How Do Cloth Diapers Work? (A Short How-To Guide)

Here are some reasons why you should opt to use cloth diapers instead of regular disposable ones:

It’s Good For Your Wallet!

Disposable diapers tend to get expensive even if you go with the affordable ones in the market because you have to throw them away after use. However, cloth diapers have resale value and can even be shared by multiple children.

It’s Environment-Friendly

You might not have known about this, but disposable diapers contribute a lot to pollution.

Well, once you throw these out, they’re more than likely to end up at your local landfill.

Plus, manufacturing them takes a real toll on resources like trees, water, and oil. Because of this, it would be better to go with cloth ones that you can reuse instead of the regular disposable variety.

Additionally, a lot of cloth diapers in the market are made using natural materials, which promotes environmentalism.

It’s Better For Your Bundle Of Joy

cloth diaper
By CatEyedKP [ CC BY 2.0 (], via Flickr
For one, cloth diapers are less likely to cause rashes on baby’s butt and legs. The thing is, regular diapers tend to have irritants coming from the chemicals that are used to manufacture them, which causes baby’s skin to have an adverse reaction when in contact with them, leading to those annoying rashes.

No Leaks And No Blow-Outs!

Cloth diapers allow you to provide a more customized fit for your baby, which means that leaks from pee and poop won’t be a problem. When secured correctly on baby, these absorbent diapers can handle even the runniest poops, which is all too common for babies. Here’s a tip: try on different varieties of cloth diapers available in the market to find out which one suits them perfectly.

Using a Cloth Diaper: A Short How-to Guide

There’s no need to be overwhelmed by how to use a cloth diaper, because we have got you covered! Here are some things you need to know.

First, there are a variety of cloth diapers (and materials to secure them) available out there:

1. Flats

This is considered the simplest cloth diaper variety out there. It’s a big piece of cloth that you’ll need pins to properly secure. Additionally, you have to put a cover on it to make it waterproof.

2. Prefold

Prefolds are one of the most common cloth diapers, mainly because of how easy it is to use them. You see, they’re just a square piece of cloth. Unlike the flats, however, prefolds have thicker folded sections, which is where it gets its name. They’re also very affordable and can be found at the baby supplies store or online.

Now, they might be easy to use, but they do require some getting used to when securing since it uses pins and covers for waterproofing.

3. Fitteds

This particular cloth diaper variety is meant to securely hug your baby’s waist and legs. As such, they’re usually stretchable bands on them. Usually, there’s no need for a pin on this one, as they come with either snap on the front or side or Velcro.

However, there are some varieties out there that come without these fasteners and make use of pins or snappies instead. Also, there’s a lot of choices you can have when it comes to what material you want them to be made of, ranging from cotton to hemp to bamboo.

4. Covers

A cover is a layer that you place over a cloth diaper to make them waterproof. There are a lot of options out there, but the most commonly used are ones made from PUL. Covers could either have a single layer or two.

For double-layered ones, one of them is usually made of fabric for decoration.

Now, when it comes to covers, you could either go with one for Velcro or snaps/pins. Aside from the PUL variety, there are also ones made using wool, which is both waterproof and repellant.

5. Pockets

Now, this variety comes with a waterproof outer layer and another inner pocket where you could put another absorbent layer in.

A lot of pocket cloth diapers have inner layers that take in any moisture away from your baby’s butt, too. Lastly, they’re available in different sizes, but free size varieties that come with snaps or Velcro are also available.

6. All-in-Ones and All-in-Twos

As for this kind of cloth diaper, they have both waterproof outer layers and absorbent inner layers. All-in-ones are very similar to the regular, disposable variety since they don’t use snaps and coves.

Particularly, All-in-twos contain snap for faster drying in their inner layers.

7. Hybrids

These are pretty much similar to All-in-twos, except their inner layers are disposable. Aside from that, they’re basically the same thing!

8. Wet Bags

These come in different sizes, with some varieties coming in diaper pail sizes and others in diaper bag sizes. As such, these are water-resistant bags to place your used diapers in.

Choosing The Right Diaper

Of course, it all depends on which variety suits you and your baby’s needs best. What’s good for one baby may not work on another, so the ideal way to find out which one works for you is by first trying different kinds of cloth diapers available out there.

Additionally, remember that your baby’s preferences may change over time, as he or she grows, so don’t just stick to one kind. We also recommend reading about how to put on a moby wrap for beginners.

Free Size or Not?

A lot of diapers available today come in free size, which means you could put them on any baby out there. However, this variety is not ideal for newborns and is more suited for older babies, just right before they move on to using the potty.

Additionally, these free size diapers tend to look thicker and bulkier when worn. Again, try out both kinds (free size and sized kinds) to see which one best suits you and your baby.

How Much Cloth Diapers Will Cost You

Depending on the variety you choose, the price for a single cloth diaper varies. Prefolds usually go anywhere between $1.50 to about $2. There also expensive brands and kinds of pockets, fitteds, All-in-ones and all-in-twos out there that go for as high as $30 for a single piece. Take note, too, that these expensive varieties are usually in free size.

Still, you’ll end up saving more money compared to using disposable ones should you opt for cloth diapers. Again, remember that even if you spend a lot of money on an expensive cloth diaper variety, you can store and reuse it for your other kids (or give them to someone who has a new baby).

Cleaning those dirty cloth diapers!

Contrary to what movies and television shows say, cleaning cloth diapers is very easy. Here’s how to do it:

  • When your diapers get dirty, simply throw them in a trash can or diaper pail that’s been lined with a wet bag. Just remember that by the time your baby starts to have solid poop, you can always clean your diaper pail or trash can with a bit of baking soda sprinkled in it.
  • It’s best if you can wash your used cloth diapers every two or three days. Now, that’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s best when you’re trying to avoid any stench inside the house.
  • To clean it, start with a pre-wash of cold water using a short cycle on your washing machine
  • After that, switch to a hot water wash to disinfect it.
  • Switch back to another couple of rounds of cold water for rinsing
  • Now you’re ready for the dryer or clothesline
  • Keep in mind that you should always use a detergent that’s cloth diaper-friendly. For this, we suggest using but feel free to check out the supermarket for other brands out there. Also, don’t ever use any fabric softeners on your cloth diapers, since these contain chemicals that could irritate your baby’s skin and cause rashes.
  • Aside from detergents, you should also apply diaper creams that are safe to use with the cloth variety. Take extra caution when choosing your cream: the wrong one can cause rashes and bad odor. For one, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream is one brand that you could use, but feel free to check other brands available at your local store.
  • Oops! There’s a stain your baby made on your cloth diaper. What should you do? Simple, really: hang them out in the sun instead of throwing them in the dryer!
  • There are some instances where cloth diapers could get a little stinky, especially by the time your baby first pees in it. This could be because you’re using the wrong diaper cream or detergent. Like we said, make sure it’s cloth diaper-friendly. However, it is worth noting that it’s more common to get bad odours from synthetic fabric, as opposed to natural ones. Don’t worry, though: if this occurs, all you have to do is strip your used cloth diaper. That simply means you’ll have to do a couple more hot water washes on it than usual and making sure that all soap bubbles are gone when you rinse them. Lastly, just hang them out to dry, since it’s better at removing any moisture from your newly washed diapers than putting them in the dryer.

That’s it! We here at Babybalu hope that you can use these tips in keeping your baby safe and clean! Enjoy!