubts about this since you are able to wash and dry them BUT if you are really freaked out about poop this makes for much for no (or very very rare) dunking in the the toilet. They have been especially helpful with our son because he does not have really solid poops that just fall of nicely into the toilet. There are many brands but the two that we have used that we like best are Imse Vimse or Diaperaps. Just thought I would mention this if you want to try it. Good luck!! I hope you at least give CD a try, we love them!

  32. Robin Marie

    My youngest is ten, and I still read the whole thing. LOL

    I used cloth diapers with my seven babies. I had a few velcrowed “all in ones,” and a few fitted that were given to me, but I personally did not like them as much as a prefold and old fashioned rubber pants and pins. (Though I think I would have like the Aplex over the pins and the new covers. )

    The fitted diapers were harder to rinse poop out of. The gathered areas were troublesome. After using them a few times, I left them in a drawer and eventually gave them to my girls for their bigger dolls.

    I used disposables for the few times that someone other than family was watching my babies, and sometimes when we were on long trips. (I lacked courage to wash out a dirty diaper in a public toilet.) Since I hardly ever strayed from home, except to go to a friends or families home, I rarely used disposables.

    The prefolded grow with the child by the way you fold them. I would use an extra prefolded diaper as a changing pad. Folding them makes a nice “mommies helper” job for a toddler. I have fond memories of sitting on my bed a few minutes at a time folding these diapers with my other children. We made quick work of it.

    I put the diapers through a “pre wash soak cycle ” setting without soap, they washed on heavy duty with soap and an extra rinse.

    If softener used, including the kind that is in the soap, you can end up with the absorbency problem noted in an earlier comment. The same problem exists with bath and dish towels, but with less consequences. : -)

    Five of my eight children are boys, and we live on a farm. I know the dirtiest of dirty clothes, including engine grease and grime. LOL. I have since my diapering days, bought a front loading washing machine. They get the clothes clean the first time through with much less water and soap. I wish I had it for my cloth diaper days. I didn’t buy one at the time, thinking I would miss being able to soak the diapers and clothes when they were really dirty. That was a mistake. The front loader gets clothes cleaner than an overnight soak and heavy duty wash of my VERY heavy duty upright.

    If you are making cloth diapers a “green choice,” think of the energy used in processing the water at the plants before and after use, heating the water at home, and washing the diapers. You will do more good with a front loading machine. The small amount of water they use is amazing. I can not even wrap my mind around how they get clothes cleaner with so little water and soap, but they do.

    It was know in European countries for generations, that front loading machines work better and last longer. They have also been used in the states by professionals for the same reason. The manufacturing problem… they last too long; less of them were sold, so there was less money to be made. When home models made by European countries were becoming available in the states, then domestic companies had to join in or lose sales.

    I know it sounds like I have stakes in a washing machine company some where, LOL, but I don’t. As mom of 8 country children, there is a lot of laundry to consider. Using cloth diapers is a big commitment for moms, and I wanted to share what I have learned.

    This is a great article a a wonderful website. You younger moms can count the information age of the Internet as one of your blessings. Everything is at your finger tips. Good work ladies on some awesome blogs and sites.

  33. Lachelle

    Thank you so much for all the information! I am expecting my second child this fall and have really been looking into cloth diapering this time around. My big concern though is actually with my husband – he is not on board with washing out the diapers. It took me a while to even convince him to change diapers at all with my first one so I’m a little concerned I won’t get any help from him if I go to the cloth diapering route. Also – what do you do when you’re traveling or out and about on the town? How do you clean the diapers off?

    • Alissa

      My husband was reluctanat at first, but now readily admits that the cloth is no harder than disposables (because I do the laundry!).

      When we’re out around the town, I just carry old plastic produce bags to toss the dirty diapers in (and then rinse them off at home). When we’re on vacation (or if we’re going to be out all day long) – we use disposables!

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Lachelle, that is a tough one – I admit that my husband is not such a fan of washing off the poop himself. But he does it anyway, as a way to love me and serve me. I”m grateful. 🙂 He knows I deal with the vast majority of the poop. You’ll just have to talk to him about it and see if you can come up with a compromise.

      As far as when we’re out and about – if we’re just gone for the day, I still use cloth and put the wet or dirty diaper into a “wet bag.” You can buy these from a lot of the online cloth diaper stores – it’s a small waterproof bag that I keep in the diaper bag. Then I deal with the diaper when we get back home. If we’re traveling overnight, though, we usually use disposables. It’s too hard to deal with rinsing off the poop in other people’s houses, hotels, etc. But when my daughter was exclusively breastfed, we still used cloth when we traveled overnight if we were only gone for a couple of nights, because those poopy diapers don’t need to be rinsed, they can go straight into the wash. We just put them into the same bag that lines the diaper pail at home and washed them when we got back.

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  34. Liz

    Thanks for the great post! Wish I had seen it when I was doing my cloth diaper research. I just wanted to add that we have found flushable diaper liners really helpful. We didn’t start using them until our baby was well into eating solids. It makes cleaning up a poopy diaper much easier.

  35. Stacie@HobbitDoor

    This is a great intro into cloth diapering! We decided to go with the fitted diapers for our little girl. We use the Mother-Ease brand specifically and LOVE them!! So happy with our choice. We did use prefolds when she was a newborn as I found that to be a bit easier. We use cheap washclothes from Target for our wipes and find that one is all we ever need (at this point). Our diaper sprayer is wonderful! It makes the process so much easier! We do use disposables when we travel but are always glad to come home to our cloth diapers.

    Stacie@HobbitDoor´s last blog post…Our Little Helper

  36. Abby

    Wow, this is such a great article! I wish I’d had it last year when I was trying to sort through all the cloth diapering info out there. We predominately use prefolds with a snappi and a variety of different covers. We just use a set of soft washcloths with water for wipes. It’s a simple, effective, affordable system, and we love it.

    For nighttime we use pockets packed with a couple of inserts. I wish we had discovered pockets for nighttime a little earlier. They have eradicated the dreaded midnight diaper changes. We add a little white vinegar to our wash water, and our diapers are always clean and have held up very well.

    So far, we’ve used cloth exclusively, even on outings and vacations.
    We’ve found cloth to be surprisingly easy, and we’ve been thrilled that we’ve only very rarely experienced any blowouts or leaking. Some of our disposable-using friends have really struggled with those issues.

    Abby´s last blog post…Herbs Made Easy: The Art of Simpling

  37. Amanda

    We use gDiapers ( and find that they are the best hybrid between cloth and disposable diapers. There are no wastes and you are not using a ton of water to launder them.

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      gDiapers are a great compromise between the two, I agree! The main drawback is the cost. Cloth diapers are much more economical since you only buy them once. But if you can afford gDiapers and don’t want to deal with washing cloth, then gDiapers are a good option.

      I do want to add that washing doesn’t use nearly as much water as some might think. On average, washing cloth diapers at home uses about the same amount of water in one week as a toilet being flushed 5-6 times a day. A diaper service washing their diapers in bulk will use even less water.

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  38. shelle

    What a wonderful post, I wish I had that information when choosing a system years ago. I hope it inspires more people to use cloth. I ended up loving the simple old fashioned prefolds with hand knit wool covers, it was affordable and worked well for our chubby baby.

  39. Jenni

    There is a 5th option for cloth diapering. You can buy terry cloth or use old towels and buy some flannel. Cut the cloth into appropriately-sized rectangles. Lay a rectangle of flannel over a rectangle of terry and zig-zag along the edges, using up all your old leftover thread. This rectangle is then folded, long way, into 3 sections (similar to the prefolded ones), and slipped into a diaper cover. Very cheap and easy. These diapers went through three kids. When the flannel would wear out, I’d just sew a new piece of flannel onto the terry. I only replaced flannel twice (at baby #2 and baby #3) and didn’t have to replace it on all diapers.

  40. Bridgette

    We have also used a combination of g diapers and disposables. We just started potty training though, and I hope not to have to buy either for a long while!

    Bridgette´s last blog post…Potty Training Day 1.5 and 2

  41. Michelle

    Thank you so much for the information! I learned a lot from your post. I have been doing a combo of disposables and cloth (pocket) for the past year with my son and love it! I think I may even try prefolds or fitted as the pocket diapers do have quite a bit of bulk to them, as previous posters have noted.

    My only question – I keep seeing different opinions on drying the pockets – in a dryer or line dry? I keep going back and forth between the two options as I don’t know the right way!!! I want them to last as long as possible since we’re expecting more kids but I also want them sanitized and I heard drying them for at least 60 minutes on high will help with that.

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Michelle, I would try line-drying the pockets and putting the inserts in the dryer. The pockets will last longer if you don’t put them in the dryer. If your baby is getting rashes then you could dry putting them into the dryer, but I have always line-dried them with no problems!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  42. RLR

    Thanks for the informative post! As we consider baby #3, I’m also considering cloth diapering. We used disposables for the first two, and they were great (never had leakage issues that many folks mention), but I hate the amount of garbage they create. I don’t really know anyone who cloth diapers, so this is incredibly helpful!

    RLR´s last blog post…The Many Days of Summer

  43. Aimee

    Thank you for the work that went into this post, Katie. I’m so happy to have something like this to refer people to when they are considering CD options.
    Great job!

    Aimee´s last blog post…Celebrating 10 Years in Québec

  44. Heather - Dollar Store Crafts

    Thanks for the survey of cloth diapering options. I have researched it before, and it was really confusing. This is simple and easy to understand, so thanks again.

    Also, I kept snickering at the “this is easier for grandma” paragraphs because, although I totally know you are right and that is true, most grandmas had to use the good old fashioned cloth diapers themselves way back when! 🙂

    Heather – Dollar Store Crafts´s last blog post…Make a Ribbon Necklace

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Heather, you’re totally right! 🙂 My mom used cloth on me but didn’t like the Snappis we use – she wanted good old fashioned diaper pins. So she preferred the fitteds. But my hubby’s mom is younger and never used cloth on her babes! Times have certainly changed and for the most part, the way that we cloth diaper has changed, too.

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

      • Heather - Dollar Store Crafts

        I can see that! 🙂 Again, great job on this article. I have even been reading through the comments!! 🙂 Stumbled & tweeted.

        Heather – Dollar Store Crafts´s last blog post…Make a Ribbon Necklace

  45. Amanda Bytheway

    We have cloth diapered since day one with my first daughter. I’ve used prefolds/covers exclusively for about the first year and then we use pockets.

    I wanted to add a few thoughts on the original post…

    -fitted diapers CAN be just as expensive as pockets, there are many fitteds out there that cost just as much (or more) than a pocket, and you still need to buy covers.
    -wool doesn’t have to be pricey if you are even a beginning knitter. I just knitted my first project ever – a wool soaker – it used $3.50 worth of wool yarn.
    -pocket diapers are usually lined with microFLEECE (not microfiber) or microsuede.
    -another disadvantage of prefolds/fitteds is that poop will get on all parts and it is pain to clean off (once they start solids). Plus prefolds don’t pull moisture away so if baby’s skin is sensitive to moisture you’ll need to lay a piece of fleece on the prefold, adding another piece to the diaper. Despite these disadvantages, prefolds/covers are still my favorite option for EBFing babies.

    Amanda Bytheway´s last blog post…A New Addition to Our Family

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Amanda, thanks for the input! And yes – you’re right about the microfleece, that was a mis-type on my part. But either way, it is still a synthetic, as opposed to natural fibers, so the point still applies.

      I have found it much easier to clean poop off prefolds than any other kind of diaper where there are gathers in the leg openings – the poop gets in all the crevices and crannies and I spend twice as long with the diaper sprayer! Of course, if they are EBF then you don’t need to clean the poop off at all. But you are right about the moisture – we actually ended up sewing a microfleece layer onto one side of all our prefolds in order to help wick moisture away from our babe’s bum. That helped a lot!

      Now I just need to learn to knit. 🙂 It’s on my list for this year!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

      • Amanda Bytheway

        I haven’t experienced difficulty cleaning leg gatherings. But the pocket I use (Green Acre Designs) has the elastic sewn on the interior serged seam, so it is a smooth surface on the outside, just one seam on the edge connecting the PUL to the fleece. It’s incredibly easy to clean poop off. These are my FAVORITE diapers!

        Oh and knitting is so easy, I learned in about 10 minutes and I was on my way with the soaker! You can do it!

        Amanda Bytheway´s last blog post…A New Addition to Our Family

  46. Briana

    Oh my goodness gracious, you have no idea how helpful this is!!!! I had no idea what the snappis were for that a friend gave me, and I thought I was suppsed to fold the prefolds into thirds and insert them into the diapers. I had no idea…. This is so helpful!

    Briana´s last blog post…garden morning

  47. Amanda @

    I’m really curious to hear more about the wool covers (soakers, are they called?). How do they work, and how effective are they at keeping outer clothing dry? It seems like it would just get peed through since it’s not waterproof, but it seems like such a natural, appealing option!

    Amanda @´s last blog post…Soap Boats

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Amanda, the wool covers are very effective at keeping outer clothes dry. Here’s why: sheep naturally produce a substance called lanolin. Yes, this is the same stuff we rub on our sore achy places when our newborns first start nursing and it’s killing us! Lanolin creates a natural water-repellant barrier. That’s why sheep don’t get all yucky wet when it rains. So, when you use a wool cover, you treat it with lanolin – usually about once a month – at the same time that you wash it. You can just soak the cover in the sink with some water and a bit of woolwash, and add a little lanolin. You can also buy woolwash with lanolin already in it. This creates a breathable yet water-repellant barrier. If clothing starts feeling a little damp, then it’s time to re-lanolize. It’s amazing how well it really works!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

    • Lisa

      Hey Amanda..

      I am a new convert to wool!! We still use pockets quite a bit, but more and more I reach for a wool cover. I love that they are natural and you can use them in hot or cold weather! And they really do work. In fact, during a period of really heavy wetting with my daughter, wool was the only way we could get through the night!

      It is kind of magical the way it works.. and from talking to people, I think you don’t really believe it until you try them. If you lean toward wanting to use wool, give it a try! Wool is awesome!

      Lisa´s last blog post…Free Patterns for Cloth Diapers

  48. Becky

    The post and the comments are all so helpful. I used cloth on my second for a while, but we just used cheap prefolds, pins, and plastic covers, and the dunk-them-in-the-toilet method of poop removal. It was so much (gross) work, and we saved so little money (I just buy the super cheap disposables) that I quit after I had used them long enough that they paid for themselves. After finding out all the choices on diaper styles as well as practical information on how to wash them, I’ve been debating trying again. I did enjoy being that much more self-reliant, and having one less item on the shopping list.

    I’m also wondering if anyone has any links for one-size pocket or fitted diapers. If I try again, I want to make them myself.

    • Tsh

      At the end of the week, the last post will be a master list of good links for all things related to cloth diapering, including patterns and instructions for making your own. Readers can add links they love in the comments section. And in the end, I may actually make it a separate page here.

      Hope that helps!

  49. Julie

    If I had all of this info when I had little ones I would have gone cloth!!

    I will say that pre-folded diapers are great burp cloths! And they make super cute gifts when personalized with embroidery.

  50. Ivy

    Can someone compare the pockets to the all in ones for me? After reading this post initially I thought the AIO’s sounded like the system for me, but reading through the comments so many people use the pocket system. I must say the pocket system sounds like so many moving parts to assemble and clean,etc…but so many people seem to use them. Help! Also, do most of you start with a little of each kind in the beginning and then if you end up liking one system better than another buy several then? I live overseas, so on my trip back to the states this summer (before our 3rd is born in the fall) I am hoping to buy some diapers and have these decisions made about which type to use. I won’t have as much flexibility to run out and buy more once we are back abroad so I am hoping to make as informed a decision as possible.

  51. lvlc @ FromMomToMom

    woa woa woa! this is very complete… ok.. I’ll go back and read it with a cup of coffee! 🙂

    BTW I still keep one safety pin my mom used to use when she cloth diapered me! 🙂

    lvlc @ FromMomToMom´s last blog post…Summer Camp: First Day and Lunch Ideas

  52. Katie

    Wow….I had a dream the other night that I used cloth diapers on our fourth child. The funny thing is that we only have three kids and to much dissmay I used disposable diapers. I have always wanted to try, but felt overwhelmed with the whole process. My mom used cloth diapers on me and had a diaper service. I always thought that I would like to try cloth someday….humm….maybe I will get the chance! Thanks, for making it look really easy!

  53. Shannon

    Thank you for this terrific overview! I have been thinking about cloth diapering for a while, but didn’t know where to begin. I have a question about the prefolds – what is the difference between Chinese and Indian? Also- I looked at the description of the Snappi and it said from birth to 18 months. my little boy is 12 months now, and is pretty slim, so I am thinking we could get past 18 months, but what are the options after that?

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Shannon, great questions. About the Snappi – they do come in two sizes – the toddler size is sort of new. We use the toddler size now. About the prefolds – I copied this information below straight from Hope it helps!
      Indian prefolds benefits:
      Softer cotton
      These are probably made of gauze cotton
      Unbleached diapers wash up quicker (3 washes)
      More absorbent

      Indian prefolds drawbacks:
      May wear out faster than the Chinese prefolds.
      Lighter weight thread is used when sewing the ends of the diapers so the thread may wear out faster than the fabric does.

      Chinese prefolds benefits:
      Heavier duty stitching
      These are probably made of twill
      Due to being made of a heavier-weight fabric and stitched with a thicker thread, these prefolds will probably stay nice longer than the Indian prefolds.

      Chinese prefolds drawbacks:
      May pill up more than the Indian prefolds
      These diapers are still soft but they are definitely rougher than the Indian prefolds (when washed and dried in the same load)
      It takes 7-10 hot wash cycles to make an unbleached Chinese prefold usable and absorbent

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

      • Shannon

        thanks! do you have a preference?

        • Katie ~ This Natural Life

          Not really – I have used both and I guess the Chinese felt a little more sturdy, but the Indian are softer, as it says. If I had to choose, I’d go with the Chinese for that reason, but the store where I bought mine just got a new stock of Indian that they are saying is just as well-made!

          Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  54. Kristen

    I love prefolds, snappis, and covers…wool are my favorite (although I do find them expensive since I don’t knit). I was able to use pockets on my daughter, but my son has sensitive skin and the fleece didn’t agree with his little bum :-). Just something to keep in mind. I’m about to have my third, and can’t wait to try diapering a newborn (started when my second child was 6 months old).

    To anyone considering…it’s not nearly as hard as you think!

  55. angela

    I used prefolds and fitted diapers with my kids (my daughter is still in the fitted ones). My best buy were 20 fitted diapers that were adjustable in size…they have little snaps that can make the diaper shorter or longer in size. My son used the same set of diapers from 6 months to 2.5 years, and then he was toilet trained.

    For wipes, we use cloth wipes and a medium sized salad bowl I bought just for that purpose. We call it the bum bowl. We have a small table next to the change table so you do need some extra space for it. We toss the cloth into the bowl of warm water, squeeze the water out with one hand, and wipe, dump the dirty wipe onto the diaper, and use more wipes until bum is clean. The spray bottle method wouldn’t work for us since my children would hate the cold water.

    I have a question though…what do you do with old fitted diapers that are too worn out to be re-used? I use our old prefolds for many things but the fitted are a bit trickier to find a new use for.

    angela´s last blog post…SALE – baby – hand embroidered greeting card (blue)

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Good question, Angela! If anyone has ideas about uses for old fitteds, I’d love to hear them. I imagine you could cut them up and use parts of them as batting in quilted items… I can’t think of anything else at the moment!

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

      • Laura

        They make great dust rags.

  56. Jenn

    Wow…I guess I’m a slacker on washing!

    I use a “dry pail” with some baking soda sprinkled in it. I rinse poop off before putting those diapers in. I put the whole pail–soda and all-into my washer, and run a “rinse & spin.” Then I put in 1/2 as much laundry detergent as the bottle calls for (I use this amount for all laundry), and vinegar in the softner dispenser (again, I do this for all laundry) and run a hot wash with an extra rinse.

    Then everything except the covers goes into the dryer. I recently asked a neighbor if I could use her clothes line once in a while, so I’m waiting for it to be a sunny day when I wash diapers so that I can hang them out.

  57. Laura

    You did a great job putting this together. I will be passing this info on to some friends. We also use prefolds and covers (with the occasional fitted) for our 18 month old daughter and have since birth. The only thing you failed to mention is disposable liners. We would not have continued cloth diapering after 6 months without them so I think it’s important that people know about them.

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      I would love to get more input about the liners! We did try them and I REALLY didn’t like them – when I peeled them back away from my daughter’s bum all the poop stuck to her bum instead of the liner! It made cleanup so much worse. But I know some people love them – so maybe it depends on the consistency of the poop. 🙂

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

  58. Stacy (mama-om)

    For both my kids I used prefolds with covers, prefolds held on by snappis w/o covers, and super absorbent baby “underwear.”

    We started “elimination communication” (also called “diaper-free”) with my first son when he was three months and with my second from birth, so almost all poops (especially post-six months) went in the potty. And often, if a poop was started in the diaper, it was finished in the potty. I used a little baby potty or the big toilet. This cut down on the whole “how do I wash poopy diapers?” dilemma for us.

    I know it sounds crazy, but just like a tiny baby can tell you when they’re hungry (a certain cry, putting their fist to their mouth) or even AFTER they’ve gone to the bathroom, it’s not that hard to figure out before they need to go. I often offered the little potty before nursing, after nursing, and when the baby woke up. This helped the baby “learn” that the diaper (we definitely still used diapers!) wasn’t the only place for him to go, and that there was a cleaner and more comfortable alternative.

    Stacy (mama-om)´s last blog post…Telling Stories

  59. Jan

    I’m a bit confused by the washing process. It sounds like you essentially are running your washing machine twice (all the way through) and then one more time for just a rinse & spin. Is that correct?

    Also, can Oxi-Clean Baby be used as your only detergent?

    • Abbie

      I run my diapers on my heavy duty cycle 1 time. I use homemade laundry soap and a scoup of oxyclean.

    • Tsh

      I just run my machine on one cycle, too. Everyone does things differently, based on their machine, their water, and their needs.

    • Katie ~ This Natural Life

      Yes, that’s what I do – but the first cycle is a “quick”cycle on my machine, and the second is a regular-length cycle.

      OxiCean Baby isn’t meant to be used to clean clothes; it’s just for removing stains. Another more frugal alternative is using baking soda and white vinegar.

      Katie ~ This Natural Life´s last blog post…Welcome to Simple Mom Readers!

      • Jan

        okay, thanks for clarifying!

  60. Stephanie

    We use a combo here. Fitteds and covers (either PUL or wool) during the day and pockets at night. I have been using cloth since my oldest was born and love it! I originally started out with only pockets, but really like using fitteds and prefolds with covers over anything else. Easier to clean and cost less. Those outsell the convenience factor for us.

  61. stacy

    i use the all-in-one and LOVE them! i think people would be surprised how easy it is to use washable diapers.

    stacy´s last blog post…handmade ties

  62. Jeff9

    The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn’t wipe it off with paper, would you? You’d wash it off” Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won’t know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we’re talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review:

  63. veganmomma

    We’ve used cloth exclusively for our 8 month old daughter and have had NO regrets (and no yucky leaks). We started with a combo of prefolds & fitteds with PUL covers. I found that we were way less likely to get poop on the covers if we used the fitteds. While we loved our kissaluvs and thristies, at roughly $5 (i.e. less than half the price) snugglebottoms were an awesome economical alternative. At about 5 months we switched over to one-size pockets (bumgenius) and love those as well (still keep 1/2 a dozen snugglebottoms and a thirsties cover for backup). Supereasy for babysitters and daycare.

    BTW, for folks who are really grossed out by the poop factor, we do not dunk diapers or have a sprayer and haven’t had any issues with stains in our bumgenius. We drop the poop into the toilet and whatever doesn’t come off goes into the wash. We use a dry pail system (actually its a dry hanging wetbag) and wash every other day or so (sometimes every third). We do use oxyclean baby with every wash though.

    We do a cold wash, followed by a hot wash, and a short rinse (which I skip if I’m in a hurry). We also use a little (I stress little) bleach in a load once a month and a tbsp of plain old blue Dawn dish liquid once a month to remove residue (add two extra rinses to get all of the dawn out). No stains. No stink.

  64. Betsy

    I’m a fuzzi bunz fan for sure! I’ve diapered my twins in them (we’re now potty training them–boys–at 25 months) and my daughter when she was a baby. They’ve been true work horses for us; the grandparents have all used them without complaining; they have held up great and been super easy to use/wash. I have a dry bag the diapers get stored in until wash time (every other day now; used to be every day when the boys went through more diapers). We just dump poop into the toilet and then throw the diapers in the bag. We use Charlie’s Soap, line dry the covers/diapers and machine dry the inserts. We use Green Acres Designs inserts (the best) and some Happy Heiny’s stuffins for nap/overnight. We’ve NEVER had a diaper rash issue with these, but as soon as the kids were in disposables for a few days running (like a trip), it would start to become an issue.

  65. kelly edwards

    I have 6 month old son and we have been using bumGenius for a month now. I have been wanting to purchase these since before he was born but we were given so many disposables I didn’t want to waste them. My biggest problem was every day at least once a day my son would have a “blow out!” It was awful (especially if we were out running errands) Ever since we started bumGenius we haven’t had a leak! I started with using the infant insert at night since everyone seems to recommend it but I have realized that for my son, we don’t need to double up. They are adorable and everyone I show the diapers too are so impressed they want to switch too. I use the biokleen bac-out spray on all the diapers for smell and I bleach out the inserts every couple loads to get rid of stains. I have the bumGenius sprayer but I don’t seem to use it very often (we aren’t really doing solids yet) We use about 7 diapers a day so I have 8 white and 6 green and I do laundry every other day. I have to say overall I am well impressed. I love that I never have to get another diaper. I plan on using these with my next child as well. I haven’t tried using cloth wipes yet but I do plan to purchase some soon.

  66. Danielle

    My favorite is the pocket diapers. We love our fuzzi bunz! We have done the pre-folds and wool but we always go back to the fuzzi bunz!

    Danielle´s last blog post…Buzz a Mom: Dr. Daisy Sutherland

  67. Isha

    With the all-in-ones, you say they wear out faster if dried with the dryer–could you estimate how much faster they wear out?

  68. Melanie S

    I used a “hybrid” system with my son for the first year – we used some fitteds with covers and some all-in-ones during the day, and we used a disposable at night or when we went out somewhere that packing/transporting soiled diapers would be inconvenient. We ended up having to stop because he got a terrible rash from the diapers/moisture. We changed them all the time, and washed in fragrance/dye free tide, did the extra rinse after the wash cycle, etc etc but could not get his rash to clear up except with disposables. It was just as well, since his daycare would not do the cloth system.

    I plan to go with prefolds or fitted with covers for #2, as I found the PUL wore out too fast in the dryer (and living in eastern Canada we don’t have THAT many sunny days for line drying. I wish I had thought of the idea to hang the diapers up indoors to dry, but it would have taken a while since the AIOs were 7 layers…

    Thanks for this series, I look forward to reading more.

  69. blissfully caffeinated

    Thanks for the info! I’m pregnant with my third baby and considering going with cloth for the first time, and this is really helpful.

    See this: for a a hilarious and informative post about washing diapers with Soap Nuts. I didn’t write it, no self promotion here. But it sounds like Soap Nuts might be a great way to go for washing those stinky diapers.

  70. Melinda

    We mostly use all in ones with a few prefolds and covers as well. I have found all in ones for $10 each, a little cheaper than you listed and we love them. My older daughter used them until she potty trained a few months ago (just before turning three) and still uses them at nap time. My younger son has used them since he was about 2 weeks old.
    Thank you for writing something positive about clothe diapering. We got a lot of funny looks when we first started. Then our families realized it really isn’t all that hard!

  71. Melissa

    Can you believe we just went with plain cotton terry towelling squares? DH finds them easier to fold nappies that way! Plus we soak them in napisan & water since they have no elastic. Costs us ~ $10 US for a dozen nappies! 🙂 We just fold them to fit and love them!

  72. Katie

    My hubby and I have just decided to do cloth diapers (excited!) but I’m worried about how to launder them. We have a high-efficiency front-loading washing machine, how do you wash the diapers? Is it okay to use non-liquid detergent? Does anyone know anything about Rockin’ Green detergent? What are some recommendations?

    • Katie Fox

      Unfortunately, I don’t really know anything about the HE washing machines, or Rockin’ Green detergent. I used Charlie’s Soap and I really liked it. I know people also like Country Save. Hope that helps!

  73. melissa

    i use prefolds of organic cotton during the day and bamboo pocket fitted at night with wool cover ( amazing!! ) … also have a few pockets for goin out with cute print in special editions….
    i have a front loader HE machine and let me tell you NO stain shall come to a prefold since the combo of oxygen bleach with hot water works miracles with a recommened detergent…. but this is ONLY for cotton prefolds and not the covers… or anything else with elastics…
    i never have leaks with my disposable diapers but i wanted to have an enviromentally friendly alternative … and less chemicals on my baby boy… i found that with prefolds and pul covers i willsometimes get leaks or wicking… but at home i don t mind so much …. i love pockets but they are a bit bulky, small prefold are almost as slim a disposables depending on the folding 😉

  74. Julia

    Back when my kids were born ( my oldest is now 29) we had cloth diapers that you had to fold yourself. They were about 24×70 in size and you first had to fold them in half and then in the shape of a triangle to fit the size of baby. Pens were used and then plastic pants over them. So many choices these days.

  75. Elisebet F

    Thanks for breaking it down. Very informative. I haven’t actually figured out which is my favorite system yet. We use all of them on my son. I know his dad prefers the pockets and AI1s, but I haven’t decided yet. I guess I mix them around based on what we’re going to do…are we going somewhere? Are we traveling? Is it nap time? Etc.

  76. katie

    i just started to cloth diaper my daughter she will be 14 months, as a new mom i went the simple quick route with disposables, but now that i sorta got things together {hahahaha} i wanted to try cloth diapering even just at home since we are home most of the time…now im hooked…i was able to purchase 10 covers, 12 prefolds and some dispsoable liners and 3 pairs of snappies for cheap..the lady i purchased them from was amazingly full of information and showed me that even without adding the extra step in prefolds with snappies or can still fold it up and put in the wrap/cover.and get the same effect. today i had my daughter in cloth all day long and no leaks or problems..i was even able to reuse the covers several times with out a problem. i know im saving tons but i already feel better about how many diapers didnt go in trash bin today. also ive researched how to make your own prefolds…its so easy..i took old tees my gf gave me and cut them in the shape of a prefold..cut some extra thermal fabric and sewed into the middle creating a bulk in the middle then sewed all the around the inside and then around the entire prefold..turned out great..its not “pretty’ but it will do the job..i made 2 sofar..i also made a wet bag..i saw you can use shower curtains so i took a shower curtain measured it to a old pillow case..and turned the case inside out..sewed cut shower liner around pillow case..added old shoe string for drawstring and bam! wet bags…simple and so easy! hope it helps anyone else starting out like i am.

  77. crystal

    this was more helpful than anything else I have read thus far. Thank you Katie. It is definitely overwhelming. I’m expecting my little one soon-ish and have been trying to wrap my head around cloth. this made it much less overwhelming!

  78. crystal

    this was more helpful than anything else I have read thus far. Thank you Katie. It is definitely overwhelming. I’m expecting my little one soon-ish and have been trying to wrap my head around cloth. this made it much less overwhelming!

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