About Cloth Diapers

I wrote a booklet for some friends in which I detailed my experiences with different kinds of cloth diapers.  The formatting is a bit rough in blog form, but the information is all available for you to reference.

Quick Reference Booklet for Cloth Diapers

Jojo Viola

All product facts (materials, prices, etc.) were taken from manufacturer websites.  Information correct to the best of my knowledge as of February 2012.

All opinions and experiences are my own.  Your experiences may differ from mine.

All products tried were purchased by me at retail price.  I received no compensation for this booklet.


Diaper Comparisons

This is a quick overview of various types of diapers and my experiences with them.  There are more types of diapers than I have listed, but I have not had a chance to try them.

Flats (large, thin squares of material, approx. 30”x30”)
·  Pros
  § Less bulky than prefolds
  § Can be folded to fit any size baby
  § Easy to wash, quick to dry; can be handwashed without too much difficulty
  § Cheapest diapering option
·  Cons
  § Require some practice to fold (See Flat Origami Fold)
  § Two step system (flat and cover)
·  My Opinions
  § I use flats most of the time.  They work well and are very cost effective.
  § I took 15 flats on vacation for a week and was fine.  They wash up quickly and easily in a bathtub with a plastic spoon (although I’ve heard that a large bucket and a plunger are easier and less mess) and dry overnight.
  § There are “real” flats that are sold by cloth diaper retailers, but I have not tried any of these.  I use flour sack towels, which can be found in any superstore (I have some from Meijer and some from Wal-Mart) for about $1 each.

Prefolds (medium sized rectangles with 3 panels; the middle panel is thicker and more padded)
·  Pros
  § Relatively cheap
  § Already have a padded middle section; no extra folding required
·  Cons
  § Two step system (prefold and cover)
  § Very bulky
·  Smart Fit/Better Fit/Best Fit
  § Pros
ž Less excess material to be folded over
ž Better width
ž Can be used tri-folded in a cover
  § Cons
ž Have to “size up”
  § Brand Comparison: See Charts.
·  Regular
  § Pros
ž One size fits most
  § Cons
ž Have to fold up extra material (extra bulky)
ž Don’t always seem wide enough
·  My Opinions
  § I prefer the “Better Fit” option to “Regular” prefolds.
  § I own some of each of the following brands: OsoCozy, Diaper Rite, GMD.  I have not found any noticeable difference in the performance of the various brands, although it is worth noting that the OsoCozys run small (as can be seen in the spreadsheet).

Fitted Diapers (essentially diaper shaped prefolds)
·  Pros
  § Less bulky than prefolds
  § Shaped like a diaper (rather than a square or rectangle)
  § No folding required
  § All around coverage, which is good for a side-sleeping baby.
·  Cons
  § Two step system (fitted diaper and cover)
  § Usually these are “sized” diapers, so you have to “size up”
·  Brands
  § We have some Kissaluvs fitteds and some GMD fitteds.  There are other brands as well.
  § Fitted diapers can be found at most major cloth diaper retailers.
·  My Opinions
  § We have a few fitted diapers but don’t use them.  Pockets are more convenient and flats and prefolds are not less convenient.
  § I could see us using fitted diapers as a nighttime solution for a side-sleeping baby.

Covers (made of thin, waterproof material)
·  Necessary for flats, prefolds, and fitted diapers.
·  Brands
  § We own Thirsties, Bummis, and Econobum covers.  There are many different brands of covers since they are often made by individuals as well as companies.
  § You can find covers at pretty much any cloth diaper retailer.

Pocket Diapers (soft inner material with a “pocket” that can be stuffed with anything absorbent; waterproof outer material)
·  Pros
  § Less bulky
  § One step system (if they’re already stuffed)
  § Customizable absorbency – just add more inserts (highly absorbent layers of material made to fit in pocket diapers)
  § Generally one-size
·  Cons
  § More expensive
  § Require “stuffing” and “unstuffing” of inserts
  § Like disposables, the absorbent section is a central strip, so a side-sleeping baby may tend to leak out the legs.
·  Brands
  § Most pocket diaper brands are very similar in design.  For a comparison of several popular brands, see Charts.
  § There are many other brands, as this is another item that is made by individuals as well as companies.
  § You can find pocket diapers at pretty much any cloth diaper retailer.
·  My Opinions
  § I like pockets for the diaper bag.  They are quick and easy when out and about.
  § Pockets make great “daddy diapers.”  They’re as easy to use as disposables.
  § We use pockets for nighttime since I can stuff them with extra inserts.  Three inserts make them very large and bulky, but they last all night.
  § I have found that the cheaper brands work just as well as the more expensive brands, at least for us.

All-In-Ones (soft inner material with sewn in absorbent section; waterproof outer material)
·  Pros
  § Less bulky
  § No “stuffing” or “unstuffing”
  § One step system
  § Generally one-size
·  Cons
  § Cannot customize the absorbency
  § Take a long time to dry
  § More expensive
·  Brands
  § The most popular brand is probably bumGenius.  We have one of these, but it is one of our least favorite diapers.  There are other brands as well, but we haven’t tried them.
  § You can find AIOs at pretty much any cloth diaper retailer.
·  My Opinions
  § We have one AIO and it is our least favorite diaper.  Pockets work just as well, and I don’t find that the time saved by not having to stuff and unstuff inserts is worth the increased price and drying time.

Snaps Vs. Velcro (Aplix)
·  Snaps
  § Pros
ž Longer lasting
ž Difficult for a child to unfasten
  § Cons
ž Not as customizable with regard to size
ž More time consuming, making some changes difficult (nighttime, wiggling child)
ž Can be confusing, depending how many snaps are showing
·  Velcro (Aplix)
  § Pros
ž Customized size, every time
ž Quick and easy
  § Cons
ž Tend to wear out quickly
ž Older children are able to unfasten diapers
·  My Opinions
  § We have some diapers with velcro and some with snaps.  We’ve been using cloth diapers for about five months now, and I’m already noticing that the velcro is wearing out on my most used covers, so I try to use the ones with snaps more often.
  § I leave velcro diapers for those who are not used to using snaps.  They are easier for people who are accustomed to disposables.


These are things that are useful when cloth diapering, though not absolutely necessary.  Again, there are more accessories than I have listed, but I do not have experience with them.

·  A fastener used for flats, prefolds, and some fitted diapers

·  The makers of GoGreen Pocket diapers have invented an “Adapt-A-Snap” that easily converts snaps to aplix. 
·  I have not personally tried the Adapt-A-Snap, but included it because of the previous section on Snaps vs. Aplix.
·  Has gotten very good reviews (and it seems like a great idea to me!)
·  It has also been mentioned by reviewers that even though the Adapt-A-Snap was designed specifically for GoGreen Pocket diapers, it works with several other brands as well.

·  Used to hold dirty diapers
·  Come in zipper and drawstring closures, as well as various sizes
·  Can be washed with the diapers
·  My Opinions
  § I have two small zippered wetbags that I rotate for the diaper bag and two larger ones that I rotate for next to the changing table.
  § I think the zipper is nice to have in the diaper bag, but unnecessary next to the changing table, since those bags are usually kept open to avoid bacterial buildup.

Cloth Wipes
·  Many cloth diaper retailers sell wipes and wipes solutions also.
·  Baby washcloths are a cheaper alternative.
·  Can be washed with the diapers
·  Store damp or keep a spray bottle handy to moisten as necessary
·  My Opinions
  § I use cloth wipes because I got tired of accidentally washing my disposable wipes.
  § I have mostly baby washcloths, and they work fine.
  § I store my wipes dry (folded in half in an old disposable wipes container) and keep a spray bottle on the changing table.  Plain water will work, but I actually use a wipes solution that I found online (see below).  I spray right on the baby’s bottom; it seems more efficient than spraying on the wipe.
  § There are many recipes for wipes solution online.  I chose an easy one that used ingredients I already had on hand.  When I’m in a hurry I don’t put in all the parts.  Instead, I just add water and a couple drops of Baby Shampoo (or soap) to what is already in my spray bottle.
·  My Wipes Solution
  § 1 tsp Baby Shampoo (for cleaning)
  § 1 tsp Baby Lotion
  § 1 tsp Baby Oil
  § 1 ½ cups Water

Diaper Sprayer
·  Breastfed and formula fed poop can be put directly in a wetbag and washed, but once your child starts eating solids you’ll need to empty dirty diapers into the toilet before washing them.  This is where a diaper sprayer comes in handy.
·  Mini sprayer (like a shower head) that attaches directly to your toilet and can be used to spray dirty diapers before washing.
·  I have not personally tried a diaper sprayer, but many people claim they wouldn’t be able to cloth diaper toddlers without them.
·  Several of the major diaper brands also make diaper sprayers.  They can be found at many major cloth diaper retailers.

My Routines
·  There are some detergents made specifically for cloth diapers, but there are also a few mainstream detergents that work well.  In general you want to steer clear of extra chemicals and additives as they can cause buildup in your diapers (especially pocket inserts and AIOs).  Detergent choices are less important if you’re using flats and prefolds, because buildup is much less likely on those types of diapers.
  § Rockin’ Green, Tiny Bubbles, Ruby Moon, and Charlie’s Soap are all cloth diaper detergents.
        § Some people find that Originial (or Ultra) Tide Powder works fine.
        § I use Ecos free and clear liquid.  It can be found in the natural/organic section of Kroger (and possibly at other stores, but that’s where I buy it).
        § A good detergent comparison can be found online at PinStripes and Polka Dots 
·  Washers that fill with lots of water tend to do a better job cleaning diapers than the new high efficiency machines.  However, you can make an HE machine work for you.
  § I have a top-loading HE machine (Centennial by Maytag).  I checked the manual to see which cycles have higher water levels and use those.  I do one “heavy heavy” cycle on warm, and then one “bulky” cycle on hot with an extra rinse.  For each cycle I just cover the bottom of the Ecos lid with detergent (do not use the full recommended amount of a mainline detergent).
·  Dryer sheets are not recommended for the same reason that detergents with extra chemicals are not recommended.
  § Some people suggest throwing a dry towel in with your load to help it dry faster.
  § I use wool dryer balls.  They reduce static the same way dryer sheets do (though not nearly as well), and also help the diapers dry slightly faster.  You can just let a few live in your dryer, as they also work for clothes.
  § When it’s sunny out, I like to put the diapers on a drying rack (or clothesline) for a while.  The sun is a great natural bleacher, and I can always finish drying things in the dryer if I need to (which I often do for inserts because they are thick layers of material).

·  If you’re looking for the cheapest way to cloth diaper, use flour sack towel flats or old t-shirts.  Go here for a good way to fold flats and here for pictures showing how to fold t-shirts for use as diapers.  Econobum has cheap, one-size covers that periodically go on sale for buy one, get one free.  For $10 you can get two Econobum covers with two prefolds thrown in (for use as diapers or as doublers for overnight).
·  If you’ll be using a daycare, or just want a more convenient route, get pockets or all-in-ones.  It’s more expensive, but easier for quick diaper changes.  They’ll come in handy for those used to disposables and/or when your baby gets big enough to be wiggly and distracted during diaper changes.
·  If you’re not sure what you want, sample a few different diapers.  Many retailers offer some sort of trial package so that you can try the different types.  We wanted to cloth diaper cheaply, so I chose prefolds for me and fitteds for my husband.  Later, I discovered that I prefer flats and he prefers pockets.

My Favorite Diapers
·  At home during the day, I use flour sack towel flats with a Thirsties cover.  Thirsties are a little more expensive, but I think they’re worth it.
·  When out and about, I use pocket diapers.  I like KaWaii, Green Bees, and Leettle Hands & Feet.  I have found these three brands to be reasonably priced while still being very good diapers.  KaWaii diapers are sold by many retailers; Green Bees and Leettle Hands & Feet are found on individual websites (see My Favorite Stores).
·  At night I will triple-stuff a pocket diaper.  I usually use one microfiber insert (the standard white one that comes with most pocket diapers) and two hemp inserts.  Hemp is more absorbent than microfiber, but works more slowly, so make sure to put the hemp layer underneath the microfiber layer.
·  I like to keep my Econobum covers around as backups.  They feel cheaper than Thirsties covers, mostly because they are.  In a pinch, though, they work fine.  Econobum covers are one-size, which is cost effective.  Although not required, I often use them over nighttime diapers just to make sure there are no leaks, especially around the legs.
·  I have Bummis wetbags in the diaper bag and I think they’re great.  I have PlanetWise wetbags in the nursery that are just okay.  They do a good job, but because of their double layer construction, I never feel like they get completely dry on the outside after being washed.

My Favorite Stores
  § Free shipping over $49
  § Rewards program allows you to earn points towards gift certificates
  § Frequent coupons for free diapers
  § Good selection
  § Free shipping over $49
  § Rewards program allows you to earn points towards gift certificates
  § Good selection
  § Occasional coupons for free diapers
  § Free shipping over $25
  § Rewards program allows you to earn points towards gift certificates
  § Good selection
  § Free shipping
  § Rewards program allows you to earn points towards your next purchase
  § Decent selection
  § Free shipping over $60
  § Rewards program allows you to earn points towards gift certificates
  § Good selection
  § For Leettle Hands & Feet diapers
  § 100% of profits go to World Vision International
  § For Green Bees diapers
  § For GMD prefolds and fitted diapers
  § For Adapt-A-Snap

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