Cloth Diapering 101

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How to make sense of cloth diapering

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I LOVE cloth diapering! It might sound gross but once you get the hang of it, it’s so fun. There are sooo many different styles of cloth. I chose Best Bottom brand diaper cover. I just wanted to lay the insert in there and slap it on the toosh.

What style of diaper is right for me?

There many styles of cloth and it can be confusing. All-in-One, All-in-Two, pocket, pre-fold, oh, friggin, my!! Think about your washing routine. Do you want to be able to reuse the waterproof outer part of the diaper? Do you want to worry about two parts or just one? Do you want to stuff the diaper or just lay the absorbent piece in there?

types of cloth diapers
Cloth Diaper Comparison Chart

Where to I buy Cloth Diapers?

I bought all my new cloth diapers from Nicki’s. They have amazing customer service and a huge variety of styles.

How many do I need?

To build a good “stash”, as us clothers call them, you need enough diapers to last you from wash to wash, plus maybe about 6 more.  A good place to start is between 15-20 diapers. Some moms “collect the rainbow” and have one of every color of their favorite brand.  Other moms only buy diapers that match baby’s gender.  I collected pink, purple, and anything else that put a twinkle in my eye.


My stash at its largest! 56 diapers… YAY

Where do I put the dirty ones?

I collected diapers in a normal 13 gallon trash bin. Pee diapers went in the pail and poopy ones went to the bathroom for the turds to fall right into the toilet. *gross fact- some poops do need to sit for awhile before they willingly detach themselves from the insert* After the diaper was poop-free, it went in the pail with the other dirty diapers.

How do I wash cloth diapers?

Now, there is a learning curve to washing them but once you have a system down, you’re golden. (Disclaimer, my washing routine worked for me and my diapers but please refer to the specific washing instructions of the diaper type and brand that you choose.)

I’d wash diapers every 3rd day. I throw everything in a cold wash. This agitates all the pee out of the inserts. Doing a hot wash first will make the whole house stink like baby pee. Once that wash is done, I take out all the covers and lay them out flat. You don’t want to really “flatten” them out because the elastic in the leg gussets should be treated as gentle as a open floppy bag of breastmilk. Next, do a hot wash of the inserts. I only used the smallest amount of detergent. Repeat until they don’t smell of urine or poooo. Then throw them in the dryer on normal heat. Once those are done, I opened the dryer door, let them cool down for about 30 min, and then put the covers in there on a cold dryer cycle.

In online cloth groups you might read about stripping your inserts. I rarely needed to do this but when I did, I did it the lazy way and it worked just fine. I had soft water at the time and did just a hot wash with a little bleach. Then 2 water-only washes after. *Again, follow the directions of your diaper’s manufacturer regarding care. Most people will only do this when the inserts start repelling liquids.


So much cuter than saggy disposable diapers


Disposable Diaper Costs

Where do disposable diapers go? In the trash. Where does the trash go? In the stinky landfill. I’m not going to give you the statistics of how long a disposable diaper takes to disintegrate because we’ve all heard the soapbox from others. Buutt, using cloth diapers does have the added bonus of knowing you aren’t contributing to the pile o’ trash. That being said, I also didn’t lose any sleep at night when I was using newborn disposable diapers because I really didn’t want to wash diapers that often (due to the enormous amount of newborn diaper changes).

Cloth Diaper Costs

An average non-addict of cloth diapers should have 15-20 diapers. When I say “diapers” I mean the cloth part that absorbs the pee or is in direct fire from the butt. Covers can be wiped down and reused with a fresh insert.

Bonus Cloth Feature: When you are all done cloth diapering your baby’s bum, you can resell your diapers in online diaper swaps. Which brings your diapering costs back down to nearly nothing.

It has been a hot minute since my youngest potty-trained, but I believe I was out of pocket maybe a total of $300 total for diapering 2 baby girl bums. This accounts for selling each diaper as “pre-loved” and less than I originally paid for them as new.

Note: Always use PayPal when buying in online forums and use the “goods and services” option. If someone asks you to send a check or to complete the transaction as “friend/family” because they don’t want to pay the PayPal service fee, decline the sale. If the person isn’t honest about the condition of the diaper or just doesn’t send it to you, then you are covered by PayPal and you will get your money back.

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