How To: Cloth Diaper Options – What You Need to Know

how to cloth diaperIf you’re about to give birth, and are still on the fence about what kind of diapers to use, our discussion today on cloth diapers may help you to make a decision. Cloth diapers have their fans and there are many advantages to using them over disposable diapers, but it’s not a total day at the park. Like anything else, there are some drawbacks, which we will discuss today, and hopefully we can help you make this important decision, that not only affects the newest member of the family, but also you, the parents. There are many things to consider when bringing home a new baby, and hopefully we can take the pressure off of this one small, but important, aspect of new parenthood. If you’ve just had your first child, and need a little guidance, this course on bringing home your baby will answer some of the questions you may have in those first six months, and this article on helping them sleep will benefit you, as well.

Supplies Needed

In order to sufficiently prepared for what your baby is about to throw at you, you’re going to need to have enough supplies on hand so your house won’t look like a war zone.

  • Cloth Diapers (2-3 dozen) 
  • 1 Diaper Pail There are many bucket and trashcan-like receptacles that are designed specifically for cloth diapers. There are also wet and dry options.
  • Diaper Pail Liners These are usually waterproof, and make sure to purchase liners that actually fit the pail, as pail options vary in size.
  • Cloth Diaper Wipes (3-4 dozen)

A good tip to remember is that baking soda is your best friend when dealing with diapers. Sprinkle a little in the pail, and any other place the diapers may build up.

Cloth Diapers Options 

If you were like me, and thought you just purchased diaper-sized pieces of cloth from your local fabric store, you should really sit down and read this article very carefully. As with anything that’s meant for newborns, or any children, really, there are several options of cloth diaper to choose from. This course on the art of parenting will prepare you for other aspects of the parenting process.

  1. Flats: These old-fashioned cotton-made diapers are some of the cheapest available on the market. They’re basically large squares of material, single layer, and can be folded any number of ways to accommodate your baby’s body. If this is the way you choose to go, this site on show to fold flats will show you how to properly use them.
  2. Prefolds: These rectangular pieces of cloth are folded into three parts, with the middle section seeing the most action and being the most absorbent. These are good for newborns, but must be accompanied by an outer cover for protection. If you’re about to bring home a new baby, and want to prepare your house, this course on getting your home baby-ready will provide a handy checklist.
  3. Fitteds: Made of cotton, bamboo, fleece, or hemp, fitted diapers are very absorbent, but not quite waterproof. They’re a bit more convenient than the first two in that they require no folding, and are pre-fitted for your baby. Like the prefolds, fitteds require an outer cover, but are easy to wash.
  4. Contours A cross between prefolds and fitteds, contour diapers are pre-shaped, but require pins to hold together.
  5. Hybrids If the idea of cloth diapers is still worrying you by the time your baby comes along, you may want to try these out, which are a hybrid of cloth and disposable diapers. They sometimes come with a reusable outer cover, and give you the option of then using a biodegradable insert, or a reusable cloth insert. These may be good for some folks, but tend to be on the expensive side.
  6. Pockets: Perhaps the easiest of the diapers for adults to work with, pocket diapers require no cover, and can be closed with either a snap or velcro. The way these diapers get their name is for the pockets that must stuffed with an absorbent insert, made of cotton, hemp, bamboo, or microfiber. Pocket diapers are good for the baby in that they are lined with fleece, or other stay-dry materials, which makes the baby feel dry after soiling the diaper.

Washing Instructions

We’ve discuss the relatively clean part of the diaper world thus far, but now we’re at a very crucial point: the cleaning of the diapers. Disposable diaper users can just toss theirs away, but cloth diaper users have to have a plan in place to clean their soiled diapers.

  • Washing Service: There are two options when cleaning cloth diapers: get someone else to do it, or do it yourself. If you choose to hire a service, there are many options in most cities, and basically they pick up your soiled diapers, and drop off new clean ones, charging you for the service and the diapers used. This is obviously very convenient, but not as cheap as self-service.
  • DIY: If you choose to wash your own cloth diapers, you will save tons of money, but have to deal with the unfortunate circumstances of washing dirty diapers. First, cloth diapers should be washed 5-10 times before using them, in order to remove the chemicals, as well as to get the most absorbency out of them from the beginning. The process for washing soiled diapers is a bit more involved. You must first rinse them in cold water with baking soda. Next, wash them in hot water, with 1/4 the recommended detergent. After that, rinse the diapers in cold water. Lastly, send them through a second cold water rinse. Remember to hang your cloth diapers to dry.

Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers

If, after reading about cloth diapers so far, and still haven’t made a decision, the following section breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of using cloth diapers.


  • Cheaper: Cloth diapers may have some up-front costs, as well as a bit higher water bill to wash them, but after that, they require almost no extra cost. If you’re parenting on a shoestring, this course on making a personal budget will help you create a budget that works.
  • Won’t Run Out: Once you develop a wash routine, you’ll never run out, and you’ll never have to make a late night trip for disposable diapers.
  • Easy to Clean: Again, once you have a cleaning routine, cleaning the diapers will be second nature.
  • Easy to Use: They may take some practice to master, especially if your diaper of choice requires folding and pins, but after a while, they’re a breeze.
  • Environmentally Sound: Washing cloth diapers requires water and energy, but they won’t end up in a landfill like the disposables.


  • Bulky: Cloth diapers take up more space in the house, and they also might give your baby a bit of a booty, and aren’t as slim fitting as disposables.
  • More Leaks: If your child is an especially heavy wetter, there may be problems with leaks.
  • Presence of Soiled Diapers: No matter how much baking soda you use, you’re still going to smell the presence of several days worth of soiled diapers. If you live in a small house, this may not be the best option.

Hopefully we were able to help you with this decision. As you can see, cloth diapers have a lot going for them, but aren’t all wine and roses. There are a lot of things to consider when having a baby, and while it’s a stressful event, we want to help out as much as possible, and this course on raising a happy baby will show you how to calm your crying child.