Cloth Diapering 101: Part II

Common excuses and myths about cloth diapering:

“I don’t want to swish my diapers in the toilet and wring them out–gross!”

Although my mother “dunked and swished” my own cloth diapers in the toilet, wrung them out by hand, and then proceeded to soak, dunk, swirl, swish, and squeeze the diapers in a pail of bleach water–THIS IS NOT NECESSARY! In fact, for the first year of Animal’s life, I simply dropped the wet or soiled diaper into a garbage pail. (The large kitchen pails with a pedal to automatically open the lid work GREAT. You’ll never have to wash the pail if you use a re-usable washable pail liner.) If Animal has a poopie that is just super solid, and can easily plop off into the toilet, I do so. But otherwise, straight to the pail.

For some moms, they like the pre-rinsing step. Every once in awhile Animal will eat something funny like corn or grapes and a pre-rinsing step is nice. For super easy pre-rinsing, there are 2 great options:

1. A “Diaper Duck”: This little invention will allow you to hang a dirty diaper in the toilet, let it soak, and then wring it out later on, without ever having to touch your hands to anything icky. The Duck is cheap, but will only work well with prefold diapers and a toilet with a high water level.

2. A “Diaper Sprayer”: Although I have never used one of these, many moms swear by it. It hooks up directly to your toilet and allows for easy cleanup.

“I don’t want to fold and pin my diapers.”

Sure, some people still fold and pin. If you want to spend the bare minimum on diapers, you can learn the art of folding and pinning. But the greatest thing about cloth diapers nowadays is that you have a TON of options. I have presented them below. Hopefully I don’t confuse you too much.

Types of cloth diapers:

“Flats”: Flats are the diapers that yours truly did her business in for the first 2 years of life. They are large, and fairly thin, until you fold them up into a neat little triangle and adjust them to fit your baby’s individual size. These can either be pinned, or you can use the greatest invention ever–The Snappi. Although it has some semi-sharp prongs, it’s SUPER EASY, and can be done one handed. Kind of like a diaper “latch.” ๐Ÿ™‚ A flat diaper will require a waterproof cover as well.

“Prefolds”: Prefolds are a little like flats, but most of the folding has been done for you. They are thick, super absorbent, cheap, and they last FOREVER. They come in several different sizes, including premie, newborn, infant/premium, and toddler. The infant (or premium) size should last for most of your baby’s diapering years. Minimal folding is needed to use a prefold diaper. Again, you can fasten with pins or a Snappi. (I recommend a Snappi.) Prefolds also require the use of a cover. My favorite prefolds are “unbleached Indian prefolds.” They come in a natural, unbleached color and are incredibly soft and aborbent. Another type of prefold is a “chinese prefold.” Often, you will see the term “DSQ”, which means “diaper service quality.” This is definitely what you want to purchase. Cloth diapers almost exlusively need to be purchased online. Some stores, such as Babies R’ Us or Target, carry Gerber prefolds and flats, along with plastic pants. You do not want to purchase these products. They will not work effectively and they will not last.

“Fitteds”: Fitted diapers are much like disposables. They fasten with either velcro or snaps, and come in a variety of materials. They are easy to use and are adjustable. Again, a fitted diaper is not waterproof, and will require a cover.

“All-in-ones” or AIO’s: An all-in-one diaper is exactly like a disposable, except that it’s washable. You need no cover with an AIO diaper. AIO’s are great, especially with daycares and babysitters. They come in tons of cute patterns and fabrics, and your choice of snaps, velcro, side closures, front closures, adjustability, etc. However, there are some downfalls. For one, a good fitting AIO can be hard to find. Every baby is sized differently, and it might take a few tries before you find something that works well for your baby’s shape and “wetting habits.” AIO’s are also expensive. Many AIO’s fall somewhere in the $15-$20 a piece range. They are also slow to dry. My favorite AIO diapers are called “Snap-EZ”.

“Pockets”: Pocket diapers are similar to AIO’s. The only difference is that they come with an opening in the top. In this opening, you must stuff an “insert” (a thick piece of material to absorb wetness.) This eliminates drying time and also causes less staining to the diaper itself. (Liquid is absorbed into the insert while the lining of the diaper stays dry against baby’s bottom.) Pocket diapers are less expensive than an AIO diaper, but inserts must be purchased, and these can be costly. Fuzzi Bunz is one of the top pocket diapers, and also my personal favorite. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors. My favorite inserts are called “Wonderfulls”.

“One Size”: One size diapers are designed to fit a baby from newborn to toddler. They have a whole crapload of snaps to fit any frame. You can find One Size diapers that are fitteds, AIO’s, or pockets.

Covers: Covers also come in a variety of materials, although the most popular will be PUL (Polyurethane laminate). You can purchase a cover that uses velcro or snaps. Whatever is your prefence. Personally, I prefer a cover that snaps at the waist and the thigh. This way, you can get a good fit. Especially if you have a baby like mine who sports a trim waist and huge, chunky thighs. Also, velcro gets dirty and fuzzy, and will often stick to everything in the wash. My favorite covers can be found at Other popular covers are the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap (or snap wrap) and Proraps.

Please note: I have not listed links to cloth diapering stores. A google search for any of the brand names listed will give you a wide array of options for special sales and the lowest prices.

“I don’t have the time for all that washing!”

Many moms simply throw their dirty diapers in the washer, wash on hot with a bit of detergent, and dry in the dryer. Just like normal clothes. This works well for many. I actually soak my diapers in cold for a few hours (or overnight), spin the water out, and then wash on hot. Every once awhile I rinse again with a bit of vinegar. Cloth diapers add an extra 2 loads a week.

Are there any myths/excuses I’ve missed? Questions welcome.

Now for the nitty gritty. What do you need to purchase?

For the newbie cloth diaperer, I strongly recommend starting with prefolds fasted with a Snappi, and a high quality cover. For a newborn, a good stash will look like this:

24 newborn prefolds
2 Snappis
4-6 small covers
2 small wetbags (for changing diapers on the go–these are washable and reusable)
2 large wetbags (these will line your diaper pail)
1 large garbage can (preferably with a foot pedal to open the lid hands-free)

I would also recommend somewhere around 24 cloth wipes. You can use disposable wipes, but you will have to separate them from your diapers, and that tends to be difficult and messy. Cloth wipes, like diapers, come in a variety of sizes, shapes, material, colors, and patterns. I make my own cloth wipes by sewing together 2 pieces of flannel and using a blanket stitch around the edges. Cheap discount washcloths can also be purchased and work really well. I pre-moisten my wipes by filling up the container with some water and a few drops of baby shampoo. Swish a bit, add wipes and drain out the excess water. In this case, an electric wipe warmer really comes in handy. Cloth wipes get COLD!

For a larger baby, less diapers and covers will be needed. You might find that you will have to purchase some “doublers” or “soakers”, which will add some bulk to your baby’s diaper during naptime/bedtime for extra absorbency.

If you are interested in using cloth diapers, please feel free to contact me directly at tamingestella at yahoo dot com. Cloth is my passion, and I would love to help you set up a starter package to fit your personal needs. I have tons of resources for finding sales, discounts, and gently used diapers. Questions can also be addressed in the comments section.

You’ll love the difference between paper and cloth and you’ll see immediate results. Your baby will have less diaper rash, you’ll save money, you’ll be doing the responsible thing for our environment and besides–what looks cuter?


Tie Dyed toddler sized Indian Unbleached prefold, fastened with a Snappi

black Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper with a Wonderfulls hemp insert

dalmation print Berry Plush AIO

Swaddlebees AIO with optional pocket

7 Responses to “Cloth Diapering 101: Part II”

  1. 1 antropologa February 10, 2007 at 8:22 am

    What do you think about the bum genius diapers?

    What changes to the list of things to buy would you make for an older baby starting out cloth diapering?

  2. 2 jewel February 10, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    MY BABY IS FAMOUS. I new the day would come that I would see her booty on the web. I just never thought it would happen so young. lol.

  3. 3 mrshavisham February 11, 2007 at 5:00 am


    For an older baby I would start out with 12 infant/premium size prefolds, a Snappi and a few covers. You’d also want to buy some sort of “doubler” for nighttime use.

    I’ve never tried Bumgenius but they are right up there in the top 5 diapers. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about the BG.

  4. 4 Liz February 15, 2007 at 5:33 am

    A word of CAUTION… Cloth can be extremely addictive, you may spend any free moment and countless hours on cd websites. I personally *LOVE* Starbunz they come in cute little animals with ears and a tail, but I really like the breathable pockets (w/o PUL)…SSSOOOO F’n cute I can’t help myself from spankin’ a cute little fuzzy butt!!!!!

  5. 5 SD March 28, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I am currently using cloth diaper. But is facing this low absorbtion rate where there are always nights where my daughter will wake up with leaking diapers. Despite stripping it with hot water and tumble dry after that, and also changing detergent, i still get this problem.
    Do you have any idea howto overcome this?

  6. 6 Drea April 12, 2007 at 2:28 am

    the cloth look way better ๐Ÿ˜€ cute lil baby!

  1. 1 Jack Trackback on June 18, 2007 at 2:02 pm

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