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Cloth Diapers 101: Prefolds

Though the world of cloth diapers can seem overwhelming, I’ll try to make my explanation as simple as possible.  Tons of information exists about diapering with prefold cloth diapers, but I am going to cover the basics that will help you to get started.  Still, I will try not to miss anything helpful!  Please post a comment asking questions if I missed something.

Keep reading in this post to discover:

diaper sites, when to start, which prefold to use, how many prefold to buy, how to hold prefold together, what diaper covers to buy, and more!

Diaper Sites

I like two cloth diaper sites in general.

The green mountain diapers have prefolds that are color coded by size with shipping at $4.95 for orders up to $75.00. Abby’s Lane has free shipping.

When to Start

Starting to use cloth diapers right after a baby’s preemie stage is ideal.  Newborn diapers are used for a short time, but using the newborn size is a real money saver since they go through so many diapers.  This is also an investment if you will be having more children in the future.

Cloth Diapers 101: Prefolds | Boholistic Mom

Which Prefolds to Use

We used the orange prefolded cloth diapers (sold by Green Mountain Diapers) for our son as a newborn, then we transitioned to the yellow striped cloth diapers.  We decided on the unbleached Indian prefolds, the unbleached absorb more than bleached and the Indian are softer than the Chinese.

How Many?

Newborn Prefolds

Starting out with the orange prefolds, I went through plenty of diapers a day.  You will be able to diaper with 24 cloth diapers, but having up to 30 would be convenient. When you are done with the prefolds as diapers, they make great burp cloths.

Yellow Prefolds

With the yellow prefolds, I had about 24 and I washed them every other day.  If I had it to do over again, I probably would have washed the diapers every day to lessen staining, meaning you may be able to survive with less than 24 if you will be washing daily.  Still, it’s nice to have extras to have diapers with no stains when you are going out shopping or over a friends house.

Diaper Covers

As for diaper covers, I’d suggest about four or five in each size.  You want to have plenty so that you can let them dry between uses.  You won’t want to put the diaper covers in the dryer since it will lessen the life of the cover.  Having at least five also allows you to have backups when they get unexpectedly dirty.

Holding Them Together

Diaper Fasteners - Boholistic MomTo fasten your diapers you don’t need to use pins!  This isn’t the dark ages!  You can find Snappies on the sites and they will hold the diapers together very well. The green mountain site has directions on this. It is very simple. However, I have been told that pins are very helpful if your kid learns how to undo the Snappies.

Diaper Covers

Coveralls - Boholistic MomAs for diaper covers, we have decided to use the Blueberry Coveralls because they go from Small to Medium to Large with little snaps. The snaps are better than Velcro due to durability; Velcro ends up snagging the covers in the wash.  Thirsties and the Bummies also carry good covers.  When using the orange prefold cloth diapers, find covers that have double gussets otherwise it can get a little leaky.  The Blueberry Coveralls are basically double gussets when they are at their smallest size.  Let me make this clear, I have had far less leaks with the cloth than when I’ve used disposable.

Dirty Diaper Storage

I have a trash can that has a touch-lid and is spring-loaded.  Hefty and Rubbermaid both have cans with these options.   You could also use the trash cans with the automatic lift sensor lids; these weren’t available when I had my son.  These type of cans work great with a reusable diaper pail liner.  If you get the food pedal trash can, the diaper pail liner will end up getting hooked up in the mechanism.  Consider buying two liners so you have one to use while the other is in the laundry.

Night Time

As they get older you may want to add a soaker pad to the diaper. They also have bamboo soakers that you just add to the top of the prefold cloth diapers when you are diapering them for the night. This helps the whole diaper soak up more of the pee and it will be less likely to leak.



With breastfed babies, all you have to do is throw the diapers in the diaper pail, then pull out the diaper pail liner when you are ready to do laundry.  You can shake all of the diapers in the washer from the liner.  You do not need to rinse if all they are eating is breast milk.  With solids there is an extra step (addressed below).

For washing, start with a cold rinse cycle. Afterwards, you turn it to hot and wash the diapers.  Find a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers and add a tad to the hot wash. Some detergents will leave a residue that will make the diapers less absorbent. You can add in Baby Oxiclean if needed.

The Poopy Diapers

When you get to the poopy diaper stage, you will want to get a diaper sprayer for your toilet.  It works great for spraying off the diaper and getting the poop into the toilet.  At first I thought it was gross, but it ended up being very easy.  If your husband is handy, you can actually assemble the diaper sprayer from the hardware store and install it to the back of your toilet.


Cloth Wipes

We ended up buying two packs of Gerber washcloths to use as cloth wipes.  I would probably use organic baby washcloths if we did it again.  Buy a little squirt bottle and keep it filled with water to use on the wipes.  I would suggest adding a drop of lavender essential oil to the water in order to encourage a healthy tushy and to keep away bacteria.  While baby safe essential oils are great to add to the wash water, there is really no need for soap when using cloth wipes.

While Out and About

Planet Wise Diaper Bag | BoholisticMom.comI had a little wet bag that I carried around with me to put the dirty diapers in on the go.  When I got home, I would just empty the bag into my diaper pail.  The wet bag can go in as well, but be sure to unzip the wet bag before washing.

I chose to use disposable wipes when out. It’s definitely the easy option.  However, you can prepare a set of baby washcloths in advance and just dump a little lavender water on them before you head out.

Diaper Cream

Do not use diaper cream with cloth diapers.  This will completely mess up the absorbency of the diaper and cause stains.  Most times, my son never had diaper rash with cloth diapers.  When he did, I would pay attention not to over wipe him.  Another option to healing up diaper rash is air drying.  Let them go without a diaper for a little while (on a very waterproof surface) and let them dry up and heal up.  These days, I would use a homemade diluted essential oil cream to keep skin well and prevent diaper rash.  Look up a cloth diaper safe recipe and you’ll love how it helps!

My Cloth Diapering Amazon Store

If you are interested in checking out these products, many of them are in my Amazon shop for easy access.  Happy Shopping!

Boholistic Mom’s Amazon Store


Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapering | Boholistic Mom (uploading to the site soon)

How to Make Cloth Wipes | Boholistic Mom (uploading to the site soon)

Diaper Swappers – trading and buying used cloth diaper items

Green Mountain Diapers

Abby’s Lane

Amazon Mom

Affiliate Disclosure

I am an Amazon Affiliate and the links included in this post (including some of the pictures) will take you to Amazon.  As an affiliate, I get paid when my readers shop from those links.  Feel free to shop from the links if you’d like to support my blog, but feel free to shop elsewhere.  I am making no money to promote Green Mountain Diapers and Abby’s Lane.  They simply rock and need to be included!

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