Cloth Diapering Resource Page

I have really enjoyed using cloth diapers with Dylan, and I want to pass that love onto you. This page gives you an overview of information about cloth diapering and points you towards a lot of other great resources so you can dive in and learn as much as you want. Let me know if there’s more information you’re looking for that I can include here!

When you’re ready for ALL the information on cloth diapers, check out Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering.


Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers

What kinds of cloth diapers are available today?

  • Flats: These are the seriously old-fashioned kind. It’s a single layer piece of cloth that’s folded and pinned (or Snappi’d).
  • Prefolds:  Still old-fashioned. Cloth that’s already been folded for extra layers in the middle. Mostly all you have to do is pin. Read more about the benefits of using prefolds.
  • Contours: Contour diapers have a little bit of tailoring such as elastic around the legs and wings that fold over. It’s a slight step up from prefolds. No pinning needed.
  • Fitteds: Fitteds are fully tailored diapers – elastic for the legs and waist, snaps or Velcro to close it. These go on your baby like a disposable, although they still need a cover to be waterproof.
  • Covers: Flats, prefolds, contours, and fitteds all need a cover to make them waterproof. The cover has no absorbency itself, it’s just a waterproof barrier. But if you remember the rubber pants of yore, don’t worry. Covers these days are as cute as the diapers and come in many easy-to-use styles.
  • All-In-Ones (AIOs): AIOs have absorbency and waterproof-ness in one piece. You put them on and they fit just like a disposable.
  • Pockets: Pockets are like a cover (and can be used as a cover for other diaper types) in that they are trim and waterproof, but they have a lining that wicks moisture away from baby’s skin and a pocket for stuffing inserts into. The inserts are the absorbent part.
  • All-in-Twos: (AI2s): AI2s are like AIOs except the extra absorbent middle part snaps in and out, making them easier to launder.
  • One-size (OS): Fitteds, AIOs, pockets, and AI2s come in different sizes, or you can find OS diapers that are adjustable to fit your child as ou grows.
  • For more descriptions of these, plus different materials and other related terms, check out this cloth diapering cheat sheet or this page on cloth diapering systems.

Some popular cloth brands:

How to Wash Cloth Diapers:

  • As they occur, put the dirty diapers in a diaper pail or bag. If your baby is eating food, dump solid waste into the toilet first. For babies exclusively breastfeeding, you can wash everything. How long you wait between washings depends on your schedule and how many diapers you have.
  • Dump the contents of the pail or bag into your washing machine. Run a cold water rinse cycle to rinse away waste.
  • Wash diapers on hot using detergent. Run an extra rinse if you like.
  • Don’t use chlorine bleach, fabric softener, or pure soaps.
  • Dry on low or line dry. Don’t use dryer sheets.
  • If you have stains you want to remove, lay the diapers out in the sun. Stains magically disappear!

Other washing resources:

Cloth on a Budget:

For one guide to making your own cloth diapers, try One Size Diaper Pattern: Sew your own Cloth Diapers!

 And MORE…

This resource page on cloth diapering will grow over time, as I find more useful information and links to add.

What other information about cloth diapering would you like to know or what other information would you add to this page?


  1. I did not know what stripping was so thank you for the explanation. I would like to know of some outcomes for cloth diapering and you are not a stay at home mother! I wonder if that is a condition for daycares if your child is in disposable diapers. My environmental culture is so use to disposable.

    • That’s a great question. I started to look into having your daycare or other caregivers use cloth, but I haven’t found any good resources yet. Once all the Resource Pages are posted, I’ll have that on my list to look further into.

      • The on piece of advice I remember is that at home daycare providers are more likely to take them than a big center. Some centers do, but I think it’s more rare. You can usually convince an individual if you should them a pocket or AOI.

        • I work at a smaller in home daycare and we have 2 children that use cloth diapers, for us its really not a difficult transition, especially because we don’t have to wash the diapers! Plus it cuts down on garbage a lot! We change diapers approximately once every 2 hours for cloth or disposable and as needed if we notice someone went poo. It definitely depends on the care facility, but I’m sure if you bring it up and try to make the transition as painless as possible (making sure you have clean diapers everyday and a bag to send dirty ones home in) it should be fine :-) good luck!

  2. I have known people who successfully used cloth with day care providers, including my brother in Portland, OR. I think in pretty much all cases the babies wore the fancier types of cloth, such as AIO or pocket diapers, and the day care basically changed the baby as if ou were wearing disposables, but put the soiled diaper in a bag instead of the trash. I have no idea, however, how difficult it is to find an open-minded day care in different parts of the US or world.

    Excellent summary, Issa! Better than I found when I was shopping for diapers for Zyggy.

  3. Thankyou!

  4. Anne Lehnick says:

    I have never really understood under what circumstances you would want to strip your diapers. I’ve never done it with mine, but I’ve never really had smell or leaking/absorbancy issues.

    • When I started cloth diapering, I bought a “free and clear” detergent, thinking that would be ideal for cloth diapers, but upon further research (later when I had problems), it was one of the worst ones. The diapers had lingering smell, dinginess, and some leaking. When I went to switch over to a new detergent, first I stripped the diapers. There are some fancier methods, but all I did was wash/rinse them several times on my hottest cycle with no detergent.

  5. Elizabeth E says:

    Great overview! Perhaps you could link to sites that have lots of cloth diaper reviews and info about cloth diaper retailers? Padded Tush Stats, and All about Cloth come to mind. I learn a lot from their video reviews where they show you the diaper on a baby.

  6. Molly Bussler says:

    I would like to know how many you should have and how to keep from leaks etc. I am due with my first baby in May and I would love to try cloth diapers, but I honestly don’t know where to start, and I don’t know how to use them.

    • There’s a link under the cloth on a budget section for how many cloth diapers you need. Preventing leaks is about having diapers in the correct size, changing them often enough, and using a detergent that doesn’t build up on them.

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