I have really enjoyed using cloth diapers with Dylan, and I want to pass that love onto you. This page gives you an overview of information about cloth diapering and points you towards a lot of other great resources so you can dive in and learn as much as you want. Let me know if there’s more information you’re looking for that I can include here!
When you’re ready for ALL the information on cloth diapers, check out Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering.
Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers
- Money: Disposables can run you $2000 or more, while you can cloth diaper for a few hundred or less. The same diapers can be used on subsequent kids, magnifying your savings, plus they have resale value. See here for a closer look at the cost comparison.
- Environment: Cloth diapers aren’t single use items full of chemicals that then end up in landfills. Read more about the environmental impact of diapers.
- Health: Disposable diapers contain harmful chemicals and are bad for your baby’s skin.
- Ease: Cloth diapering is convenient.
- Fashion: Cloth diapers are adorable!
- Flats: These are the seriously old-fashioned kind. It’s a single layer piece of cloth that’s folded and pinned (or Snappi’d).
- Prefolds: Still old-fashioned. Cloth that’s already been folded for extra layers in the middle. Mostly all you have to do is pin. Read more about the benefits of using prefolds.
- Contours: Contour diapers have a little bit of tailoring such as elastic around the legs and wings that fold over. It’s a slight step up from prefolds. No pinning needed.
- Fitteds: Fitteds are fully tailored diapers – elastic for the legs and waist, snaps or Velcro to close it. These go on your baby like a disposable, although they still need a cover to be waterproof.
- Covers: Flats, prefolds, contours, and fitteds all need a cover to make them waterproof. The cover has no absorbency itself, it’s just a waterproof barrier. But if you remember the rubber pants of yore, don’t worry. Covers these days are as cute as the diapers and come in many easy-to-use styles.
- All-In-Ones (AIOs): AIOs have absorbency and waterproof-ness in one piece. You put them on and they fit just like a disposable.
- Pockets: Pockets are like a cover (and can be used as a cover for other diaper types) in that they are trim and waterproof, but they have a lining that wicks moisture away from baby’s skin and a pocket for stuffing inserts into. The inserts are the absorbent part.
- All-in-Twos: (AI2s): AI2s are like AIOs except the extra absorbent middle part snaps in and out, making them easier to launder.
- One-size (OS): Fitteds, AIOs, pockets, and AI2s come in different sizes, or you can find OS diapers that are adjustable to fit your child as ou grows.
- For more descriptions of these, plus different materials and other related terms, check out this cloth diapering cheat sheet or this page on cloth diapering systems.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers:
- As they occur, put the dirty diapers in a diaper pail or bag. If your baby is eating food, dump solid waste into the toilet first. For babies exclusively breastfeeding, you can wash everything. How long you wait between washings depends on your schedule and how many diapers you have.
- Dump the contents of the pail or bag into your washing machine. Run a cold water rinse cycle to rinse away waste.
- Wash diapers on hot using detergent. Run an extra rinse if you like.
- Don’t use chlorine bleach, fabric softener, or pure soaps.
- Dry on low or line dry. Don’t use dryer sheets.
- If you have stains you want to remove, lay the diapers out in the sun. Stains magically disappear!
Other washing resources:
- Hobo Mama gives the rundown on how to wash cloth diapers if you’re using a laundromat.
- Here’s a chart detailing which detergents are best for cloth.
- If you run into laundering problems, you may need to strip your diapers.
- Washing cloth diapers when you have hard water.
- More laundering tips.
Cloth on a Budget:
- How to start cloth diapering on a budget.
- The Diaperswappers forum is a great place to hunt down used diapers, allowing you to save tons of money.
- How many cloth diapers do you NEED?
- You could even try sewing your own!
For one guide to making your own cloth diapers, try One Size Diaper Pattern: Sew your own Cloth Diapers!
This resource page on cloth diapering will grow over time, as I find more useful information and links to add.
What other information about cloth diapering would you like to know or what other information would you add to this page?