Cloth Diaper – All You Need to Know

cloth diaper

I am a cloth diaper mama.  I won’t ever have another child in cloth diapers but all of my babies rocked the cloth.  I am also co-owner of a terrific CDing group on CafeMom called Cuties with Cloth Booties, which is where this compilation of information has come from.  If you have any further questions that is a great place to start.  There are lots of helpful and supportive mama’s and so many talented diaper makers there.

Why choose cloth? 

Cloth Diaper Resources.

Cloth Diaper Types.


A large flat single layer of fabric, typically cotton that can be folded many different ways to be used as a diaper. Most people would cover this with a waterproof or water-resistant cover. You can improvise and use things such as receiving blankets to make mock flats.

You need a cover to make this type of diaper waterproof.

Follow this link and you can find a variety of different ways to fold a flat.


A flat, layered, rectangular diaper with extra layers for absorbency in the center. Commonly used with a fastener and waterproof cover. These are probably the most economical diaper you can buy at only $1-3 each. They can be folded in a variety of ways and held together with pins or a Snappi or they can be tri-folded and used in a cover. These can also be re-purposed as cleaning rags or used as inserts or doublers in another diaper.

You need a cover to make this type of diaper waterproof.


A fitted diaper that is made from a prefold and has elastic added. These commonly have no closure and require a Snappi or pins, but some people do add snaps or aplix (velcro) to make them more user-friendly.

You need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.


Shaped, like a fitted diaper, but without elastic and usually without attached closures. Commonly used with pins or a Snappi. These are a very easy type of CD to make at home with materials you have lying around.

You need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.

T-Shirt Diaper:

T-shirt diapering is a free way to cloth diaper your baby by using any absorbing natural fiber t-shirts like cotton or bamboo. Fold it up and fasten it with pins or a Snappi for a quick, cheap, and effective diapering solution.

You need a cover to make this type of diaper waterproof.

Follow this link for a tutorial.


A shaped diaper that includes elasticized legs like other modern cloth diapers but without a layer of PUL (waterproof fabric). These diapers may have the absorbance sewn in like an all-in-one, they may have a pocket for stuffing, and they may have snap in or sewn on layer(s) of absorbance. Fitted diapers are great for night-time use. They allow maximum airflow and when combined with a fleece, wool, or acrylic cover they become very water-resistant, usually more than a diaper with PUL.

You need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.


A diaper with either an outer layer of PUL or a hidden layer of PUL with either snaps or an aplix closure. These pockets have a stay-dry inner made of many different types of materials like microchamois, minky, velour, and fleece. These diapers have a pocket opening that allows you to stuff as little or as much absorbance as you feel is needed. It is the most common type of CD and is very easy to use for caregivers when pre-stuffed.

You do NOT need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.

All In One (AIO):

These are often described as the easiest CDs for caregivers. They are usually sized diapers that have all the layers of absorbance sewn right into one single AIO. They require no stuffing but they often do not clean as well as a diaper with openings and they take much longer to dry.

You do NOT need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.

All In Two (AI2): Similar to an AIO, but with a removable absorbent layer for easier washing and faster drying. Absorbent layer is usually snapped in place inside the diaper, sitting directly against baby’s skin.

You do NOT need a cover to make this type of CD waterproof.


A diaper system that consists of a shell that has the option of both cloth and disposable liners. These are often the most expensive diapering route, but the disposable inserts come in handy when camping or on  vacation without access to a washing machine.

Hybrid Fitted:

Hybrid fitteds have a polyester fleece in the shell instead of an absorbent layer.  This pushes moisture back into the diaper to be absorbed by the insert.  They can be worn without a cover for daytime use for some babies.





Polyurethane Laminate (PUL):

The waterproof fabric commonly used for making diapers and covers. PUL covers can be air-dried and reused in a day’s rotation unless soiled with poo. 4-6 covers are usually adequate for a full 2 day diapering stash.


Not as commonly used as PUL, but an economical alternative. Usually found in a pull-on style cover, usually referred to as plastic pants, they are not ideal, but will work in a pinch or on a budget!

Wool (Soakers, Shorties, Longies, Skirties):

Wool yarn can be used to knit or crochet diaper covers that, once treated with lanolin, are quite waterproof. Wool covers also offer breath ability that PUL covers do not, as well as certain antimicrobial properties. Wool is wonderful when used at night to promote airflow while still being water-resistant.

Wool/Acrylic Interlock (Soakers, Shorties, Longies, Skirties):

Wool or acrylic yarn that has been tightly woven into more of a fabric than knitting or crocheting produces. Also a wonderful cover to be used at night over a fitted diaper for maximum airflow and superior water resistance. How to wash wool.

Acrylic (Soakers, Shorties, Longies, Skirties):

Like wool, but made with acrylic yarn. Can be washed more often and washed/dried with your normal laundry. Great alternative to wool, especially for those with allergies to wool.

Fleece (Soakers, Shorties, Longies, Skirties):

A synthetic alternative to wool, fleece can be used as a diaper cover due to the water-resistant properties. It’s much cheaper than wool and works just as well. It can also be washed with your regular laundry. Another great option for use over a fitted at night to promote airflow while being water-resistant.


A term for a diaper cover made of wool, acrylic, or fleece, these are most commonly pull on while a snap or aplix closure would be referred to as a wrap.



Special safety pins used to fasten certain types of diapers.


An alternative to pins these will keep many types of diapers closed without worrying about poking. Having 3-5 is usually a good idea in case you lose a few.

Aplix, Touchtape:

A very specific type of velcro made for diapers. They are the easiest and most adjustable type, but also wear more easily than snaps.


Piece of fabric or paper that is laid into a diaper to protect the diaper from creams, make removal of poo easier, or provide a “stay-dry” feeling on baby’s skin. Most of the paper liners on the market are flush-able. Liners are easily and cheaply made using fleece cut into rectangles, no sewing is necessary.


Separate absorbent layers for use inside diapers. Commonly made with microfiber, cotton, organic bamboo fleece, or ZORB.


Extra (usually smaller) inserts used to give extra absorbance to a CD.
Soaker: Another term for the absorbent layer of any diaper.

Wet Bags:

Wet bags come in all different sizes. They are PUL lined bags that are commonly used on the go to store dirty diapers until you can get home to wash them.
Diaper Sprayer: Diaper sprayers are not needed but can come in handy to rinse not so solid poop off CDs.

 Pails and Storage

Wet Pail:

A dirty diaper storage pail that uses water and/or additives in which dirty CDs soak until wash day. Wet pails are not recommended as they both are a breeding ground for bacteria and pose a drowning risk.

Dry Pail:

A dirty CD storage pail that does not use liquids to soak diapers. You can line it with a water proof pail liner that can be washed with diapers rather than washing the pail every time you wash. Dirty diapers are dumped, sprayed, scraped, or wiped of solids, and then simply tossed in the dry pail until wash day. Exclusively breastfed babies poo can be tossed in the pail without being cleaned off.

Pail Liner:

A trash bag sized PUL liner that fits inside of the diaper pail to make washing easier. Rather then washing out your pail every wash day you can simply toss the diapers and the liner in the wash. Having two would make it easier to put CDs in the pail during wash.

Hanging Wet Bag:

 A hanging wet bag is an alternative to a pail. It is a bag that is lined with PUL which makes it waterproof. These are great for people limited on space. You can take the wet bag and wash it with your CDs.

Do you cloth diaper?



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My Random Musings


    • Anne says:

      Thank you Tammy! That is my littlest one’s last time in a diaper during the day. We had to commemorate the occasion. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing.

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