Cloth Diapers 101

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Are you sick of paying the high prices for disposable diapers? Did you know there is another way? Not only are cloth diapers so easy to use, they will save you thousands of dollars…PER CHILD! Cloth Diapers 101 shows you how to use them, what to buy, and exactly how much money you will be saving. Pregnant moms and new parents…you have to check this out! Cloth Diapers 101

When I am around family and friends and they notice that my little one’s bottom looks like a colorful tulip bulb, their faces change almost instantly. 

Most moms know the look—squinted eyes throwing as much shade as possible, lips pursed tight in an effort to keep their opinions to themselves.  I am sure every mom has seen that face, whether over breastfeeding (or not), pacifier use, or your dietary choices when you are pregnant.  

A few braver souls have even asked me why I bother with cloth diapers when disposables are so easy.  I have been asked if my washing machine is covered in baby poo (the answer is no), if I am one of those “green” moms (not particularly), or if I am just broke (this is closer to the truth).  I have even had people see my baby in cloth, only to go out and buy us disposables afterward.  How nice of them!  We use those when we travel for multiple nights and don’t have access to a washing machine.  But how odd is it that people are so unfamiliar with basic cloth diapering that they feel the kind thing to do is to throw a pack of disposables our way?

So, today I want to clear up the mystery of cloth diapering.  I’ll tell you what we use, how we use it, and a few tips for the new mama considering cloth.

Why Cloth?

It is so much cheaper!  Any new parent who uses disposable diapers will tell you that diapers seriously hurt the wallet.  The cost for cloth diapers is more up front, it’s true, but over time you save thousands of dollars, and you can use the diapers for more than one child!

We decided to go with a prefold diaper and cover system.  We use OsoCozy Unbleached 100% Cotton Prefolds, because they are very absorbent and they do not irritate our little one’s skin.  They come in two sizes—size 1 and 2.  Our baby grew out of size 1 very quickly, so I would recommend just getting size 2 if cost is a concern.  We now use our size 1s as burp cloths so they don’t go to waste.

We bought Rumparooz covers because they came highly recommended.  They come in so many cute colors, are completely waterproof, and—believe it or not— we have never, ever had a blowout using these covers.  They come in snaps and velcro.  The velcro is great for getting the perfect fit around the waist, but as you wash it, it wears down.  Snaps have definitely stood the test of time, and are just like new wash after wash.  We purchased 12 of them up front, and it is the perfect amount.  They are good for about 3 wet diapers before you have to change to a new cover, so with 12 on hand we never have them all dirty at the same time.

You will also need some snappis, which hold the prefold together.

Our upfront cost…

Diaper Sprayer – $49.99

Rumparooz Diaper Covers– $14 for solid colors, $16 for prints—we used half and half, so it was $180 total for 6 solids and 6 prints

OsoCozy Unbleached Prefold Diapers– $19.99 for 6 , $80 for 24

Snappis-$8.99 for 3

Dirty Diaper Bag– 2 for $24.99

Total up front: $343.97

I wonder how fast parents using disposables spend $344 on diapers… and the $344 is for the years that our kid is in diapers, as well as for any other children we may have later!  It is the deal of the century!  Plus, if you are lucky enough to have someone throw you a baby shower, you can put all of this on your registry.  It would be an amazing gift to never have to buy a diaper!

Not only is it cheap, it is easier than you think!

Fold your prefold along the vertical lines (into thirds).  Open up the end farthest from you and set your baby on the diaper.  Fold the diaper up over the baby’s front and attach it to the back with a snappi. 

 IMG_3934Mr. Bear can rock a cloth diaper!

As your baby grows, you will have to pull the front corners out like you did in the back before attaching.  To adjust the size of the prefold, you can simply fold down a section in the front or back of the diaper.  For some reason, the back of my son’s diaper is always soaked, so we fold down the back before putting the diaper on him.   Put the diaper cover on, and adjust according to his size (once you have done this once, you can leave it until he grows).  Make sure none of the prefold is poking out anywhere!  If it is, gently push it under the cover.   This is an important step to prevent leaks.   Voila! You are done!

There are other cloth diapering methods out there like all-in-ones and pocket diapers.  We haven’t tried these yet because our system works so well, I haven’t seen any need to change it up.  If you use these other diapers and you love them, let me know in the comments!

How to Clean Cloth Diapers

Okay, so the diaper is on your little one, and he peed.  Now what?  Just unfasten the cover, take the prefold and toss it into the dirty bag.  No rinsing or spraying necessary!  The cover lasts my baby about 3 wet prefolds before it smells and needs to be thrown in the dirty bag too.

What about #2?  Well, when your baby is a newborn and is only eating breast milk or formula, his poo is actually water soluble.  That means you can treat this diaper just like a wet diaper, and it can go straight into the laundry without a rinse.  And no, your washing machine won’t get gross!   What about after he is eating solids?  It takes one extra step.  Take that stinky diaper to your diaper sprayer and give it a good rinse.  Then toss it in the laundry!  It is that easy. My husband and I are in the habit of starting a load of diapers every time our little one goes #2, which is about every other day.  It works out great if like me, you need a reminder to do the diapers.  And it also means that you never get that icky diaper-pail smell in your house.

When you arediaper covers hanging to dry ready to wash, toss all your dirty prefolds and covers into the washing machine with the dirty diaper bag (make sure to turn it inside out!).  Wash on hot with an extra rinse cycle (if your washing machine has it).  Move the prefolds to the dryer, and hang up the covers and the bag.   Done!  It takes an extra 10 minutes every other day to wash your cloth diapers, so the “extra work” that the nay-sayers have told me about really isn’t bad at all…

***Special hint***  Laundry detergent is expensive!  I use this really amazing recipe for laundry sauce, and our clothes are always clean and smelling good… did I mention it only costs about $2 for 200 loads?

Cloth diapering has worked out incredibly well for my family.  It has saved us thousands of dollars, we have never had a blow out or a diaper rash *fingers crossed*, and our baby looks so cute in the covers.  I spend a small amount of time washing an extra load of laundry, but in the end it works out wonderfully.  I know I am judged pretty harshly about my choice to cloth diaper, but it is what is right for my family.  Disposables are convenient and very easy, but in the end, they were not a practical choice for us.

For more information about the amazing amount of money you will save using cloth diapers, check out this post from I Heart Budgets.  They use all-in-ones so the numbers are different from mine, but the message is still the same—cloth saves money!

Do you use cloth diapers? What kind? How has it worked out for your family? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I have tried using this for my first one but it turned out really hard for me and my husband also didn’t liked it. So I just had to leave it. Disposable diapers very costly for sure. I would once again try this. Thanks for your helpful post!!!

    • Nicole Hermens

      Cloth diapers aren’t for everyone, it does take extra work every day (there is no day off for diapers) but the savings are huge. I find it is easier if you have a habit of starting the diapers in the wash at a certain time–like first thing in the morning, or every time your little one goes #2, it makes it a lot easier. Good Luck!

  2. I have tried cloth diapering for my first one but couldn’t continue it as my husband didn’t liked it very much and I became pregnant with my second one very fast ( when first one was only 9 months old) it turned out very tedious for me. Lost a whole lot of money for disposable diapers they are really expensive for sure!!!

    • Nicole Hermens

      I am sorry cloth diapers did not work out for you, especially since you had two in diapers at the same time! You are a super mama! They make all-in-one diapers that are a bit more expensive, but I have heard that they are more “dad friendly” since there is only one diaper and liner together. I haven’t tried them, but I have a few friends who really like them. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Mae

    We have chosen not to cloth diaper at this point in the “baby game”, but I found your article to be both informative and an interesting read. And you have almost convinced me to try it… We will see what my husband’s thoughts are. I’m also going to refer to your ” laundry sauce ” and try it for our clothes. Love your blog! Keep it up!

    • Nicole Hermens

      Thanks Mae! If you want to try cloth diapers without the investment, try to find a friend who will loan you a few diapers for a couple of weeks, see if you like it. I have a few size one prefolds just sitting around, if you want to give it a shot. One of the big values in cloth is that you can use them for multiple children. I have also heard that you can buy slightly damaged (as in used the wrong color thread) diapers for a steep discount. Let me know how you like the laundry sauce. We have been using it for over a year now!

    • Nicole Hermens

      Thanks Georgetta! I am working on building up content right now since my blog is so new, but I will look into getting some initial traffic. Thanks for your support!

  4. I see you don’t monetize your site, i’v got idea how to earn some additional money using one
    simple method, just search in google for: Ferdeck’s tricks

  5. So encouraging! Thankfully I’ve only had a few people question my choice to cloth diaper. It came up at my baby shower and my best friend was quick to jump to my rescue and say how expensive using disposables on her son has been, and how she can’t wait to hear my experience so that she knows how to switch to cloth for her second baby. Thank you for this awesome post!

    • You are welcome! You should take advantage of having a friend who is interested in cloth diapering, it is amazing to have people who will let you borrow their diaper covers, snappis, etc. If your kids won’t be in diapers at the same time, it might even be a good idea to go in together on the initial purchase. I have some girlfriends doing this and they save so much money!

  6. Reilley

    I decided to do cloth before baby arrived, and I’ve never looked back. We use primarily pockets with a few AIO and a few snapless fitteds for overnight. I converted my SIL and my work BFF! We have some aplix closure diapers for caregivers (i.e. Grandparents, babysitter, daycare) and none of them have ever said anything negative. A word of caution: if you’re not careful, you will want to buy every amazing diaper you come across!

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