Saturday, March 30, 2013

Types of Cloth Diapers: UPDATED

Types of Cloth Diapers


Flat cloth diapers are the classic cotton square which is folded to fit baby, and secured with a fastener. These can also be folded certain ways and placed inside a cover. This option doesn't require a fastener. These are the style of diaper most thought of when people mention cloth diapers. They're what your grandma used. I personally love these for certain situations. They're great when I need to handwash and hang to dry. This means they're great for traveling and camping. I haven't tried traveling or camping yet, but I will. They're also the least expensive option, so if you're on a budget these are something to look into. They are not waterproof, so you will need a waterproof cover over them.


Prefolds are a variation of the flat diaper. They are similar in size and material. The difference is prefolds have extra layers in the middle panel for additional absorbency. Since they are thicker than flats, they require a little more drying time, but are still great options of traveling and hand washing. Like flats, they're not waterproof, so you will need a waterproof cover over them. They can either be folded and placed in a cover, or folded to fit around lo and then secured with a fastener.

Both flats and prefolds can be custom sized by folding them, so you can get a trimmer fit. They are also great for newborns because they are less expensive than other options and you get a trimmer fit for your nb with these versus other types of diapers.


Fitteds are cloth diapers that have snaps or velcro that fasten around baby. They're generally made out of the same material as flats and prefolds. The entire diaper is absorbent cloth. They are not waterproof and will need a cover to keep prevent leaking through and onto clothing.

Covers are made of waterproof material generally PUL. They go over the top of flats, prefolds and fitteds in order to prevent leaking onto clothing. They fasten with either snaps or velcro. The cover is meant to be used multiple times before washing.

All in Ones (AIOs)

AIOs are the most similar to disposables. The inner layer is an absorbent cloth or fleece and the outer layer is waterproof, most commonly PUL. The downside to these diapers are that they take longer to dry and are generally more expensive than other options. They are the easiest to use IMO because they simply snap or velcro onto lo and don't require anything additional to use them.


Pockets are similar to AIOs. They snap or velcro around baby like a disposable. The difference between AIOs and pockets is that the pocket diaper has a pocket in the lining where you stuff in an insert. After the diaper comes off, you pull out the insert before washing and then restuff the insert after washing. These are one of my favorites because you can customize absorbency by adding additional inserts or using more absorbent insert material (bamboo and hemp are more absorbent than microfiber).

AI2 diapers are cloth shells and cloth inserts that you lay inside the shell. You change the insert and reuse the shell a few times before washing it.


Hybrid is an all in two with the option to use a disposable or flushable insert. Both Hybrids and AI2s are meant to be able to use the shell a couple of times before washing.


Diaper Pails

You have two options for how to store dirty diapers between washings. You can either choose a wet pail or a dry pail. I use a dry pail because it's easier and I don't like the idea of a bucket of standing water sitting in my bathroom.
Wet Pail-this is also known as "soaking the diapers". You stores dirty cloth diapers in water until you're ready to wash them. In addition to water, you can add baking soda, white vinegar, essential oils, and other additives in their cloth diaper pail to reduce odor and staining. Never soak in bleach or detergent because this causes diapers to breakdown faster.
Dry Pail-you store dirty cloth diapers in a completely dry pail, most often a large kitchen trash can. I have a 13 gallon trash can with flip lid. You use a pail liner and dump all the diapers in the washing machine along with the pail liner on wash day.

Pail Liners

Pail liners are made of PUL and are essentially a reusable trash bag that you store diapers in until wash day. When you're ready to wash diapers, you dump the contents of the bag along with the bag into the wash. Since the pail liner is made of PUL, it is best not to dry it in the dryer and better to hang dry. (I'll talk more about washing and dryer cloth diapers and accessories in an upcoming post).

Wet Bags

Wet bags are bags that you put wet/dirty diapers in when you're out and about. They're made of PUL and can be washed with diapers. They come in a variety of sizes and designs. Some fit in your diaper bags and others are too large for diaper bags and need to be carried separately (this will depend on the size of diaper bag).

Wet/Dry Bags

A wet/dry bag has two parts. One to store dry clothes and diapers and the other to store dirty/wet diapers and clothes.

Diaper Sprayers

A diaper sprayer attaches to the plumbing on your toilet to allow you to rinse debris (aka "poo") off your diapers and into the toilet. If you formula feed and/or your LO eats solids, you will need to remove as much poo off your diapers as you can before washing them to avoid staining. Breast milk poo is water soluble, so you does not need to rinsed before washing, because it will dissolve in water and won't end up in your washing machine. There are lots of options on the market. I still EBF, so I haven't tried any of them yet, but I will give an honest review as soon as I do. Another option some people elect is to use their shower sprayer. This is great if your toilet is close to your shower and your shower head nozzle can reach the toilet. You can also use a small bucket in the shower/tub and rinse with the shower nozzle, then dump the contents of the bucket into the toilet. The options using the shower head will save you money, but might be less convenient.

Flushable/Disposable Liners

An alternative to diaper sprayers is a flushable/disposable liner. This are biodegradeable and lay in the diaper to catch the poo. They're a good option if you're out of the house and won't be able to spray, if you don't want to deal with spraying, and to help decrease staining. You can also use them to catch the majority of EBF poo if you choose to.


Fasteners are used to keep flats and prefolds in place around your LO. There are many options on the market.

Snappies-are made of a stretchy polyurethane, with grippers similar to ace bandage closures to hold the diaper in place.
Pins-are the first thing most people think of when you mention cloth. They're basically a safety pin for cloth diapers. You use two per diaper and fasten them like you would a safety pin.

Boingos-are the newest fastener on the market and they only option I have tried so far. They come in fun colors and a cute star design. You just hook on one side of the diaper, pull and grip on the diaper. These come in sets of two and you will need to use both to fastener the diaper.
Look for my Boingo review in a few weeks. I will post pictures with my review


  1. Very informative Jessica! Awesome! I'll be referring people here :) ♥