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Diapers are super expensive, there’s no way around it. People tout cloth diapers as being a great way to save money, but if you go out and buy a full stash of all-in-ones or even a set of nice pocket diapers, you’ll easily be out $400-$600. I’m no cloth diapering guru. But here I’ll show you how to cloth diaper using prefolds and waterproof shell. This is the best cloth diapering system that I’ve used with both of our girls. I Iove it!
How to cloth diaper Step 1: Prefolds
I’m all about the prefolds: the simpler the better. None of this allinonepocketkangabum5.7 for our family. Prefolds are pretty self-explanatory and they’re easy enough to find. I have a couple of different prefolds that I use, but my favorites are Cloth-eez Green Mountain prefolds. They are super thick, soft and absorbent. I am also dyyyyying to try their Workhorse Fitteds, but I can’t justify the cost to try them out, especially when you have to keep buying the larger sizes as baby grows.
Step 2: Waterproof cloth diaper covers
I had a tougher time figuring out the best cover to use to keep everything waterproof. I wound up loving my Thirsties Duo Wrap covers the best! They are super durable (the elastic and PUL have held up even through being dried in the dryer accidentally a couple of times), they come with an extra bit of elastic in the leg holes to keep the prefold from poking out and leaking. Because they come in two sizes, the fit is superior to all of the other diaper covers I’ve used! Not to mention all the adorable prints.
Step 3: How to Put On a Prefold Cloth Diaper with a Snappi cloth diaper fastener
I would never try to diaper using prefolds without my handy dandy Snappis! Snappis are such a huge improvement over the safety pins you probably imagine when you think of old fashioned cloth diapers. All it takes to use them is a quick hook, hook, hook, and you’re good to go! No more danger of poking your sweet babe in the leg with needles.
To use a snappi cloth diaper fastener, start with the prefold cloth diaper flat underneath your baby’s bottom. Pull the front of the diaper up beneath his legs, and at the same time twist it around once so that there’s a bit more bulk in between the legs to absorb fluid. Hook the Snappi cloth diaper fastener to the corners of the diaper that are on baby’s back, and then attach the third hook down between their legs so that you have three points of contact for holding everything together!
Step 4: How to deal with dirty cloth diapers
So what do you do with the diapers that are dirty? I use the Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Diaper Tote Bag in Peacock Plumage. Again with the adorable prints. Sooo many choices! I only have one wet bag that I just wash and then quickly hang again right out of the washer. It would probably be easier to have at least two, but I’m cheap and the point of cloth diapering is to SAVE money.
Step 5: Cloth Baby Wipes
I find that it’s actually easier to use cloth wipes when you cloth diaper, because then it can all go into the same bag to be washed, rather than separating the wipes from the diaper when you toss it into the wet bag. You can buy fancy wipes made specifically for cloth diapering, but I made DIY cloth baby wipes. I went to Goodwill and bought a couple of the biggest cotton shirts I could find and cut them up into the size I wanted them to be. I keep a solution of ⅛ C. vegetable oil, ⅛ C. baby wash, and 2 C. water in a spray bottle, and then I just spray each wipe right before I use it.
Step 6: Find the best cloth diaper liner
One thing I don’t really like about cloth diapering is how they don’t wick the wetness away from baby’s skin the way that disposables do. They say this helps with potty training down the road, but it seems awfully uncomfortable to me. So what I will do sometimes is put a layer of fleece (pieces cut from a cheap blanket at Walmart) in between the diaper and baby’s bottom. Now you have cheap, DIY fleece cloth diaper liners! All of the wetness soaks through the fleece, leaving the layer closest to baby’s skin feeling a little drier. I use this trick a lot at night when I know she’ll be lying there wet for awhile without a change.
How to Clean Cloth Diapers
And, finally, here’s how to clean cloth diapers! I try to wash my diapers about every three days to keep things from getting too stinky. I do NOT use any special cloth diapering detergents. Those are overpriced and unnecessary with prefolds. I just make sure whatever I have is the Free & Clear version, and just use a little less than I would with a normal load. Then I run my washer as follows:
- Rinse COLD (no detergent)
- Wash HOT (add detergent for this cycle)
- Rinse COLD
- Rinse COLD again
I usually have to run the dryer through one full cycle and then an extra 20 minutes or so to make sure they are completely dry. But my diapers always come out super clean and fluffy!
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.