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Choosing Cloth Diapers > Cloth Diapering FAQ

Cloth Diapering FAQ

How many diapers do I need?

How do I know which type of diaper to choose?

Aren't prefold inserts + wraps old-fashioned?

Can I put cloth on an itty bitty newborn?

Um... what about the poop?

Do I need a special washing machine or detergent for cloth diapers?

Okay, so I have my diapers. What else do I need?

Can I cloth diaper through the night?

Is there a reusable swim diaper?

Why should I choose organic cotton?

How can I prevent and/or treat diaper rash?


How many diapers do I need?

Newborn babies will generally go through 8-12 diapers in a 24 hour period. Since you don’t want to be doing laundry every single day (to reduce laundering costs and to avoid wearing out your diapers too quickly), we recommend that you have at least 24 diapers – enough for a non-stressful rotation. If you are using a diaper that needs a wrap, you should probably have at least 6 wraps.

Once your baby is a little older, at approximately 6 months, you won’t have to change diapers as frequently. At this point, you can have fewer diapers in your rotation and still not have to do laundry too often. We recommend about 18 diapers, and 4 wraps (where applicable).

There are so many different types of diapers! How do I know which one to choose?

There is no single type of cloth diaper that is *the best*. There are so many different options because different people like different things – so there’s something for everyone! Don’t worry about which type is the best overall, try to figure out which one might be the best for you.

Ask yourself a few basic questions to begin: do I prefer natural or synthetic fabrics? Is ease-of-use a priority for me, i.e. will a daycare worker or other caregiver need to learn the ropes? Do I want a diaper that I can use from birth to potty training? What is my budget?

Remember, if you’re really not sure, sometimes variety is the spice of life – you can mix n’ match to try lots of different types!

Prefold inserts and wraps? Aren't those old-fashioned?

insert plus wrap equals heart

Prefold inserts are a modernized version of the old-fashioned flat, square diaper. Prefolds are tried and true – there’s a reason why they’ve maintained their popularity over the years. Organic fabrics and contemporary wraps (super CUTE and NOT plastic!) keep this combo fresher than ever. Read more about the advantages of prefold inserts.

Newborns are so tiny, can I really put cloth on an itty bitty baby?

Absolutely! Depending on the size of your baby at birth, you may be able to start right off in a size small (prefolds & wraps), or in a one-size all-in-one (like the Easy Fit).

If your baby weighs less than 8 lbs at birth, or if you prefer a diaper that will fit your itty bitty baby more trimly, there are plenty of great options for newborn cloth diapering. Try a preemie prefold insert paired up with a newborn Super Brite wrap (4-9 lbs – ideal for preemies or multiples) or with a Super Whisper Wrap (7-10 lbs). If you prefer an all-in-one (AIO), try the Tini Fit (5-12 lbs). Both of these options are teeny tiny and easy to use!

Um... what about the poop?

Today’s cloth diapering parents have it way easier than your great-grandma probably did – thanks to the innovation of flushable liners. Bio-soft liners will make your cloth diapering routine VERY easy. You simply lay the liner on the inside of the diaper. When baby poops, you lift out the liner, with the mess inside, and flush it down the toilet. No fuss, no muss!

Bio-Soft in diaper

Some folks prefer to use washable Fleece Liners for poop patrol instead, or to go the no-liner route by shaking solids into the toilet and rinsing out the diaper before putting it in a wet bag or pail.

Handy tidbit: babies who are breastfed exclusively have water-soluble poop. This means that you can simply toss the diaper into your wet bag or pail and wash normally – no need for flushable liners or rinsing. Another breastfeeding bonus!

Many people who have tried both cloth and disposable diapers have found that cloth diapers are actually better at containing poopy “blowouts”!

Do I need a special washing machine to wash cloth diapers? A special detergent?

Finding a good washing routine tends to be one of the more intimidating propositions for people who are new to cloth diapers. But believe us when we say it – it’s NOT that hard! In fact, we would go so far as to say that it’s pretty darn easy. Check out our Very Simple Guide to Washing Cloth Diapers for more details. All the good stuff is in there – how to wash, what to do about stains, what detergent to use, and more!

Okay, so I have my diapers. What else do I need?

There are tons of cloth diapering accessories on the market: liners, boosters, inserts, soakers, sprayers… and it might seem a little overwhelming to begin with. Our advice? Start simple. Most of those accessories cater to a specific need, so just get started with the diapers that you have, and if you run into a problem, then it’s time to see if there’s a product out there that can help you. Newborn diapering doesn’t usually require any extras, but when your baby gets older, you may find that you need to add some extra layers to your diaper to make it more absorbent. That’s when the liners, boosters, doublers (these are just different words for the same thing!) start to come in handy.

Back to basics: what you really need to begin:

  • diapers (whether one-piece or two-piece)
  • Bio-soft liners (okay, it is possible to get by without them, but many people chooses to use them!)
  • a pail or hanging wet bag to store your dirty diapers
  • washing machine (okay, I guess technically you could wash by hand, but you’d be working a lot harder than you need to!)
  • clothesline or dryer
  • cloth diaper-friendly detergent

If you're just beginning with cloth diapers, our Organic Cotton Diapering Kit is a good way to go - it has all the inserts, wraps and accessories that you need to get started. Just grab the box and go!

Cloth diapering through the night

Newborn babies tend not to sleep through the night (hate to break it to you…), so nighttime diapering with a newborn is pretty much the same as daytime diapering. However, once your baby starts to sleep through the night (congratulations!), nighttime diapering usually requires some special attention, since you will need a super-absorbent diaper that can survive 8 hours of wetting! Don’t fret – there are cloth diapering solutions that can meet this challenge!

  • Choose highly absorbent fabrics like bamboo, hemp, organic cotton or microfiber for your nighttime diaper
  • If using wraps, go one size up to make space for extra liners, or try a wool cover. Wool is a miraculous natural fiber – super absorbent, wicks moisture away from the skin and is naturally waterproof. A great nighttime (or anytime) solution!
  • Add extra layers – either an absorbent liner (a.k.a booster or doubler), or a prefold insert (try a small insert wrapped inside a large one)
  • Put a stay-dry layer like a Fleece Liner against baby’s skin, so s/he won’t be woken up by a wet diaper during the night

You may have to play around a bit before you find a combination that works well for you and your baby – don’t be afraid to experiment!

My baby is going swimming! Is there a reusable swim diaper?

The Swimmi is a swim diaper designed for this very purpose! Your little one can swim like a fish, and you don’t have to worry about the pool being emptied on his or her behalf! Easy to use and machine washable.


Why should I choose organic cotton?

Organic cotton is hands down the greenest and most sustainable choice when it comes to cloth diapering fabrics. Organic cotton is grown without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Growing cotton organically is environmentally sustainable: it protects water quality, conserves biodiversity, and reduces soil erosion. Not only that, organic cotton is very soft, very absorbent, and entirely free of toxic chemicals – all very desirable qualities in a fabric that will be spending a lot of time in direct contact with baby’s tender skin!

How can I prevent and/or treat diaper rash?

Cloth diapers are more breathable than disposable diapers, and they tend to get changed more frequently, which means that most cloth diapered babies get less diaper rash, if any at all, than babies who are in disposables. Hurray!

That being said, babies in cloth diapers are not immune to diaper rash. The best way to prevent rashes is to change your baby’s diaper often – as soon as it is soiled or wet, and to give baby’s bum some “fresh air” exposure from time to time. If you notice that your baby has developed a rash all of a sudden, it could be due to a detergent or urine residue in the diapers. Read more about residues and how to get rid of them.

If your baby develops a rash that you suspect may be an infection or fungus, you should consult with your health care provider.

If you have any questions that we haven't answered here or elsewhere on our website, please feel free to give us a call at 1-888-828-6647, or by filling out the form here.