All About Cloth: A 101 Guide to Cloth

You asked for a cloth diapering guide and we have put one together. We will undoubtedly add more to this guide as we learn new things. Feel free to visit us in the forum for more information and any questions you may have.

Let’s start with the basics.

The Prefold

What a prefold is– Prefolds are rectangular diapers that have more layers in the middle and fewer layers on the sides. Typically the sides consist of 4 layers on each side and either 6 or 8 layers in the center. They also come bleached (the gerber ones you see in most chain stores) or unbleached (my preference). Prefolds do require diaper pins or snappis to close them around baby. This is usually the most economical way to cloth diaper.

What a cover is– Diaper covers come in a number of different styles- the most popular being the wrap- style cover in which you can just lay a prefold and velcro or snap the cover over the diaper. They also come in pull-on pant styles. The majority of modern cloth diaper covers use the following three fibers: Wool, Fleece or PUL.

Price range– For a DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) diaper it costs on average $2 a diaper. This can of course vary by brand, size, quality and quantity you chose. Covers also run the gamete in pricing. I have purchased some on sale for less than $3 and some that were $13. I would say on average they are about $11

Sizes– Prefolds come in preemie (up to 8 lbs.), infant (7-15 lbs.) and premium (15-30 lbs). Covers come in sizes 1 and 2 or some brands do carry a one size that is usually 8-32 lbs.

How many do you need per day– Newborns will go through 12-16 a day for the first 2 weeks or so. 8-12 the first six months and than closer to 6-8 thereafter. I recommend purchasing 36 for an infant and 24 for babies 6 months or older. This should last you 2-3 days depending on your baby’s potty habits.

How many covers do you need- A cover lasts as long as it is not super wet or soiled. Usually 2 a day is good. 6 is a good number to have.

Anything else you need– Snappis or pins are necessary. I recommend snappis because they are easier and safer. I would get at least 3. A wet bag (or two) and a diaper pail with a liner (or two). A sprayer is not needed but once your baby starts eating solids it will be very helpful. A CD friendly detergent is also a must.

Where to buy… Zoolikins offers an awesome “start-up” kit to make it VERY easy and can be found by clicking the link below:
Zoolikins Cloth DiapersBumkins Prefold Diaper

Prefolds at Diaper Junction
Bummis OrganicPrefolds
Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners

The Fitted

What is a Fitted?
A fitted diaper requires a cover and is usually enclosed by snaps or velcro. They are classified by the elastic gussets around the legs and the classic diaper shape.

Price range:
Fitteds range in price from very inexpensive to all the way up to $50 a pop

Fitteds come in all sizes…both sized and one size

How many do you need per day:
Like with any cloth diaper you will need a minimum of 24 diapers

How many covers do you need:
I would suggest having between 6 and 8 covers

Where to buy:

Good Mama


Thirsties Duo

The Pocket

What is a pocket diaper: A pocket diaper is a cloth diaper with an outer waterproof (PUL) layer and an inner layer of some fabric that wicks moisture, like fleece, with an opening on one end, which creates a pocket. The pocket needs to be “stuffed” with some sort of insert. Most diapers come with an insert, but you can stuff pocket diapers with microfiber inserts, minky inserts (my personal favorite), bamboo inserts, hemp inserts, prefold diapers, flannel receiving bankets, or flour sack towels just to name a few. For overnights or nap times, diapers can be double stuffed or stuffed with two different inserts (i.e., microfiber and bamboo). Pocket diapers have either velcro or snap closures.

Price range: New diapers with inserts can cost from $5 to $25 depending on the brand. Used pocket diapers can be very affordable (check out your local Craigslist or eBay).

Sizes: These diapers can be “sized” (S, M, L) or one-size, depending on brand. Sized diapers are generally less bulky, but one-size are more economical.

How many do you need per day: 12

Where to buy some of our favorite brands…
bumGenius One-Size

FuzziBunz Perfect Size
Charlie Banana

The All In One


What is an All in One(AIO): An All In One is exactly what the name emplies. The diaper features everything built into one diaper. You snap or Velcro the diaper on and you are good to go, no inserts required. A lot of All In One’s also have a pocket underneath the padding so you can add an insert for added absorbency.

Price Range: They range between $13-$30 per diaper.

Sizes: Available in one size and sized. Sized diapers will have a trimmer fit.

How many do you need per day: 12 diapers per day

Where to buy…
BumGenius Elemental
GroVia All-In-One (AIO)

The All In Two


What is an All in Two (AI2): An All In Two is a hybrid style diaper that embodies everything the AIO does, but has the additional convenience of transforming into a disposable. Usually with stick on disposable inserts, you can make this diaper work from home and on the go without lugging around dirty diapers.


Price Range: Hybrids run between $15-$30 per diaper and inserts can be bought in packs of 50 for $19.99.
Sizes: Available in one size and sized.


How many do you need per day: 12 diapers per day, if you use this system exclusively you can get away with having a minimum of 3 covers (per day) and 12 inserts. I would recommend having at least 4 though.


Anything else you might need: You will need both microfiber and disposable inserts. FLIP and Grovia have kits that include everything you need to get started.
Where to buy…
Flip AI2
GroVia Hybrid

Accessories and Others

Diaper Sprayer:A miniature shower hose that gets placed on the side of a toilet for spraying off dirty diapers. This is incredibly handy if you want to minimize the amount of waste going in your washer, cutting down smell and removing solids.
Diaper Liners: an ultra thin liner that gets placed between the child and the diaper. These allow for an easy, mess free cleanup. I personally like GroVia BioLiners Diaper Liners
The Snappi: a Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners is the modern version of the diaper pin. The Snappi gets stretched across the diaper for a secure fit. Use it with prefolds and some fitteds.
Wet Bags: A Wet Bag is a bag you can carry around in your diaper bag for wet diapers, soiled clothes and any pukey misshaps that happen along the way. Some people use a wetbag as their diaper laundry bag in the home as well. They come in a variety of sizes.
Pail liner: Kissa’s Antibacterial Pail Liner is a pail liner to go inside your diaper pail to lock in smells and to stop the mess.
Diaper Pail/Trash can: You can use any type of trash can with a lid for your diapers. We personally like to use trash cans with foot pedal lids.

Other things

Join the Forum discussion on this post

About the author

Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Yvonne -  April 11, 2012 - 2:38 am

    Incredibly useful post! Ive always felt so lost with all the CDing options, it was sort of intimidating. Ive only ever used prefolds, pins while home and disposables when we’re out. I did it this way with my 1st 7yrs ago and now with my 7mo, I’ve wanted to make the switch to exclusively cloth but had no idea where to even begin. Thanks so much!

    • Xza Louise -  April 12, 2012 - 5:46 pm

      If you have any specific questions feel free to ask us

      • Jessica -  August 18, 2012 - 9:18 pm

        What is the difference between size 1 and size 2? Is there like a specific weight limit for each? I’ve been thinking about trying out the sun baby diapers but I wasn’t sure what size to get

        • Xza Louise -  August 18, 2012 - 10:17 pm

          Hi Jessica! The size 1 Sunbaby’s fit babies from about 7lbs-30lbs, this diaper is better for thinner babies or if you want to use cloth right away.. The size 2’s fit from 12lbs-35lbs and are better for chunkier babies or if you start later in babies life. You may want to try one of each. We are doing a flash sale on Facebook on Monday and will be restocking our online shop in September. If you just want to try one or two out feel free to email and she can set you up.

        • Xza Louise -  August 18, 2012 - 11:08 pm

          Size 1s fit from about 7lbs-30lbs and are better for skinny babies. Size 2s fit from about 12lbs-35lbs are better for chunky babies or if you started cloth diapering later. I would advise trying out 1 of each to start that way you can see which you prefer. If you want to we have a couple individual diapers left if you email

  2. Shytantoon -  April 12, 2012 - 5:41 pm

    I seriously thought about cloth diapering and decided with the laundry room two storys down I may not be able to do laundry as often as I would like so I opted out. The other day, felix got his first severe diaper rash. Any little thing that happens to this baby and df is all in an uproar. He started going on and on about chemicals in disposables and muttering away to himself. So now I feel like I should have cloth diapered. Felix is 10 months, is it silly to start now?

    • Xza Louise -  April 12, 2012 - 5:45 pm

      Not at all! I would reccomend using a one size diaper to save even more money though. and the best part about cloth is you can use them for baby #2 or resell them. Cloth has great resale value if you take care of your diapers.
      Some of the diapers we use are 6 years old and have been used on 3 babies!
      I walk to our basement (2 flights) for diapers every other day. It really doesn’t add any pressure or feel like moer work.

  3. Oli -  April 20, 2012 - 9:10 pm

    I use the good old fashioned flat fold AND the peorfld cloth diapers. You can also buy expensive, fancy, all-in-one, with or without liners, plus your baby’s name and CV embroidered on them, but the bottom line is: you still have to change the diaper every single time it gets wet or soiled. Period. Maybe the all-in -one are easier to use and fancier, but I repeat, you still have to change them, and if you are on budget- they are expensive. You have to buy a few sizes as your baby grows, as for the flatfold/peorfld- it will last you a couple of years. If you want to save money, buy 2 dozen of peorflds and a dozen of flat folds. Gerber has some excellent diapers, birdeye cloth and other variety. I use the flat fold as liners, but they can get bulky, and use either pins or snappies to tie them. These diapers work great, keep your baby’s skin breathe and dry. Watch some YouTube tutorials how some moms use pins or snappies. One cloth diaper use will cost you a forth of a cent a year ( a pack of 12 diapers= about $15 with tax).I do not use the covers because I have to dig in my baby’s pants to find out whether she is wet or not. I guess they work well for heavy wetters- you do not want everything wet underneath your baby. Mine is not, so I am getting away without them.I use hypo-allergenic detergent- but you do not have to if your baby handles regular one. But I would still recommend it. I use a line in my backyard for drying them- sun and wind are still free, thanks God. besides, the UV rays in the sunlight act as disinfectant agent no bleaching needed ever.Hope it helps.Good luck.

  4. Aida -  April 21, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    Thank you so much for the guide, it’s definitely helpful! I would love to see each section have some pros and cons.

  5. Susan -  July 23, 2012 - 12:54 pm

    Great article! And very interesting/informative. I just bought a lot of affordable baby gear at the site is really easy to navigate. The diapers mentioned above seem very fancy!

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