Basics of Cloth Diapering

Myla in one of her velcro-close, GroVia cloth diapers at 2 months old

Before we had our daughter we decided to diaper her in cloth. We were not motivated by environmental concerns (disposable diapers take years and years to decompose), although it is nice to know that we are being good stewards of the earth by using cloth. Rather, we were primarily motivated by the amount of money we would save by using cloth. We were also concerned about the chemicals and materials used in disposable diapers and wipes, particularly since they would be next to our baby’s skin. We ended up deciding to use cloth wipes as well as cloth diapers.

We have been cloth diapering for over a year now and my husband and I love it. There are numerous cloth diaper options available. We settled on GroVia diapers, which are what is called an “All-in-Two” type of diaper. This means there is a re-usable outer shell and an inner cotton pad (otherwise known as a “soaker”) that simply snaps into the shell. GroVia’s are also adjustable so there is no need to buy multiple sizes. The diapers should fit until potty training is complete. Once the cloth pad is soiled, simply unsnap it and snap a new, clean pad in place. The outer shell can be reused until it becomes soiled. We usually go through two shells a day. The soiled diapers we put in a wet bag, a bag lined with waterproof/stinkproof material, till we decide to do laundry. We usually wash the soiled diapers and shells every two or three days.

Myla in one of her GroVia’s at five months. This is a snap closed version.

We have only used five small packs of disposable diapers in a year. We used two packs when Myla was born because she was a preemie and her cloth diapers did not fit her for a few weeks. The other three packs we bought whenever we were dealing with a particularly bad diaper rash requiring ointments not safe to use with cloth diapers because the ingredients would ruin the absorbency of the cotton (Burt’s Bees, Lotramin, etc.).

Unlike the disposable we have used, we have never had an issue with blowouts when our daughter is in cloth. There are cloth boosters (a slightly thinner cotton pad that lays on top of the cotton pad) that we add to the diaper at night so the diaper will last the entire night. We only had issues with leaks once and that was at night. We finally realized the diapers were leaking because was time to readjust the size of the diaper to the next size up. Once we readjusted the size, viola!, we had no more leaks. Once our daughter started solid foods we started lining her diapers with flushable liners. These look similar to dryer sheets. The flushable liner is ultra-thin and sits on top of her cloth diaper. When she poos, it keeps the poo off the cloth diaper. We simply pick up the liner and flush it (and the poo) down the toilet. We do not have to scrape or spray her poo off the cloth diaper since it is contained by the flushable liner.

When all was said and done, we spent around $450 for our stash of cloth diapers and diapering gear (wetbags for nursery and diaper bag, spray bottles, cloth wipes, etc.). So, all-in-all, that’s about $8.60 per week for a year of cloth diapering. This weekly cost is going down the longer we use the diapers. Even after over a year of use, our diapers are still in excellent condition so we will be using them on baby number two as well, which will further reduce the weekly cost average above. We probably could have gotten away with purchasing fewer cloth diapers and doing laundry more often (we initially purchased around fourteen shells and thirty-five cotton pads). However, now that we will potentially have two kids in diapers, I’m thankful we bought as many as we did.

There are all sorts of cloth diaper options out there to fit just about any budget. A few other types of cloth diapers include:

All-in-One: Think disposable, but cloth. These diapers are all one piece (waterproof cover and absorbent inner are connected) so you have to use a new, clean diaper with every change. These come in all-in-one size (adjustable as baby grows), as well as in specific sizes.

Pre-folds: This is what most people think of when they hear the term “cloth diaper”. It is a single piece of cloth that gets folded around the baby’s bum and pinned closed. A cover (wool, plastic, etc.) must be worn over the pre-fold to contain messes. This is the cheapest cloth diaper available and is comes in a variety of sizes.

Pocket diapers: These are similar to all-in-ones and all-in-twos, but the outer shell has a pocket in which the cloth insert is placed. By placing the insert in the pocket, moisture is wicked away from baby’s bum. A new shell and insert is typically used with each diaper change. These are available in specific sizes or all-in-one size.

You will find a plethora of cloth diapering options available, which are made of a wide range of fabrics like wool, hemp, cotton, flannel, bamboo, and many others. Two excellent online cloth diapering resources are and

Special considerations:

-You must use cloth diaper friendly laundry detergents to wash your cloth diapers. There are numerous options available. We use Crunchy Clean.

-You must use cloth diaper friendly rash creams with your cloth diapers. We love CJ’s BUTTer, Northern Essence, and California Baby (also available at Target).

Myla in one of her GroVia diapers at one year old. This is a velcro-close version.


5 thoughts on “Basics of Cloth Diapering

  1. Sarah L says:

    I am glad you recommended grovia to me last year! We are very happy with them over-all. One issue we ran into though is the snap version are too small for Ana. Velcro* will do in a pinch, but are rather small as well so I usually use flips for her. She is mostly potty trianed so thankfully she only wears diapers at nap or night time.

    *I have only tried grobaby velcro, not grovia.

    With any cotton diaper Bella seems to get diaper rash pretty easily so I use a fleece liner with her grovia diapers. It has really helped! We like these:

    • Grace says:

      I talked to the Natural Baby Company when the GroVia diaper came out several months ago about the differences between the GroBaby (old model) and the GroVia (new model) diaper. They did say that the rise on the GroVia’s is higher than the GroBaby rise used to be and that the insert now has a waterproof backing. I’ve never tried using a fleece liner. What a good idea for babies with sensitive bums! Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Sarah L says:

        Sure! It took me awhile to figure out what to do to help Bella. I also like to use the liner so she feels more comfortable (especially at night). Poop rolls off fleece fairly well, too. lol. Also, it may come in handy that I’ve been using them when it comes too potty training; if she is resisting using the potty I could stop using them to help her be more aware of feeling wet.

        Two of our covers are the snap version of grovia and they are bigger, but still too tight for Ana. They seem like they would be big enough when I put them on her, but she gets a tummy ache. Grovia velcro might be okay, but I don’t have any of that kind.

        I have 4 of the grovia soakers as well. They are awesome! I think it is a fabulous improvement!!!

  2. Nicola says:

    Loved seeing the pics of your gorgeous baby in her gorgeous diapers. Thought you might be interested to know that you can use fleece material to make re-usable liners. They are much nicer to use than the disposable ones. Just cut a rectangle the size of your diaper. Line the diaper with it face down (so the right side of the fleece is on the diaper insert & the wrong side or back is touching your babies tush). To remove any poop, I shake it into the toilet or hold it in the flush.

    Fleece liners act as a water-proof layer between the insert & babies tush. It wicks the moisture away quickly so reduces the risk of rash. Also, you can put rash cream on baby as the fleece stops the cream touching the diaper.

    We love fleece liners & have been using them over a year now. I’ll never go back to disposable.

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