bestMore and more parents are choosing reusable diapers these days, to help protect the environment as well as sometimes saving a bit of cash. If you are new to cloth diapering, it can be difficult to work out what you will need as there are so many different products out there. Here, we will answer some FAQs about using cloth diapers, then review some of the best products to help you find what’s right for your family.
What Do I Need to Start Using Reusable Diapers?
First, you’ll need to decide which type of diaper you are going to use. The cheapest is the traditional cloth diaper which is essentially a piece of cloth which must be folded then held in place by a pin. There are also all-in-one diapers, which consist of just one piece much like disposable diapers. The more popular option is the pocket-style diaper, which is made up of one outer layer, usually made from fleece or waterproof material, with a pocket to place a washable, absorbent insert into.
On some styles, the insert can be used on the outside of the pocket which means you don’t have to use a new diaper cover at every change. There are also flushable, disposable liners available to use with cloth diapers, which can save some of the poop from getting onto the reusable parts of the diapers. These make cleaning up much easier, but do create a bit more waste. Liners can be made from fleece or silk, which are ideal for keeping baby’s skin dry.
You will also need something to store the wet and dirty diapers until wash day. A large pail with lid or a wet bag with a zipper closure is ideal, as this will help keep the smell out. Special diaper pails designed for storing dirty diapers are also a good choice. You should also think about a smaller wet bag for when you need to change your baby when you’re out and about. Some parents choose to use disposable diapers on a day out for ease at changing times.
Diaper rash cream tends to make washable diapers less effective, as it can block up the fibers and make them water-resistant rather than absorbing the wetness. There are special creams available for use with washable nappies, although often cloth-wearing babies don’t get diaper rash as badly as those wearing disposables.
If you plan to take your baby swimming, you will need to purchase special swim diapers. They are available in both disposable and reusable formats – if you are going to use cloth diapers, you might also like to choose a swim diaper which is reusable to further reduce your carbon footprint.
How Many Cloth Diapers Will I Need?
The number of diapers to start with for a newborn mainly depends on how often you want to wash them. A rough guide is to allow for up to 12 a day. So if you want to wash every other day, 24 is a good number. Of course, if you use liners and pocket-style diapers, you won’t need very many outer diaper covers.
As your baby gets older, they will probably start to go longer periods between wettings. At this point, you can get away with having fewer diapers, or if you have plenty you will have to do laundry less often.
What Are the Benefits of Reusable Diapers?
The main benefit of reusable diapers is their environmental impact is much less than that of disposable ones. Every time you wash a diaper, a disposable one is kept out of landfill. It’s thought that diapers can take between 200-500 years to decompose at landfill, so the less there are, the better.
They can also help save parents a lot of money, especially if they are used for a second child, or re-sold to another family. Whilst the initial cost might be higher, in the long-run it will work out much cheaper, even compared to a cheaper brand of disposable diapers. If you buy washable diapers which adjust in size to fit children from birth until they are potty training, you might only need to spend as little as $100. In terms of disposable diapers, $100 would probably only buy enough to last roughly 4 months.
Washable diapers are often not as absorbent as disposables, so they do need to be changed more often. However, for night-time use or heavy wetters, it’s possible to add an extra insert to increase the absorbancy. Some think that washing and drying diapers uses a lot of water and energy, which reduces the environmental benefit. However, if you use an antibacterial detergent you can wash at lower temperatures, and diapers can be hung to dry outside rather than dried in the tumble drier. This is therefore much more environmentally-friendly than thousands of disposable diapers going to landfill.
The Reviews: Best Cloth Diapers
In this section, you will find reviews of the best brands of reusable diapers, and some handy extras, to help you choose the best for your family’s needs. We have included different styles of diapers, as well as extras such as liners and inserts in case you choose to purchase extras.
Wegreeco Reusable Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers
These diaper covers come in a pack of six, as well as six bamboo inserts. There is also a wet bag included, meaning the used diapers can easily be stored until it’s time to do the laundry. The diaper covers are fully adjustable, meaning they can be used to fit children from birth up to two years old on average. This set is the perfect size for those who are unsure as to whether or not they will exclusively use washable diapers.
The cloth diaper inserts should be washed around six times before they reach maximum absorbancy, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and wash them before you’ll need to use them. The wet bag can also be washed in the machine with the diapers, so it’s easy to keep everything clean. The diapers are easy to adjust with the snap fastenings, and the inserts are easily inserted into the pocket.
Bambino Mio Miosolo Cloth Diapers
These all in one cotton diapers are ideal for parents who are looking for an easy solution to cloth diapering. These diapers are just as easy to use as disposables, and will remain soft and comfortable even after several washes. The diapers are fully adjustable, so should fit most babies from birth to potty training. They come in a range of patterns and prints, which are gender-neutral.
The reusable diaper starter pack also comes with diaper cleanser for washing, as well as some liners, which are compostable. This is great for parents who worry about the environmental impact of using flushable or disposable liners. The diapers should be washed at 140F, and can be tumble dried on a low heat, although if they are hung to dry they will keep their shape better.
LBB Reusable Diapers
These LBB reusable diapers are ideal for parents who are looking for a low-cost, small set of diapers to test whether or not cloth diapering is the right choice for them. The set contains six diapers and liners, as well as a pack of 10 liners to get started with. The covers are fully adjustable meaning they can be used from birth to potty. The buttons on the waistband can even overlap, so they should fit babies with a small waist. The diapers come in a choice of plain colors, or different prints and patterns so there’s sure to be something for all tastes.
The pocket diapers can be used with the insert on the inside or outside of the pocket, and you can use two inserts together for overnight if necessary. The diaper is made from waterproof material, with suede inside to keep baby’s skin dry. The inserts are made from three layers of highly-absorbent microfiber and the leg elastics on the diaper are ideal for preventing leakages.
Mama Koala One Size Washable Diapers
These pocket diapers come in a range of lovely prints ideal for boys or girls. In fact, you might want to buy a few sets as there are just so many cute designs to choose from! The diapers are fully adjustable with rows of fasteners, meaning they should be able to last from birth until 2-3 years old. This set includes six each of the diapers and inserts. The inserts are made from microfiber which is highly absorbent. It can be snapped-down to adjust the size for smaller babies, and there is also the option to have extra absorbency at the front or back depending if the diaper is worn by a boy or a girl.
The Mama Koala diapers have soft elastic on the legs to help prevent leaking and to contain solids. The lining of the diaper is made from a comfortable suede material to ensure baby feels clean and dry, and helps prevent diaper rash.
Alvababy Pocket Diapers
These affordable cloth diapers come in a pack of six, with 12 inserts. There is a choice of two styles, either the plain colors pictured here or animal prints. The diapers are suitable for all sizes, for children weighing around 8-35 pounds. The outer of the diapers is made from PUL, a waterproof, laminated fabric whilst the inside is suede. The included inserts are absorbent, multi-layered microfiber, which will soak up all the moisture keeping the diaper itself feeling dry.
The Alva Baby diapers are machine washable and can also be tumble dried. The diapers are easy to use, and getting the perfect fit is simple too. Overall, these are great for parents looking for low-cost, high-quality reusable diapers.
SimplyLife Diapers with Waterproof Cover
These pocket diapers come in a pack of six, each with it’s own insert. There are boy designs and girl designs, both of which are equally cute! The rows of adjustable snaps means finding the perfect fit is easy whether the diapers are for a newborn or a toddler. The outer layer of the diaper is waterproof, meaning it can be used on its own as a cover for a traditional cotton diaper.
The baby cloth diapers and inserts should be washed a few times prior to the first use, as this will help them reach their maximum absorbancy. After soiling, the diapers should not be left to sit for more than one or two days, as this will lead to the growth of bacteria. The diapers can be washed at 140F, and can be tumble dried although it is preferable to line dry where possible. Line drying helps the fabric remain waterproof, making the diapers last longer so they can be handed down for future children.
GroVia Bio Diaper Liners
These all natural diaper liners are made from a renewable fiber, Inego, which doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. Therefore, it is gentle on baby’s skin, and also helps keep the skin dry whilst allowing moisture to pass through to to the absorbent insert. The liners are ideal for containing messes, making changing time easier and diapers easier to wash.
The cloth diaper liners can be flushed, although it’s important to beware of the capacity of your system. They are designed to be single-use, but they can be washed in the machine with the other parts of the diapers and can provide a few uses if they have only been peed on.
Bumkins Flushable Diaper Liners
These Bumkins diaper liners are biodegradable and can also be flushed down the toilet, although they are not recommended for septic tank systems. The liners are made from bamboo viscose, which won’t cause irritation on delicate skin. They are lightweight and comfortable for baby to wear.
The cloth diaper liners take the stress out of cleaning up after a dirty diaper. They are large enough to fit most brands of diaper, and can be used by babies and toddlers of any age.
Charcoal Bamboo Diaper Inserts
These cloth diaper inserts are made from bamboo, which is very absorbent and antimicrobial. The insert is made of five layers – two layers of soft bamboo fleece and three microfiber layers in the core. Each insert can hold up to 10 ounces of liquid, and fits into any standard sized pocket diaper. The color of these inserts is ideal, as it won’t show stains. They become softer and more absorbent after each wash, so it’s a good idea to give them a couple of washes before using for the first time.
Alvababy 5-Layer Absorbent Diaper Inserts
These Alva diapers inserts are made from a combination of bamboo rayon and polyester. They fit all standard diapers, and are suitable for children weighing 6-33 pounds. The inserts are suitable for machine washing and drying, and become most effective after around six washes.
The diaper inserts consist of five layers, meaning they are very absorbent. It’s possible to use two inserts at the same time for added absorbency, for example overnight. They should be washed within one or two days after use, so bacteria don’t have the chance to grow. The inserts shouldn’t be bleached, although hanging them in the sun to dry will help remove any stains.
Our Top Pick: Best Washable Diapers
The Mama Koala diapers are our favorites, because they are adjustable to fit a whole range of sizes, from infant to toddler. They also come in a variety of cute and colorful prints and patterns, which are perfect for either boys or girls. The diaper is made from high-quality materials which are comfortable and ideal for preventing leaking.