Cloth Diapers 201: Prefolds & Covers

Welcome to Part 2 of my cloth dipaering series. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here. Today’s post, brought to you by Rivki at Life in the Married Lane, is all about using prefolded cloth diapers with covers — a system that Rivki makes seem infinitely doable.

My cloth-diapering career had a rather inauspicious beginning:  When we were expecting our first child, my doula asked me and my husband how we were planning on diapering our baby.

“Cloth!”  I exclaimed.  “Huh?”  said my husband.

Well, it seemed like a clear choice to me.  It was going to save us a bunch o’ money, and the those cloth-covered tushies are just so cute.  That was two years ago, and since then, my husband has repeatedly told me how much he appreciates that we use cloth.

Here’s my system:

  • I have about three dozen pre-folds.  These are the diapers which most people use as burp cloths.  You know, three layers, the middle layer thicker than the rest?  They are great.  I fold the diaper so it resembles a “Y” and stick it under my baby’s bottom.

  • I also have three dozen wonderfully soft and fuzzy cloth wipes and some easy-to-make spray to clean those cute tushies.  I don’t need to use the wipes unless there is a seriously dirty diaper, so three dozen is even a little too many for me. As for the diaper spray I make my own – you can too!  I use 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons baby wash and then about 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil. One batch will last a while.
  • After I change a diaper it goes in the pail, which is lined with a bag that I can throw right into the wash (convenient!).  The wet diapers go straight in, and the dirty ones get swished in the toilet first (ah, the joys of being a mommy).  I do a wash every other day or so, with soap compatible with cloth diapers – I use Charlie’s Soap.  Both my boys are in the same size right now, which means I have to be fairly on top of the laundry situation.
  • When putting on the clean diaper I use a SnappiThe Snappi keeps the diaper secure without the need for scary pins (can you imagine trying to pin a diaper on a squirming toddler?  I can’t).  I used to go Snappi-less, and I highly recommend using them.  I’ve found that it really keeps the mess in the diaper (as opposed to on the diaper cover or the outfit).

  • Diaper covers help keep the moisture and whatnot inside the diaper from leaking out onto clothes.  Wool covers allow little bottoms to breathe more, but the synthetic covers are more trim, and more waterproof. I use Wonder Wraps, which is a one-size cover (the Thirsties Duo is also a great one-size cover).  One-size means that they fit 9-36 pounds; you just adjust the snaps to fit your baby.
  • Essentially, my boys will be in the same diaper covers until they are potty-trained.  How’s that for value?  They are super-easy to use; you put them on just like disposable diapers. I have eight of them, and that usually lasts me a couple of days, until the wash is done.  It’s better to let the covers air-dry, but mine have survived many a tumble in the dryer.

  • For trips out of the house I have a couple of smaller cloth bags with a waterproof exterior.  They keep the smell of the dirty diapers well hidden until I’m able to toss them in the bin at home (yes, those bags get washed, too).  Whipping the cloth diapering out in public is a sure-fire conversation starter.  I’ve experienced reactions ranging from “Why???!!!”  to “You’re my hero!”

Cloth diapering can require a bigger up-front investment when you start with cloth diapering, but it doesn’t have to. You could purchase some gently-used items (look on Craigslist).  Also, check around your community to see if there are any other cloth-diapering mommies who would be willing to share some of their goodies.

I’ve borrowed diapers, covers, Snappis, and wipes.  It’s also great to borrow because it’s like test-driving the products.  If you really like them, then you can get them for your own, if you don’t, you’re not out any money (although you can always resell your used items and they do really retain their value).

For more info, or for shopping, here are some sites which I’ve found useful:  Kelly’s Closet (they always include coupons with your order) and Cloth Diaper Outlet (free shipping on all US orders!).

Rivki Silver can be found enjoying life with her husband and two boys; writing, arranging and performing music; teaching piano lessons; blogging at Life In the Married Lane; and marveling at just how much it can snow in Cleveland.

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help to support Kosher on a Budget – or, in this case, Life in the Married Lane. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.


  1. Thanks so much for this series! We’re expecting and want to use cloth but figuring it out is so much more complicated then simply going and picking up a pack of disposables. However, the link to the Cloth Diaper Outlet isn’t working, although I do love the redirect page.

    • All fixed – thanks for letting me know! I’m glad you are enjoying the series. Stay tuned for more reviews next week!

  2. I love your pictures – so cute! I’m so impressed too that you are using this system… prefolds and covers didn’t work for us so we had to switch to pockets.

    • I know – isn’t she amazing? And she’s doing it with TWO little ones!

      I used PFs and covers for DD when she was itty bitty – until about 5 months. But when she got squirmier, we switched to pockets as well.

    • Thanks Rivka! One of the things I like about CD is that there are sooo many choices out there – you can really find what works for you!

  3. Great post! I’m a fan of prefolds too. Snappies make the poop spread less inside the diaper, but I was too lazy to bother with them. Making sure the diaper was tucked well into the cover was enough to prevent leaks. Happy diapering and Shabbat shalom!

  4. have the best prefolds around and they retain their value for resale. imse vimse makes an amazing wool wrap cover that is very trim. and is a great place to buy and sell used stock.

  5. Thanks so much! This has been so helpful, I cant wait for the rest of the rest of the series. Do you know if there is a store in the NY area that I could go to to actually see the different options and have someone show me how they work? I think I would get it better in person.
    Thanks again.

    • NYers – anyone know of a brick-and-mortar CD store? Or, is there anyone CDing that wants to invite a new friend from the Internet over to your house and show her your stash? (That sounds bad, doesn’t it?;-))

      • not that I know of, but I would show anyone my stash – we are in Nassau County. We have been CDing for more than 3 years at this point… I would love to share CDing with more people, especially b/c it’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOO easy!

  6. I love this post! CD-ing rocks, and I cd’d 3 out of 4 kids, 2 of them all the way through. My 3-year-old has been dry during the day for over a year now, and dry at night for about 6 months, so we are officially DONE!

    I started with prefolds, but didn’t love them; I eventually went to fitteds and wool covers. I made the diapers and some covers, until my serger broke, and then I found the Grateful Buns shop on etsy which sells sweaters repurposed as covers:

    Wool covers are initially expensive but magically never get dirty (unless you have a newborn, poo never touches them, and you air them to get pee smell out so they only need occasional washing), and long ones (“longies”) can be used as leggings on girls or pants on boys, so you don’t need another layer over top most of the time.

    Thank you for this post. CD’ing is SO kosher, and SO budget-friendly!!!

  7. Tagged this post for the Jewish homeschooling blog carnival #5! Come on over!

  8. Question I will be doing this any day now and i have several different things, about 7 pockets and about 7 prefolds and covers and 1 AIO. When using the prefolds and covers when you change the prefold can you reuse the cover that day or does it have to be washed as well, assuming they didn’t get poop or pee on them?
    Also why would you want an extra pocket insert since you would have to wash the pocket diaper and insert each time? Just to have an extra???
    One more? do you have to use special Laundry detergent and can you make your own?
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Megan – Congratulations! If the baby didn’t poo on the diaper, you can hang it up and then reuse it on the next diaper. I liked to let it air out a bit in between, so that’s why I did every other diaper.

      The extra pocket inserts are for heavy wet-ers. If your baby wets a lot during naps, for instance, you can double up and then not run the risk of wetting through (and waking up baby).

      As for laundry detergent, there are a million and one opinions on this. Do some googling – as it depends on how hard your water is, what kind of machine you have, etc. I didn’t use special detergent, for what it’s worth. But I did use very little, so as to avoid “build up” on the diapers.

  9. Did you use the same size of prefold all the way through or did you get different sizes?

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