How to Switch to Cloth Diapers

Tired of shelling out hundreds of dollars on disposables and lugging soiled diapers out to the trash?  It’s time to make the switch to cloth!  If you’re like most of us, cloth can seem overwhelming.  Here is a short list of questions and answers that many new parents have about cloth.

What type of cloth diaper should I use?

In our book, the Eco-nomical Baby Guide (now on sale for less than $8 on Amazon!), we give you diagrams and advantages of each type of diaper out there. If you can’t get your hands on the book, be sure to get your hands on some actual cloth diapers.  Go to a local diapering shop or ask around to see if you can find a family that uses cloth. Remember, you don’t have to settle on one type of cloth diaper.  At our house we use a mix of pocket diapers, prefold diapers, and all-in-one diapers. If you can’t actually find any of those locally, check out this YouTube video. (One note–the video says that you need pins for prefold diapers, which is absolutely untrue. We never used pins or snappies with our prefolds. We simply tucked our diaper into a cover and placed it on our babies.)

How do I wash cloth diapers?

Eliminate the bad odors that disposables produce by dumping solid waste into the toilet.  (If you’re baby’s waste isn’t quite solid yet, you may want to buy a diaper sprayer or make one yourself.)  Then store them in a dry diaper pail and wash them in a heavy load.  We both have great success with cold water, but some parents prefer to use hot.  You don’t need bleach but might want to add an enzyme based stain and odor fighter like Bac Out. Then line dry or toss them in the dryer.  Done!

Is it worth switching to cloth diapers now that my child is older?

Yep.  If you buy used cloth diapers or new pre-folds, the cost that you invest will still be less than disposables.  Plus, cloth-diapered children tend to potty train earlier since they have a better sense of what it feels like to be wet. And if you’re going to have more children, remember that you’ll have those cloth diapers when your next child reaches that age.

Why are cloth diapers so expensive?

Some types, like one size all-in-one diapers and one size pocket diapers, cost more but convert to fit baby from birth to potty training, so you won’t need to buy diapers for different sizes. Also remember that you can get any cloth diaper used.  Check out websites like My Used Diapers or Jullian’s Drawers for preowned cloth diapers.  You can also check at your local consignment shop or craigslist. Prefold diapers will be your least expensive option in new diapers, especially if you buy used covers.  If you do decide to invest a few hundred dollars in new cloth diapers, remember that you’ll never need to buy diapers again!  You’ll be all set for future children, or be able to resell them once your baby is done.  (Which just can’t happen with disposables!)

What if I try cloth diapers and I just can’t make the switch?

If everyone in your family gets the flu or your washer stops working, you can always use disposables for a few days.  The point is, once you do make the change, you’ll see that cloth diapering really is simple and fun.  And you’ll save hundreds of dollars and dozens of trips to the grocery store for more diapers.  (Plus you’ll keep one ton of waste out of the landfill for each child that you cloth diaper!)

If you’re anything like Rebecca and me, you may actually come to the point where you become a cloth diaper nerd.  You start up random conversations with people using Fuzzibunz or inquire about the latest Bum Genius innovations.  It’s tough to start hobbies as a new parent, but cloth diapering really does become one for many of us!

Remember today is the last day to enter the Monkey Foot Designs wet bag giveaway!


  1. I wanted to let you know about some more Cloth Diapers that are excellent quality and have very cute colors. Come in all sizes. These Monkey Doodlez are Imported from Canada and are sold for around $20 per diaper. They sell Swim Diapers also to wear all summer long!

    They can be found at:

  2. I would also add that you can find used diapers on Ebay or, as well as I’m not affiliated with any of those, just wanted people to know about other options for used diapers!

  3. This is a great article for a first time mommy-to-be who is starting to research cloth diapers. The resources for pre-owned diapers are great too. Thanks!

  4. Jillian’s Drawers made it possible for me to switch to cloth diapers. They offer a program that lets you try a wide variety of different cloth diapers for 3 weeks for only $10. Of course, at the end of the 3 weeks I was in. But knowing that I was only committing $10 was what allowed me to get started in the first place.

    It also was a great help because I got to figure out what diapers worked best for us; they turned out to be a little different from the ones I’d been eyeing as I considered the switch.

  5. I also switched after trying Jillian’s Drawers cloth diaper trial for $10. They have fab-o customer service — they really helped me make many buying decisions and also work through a few snafus. They also have a great Gently Used section — check it out for bargains!

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