How to choose a cloth diaper

Cloth diapering has gained popularity among parents for its environmental friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and health benefits. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right cloth diaper for your baby. In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting the perfect cloth diaper that suits your needs and preferences.

How to choose a cloth diaper

Choosing a cloth diaper requires careful consideration of various factors, including the type of diaper, fabric, closures, additional features, and maintenance requirements. By understanding these aspects, you can make an informed decision that ensures your baby’s comfort and meets your specific requirements.

Understanding Cloth Diapers

Before delving into the selection process, it’s essential to understand the basics of cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are reusable alternatives to disposable diapers, typically made of absorbent fabric. They come in various styles, each with its own unique features and benefits.

Types of Cloth Diapers

  1. All-in-One diapers: These diapers consist of a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer sewn together. They are convenient and easy to use, as they require no additional inserts or covers.
  2. Pocket diapers: Pocket diapers have a waterproof outer layer with a pocket where you can insert absorbent inserts. They allow customization of absorbency and are a popular choice for many parents.
  3. Prefold diapers: Prefold diapers are rectangular-shaped and require folding before use. They consist of multiple layers of fabric with the center being the most absorbent. Prefolds are economical and versatile, often used with diaper covers.
  4. Fitted diapers: Fitted diapers are form-fitting and have elastic around the legs and waist. They require a separate waterproof cover but provide excellent absorbency and leak protection.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Cloth Diapers

When selecting cloth diapers, consider the following factors:


Ensure the diaper you choose has sufficient absorbency to keep your baby dry for extended periods. The absorbency varies depending on the type of fabric used and the number of layers in the diaper.

Fit and Size

A proper fit is crucial for leak prevention and your baby’s comfort. Check the sizing options and consider the weight range specified by the manufacturer. Some diapers are adjustable and can grow with your baby.

Ease of Use

Consider your preference for convenience and ease of use. Some diapers come with snap or hook and loop closures, while others may have different fastening systems. Choose a diaper that aligns with your preferences and comfort level.


Consider your budget when choosing cloth diapers. While the upfront cost may be higher compared to disposables, cloth diapers are a cost-effective option in the long run. Evaluate the overall value, including durability and potential savings from not purchasing disposable diapers.

Environmental Impact

One of the key reasons parents opt for cloth diapers is their positive environmental impact. Look for diapers made from sustainable materials and consider the production process of the diaper brand. Choosing reusable diapers reduces waste and minimizes your carbon footprint.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Cloth Diapers

The fabric used in cloth diapers plays a significant role in their performance and comfort. Here are some common fabric options to consider:


Cotton is a popular choice for cloth diapers due to its softness and absorbency. It is a natural fiber that allows breathability and is generally gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin.


Bamboo fabric is known for its antimicrobial properties and absorbency. It is an eco-friendly option and provides excellent moisture-wicking capabilities, keeping your baby dry.


Hemp fabric is highly absorbent and durable. It is an excellent choice for heavy wetters but may require additional prep and washing before reaching its maximum absorbency.


Microfiber is a synthetic fabric known for its quick-drying properties. It is highly absorbent but should be used with caution, as it can compress over time and lead to leaks if not properly maintained.

Consider the benefits and characteristics of each fabric type when selecting cloth diapers, and choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Evaluating Diaper Closures

The closure system of a cloth diaper affects the ease of use, adjustability, and security. Here are two common closure options:


Snaps provide a secure and durable closure option. They are adjustable, ensuring a proper fit for your baby. Snaps are less likely to wear out over time compared to other closure types.

Hook and Loop

Hook and loop, often referred to as Velcro, offer convenience and quick fastening. They are easy to use and provide a customizable fit. However, they may lose their stickiness over time and may require occasional replacement or maintenance.

Consider your preference for ease of use, adjustability, and longevity when selecting the closure type for your cloth diapers.

Assessing Additional Features

In addition to the basic components, cloth diapers may come with various additional features that enhance functionality and convenience. Here are some common ones to consider:

Stay-Dry Lining

A stay-dry lining creates a dry layer between the baby’s skin and the wet diaper. It helps prevent rashes and keeps your baby feeling comfortable.

Double Gussets

Double gussets are additional elasticized bands around the leg openings of a diaper. They provide an extra layer of leak protection and help contain messes.

Leg Elastic

A diaper with strong leg elastic ensures a snug fit and minimizes the risk of leaks. It helps keep messes contained and provides added comfort for your baby.

Wetness Indicator

Some cloth diapers have a built-in wetness indicator that changes color when wet. This feature can be helpful, especially for new parents or when the diaper needs changing but feels dry to the touch.

Consider these additional features and determine which ones align with your preferences and the needs of your baby.

Determining the Number of Diapers Needed

The number of cloth diapers you’ll need depends on several factors, including your baby’s age, frequency of diaper changes, and laundry routine. As a general guideline, having around 24- 36 diapers is often recommended for newborns, while 18-24 diapers may be sufficient for older babies. Keep in mind that more frequent diaper changes and a larger rotation of diapers can help extend their lifespan. Assess your washing routine and consider having an appropriate number of diapers to meet your baby’s needs comfortably.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Cloth Diapers

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your cloth diapers, it’s important to follow proper care and maintenance practices. Here are some guidelines to consider:

Washing Routine

Establish a washing routine that works best for your household. It typically involves a pre-wash or rinse cycle to remove solids and a main wash cycle using a suitable detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or additives that can impair absorbency or damage the diapers.

Drying Methods

Cloth diapers can be air-dried or machine-dried, depending on your preference and the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sun drying is an excellent natural method for stain removal and sanitizing diapers. If using a dryer, use a low heat setting to avoid damaging the diapers.

Stain Removal

For stain removal, consider using natural stain removers or sunning the diapers. Direct sunlight can help fade stains and sanitize the fabric. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can degrade the fabric and affect absorbency.

By following these care and maintenance practices, you can ensure that your cloth diapers remain clean, absorbent, and in good condition for long-term use.

Overcoming Common Challenges with Cloth Diapers

While cloth diapers offer numerous benefits, there can be some challenges along the way. Here are some common issues and tips for overcoming them:


Leaks can occur if the diaper is not properly fitted or if it has reached its maximum absorbency. Ensure a snug fit around the legs and waist, and consider boosting absorbency with additional inserts if needed.


Proper washing and drying routines can help minimize odor issues. Ensure thorough rinsing, use a detergent that effectively removes odors, and allow the diapers to dry completely between uses.


Cloth diapers generally reduce the risk of diaper rash compared to disposables. However, if your baby experiences a rash, consider adjusting the washing routine, using natural diaper creams, and increasing diaper-free time to promote airflow and healing.

Transitioning from Disposables to Cloth Diapers

Transitioning from disposable diapers to cloth diapers may require some adjustments. Start by gradually incorporating cloth diapers into your routine and observe your baby’s comfort level and skin reaction. Experiment with different types and brands to find what works best for you and your baby.

Cloth Diapering on the Go

Cloth diapering while away from home is possible with a little planning. Consider using wet bags to store soiled diapers, pack enough clean diapers for the duration of your outing, and have a plan for diaper changes in public places.

Cloth Diaper Accessories

Several accessories can enhance your cloth diapering experience. Here are some common ones:

Diaper Pail

A diaper pail with a secure lid and a liner is essential for storing soiled diapers between washes. Look for a pail that minimizes odors and is easy to clean.

Wet Bags

Wet bags are waterproof bags used to store wet or soiled diapers while on the go. They come in various sizes and designs, making them convenient for travel or daycare.

Diaper Sprayer

A diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet and helps remove solid waste from diapers before washing. It simplifies the cleaning process and minimizes staining.

Consider these accessories based on your lifestyle and diapering needs to make your cloth diapering journey more efficient.

Here are some popular cloth diaper brands that come highly recommended by parents:

  1. BumGenius: Known for their high-quality all-in-one diapers, BumGenius offers a range of options to suit different needs and preferences. Their diapers are known for their excellent absorbency and ease of use.
  2. Thirsties: Thirsties is a well-regarded brand offering a variety of cloth diaper styles, including all-in-ones, pocket diapers, and diaper covers. They are known for their durable construction and attractive designs.
  3. GroVia: GroVia is known for its innovative designs and eco-friendly approach. They offer a range of cloth diapers, including all-in-ones and hybrid options. GroVia diapers are highly adjustable and have excellent absorbency.
  4. AppleCheeks: AppleCheeks diapers are beloved for their snug fit and leak-proof design. They offer pocket diapers with customizable absorbency options, ensuring a comfortable and reliable diapering experience.
  5. Rumparooz: Rumparooz diapers are known for their excellent leak protection and vibrant prints. They offer a variety of styles, including all-in-ones and pocket diapers, catering to different preferences.
  6. Blueberry: Blueberry diapers are praised for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They offer a range of cloth diaper styles, including all-in-ones, pocket diapers, and covers, known for their reliability and adorable designs.

Remember that each baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s worth exploring different brands and styles to find the cloth diaper that best suits your baby’s needs and your personal preferences.


Choosing cloth diapers for your baby involves considering factors such as absorbency, fit, ease of use, cost, and environmental impact. Selecting the right fabric, closures, and additional features further enhances the diapering experience. Proper care and maintenance ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your cloth diapers. Overcoming challenges and transitioning from disposables to cloth diapers require patience and experimentation. With the right accessories and recommendations from popular brands, cloth diapering can be a rewarding and sustainable choice for both you and your baby.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How often should I change cloth diapers? A: It’s recommended to change cloth diapers every 2-3 hours or as soon as they become wet or soiled to prevent discomfort and leaks.

Q: How many cloth diapers do I need for a newborn? A: Newborns typically require around 12-15 cloth diapers per day, so having a minimum of 24 diapers in your rotation is ideal.

Q: Can I use cloth diapers overnight? A: Yes, cloth diapers can be used overnight. Look for diapers with higher absorbency and consider adding boosters or inserts to increase absorbency if needed.

Q: How do I deal with diaper stains? A: Sunning cloth diapers can help fade stains naturally. You can also use natural stain removers or follow specific stain removal methods recommended by the diaper manufacturer.

Q: Are cloth diapers more environmentally friendly than disposables? A: Yes, cloth diapers are considered more environmentally friendly as they reduce waste and reliance on disposable products.

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