Cloth Diapers Made Simple

T here are countless great resources for learning all about cloth diapering. I did tons of research before baby arrived, but instead of repeating a list of all those confusing terms, or telling you why cloth diapering is so great (well I might do that), or rewriting all the basic how tos, I just want to tell you about what I concluded after all that research. Here’s how to use cloth diapers to save money. It’s the simple system I’ve used to diaper two babies to save thousands!

How to Use Cloth Diapers to Save Money: What to buy, How to Wash, and How to Really Save Money. This is the cloth diapering system I used to save $3700 while diapering my 2 babies.

Why I love My Cloth Diapers

  • most importantly they work great for their intended use
  • they don’t leak
  • they come in cute colors and patterns
  • we can change them just as quickly as disposables
  • they’re unbleached cotton
  • Baby never gets diaper rash or skin irritations
  • I don’t have to feel guilty about throwing out big sacks of disposables
  • …and best of all they are a great way to save money

How to Use Cloth Diapers to Save Money

With this system, there are only two sizes that will get baby from newborn to potty training because the wraps are adjustable. I spent under $300 all together, and I’ll be able to use them for the next babies to come along. By the time we’ve finished diapering our two kids, I’ll have saved around $3700. And that doesn’t count the savings from using cloth wipes, washable pail liners, and reusable travel wet bags. Since I’m staying home now every little bit helps!

(This post contains affiliate links to my favorite cloth diapers.)

The Cloth Diaper System that Saves Thousands

The diaper system I use and love is Cotton Prefolds with Thirsties Duo Snap Wraps.

  • Natural Prefolds – This is the absorbent part that goes against baby’s skin. I have about 24 diapers in the small size and 24 in the larger size.
  • Snap Wrap Cover – This is the cute waterproof part that goes on the outside. We have about 6 in the small size and 7 in the larger size. I prefer snaps to Velcro because they last longer and they’re nearly impossible for a toddler to pull off.
  • Cloth Wipes – Using cloth wipes instead of disposable also saves money. About 3 dozen is a good amount, and of course these are one size fits all.
  • Diaper Liners – These are great for once baby starts solids and has poop that is, well, more substantial. Simply shake them out into the toilet and flush. They’re a very affordable option and something that tends to make dads more comfortable with the hold process of cloth diapering.
  • Diaper Sprayer – An alternative to the diaper liners that many of my friends love is a diaper sprayer that conveniently attaches right to your water line to rinse off dirty diapers.
  • Swim Diapers – We just have one swim diaper, and because of the way it worked out with the seasons and sizes of our babies, we only ever needed one size.
  • Reusable Diaper Pail Liner – We compounded the savings by using a washable diaper pail liner. We have two, so I can use one and wash one at any given time.
  • Small Wet Bags – We also keep a couple of smaller wet bags in the diaper bag to use when we’re on the go. These are also washable, and save us from using the disposable plastic bags.

I also use knitted wool wraps for nighttime.

Wool is amazing! It can be expensive if you purchase though.

Instead, I used two different patterns to knit mine. I think both were pretty easy. One of my dear co-workers also knitted several for me. Both are free to download on Ravelry.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

As for washing, I carry my pail liner to the laundry room and turn the whole thing inside out in the washer. I never have to touch anything icky. First I do a cold wash without detergent. Then a hot wash with Charlie’s Soap Liquid (only certain detergents are ‘approved’ for use with certain cloth diaper brands).

Then I do an extra cold rinse. Wraps have to hang to dry, but I throw the prefold diapers in the dryer. It doesn’t take long, it’s just a matter of remembering to start the next cycle.

It seems like there are so many people who love to call you crazy for cloth diapering, but it’s really worked well for us. With all the benefits I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

If you’re interested in trying cloth diapers but are still overwhelmed by all the possibilities, check out The Ultimate Cloth Diaper How-to-Guide by Erin at the Humbled Homemaker.

What cloth diapers do you use?

shannon Clark, LIFE & FINANCIAL Coach

As a mom, I know what it's like to feel exhausted, overwhelmed by life, and inadequate to meet my children's needs. But I also know you don't have to stay there.

As an author and coach, I've had the joy of encouraging more than 9.1 million moms to find forward motion with their faith, family, and finances — without the frenzy.

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16 thoughts on “Cloth Diapers Made Simple”

  1. Oh my, what an adorable baby! I really want to learn to knit… those wraps are great! I sewed a bunch of fitted diapers before my baby was born. They have worked quite well, but I found that the ones that were flannel didn’t stretch and were outgrown much more quickly than the ones made from recycled t-shirts.

  2. It’s great that you’ve been able to get diapers and covers you really like, at such a low price! This was our system. We spent more than you did, but we sold all the diapers and covers to friends and recouped $250. Looks like the same equipment will get our friends’ baby all the way to toilet-training, too!

  3. I love those covers too!

    We cloth diaper and have used Fuzzi Bunz but they leak and I have now switched to covers and prefolds and am planning on selling our FB. For now we are using two Kwai Baby covers someone gave us and I’m looking at Mommy’s Touch and Thristies to build our collection. Thanks for sharing about your diapers it might just help me choose which covers to buy!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences too!
    I think the reason the Thirsties work so well is they have a double gusset at the leg. I have one cover from another brand that only has a single, and it often leaks.

  5. We use FuzziBunz and like them. We started with BumGenius but the velcro got all nasty so I switched to all snaps. They sometimes leak but not often. We double stuff them at night. We used pre-folds when our third baby (now nine months) was a newborn and love the Thirsties wraps.

    I have to hang our diapers to dry now that the baby is older (and did with my recently potty learned toddler, too) because as they start consuming more than just breastmilk their pee and poop starts to stink more and the dryer seems to magnify that stink. I don’t know about all babies (my three year old daughter’s diapers never stunk). Just and FYI in case yours start to smell. I also use Rockin’ Green soap instead of Charlie’s right now because they have a funk rock powder for the ammonia smell. I do love cloth, though!

  6. I was recently yin the company of some disposable diapering mamas who admitted they bought some cloth diapers just so their kids could look cute in them over the summer. This made me laugh. I guess everyone has to start somewhere. We’ve used just about every brand out there with our 3 kids!

  7. I have 2 little girls, both allergic to disposables. In fact my first is so allergic that at age 5 if she touches a disposable her hands itch and turn bright red. With my first I used bumgenius, and a few fitted with covers. With my second I did more of a variety, but not as many fitted. I used flats and prefolds in the beginning. We then switched to bumgenius and some hybrids, I liked the best bottom system. Both my girls potty trained early, around 18 months old. My youngest turned 2 in around Thanksgiving and we have not used diapers during the day since June. She still needs them for naps at home and at night. The two days she goes to daycare she never wets during nap, go figure. So my cloth diaper days I suspect will come to an end in the next few months!
    I was frustrated at the poor quality of training undies/ cloth trainers. I did like the best bottom trainers but they still were not awesome. Many do not believe in trainers but I needed something for longer car trips and quite honestly I would love a pull up style trainer for nights. We are exclusively using bumgenius. I have kept great care of my Bumgenius and the velcro still works great and elastic is fine, so they have take me into my 2 nd kid without issue! There are amazingly absorbant.

  8. I recently ‘discovered’ wool soakers…and learned to knit (both w/in the last three months). My first pattern was the first soaker you have pictured! Unfortunately, I knitted it WAY too big, so I’m working on the Curly Purly pattern now – you should check it out!

  9. I don’t use cloth diapers, I opt for disposable since it fits our family’s lifestyle better. However, my mom friend who CD love love love their cloth diapers and are always raving about them!! I’ll forward this post to them since it has some good info. Thanks!

  10. I don’t use cloth diapers, I opt for disposable since it fits our family’s lifestyle better. However, my mom friend who CD love love love their cloth diapers and are always raving about them!! I’ll forward this post to them since it has some good info. Thanks!

  11. We use Bum Genius, Grovia, Fuzzibunz, and Best Bottoms. My favorite is Best Bottoms. I love that the shell can be re-used and you just wipe it out and snap in another liner. The designs are so stinking cute. I also found patterns online to make your own cloth diapers. Not for sure if I’m brave enough to try it yet.

  12. Wow, I wish I’d known about that diaper sprayer before I had my baby. I had this idea that you put your diapers in a pretty poopy state into the washing machine, and I could not stomach that idea. I thought about pre-rinsing them outside, but then thought, “what about wintertime?” So I went with disposable. But I can see the sprayer being really useful too with a toddler potty.


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