Are you looking to start using cloth diapers but not sure where to start? I know there is a TON of information out there and it feels like a whole different language when you read about it. Let me break it down for you and tell you about the best cloth diapers. Get ready for cloth diapers 101! And grab your FREE cloth diaper shopping checklist from the Resource Library.
Cloth Diapers 101
If you have been doing research on cloth diapers I can only imagine you have some questions. I know that I spent A TON of time reading and almost just gave up and kept using disposable diapers because I had NO CLUE what everyone was talking about when it came to covers, AIOs, Inserts, Liners, and dryer balls. Thankfully a friend that used cloth diapers came to my rescue and fielded all of my beginner questions and I was able to get started.
Cloth Diaper Vocabulary
I’m going to break this down into smaller sections so you can keep it all straight. But once you read through this you should have a better understanding of the whole process. And the shopping checklist (available in the Resource Library)
Cover – This is a diaper shell. You will lay an insert inside it and snap the cover onto the baby’s body to keep the insert in place. Think of it as the water-resistant layer that keeps the absorbent layers from leaking everywhere.
Pocket – This type of cloth diaper has the PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) layer but there is a pocket (created by a wicking layer) to “stuff” the insert inside to help keep the wetness away from baby’s butt.
All-In-One (AIO) – This style has the diaper and insert sewn together. Sometimes there is also a pocket to add extra absorbency.
Flats – Large square of fabric (such as cotton) that you have to fold up and snap/pin onto the baby. Simply put, old-school cloth diapers.
Fitted – A diaper made out of multiple layers of fabric. It requires a cover and varies in absorbency based on how it is made.
Cloth Diaper Inserts
An insert is the part of the diaper that makes it absorbent. There are multiple types for different levels of absorption at different speeds. Sometimes you may need to combine more than one to find the right fit for your baby.
Microfiber (MF) – Fast absorbing and hold a lot. But can cause compression leaks. Do Not put this type directly against baby’s butt because it is rough and will cause skin issues.
Charcoal Bamboo (CBI) – Fast absorbing, and can hold a lot. This has MF on the inside for quick absorption but avoids compression leaks by having charcoal bamboo on the outside.
Bamboo – Slower absorbing than MF but still holds a pretty good amount.
Hemp – Slow absorbing but holds A TON. Usually used as a booster with a faster absorbing insert to avoid leaks.
Flour Sack Towel – Fast absorbing and holds quite a bit.
Liner – A disposable or fleece layer laid between the baby and the diaper or inserts. Can help with wicking and ease of cleaning poop.
Dryer Balls – Used in place of dryer sheet.
Wicking – Transferring of moisture from the baby’s butt to the absorbing layer.
Wet Bag – PUL bag made to hold dirty diapers and wet clothing.
OS – One size cloth diaper.
NB – Newborn cloth diaper for babies 7-12lbs.
Big Baby – Cloth diapers for kids 35lbs+
Quick Tips To Start Using Cloth Diapers
- Try different styles to see what you like the most.
- You can do cloth diapers on just about any budget.
- Find a community so if you are having trouble or a bad day, you aren’t alone.
- Search Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is reselling a stash for a good price.
- Do some research on how to wash the diapers based on your washing machine and water in your house.
- Poop from exclusively breastfed babies is water soluble and does not need to be rinsed prior to washing.
- Wash all diapers and inserts before using them. Inserts will gain absorbancy through multiple washes.
How Many Diapers Do You Need?
The number of cloth diapers you need depends on how often you plan to do diaper laundry and how you plan to use them. It is recommended that you change diapers every 2-3 hours and every time the baby poops. It also depends on what kind of cloth diapers you use. A cover can be reused multiple time if there is no poop, but the others need to be changed each time.
As a general place to start:
Newborn: 12-15 per day
3+ Months: 9-12 per day
1+ Years: about 8 per day
How Do You Wash Cloth Diapers?
It depends on your washing machine and water hardness. But here is some information to get you started.
- Choose a main-stream detergent without a water softener.
- Remove solid waste and flush down the toilet.
- Use water softener if needed with your soap with water above 120PPM
- Do a prewash to remove general ICK before doing the main wash. Usually using a heavy duty cycle with a soak, but based on your washing machines settings.
The Best Cloth Diapers
Quick Note: You may read things about “china cheapies” being unsafe. This is untrue and you can read about the test done to prove it HERE.
This is a very popular brand that you will come across often. It is also a more expensive brand. Very many people absolutely love this brand and use it exclusively. The materials used are very nice and high quality. The fit is a little different than some other brands I will share with you. There are only 2 snaps on each side of this diapers.
Personally, I am not a fan of these diapers. I have long kids and they are a little shorter than other brands. My 2-year-old is 26lbs and these diapers feel like he is not going to fit in them much longer. I have also seen other people say that the elastics around the legs seems to wear out faster in this brand than others, but I cannot personally attest to that.
This is one of the most popular cheap cloth diaper brands. They are “china cheapies” and completely affordable. You can get them for less than $4 up to about $8 from some smaller businesses usually run through Facebook groups. They fit nicely, last well over time, and have 3 snaps on each side.
These diapers come in TONS of different prints and designs that are absolutely adorable. They also supply countless different brands so you will see many people say “off-brand Alvas” for companies.
These diapers come with a bamboo insert and are somewhere between Alva and BumGenius in style. They have 4 snaps like BG but they don’t seem as small. They are one size but come with OS newborn inserts.
The Best Cloth Diaper Inserts
Charcoal Bamboo – Naturally Natures 5 layer CBI
Bamboo – Nora’s Nursery 5 layer Bamboo
Hemp – Thirsties 6 layer hemp
Flour Sack Towels – Utopia Flour Sack Towels
Don’t forget to stop by the Resource Library to get your FREE cloth diaper shopping list so you get everything you need!
On The Cloth Diaper Shopping List
Baby Mojos Diaper Sprayer – If you don’t want to deal with “dunk and swish” in the toilet to clean the poop off diapers, you want this diaper sprayer that hooks right to the side of your toilet.
Spray Pal – Protect yourself and your bathroom from splatter while spraying the poop off the diapers.
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