The popularity of cloth diapers is on the rise. Many families have made the switch from disposable diapers for financial or ecological reasons. However, if you have never used cloth diapers before there are few things to consider before purchasing any specific style or brand. All cloth diapers have two things in common: they’re made of a soft, absorbent fabric and they need to be washed rather than thrown away. There are also some unique features to each design. Below you will find basic information to improve your understanding of the design of cloth diapers.


A pre-fold diaper consists of a piece of cotton fabric and a waterproof diaper cover. This design is probably the closest to the traditional design for reusable diapers. While the may look simplistic, utilizing these pre-fold diapers requires a degree of skill that is acquired with practice. The basic idea is to fold the cotton fabric so that it fits your baby’s bottom then secure It in place with pins, Snappis, or snaps. Then the waterproof diaper cover goes over the cotton fabric to prevent leaks. There is also a variant known as a “fitted pre-fold” which can make using the pre-fold system more manageable.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers have both an inner cloth lining and a waterproof outer lining which eliminates the requirement for a separate cover. However, there is a separate piece of fabric that must be inserted into the pocket of the diaper’s inner lining. This fabric insert reduces drying time after the diaper has been washed. Additionally, you can add extra liners to increase absorbency. Some popular brands include Bumgenius, Kanga Care, Blueberry, FuzziBunz, and Charlie Banana.

All in Ones

An all in one only has one part (hence the name). For this design, the absorbent material is sewn into the waterproof diaper wrap. The all in one diaper is the closest to a disposable diaper and just as simple to use. There is nothing to fold or insert and the have convenient built-in fasteners, but each diaper can only be used once before it has to be completely washed. These diapers also tend to be expensive (approximately $15-30 per diaper) when compared with other cloth diapers. Popular brands include Bumgenius, GroVia, Kanga Care, Tots Bots, and Itti Bitti.