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Best Cloth Diapers of 2021

Updated
We break down the different types of cloth diapers and show you how to find the best of the best.

Are you considering cloth diapers but are overwhelmed by all choices out there?

Cloth diapers seem daunting at first. There’s quite a steep learning curve with all the new lingo and fits that come with cloth diapering.

But once you’ve tried a few different types and brands, many parents learn to love them, and couldn’t imagine ever going back to disposables.

We’ve rounded up the best cloth diapers for your baby’s bottom and cover everything you need to know.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the OsoCozy - Prefolds Unbleached Cloth Diapers, Size 1(7-15lbs), 6 Pack - Soft,...
Best Prefolds
OsoCozy Unbleached
  • Super absorbent, soft, & durable
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Excellent leak protection
Product Image of the Kanga Care Lil Joey Newborn All in One AIO Cloth Diaper (2pk) Peacock 4-12lbs
Best for Small Babies
Lil Joey AIO
  • Easy to use
  • Slim fitting
  • Contain leaks and blowouts
Product Image of the GroVia O.N.E. Reusable Baby Cloth Diaper (Abalone)
Best for Heavy Wetters
GroVia O.N.E.
  • Exceptionally soft and durable
  • No extra prepping
  • Incredibly absorbent
Product Image of the Smart Bottoms Smart 1 AIO Cloth Diaper (Enchanted)
Best for Sensitive Skin
Smart Bottoms AIO
  • Super trim
  • Ideal for sensitive skin
  • With an extra-long insert
Product Image of the Bambino Mio, miosolo classic all-in-one cloth diaper, sail away
Easiest to Use
Bambino Mio
  • Incredibly soft and stylish
  • Super simple to use
  • Dries quickly
Product Image of the Mama Koala Bamboo Cloth Diaper Inserts (One Size Inserts-6 Pack and Newborn...
Best for Chunky Babies
Mama Koala Bamboo
  • Grow with your child
  • Leak proof
  • Breathable and comfortable
Product Image of the ALVABABY Swim Diapers 2pcs Reusable & Adjustable Baby Shower Gifts 0-2 Years...
Best Cloth Swim Diapers
Alva Baby
  • Budget-friendly
  • Trim fit and durable material
  • Comfortable for baby
Product Image of the Best Bottom To The Point Cloth Diaper Shell-Snap | Reusable Diapers Shell Made...
Best Velcro
Best Bottom Shell
  • Easy to use
  • Double leg gussets
  • Made in the U.S.A.
Product Image of the Babygoal Baby Cloth Diapers Washable Pocket Nappy, 6pcs Cloth Diapers+6...
Best Pocket Diapers
Babygoal Washable
  • Extremely durable snaps
  • Great absorbency
  • Premium quality
Product Image of the Anmababy 6 Pack Adjustable Waterproof and Washable Pocket Cloth Diapers with 6...
Best for Squirmy Babies
Anmababy Reusable Cloth Diapers
  • Extra waterproof layers
  • One bamboo inserts per diaper
  • Great value for money

Reasons to Consider Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are often thought to be a thing of the past, but with how much they have evolved in the past few years, more and more parents are choosing cloth today. Here are five reasons why many moms and dads are considering cloth for their baby.

  1. Easy on the wallet: Stop throwing away your money with disposables and save big with cloth diapers. You could easily pocket over $1,300 with cloth if you plan to reuse them for multiple children, and even more if you resell them after you’re done.
  2. Healthier for baby: Cloth diapers lack the harmful chemicals that most disposable diapers are filled with and can lead to health problems like diaper rashes, endocrine disruption, and potentially even cancer.
  3. Better for the environment: 27.4 billion disposable diapers are ending up in U.S. landfills each year, and they will stay there for over 500 years until they degrade. By using cloth diapers, you can help reduce landfill waste, protect our waterways, and save resources.
  4. Promotes early potty training: Because cloth diapers don’t have those absorbent chemical polymers, your child will be able to feel the wetness against their skin, giving them an incentive to begin using the potty.
  5. Your baby will look adorable: The cuteness factor of cloth will have you hooked in no time. With all the designs and prints that cloth diapers come in, your baby will look stylish for any occasion.
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Different Types of Cloth Diapers

Before you whip out your credit card and log into Amazon, you might want to be able to decipher all the new cloth diaper jargon, so you don’t end up purchasing the wrong thing.

These are the seven most popular types of cloth diapers, with the pros and cons of each. Keep in mind that many moms opt to use more than one kind of cloth diaper. After all, you don’t enter a war with only one weapon at your disposal.

Prefolds

Product Image of the OsoCozy - Prefolds Unbleached Cloth Diapers, Size 1(7-15lbs), 6 Pack - Soft,...

These are what most people think of when they think of cloth diapers; A rectangular piece of cotton divided into three sections, with the middle being the most absorbent. Fold them into thirds and lay them inside a diaper cover or get creative with your origami folds and secure it with a Snappi or diaper pin. Prefolds also work well as burp cloths, changing pads, and cleaning rags.

Pros

  • Extremely cost-effective.
  • Easy to care for.
  • Versatile.

Cons

  • Need pins or a Snappi.
  • Requires a cover.
  • Folding can be a deterrent for some parents.

Flats

Product Image of the OsoCozy - Organic Flat Cloth Diapers (Dozen) - 27 x 30.5 - One-Layer Nappies...

These are probably what your grandma used when she diapered her babies. Flats are a square or single rectangular layer of cotton that you can fold in many different ways around your baby. They hold in messes well when used with a cloth diaper cover.

Pros

  • Cost-effective.
  • Trim.
  • Dry quickly.

Cons

  • Needs pins or a Snappi.
  • Requires a cover.
  • More difficult for others to change baby.

Covers

Product Image of the Thirsties Duo Wrap Cloth Diaper Cover, Snap Closure, Woodland Size Two (18-40...

These are an outer waterproof diaper that covers an inner absorbent diaper, such as a prefold, flat, or fitted. Some parents even use these over disposable diapers to prevent nighttime leaks. Diaper covers are available in a wide variety of styles and fabrics, such as wool, fleece, or PUL (Polyester Urethane Laminate).

Pros

  • Can be reused multiple times before washing.
  • Don’t need as many to complete your diaper stash.
  • Excellent leak protection.
  • Snap or velcro closures.

Cons

  • Sold separately from absorbent diapers.
  • Some options are bulky.

AIO (All-in-one)

Product Image of the Bambino Mio, miosolo classic all-in-one cloth diaper, sail away

All-in-ones go on in one simple step and are the closest to disposables in form and function. AIO’s are a one-piece system that includes all components of a diaper: waterproof exterior, absorbent interior, elastic around the waist and legs, and a closure mechanism.

Pros

  • No stuffing or folding involved.
  • No separate cover required.
  • Daycare friendly.
  • Snap or velcro closures.

Cons

  • Can take a long time to dry.
  • Damage to one part of the diaper renders the entire thing.

AI2 (All-in-Two)

Product Image of the Imagine Baby Products AI2 Shell 2.0 Hook & Loop Diapers, Which Way

All-in-twos consist of an outer waterproof shell and a removable inner absorbent layer that is typically snapped in and sits right against your baby’s skin. A soiled insert can be changed out and the outer shell can be wiped down and reused a few times before washing.

Pros

  • Super simple.
  • Dries quickly.
  • Can use cover with other inserts if necessary.
  • Snap or velcro closures.

Cons

  • Matching inserts with the cover adds time to laundry.
  • Don’t have a stay-dry feeling.

Fitteds

Product Image of the Fitted Cloth Diaper: Overnight Diaper with 2 Cotton Hemp Inserts, One Size with...

Fitteds are an absorbent fabric that has elastic around the waist and legs and come with closures.

In other words, they are just like an all-in-one diaper, minus the built-in outer waterproof cover.

Pros

  • Super absorbent.
  • Great at containing leaks and blowouts.
  • No pins or folding required.
  • Snap or velcro closures.

Cons

  • Needs a cover.
  • Don’t wick moisture away from the skin.

Pockets

Product Image of the Babygoal Baby Cloth Diapers Washable Pocket Nappy, 6pcs Cloth Diapers+6...

Pocket diapers are a two-part system, consisting of an outer waterproof shell that has a pocket sewn in, plus absorbent inserts that are to be stuffed into the pocket. Most of the time, pockets are sold with inserts, but if they are sold separately, you can always just use prefolds, flats, or even microfiber towels to “stuff” your pockets.

Pros

  • Adjustable absorbency.
  • Velcro and snap closures.
  • Stay dry layer between inserts and your baby’s skin.
  • Pre-stuffed diapers are easy for daddy and other caregivers.

Cons

  • Entire diaper must be changed after each use.
  • Have to remove the soiled insert before washing.
  • Stuffing pockets can be time-consuming.

Best Fabrics for Cloth Diapers

How to Choose the Best Cloth Diapers

Once you’ve decided on what type and materials you prefer, you’ll need to start asking yourself some other questions to find the right diaper for you and your baby.

Price

Prices of cloth diapers can range anywhere from $5 to $35 per piece. If you’re on a super tight budget, you will want to stick to the inexpensive options, but if you have extra money to spare, it’s always nice to splurge on high-quality diapers or exclusive prints.

Snaps or Velcro (Hook & Loop)

Snaps are more durable and will help prevent your baby from taking their diaper off when they get older, but they can be difficult for people with arthritis and confusing for caregivers. On the other hand, velcro is an excellent option for alternative caregivers, but may not last throughout your entire cloth diaper journey.

Sizes

You will need to decide if you want to invest in a newborn stash or not. Some people forgo this and use disposable diapers until their baby is big enough to fit into the one-size diapers (OS). Typically, newborn diapers (NB) range in size from 6-14 pounds and one size will fit from 8-35 pounds. There are also some diapers, such as Applecheeks and Thirsties Duo Wraps, that have several size range options to cover a broader size range compared to the OS diapers.


The Best Cloth Diapers of 2021

Here are the top cloth diapers on the market.

1. OsoCozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers

Best Prefold Cloth Diapers

OsoCozy prefolds come in two different sizes – size 1 (7-15lbs) and size 2 (15-30lbs), creating a better fit when folding around your baby. The even better news is that you can trifold them and stuff them in your baby’s pocket diapers or lay them in a cover when they grow out of the sizes for the origami folds.

These unbleached prefolds come in a convenient 6-pack and are made with 100% pure Indian cotton, which is fantastic because they are super soft and comfortable and suitable for babies with even the most sensitive of skin. Because they are made with natural fibers, you will need to wash them 2-3 times before using. Otherwise, you’ll have absorbency issues.

Because these prefolds are so durable, they tend to have great resale value for when you’re done with your cloth diaper journey. They could also be used for other multiple purposes for baby and around the house, like spit rags, burp cloths, changing pad covers, and cleaning rags.

Pros

  • Easy to care for.
  • Super absorbent, soft, and durable.
  • A budget-friendly option.
  • Excellent leak protection with a fastener and cover.

Cons

  • Will shrink some after the first wash.
  • Mastering the different folds may seem daunting to some parents.
  • Can take a long time to dry.

2. Lil Joey All-in-One Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Diapers for Preemies

This cloth diaper is pretty much the only one out there that will fit preemies and smaller newborns. It fits from approximately 4-12 pounds and is designed to fit well around those tiny legs. It also features a snap down option to keep the diaper from rubbing against and irritating the umbilical cord.

These all-in-ones come with a double inner gusset for extra protection against leaks and blowouts. However, some parents have had trouble getting the poop and stains out of these inner gussets. I ended up being able to remove the poop stains by using Buncha Farmers Stain Stick and lots and lots of sun.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Slim fitting.
  • Great at containing leaks and blowouts.

Cons

  • Most babies will grow out of them fairly quickly.
  • Can take a long time to dry.

3. GroVia O.N.E. Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Diaper for Heavy Wetters

The GroVia O.N.E. includes everything you will ever need to cloth diaper from birth through toddlerhood. It is designed to fit babies from 10-35 pounds, and also comes with snaps and a removable velcro option. I love this feature because I preferred the velcro when my little one was a newborn or when someone else was watching her, but loved the snaps when she got old enough to take her diapers off.

This diaper is excellent for heavy wetters because it has a custom super soaker system. It even works great as a nighttime solution for moderate wetters. It comes with small and large cotton blend soaker pads that are easily snapped together to create a double insert for optimal absorbency. The larger soaker pad has grooves in it, which helps catch all the liquids, maximizing the diaper’s leak protection.

Pros

  • Exceptionally soft and durable.
  • No extra prepping.
  • Incredibly absorbent.

Cons

  • Has a unique fit.
  • Not the best diaper for thin-legged babies.

4. Smart Bottoms 3.1 Organic AlO Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Diapers for Sensitive Skin

With Smart Bottoms 3.1 organic all-in-one, you won’t have to worry about your baby having any harsh chemicals against their skin, as the inside of this diaper is made of 100 percent certified organic cotton. The organic cotton is super soft and helps prevent diaper rash, even among the most sensitive of skin.

These diapers are designed to fit babies from 8 to 35 pounds and consist of four rows of rise snaps, allowing for a perfect fit. An extra-long insert is sewn into the diaper itself, so there’s no stuffing required – a great feature for busy parents.

You can fold this insert according to where your baby tends to soak their diaper the most. For instance, for a boy, you’ll want to fold it so there’s more padding in the front and for a girl, you’ll want to fold it so there’s more padding in the middle.

Pros

  • Super trim.
  • Organic cotton is soft and ideal for sensitive skin.
  • The insert can be folded to suit absorbency needs.

Cons

  • Requires 5-6 washes before first use.
  • Long sewn-in flap makes spraying off poop difficult.

5. Bambino Mio AIO Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Diapers for DayCare

This stylish all-in-one diaper is just as easy to use as a disposable, making it an excellent choice to send to daycare. The Miosolo is designed to fit from birth to potty training and comes in 8 adorable designs. The rise snaps and hook and loop closure make it simple to get a good fit for your baby. It also comes with fold back laundry tabs to protect the velcro when it’s in the wash.

Unlike many other all-in-ones, this one features a unique tuck-in pocket where you can stuff the attached insert. I love this feature because it keeps the moisture away from your baby’s skin and you can even add additional inserts to the pocket for more absorbency.

Pros

  • Incredibly soft and stylish.
  • Super simple to use.
  • Dry quickly.
  • Designed to keep moisture away from baby’s skin.

Cons

  • Velcro may not hold up as long as snaps.
  • Doesn’t have the best fit on petite babies.

6. Mama Koala Bamboo Cloth Diaper

Best Cloth Diapers for Any Age

New to the cloth diaper world or wanting to use these from the newborn stage? Mama Koala Bamboo Cloth Diapers are the way to go! These diapers work on any child. Their one size technology means the diapers actually grow with your child.

The diapers are for babies between eight and 35 pounds, so they can be with your child from birth to toddlerhood. They have 3×3 rise snaps so you can customize it to be the perfect fit for your child.

With these diapers, you don’t need to worry about leaks. They’re waterproof, breathable, soft and comfortable. The inner dry suede cloth protects babies from moisture build up. The elastic legs protect from leaks and messes.

One purchase comes with six diapers and three microfiber inserts so you’ll be equipped for a few diaper changes between washes. The diapers come in a huge range of styles so that your baby will always look cute!

Finally, these diapers are super absorbent. If you double up at night time, you’ll have even more absorbency so both you and your baby can sleep through the night.

Pros

  • Grow with your child — works from the newborn stage to toddlerhood.
  • Leak proof.
  • Breathable and comfortable.
  • Superb absorbency.

Cons

  • One size does mean there will always be some babies the diapers don’t fit.
  • The snaps might come undone while your baby is active.

7. Alva Baby Swim Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Swim Diapers

Alva swim diapers will save you loads of money if you’re a pool fanatic like my baby and me. These diapers come in a convenient two-pack, with three different sizes, and variety of irresistible prints. They’re so cute – there’s hardly any need for you even to bother buying swim trunks.

The interior of the diaper is a mesh netting, which does a great job of containing the poo, makes clean up easy, and is soft against your baby’s skin. The outside is made of 100% waterproof polyester PUL and includes a ton of snap options, which allows the diaper to grow with your baby. The sizes do run a little small though, so you may want to go up one size when purchasing these swim diapers.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly.
  • Trim fit.
  • Comfortable for baby.
  • Durable material.

Cons

  • Snaps in the back make it difficult to put on a wiggly baby.
  • Not the best fit for larger babies/toddlers.

8. Best Bottom Shell-Snap with Hemp/Organic Cotton Inserts

Best Cloth Diapers with Velcro

Best Bottom diapers are an all-in-two system with a waterproof cover and snap-in inserts. The OS cover fits from approximately 8 to 35 pounds, while the inserts come in three different sizes (small, medium, and large), so you can get the best fit for your growing baby. The hemp/organic cotton inserts are thin, but yet super absorbent, making this a trim-fitting option even for heavy wetters.

To use these diapers, all you have to do is adjust the rise settings, snap the insert into the diaper, and put it on your baby. You can even reuse the outer shell multiple times and just replace the soiled insert with a clean one.

Product Image of the Best Bottom Hemp/Organic Cotton Overnight Inserts, Medium, 2 Count

The velcro on the outer shell makes this an easy-to-use option for all caregivers, but is available in snaps as well. Oh, and did I mention that these diapers have some of the cutest gender neutral prints around? Vibrant solids, raccoons, giraffes, barnyard animals, and my personal favorite, hedgehogs.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Double leg gussets prevent leaks and blowouts.
  • Diaper and all materials made in the USA.
  • Cover and a pack of inserts give you three diapers in one.

Cons

  • Diaper cover and inserts sold separately.
  • Inserts will shrink slightly after first wash.
  • Some parents don’t like how rough the hemp inserts feel.

9. Babygoal Cloth Diapers Washable Pocket

Best Pocket Diapers

Babygoal Cloth Diapers is a pocket diaper designed to fit babies from 7 to 33 pounds. This diaper comes with six microfiber inserts and four bamboo inserts. You can use either one of these inserts or double them together to maximize absorbency. You can even add in or stuff this diaper with other inserts you may have. I’ve had great luck using this as a nighttime diaper when adding a hemp insert.

The soft lining of the pocket wicks moisture away from your baby, keeping him/her dry and comfortable even if the inserts are soaked. This helps prevent diaper rashes as well. The outside of the diaper has snap closures and three rows of snap-downs, making it easy to adjust the diaper to your baby’s height and leg thickness.

Pros

  • Extremely durable snaps.
  • Customizable absorbency.
  • Cute colors and prints.

Cons

  • Stuffing isn’t always ideal for busy parents.

10. Anmababy 6 Reusable Pocket Cloth Diapers

Best Cloth Diapers for Squirmy Babies

If you have a squirmy baby, then try the Anmababy reusable cloth diapers. All the inserts attach to the diaper cover using snaps. So your little one can wriggle and squirm around as much as they want, and the liners won’t budge.

On top of that, if they crawl or run or bounce all day long, you don’t need to worry about leaks. The outer shell is made of waterproof polyester with TPU. The inside is made of soft suede cloth.

Since there is one insert per diaper, you can use this for an added protection during overnight use to keep the outer shell dry for longer. This gives your baby a more comfortable night’s sleep and less time for you to clean up in the morning!

The inserts are made with bamboo which stays dry. It’s kind on your baby’s bottom.

In fact, because of the mega absorption qualities, you don’t have to wash the outer shell every time! You can reuse it a few times before it needs washing.

Pros

  • Great for squirmy and active babies.
  • Great value for its price.
  • Bamboo inserts that’s breathable.
  • You don’t need to wash the outer shell as often.

Cons

  • May not fit babies with thick and chunky thighs.

11. Thirsties Natural All in One Cloth Diaper

Best Cloth Diapers for Beginners

Cloth diapering doesn’t get much easier than the Thirsties one size all-in-one hook and loop. With the ease of this diaper, you’ll be able to get your hubby on board with cloth diapering in no time! They are even great to use at nighttime and simple enough for the babysitter.

These diapers are designed to fit babies from 8 to 40 pounds, so you’ll be able to use them pretty much throughout your entire cloth diaper journey. The inner soaker is sewn in, making it convenient and stress-free for those new to cloth diapering.

The insert is comprised of microfiber, which absorbs well for most babies. If this material isn’t enough for your heavy wetter, then there is a pocket inside the diaper where you can stuff another insert of your choice.

Pros

  • Goes on in one easy step.
  • No folding or stuffing required.
  • Trim fit.
  • Multifarious designs to choose from.

Cons

  • Not the best fit for babies with chunky thighs.
  • Doesn’t dry easily compared to other brands.

12. Kanga Care AIO Cloth Diapers

Best All-in-One Cloth Diapers

Kanga Care is an all-in-one system designed to fit babies from 4 to 12lbs. This diaper is available in a variety of colors and prints and comes with a great closure system, making it easier for parents to get a good fit around their baby’s waist and legs.

Because the inserts are sewn in, this diaper is ready to go, making it hassle-free for busy parents and caregivers. All you have to do is fold the flaps the way you want them and put them on. Adjust the insert to accommodate where your baby tends to soak their diaper the most.

Pros

  • Properly gusseted for leak protection.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Sewn-in inserts save you time and stress.
  • Waterproof.

Cons

  • Some parents complain that their size is too small for newborns.

13. Wegreeco Washable Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers

Best Bamboo Cloth Diapers

I love how this cloth diaper grows with my child! These are one-size fits all and will fit from approximately 8 to 35 pounds. This set has 6 cloth diapers, 6 bamboo liners, and 1 wet bag.

Its micro-suede interior keeps your baby from wetness alongside its four layers of inserts. These inserts are easy to use and can be stuffed into any of your pocket diapers. It comes with multifarious designs to choose from accommodating all genders.

Pros

  • Grows with your child.
  • Trim fitting.
  • Great for sensitive skin.
  • Various designs to choose from.

Cons

  • Folding can be challenging for some parents.
  • Covers sold separately.

14. Alva Baby One Size Cloth Diapers

Best Inexpensive Cloth Diapers

This bundle of Alva Baby diapers comes with six pocket diapers and 12 microfiber inserts, making it an excellent deal. These diapers are designed to fit babies ranging from 6.6 to 33 pounds so that you can use them from birth up until potty training.

The suede cloth that makes up the interior of this diaper does an excellent job at wicking moisture away from your baby’s skin, which is fantastic because even if the inserts are drenched, your baby will be dry. This helps prevent diaper rashes as well.

Because these are pocket diapers, you can stuff them with any insert you choose, should the microfiber ones they come with not be absorbent enough for your heavy wetter. Even if you do use other inserts, this is still a great deal.

Pros

  • Gets the job done while being affordable.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty.
  • Can customize absorbency.

Cons

  • Some moms aren’t comfortable with them being imported from China.
  • Stuffing isn’t always ideal for busy parents.
  • Not a great fit for babies with skinny legs.

15. Disana Wool Overpant Cloth Diapers

Best Overnight Cloth Diapers

These overpants are made of 100 percent organic soft merino wool and feature a high knitted waistband to help prevent leaks and keep your baby’s tummy warm. This natural fiber doesn’t just make an ideal nighttime diaper though — it’s also great for babies with sensitive skin.

Disana overpants come in 11 colors and 4 sizes, designed to fit your child from 3 months to 3T. This wide size range is great, as you can continue to avoid leaks with your stubborn toddler who wants nothing to do with potty training.

As with any wool cover, proper care is critical to maintaining its quality. But don’t be frazzled, wool covers are quite easy to care for. The covers must be lanolized before first use and about once a month with regular use to prevent absorbency issues, but only have to be washed every so often due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Pros

  • All-natural and breathable.
  • Excellent leak protection.
  • Great for overnight, heavy wetters, and babies with sensitive skin.
  • Can be reused multiple times between washes.

Cons

  • Bulky.
  • Requires lanolization.
  • Takes a long time to dry.

Best Fabrics for Cloth Diapers

When picking out cloth diapers, there are several synthetic and natural options to choose from, each with its own unique features, pros, and cons.

Click to read more about each fabric:

Synthetics (microfiber, suedecloth, microfleece)

If your cloth diapers aren’t 100 percent wool, hemp, or cotton, then they’re produced from human-made polyester-type fabrics that wick away moisture. Microfiber is often used to make inserts for pocket diapers, while suedecloth and microfleece are favorites for inner layers of pockets, all-in-ones, and fitteds.

Pros

  • Durable.
  • Stay-dry quality.
  • Tend to be less expensive.

Cons

  • Petroleum-based.
  • Harder to get clean than natural fibers.
  • Could be irritating when used directly against baby’s skin.

Cotton

Cotton is one of the most commonly used natural fibers in cloth diapers. It’s very absorbent, easy to care for, and soft against your baby’s skin. To guarantee that your cotton diapers are GMO and pesticide-free, be sure to check for organic certification of the fabric.

Pros

  • Great for sensitive skin.
  • Easy to keep clean.
  • Baby can feel wetness, promoting early potty training.

Cons

  • Requires extra prepping.
  • Not as absorbent as hemp or bamboo.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another hot natural fabric in the cloth diaper world right now. While bamboo plants are sustainable and grow quickly without the use of pesticides and fertilizers, the process to convert it into a diaper is often harsh and requires chemicals.

Pros

  • Antibacterial.
  • More absorbent than cotton.
  • Super soft.

Cons

  • Environmental friendliness of processing is questionable.
  • Take a long time to dry.

Hemp

Hemp is a natural fiber that is grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. While super absorbent, it tends to absorb slowly, so it’s often paired with another porous fiber to make an insert, such as a hemp/cotton blend.

Pros

  • Thin, but super absorbent.
  • Durable.
  • Antibacterial.

Cons

  • Takes longer to dry.
  • Higher cost.

Wool

While wool can be a good choice for “all-natural” covers due to its antimicrobial and absorbent nature, it does raise concerns about both the ethics and sustainability of the product. Common practices within the wool industry include castration, tail-docking, and ear-punching. Industrial wool farming is also energy-inefficient, land- and water-intensive, and highly pollutive.

Pros

  • Breathable.
  • Anti-bacterial and odor resistant.
  • Only needs to be washed when soiled or smelly.

Cons

  • Requires a special wash routine.
  • More expensive.
  • Not environmentally sustainable.
  • Comes from a violent and unethical industry.
  • Not vegan-friendly.

How Many Cloth Diapers Will I Need?

How many diapers you will need will depend on your budget and how often you’ll be able to do laundry. Some moms choose to do diaper laundry every day, while others can go up to a week without washing.

In general, a newborn goes through about 12-18 diapers a day, an infant will go through about 8-10, and a toddler will go through about 6-8.

Based on these numbers, most moms invest in approximately 24-36 cloth diapers for their little one. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself buying more because you just can’t resist all those cute prints.

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Cloth Diapering FAQs

Still have questions? Here are some answers to help you understand the basics and be successful at cloth diapering. (click to read more)

How Often Do I Need to Change Cloth Diapers?

It’s best to change your baby’s diaper as soon as she soils it or gets it wet, but on average you should be changing your baby’s cloth diaper about every two hours during the day. At night, let your baby sleep and just change her when she wakes up.

What Do I Do with the Poop?

If your baby is exclusively breastfed (EBF), there is no reason to rinse off the poop before throwing it in the washing machine, as EBF is water-soluble. Just make sure you do a pre-rinse cycle before the main wash. If your baby is formula-fed or has started on solids, you’ll want to rinse the poop off beforehand by simply plopping it into the toilet, dunking, and swishing, or using a cloth diaper sprayer that hooks right up to your toilet.

How Do I Wash My Cloth Diapers?

How you wash your cloth diapers will depend on what type of washing machine you have, if you have hard or soft water, and if you’re using plant-based or synthetic detergent. You may have to do a little experimenting first to find out what works for you, but here are three basic steps of all wash routines:

  1. Dry the diapers on a line or in a machine.
  2. Run the main wash with detergent on the heavy setting.
  3. Run a pre-rinse or short cycle so that your main wash isn’t full of soiled water.

Which Laundry Detergent Should I Use?

Surprisingly, many eco-friendly and cloth diaper specific detergents do not have enough cleaning power to clean your cloth diapers properly. Some recommended synthetic detergents include Tide Powder, Gain, and Purex, and some eco-friendly options include Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus, Kirkland Environmentally Friendly, and Ecover. Check out the Fluff Love University detergent index for even more options.

Do I Need to Prep My New Diapers?

How you prep your diaper will depend on what kind of fabric they are. While most diapers just require one or two washes before use, others (such as organic cotton) require up to 5-8 washes before first use. You can always opt-out of some of these extra washes, just know that the absorbency of the diaper may not be up to par until then.

My Baby Has a Rash. What Should I Do?

If your baby has a diaper rash, you’ll want to be sure to change her more frequently and give her plenty of diaper-free time. Use a diaper cream that is safe for cloth and consider adding some fleece liners to her diapers to help keep the wetness away. You may also need to try switching detergents or try washing your cloth diapers a few times. If your baby’s rash ends up being yeast, you will need to do a bleach soak on all your diapers.

Why Do My Diapers Stink?

If your diapers constantly stink like ammonia or barnyard, you might be dealing with some build-up of bacteria or urine residue.You will need to start tweaking your wash routine to get your diapers clean and prevent the smell from coming back. If that doesn’t work, you may need to reset back to square one by stripping and bleaching your diapers.

Why Are My Diapers Leaking?

If your cloth diapers are leaking, you may be dealing with a simple fit or absorbency issue, or you could have a pesky repelling issue on your hands. Make sure your baby’s diaper fits snugly around the waist and legs, but it’s not too tight that it’s causing compression leaks. If the fit is good, try adjusting the amount and placement of absorbency. If your diapers are leaking but the inserts aren’t soaked, repelling is probably your issue, and is often due to improper care.

What is Stripping and When Do I Need to Do This?

Stripping is the process of removing mineral and oil build-up from your cloth diapers. While it’s a great tool to help rejuvenate your diapers, you should only do it when necessary, as it is not a gentle process. You may need to strip your diapers if they’ve repeatedly been washed in untreated hard water, have been repelling, or have been washed with a detergent that contains fabric softener.

How Can I Travel with Cloth?

Don’t be afraid to travel with your cloth diapers. All you need is a wet bag or two to store your dirty diapers and wipes until you get home. If you’re going on a long trip, you’ll only want to take your cloth if you have plenty of storage space and access to a laundry facility and cloth-safe detergent. You could even consider using a diaper service while you’re away.


The Bottom Line

Our top pick for the best cloth diapers on the market right now are the OsoCozy prefolds. We love these prefolds because we feel they are the best bang for your buck. Money is super tight, so we liked using these and being able to reuse the covers multiple times. We also found these super handy for spit rags, burp cloths, and changing pad liners.

We love that these are unbleached and made of 100% pure cotton, because it makes them so soft. Our babies were super comfortable in them.

The folding did seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, we quickly became pros. And when our baby “outgrew” the sizes, we would simply tri-fold them and place them in the covers like a pad, and they worked just as well.

But remember, no matter which types or brands you go with, by choosing cloth you’re doing your best for your baby, the environment, and your wallet. And that makes you an awesome mom!

Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.