The decision to use cloth diapering can be intimidating. There are many different type and methods to experiment with. How you wash the diapers and where you get them are only a couple of the many questions parents have about cloth diapering. This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of everything you need to get started.

Benefits of Cloth Diapering

Knowing why you want to use cloth diapers will go a long way in helping you stay committed to your decision. No matter the main draw of cloth diapering, keep it in mind for encouragement while you’re in the learning phase and so that you can explain your reasoning to curious and unconvinced friends, family, and even strangers.

Cloth diapering is a choice that is:


  • Disposable diapers are the 3rd most common product taking up space in landfills
  • Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose
  • Disposable diapers are a waste of our non-renewable resources.

Saves you thousands of dollars

  • According to a report from Consumer Reports, parents will spend approximately $2,000 on disposable diapers.
  • The costs of cloth diapering and laundering are minimal in comparison. Stick to the basics to save even more.
  • You can even register for cloth diapers when you set up your baby gift registry.

Healthy and non-toxic for your baby

  • The harmful chemicals in disposable diapers, such as Sodium Polyacrylate and Dioxin can cause health problems and cause rashes and irritation.

Cloth Diapering Systems

Cloth diapering is easy one you understand the terminology and explore your options. You’ll have a few kinks to work out along the way. Just learn the basics for now, and you can experiment more once you have your baby.

Here are the essentials about the different type of cloth diapering systems. You will likely use a combination of these, and you’ll find that some work better for different stages of growth or different occasions.

  • All in Ones are a type of cloth diaper that is easy to use and already has everything you need. Other forms of cloth diapers require extra material for more absorbency or for a cover. There are many different styles and features of All in One cloth diapers. There is a soaker sewn into the inside or on the outside. They fasten with Velcro usually but may also use snaps. All in Ones require a more thorough cleaning and take longer to dry.
  • Pockets are cloth diapers with two layers, the inner layer soft and the outer layer water-proof. You can insert absorbency material in the pocket between the two layers which allows you to adjust as needed. When extra absorbency is needed, such as for a long car ride or overnight, you can insert a thicker material. These work well regardless of your baby’s size since they are so versatile. Remove and separate the insert when washing and take extra care to clean out the inner layer.
  • Flats are a thin and square piece of material that washes and dries quickly. They work well with pins to hold them in place but will need to be changed frequently. You can also choose flats that come with two layers. Flats are priced reasonably low, so you can easily have several of them clean and ready to use.
  • Prefolds are similar to flats but contain folded in layers that provide extra absorbency. You can obtain prefolds that have more or less layers depending on your absorbency needs. You also fasten them with pins or use a cover. Like flats they are inexpensive and easy to wash. Both flats and prefolds are great to have on hand if you are primarily using pocket cloth diapers since they can be used as inserts. You can even use these as nursing pads instead of purchasing disposables pads or expensive, reusable nursing pads.
  • Fitteds are a fun and convenient cloth diaper. It comes with fasteners and elastic material that helps with containment. You can find cute styles that will make you smile. These cloth diapers need frequent changing because they do not have a waterproof layer, but you can use a cover for added protection. If you want to make your own cloth diapers, fitteds are easy to make. This form of cloth diaper needs to be rinsed very well before washing.


How to Use Cloth Diapers


No matter what type of cloth diaper you use, the process is essentially the same as using disposable diapers. You will change your baby’s diapers regularly and as needed. You will add inserts and covers when you need extra leakage protection. You will clean your baby with your chosen wipes (think cloth…). Instead of throwing an expensive disposable diaper away and thereby damaging the environment, you get to wash and reuse your cloth diaper. If busy or outside the home, just put the dirty cloth diaper into a waterproof bag until you can wash it.


How to Wash Cloth Diapers


For the most part, cloth diapers are easy to wash. Some cloth diapers are easier to get clean then others, so you may have to experiment with rinsing techniques and detergents. In general, you will rinse out the different layers and inserts, then wash them in the washing machine. Conveniently, you can obtain a sprayer that you place over the toilet seat to rinse out the diapers before washing.

Where Do You Get Cloth Diapers?

Cloth diapers aren’t available at every local department store or supermarket, but don’t worry. There are plenty of places you can get them. Amazon often has cloth diapers, but the selection is sometimes limited. Do an online search for online stores as well as local stores that offer a wide variety.

Some Popular Cloth Diaper Brands:

Online Stores:

Some stores even offer rental services. Renting cloth diapers is an additional option that makes cloth diapering all the more affordable. This option is especially beneficial when determining your cloth diaper preferences and when your baby is a newborn and too tiny to fit into the styles you prefer.

Cloth Diapering Mamas


Talk to other moms who are experienced in cloth diapering. There is nothing more helpful than having a resource of other moms who also make alternative parenting choices like cloth diapering. Remember why you feel cloth diapering is important, and know that you can make it work!