The 10 Best Cloth Diapers of 2020

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bambino Mio at Amazon

"The rows and rows of snaps allow you to custom fit the diaper to your baby."

Best All-in-One: bumGenius Freetime at Amazon

"Because these diapers adjust, they grow with your baby and provide a great fit."

Best for Newborns: Thirsties Newborn All in One at Amazon

"Designed specifically for the needs and size of a new baby."

Best Flats: Oso Cozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers at Amazon

"The original cloth diapers, they're easy to wash and dry quickly."

Best Splurge: Charlie Banana Reusable Diaper at Amazon

"You’ll be well-stocked with these long-lasting diapers."

Best Affordable: ALVABABY Cloth Diapers at Amazon

"The well-priced pack includes six diapers and 12 inserts."

Best Pocket Diapers: Kanga Care Rumparooz at Amazon

"The inside pockets hold absorbent inserts and have waterproof exteriors."

Best for Potty Training: Blueberry Trainers at Amazon

"An elastic waist makes it easy for kids to pull them up and down like real underwear."

Best Fitted: GroV.I.A. One at buybuybaby.com

"To change diapers, simply swap the diaper for a fresh one and reuse the waterproof cover."

Best Organic: Oso Cozy Organic Fitted Diaper at Amazon

"Made in the U.S.A. from 100% unbleached GOTS."

Many parents are choosing to use cloth diapers instead, or in addition to, disposable diapers. They are reusable, eco-friendly, and they can be budget friendly, especially if used for multiple children. Parents who use cloth diapers full-time usually replace their stash after a year or so, but if used only part-time, the diapers can last much longer. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing choice; parents can swap between cloth and disposable for trips, daycare, or anywhere else. There are different types of cloth diapers on the market, so find what works best for you and your family. 

Here are the best cloth diapers on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bambino Mio

Parents love these diapers for so many reasons, including the cute patterns, sizing that grows with the baby, and the super absorbent style. Fitting babies from 8 to 35 pounds, the easy-to-adjust snaps and hooks enable a secure fit. The super absorbent core and stay-dry inner layer keep moisture away from the baby.

To wash, a thick insert comes out and then gets stuffed back in when clean and dry. The only complaint from parents is it can be tricky to reposition the insert correctly after washing.

Best All-in-One: bumGenius Freetime

Super easy to use, even for cloth diaper novices, these all-in-one diapers are quite similar in style to disposable diapers. There are no inserts to deal with, and the simple snap system makes resizing a snap, fitting babies from 7 to 35 pounds. They’re easy to clean, dry quickly, and come in lots of cute colors and prints.

Best for Newborns: Thirsties Newborn All in One

These all-in-one diapers are designed specifically for the needs and size of a new baby (and tired, new parents). Easy to use and trim fitting, there’s a snap closure option with an umbilical cord snap-down feature to lower the waistband for newborns.

Best for 5 to 14 pounds, these diapers do have a limited lifetime use, and since newborns require very frequent diaper changes, they’re an investment in cloth diapering.

Best Flats: Oso Cozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers

Flats are the original cloth diapers. Made from big, rectangular pieces of fabric, they need to be folded, clipped, and covered with a waterproof shell. While they are easy to wash, dry quickly, and very inexpensive, they can be the trickiest for parents to get right and can be bulky and odd-fitting for some babies.

Sold in two sizes (7 to 15 pounds and 15 to 30 pounds), these flats require some prep work, since they need to be washed multiple times to bring them up to their full absorbency.

Best Splurge: Charlie Banana Reusable Diaper

These reusable hybrid diapers come in a set of 6 diapers and 12 inserts, so while the price may feel like a splurge, you’ll be well-stocked with these long-lasting diapers. Made with a smart pocket, parents can slip in either a washable or disposable insert, so the hybrid model gives you the best of both worlds.

There’s even room for two inserts for overnight use or heavy wetters, although reviewers say that with two liners the diaper gets pretty bulky. The sizing allows babies to seamlessly move through sizes 1 to 6 in disposable diaper sizing by making adjustments on the waist and leg hole fitting.

Best Affordable: ALVABABY Cloth Diapers

Parents find these diapers to be a great value; the well-priced pack includes six diapers and 12 inserts. While they may not be the absolute best cloth diapers, they are highly recommended and for many, the value outweighs any issues. Recommended for babies from 6 to 33 pounds, these pocket diapers require an insert, giving parents some flexibility in the absorbency level by using bigger or double inserts. The 3x3 snaps allow for a lot of fit adjustments and by overlapping snaps, these cloth diapers will provide a secure fit for newborns.

Best Pocket Diapers: Kanga Care Rumparooz

Pocket diapers feature inside pockets that hold absorbent inserts and have waterproof exteriors. Parents can adjust the insert size, position, and layering for different levels of absorbency, giving the right level of protection for each child.

These diapers fit babies 6 to 35 pounds. Each diaper comes with two “soaker” inserts that can be positioned six different ways depending on the need, sex, and baby’s age. Patented inner gussets on both legs prevent leaks and messes from escaping out of the diaper. While well-loved by many parents, some reviewers find the fit is on the smaller side, so it may not work best for larger babies.

Best for Potty Training: Blueberry Trainers

Made to look and feel more like real underwear, these training pants are perfect for catching small accidents. They’re made with an inner lining of cotton velour, a layer of super-absorbent terry, and a hidden waterproof panel. An elastic waist makes it easy for kids to pull them up and down like real underwear. Only partially waterproof, these are not recommended for overnight use or for naps. Made in the U.S.A., these trainers fit most kids weighing 20 to 42 pounds.

Best Fitted: GroV.I.A. One

grovia-diaper

 Courtesy of Grovia

Fitted cloth diapers are ready-to-wear, made entirely from absorbent fabric, and require a waterproof cover that goes over the diaper. With elastic openings on the legs, they close with snaps around the waist. To change diapers, simply swap the diaper for a fresh one and reuse the waterproof cover.

Parents love that there’s no prepping necessary with this diaper and find them ultra-absorbent. The standard size fits babies weighing 10 to 35 pounds, and there’s a newborn version made just for babies weighing 5 to 12 pounds. Many reviewers find these the most absorbent of the many cloth diapers they’ve tried, and they work especially well for overnight use.

Best Organic: Oso Cozy Organic Fitted Diaper

Some parents may feel better using organic cloth diapers over standard cloth diapers. Contrary to rumors, babies cannot get chemical burns from cotton processed with chemicals. However, children can have unexpected allergic reactions, and organic cloth can limit exposure to allergens such as latex.

These diapers are made in the U.S.A. from 100% unbleached GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton. Hourglass shaped, these close with durable snap fasteners, are available in four sizes, and have gentle elastic bands on the legs and waist.

What to Look for in a Cloth Diaper

Fit: As with disposable diapers, too small and you’ll likely experience blow-outs and too big and the diaper will be bulky and not very effective. Use the baby's weight to determine the right sizing, and when in doubt, size up since the baby will grow. Most cloth diapers have adjustable closures and will fit a wide range of sizes. 

Durability: Cloth diapers are known for being durable; most are made to last for over a year. 

Fabric: Many cloth diapers need to be prepped before use by washing multiple times to get to full absorbency. With all the washing, it’s likely they will get softer and softer over time.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year-old daughter. She never used cloth diapers on any of her kids, but fun fact: her mom used cloth diapers for her and her two sisters!

Cloth Diapers 101: What You Need to Know

By Jaime Rochelle Herndon, MS, MPH 

Choosing how to diaper your baby is a very personal choice, and there aren't necessarily specific health benefits to one choice over another. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not take an official position on diapers and neither does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, parents are often left to decide which option best suits their family's needs and goals.

For instance, some parents know from the beginning that they want the convenience of disposable diapers. Meanwhile, other parents are convinced that cloth diapers are the only way to go—especially when considering how long it takes a disposable diaper to break down in a landfill.

Regardless of your opinion or your reasons, if you are considering cloth diapers for your newborn, or if you want to switch to cloth diapers after starting out with disposables, it's important to make a well-informed decision. Here is a closer look at everything you need to know about cloth diapers.

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers

Cloth diapers come in a variety of designs and are often more affordable than disposable diapers. However, they do require a greater time commitment and a larger upfront investment. Cloth diapers also may require more diligence, especially while your baby is a newborn.

For instance, if you do use cloth diapers, you need to make sure you're changing the diapers regularly to avoid chafing and diaper rash. The fabric in cloth diapers doesn't draw wetness away from the skin like disposables do.

So, in the early weeks of your baby's life, this could mean a lot more diaper changes than a baby who is wearing disposables.

Likewise, with cloth diapers, you will need to allow extra time for cleaning and sanitizing your diapers. If you had a particularly hard birth experience or if you have little help at home, this can be a significant consideration. Cloth diapers also can be really frustrating for families who have hectic schedules, especially because you may be doing as many as three additional loads of laundry each week.

You also will need to purchase plenty of cloth diapers as well as the necessary cleaning aids for your diapers upfront. So, this initial expense may take some planning in order to make it work within the family budget. Here are some additional things to consider as you make your decision about cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper
  • Costs less over time

  • Cuts down on landfill waste

  • May help with sensitive skin

  • Contains waste better

  • Takes time to launder

  • Requires more frequent changes

  • Uses energy and water to clean

Disposable Diaper
  • Costs more over time

  • Adds to landfill waste

  • Ingredients may irritate sensitive skin

  • Causes leaks sometimes

  • Requires no laundering

  • Makes diapering convenient and easy

  • Requires no extra water use

Cost

There is no doubt about it, diapering a baby can get expensive. On average, parents go through about 60 diapers per week—and even more for newborns and young babies. On average, these diapers can cost up to $60 per month for disposables, depending on the brand you buy and in what quantity you buy them.

These costs can quickly add up especially when you consider how long your child wears diapers prior to potty training. In the long run, cloth diapers can be a much more economical alternative to disposable diapers. However, it's possible that an initial diaper stash could cost around $400 to $600.

This investment can be significant, especially when you factor in other supplies you might need. But, most of the time you can use this stash the entire time your child is in diapers—and you can use them for your next child too.

Some parents are skeptical that cloth diapers truly save money in the long run, especially if you look at some of the more expensive cloth diaper products. For instance, cloth diapers can cost up to $20 each, and some options are even more expensive.

Though you might be spending more money on a stash of 30–40 cloth diapers, you can use this supply throughout your child's diaper journey, saving money long-term.

Types of Cloth Diapers

Many modern cloth diapers do not require safety pins or plastic covers like more traditional cloth diapers required in years past. In fact, there are several types of cloth diaper products from which to choose, and some are as easy to use as disposables.

Because cloth diapers can vary in cost and ease of use, many people use multiple kinds at different points in their cloth diapering.

Flats and Prefolds

These diapers are most similar to old-fashioned cloth diapers. Although they are the most budget-conscious, these types of diapers are a bit more inconvenient. Prefolds are rectangular, so you have to fold them, fasten them with a diaper clip, and add a cover over them because they are not waterproof. When the diaper is soiled, you can put a new prefold inside the same cover if the cover is still clean.

Fitted Cloth Diapers

Fitted cloth diapers are made out of absorbent material with leg and back elastic and snaps or Velcro closures. They do not have a waterproof outside, so you need a cover over them.

Fitted diapers come in multiple sizes, so as your baby grows you will need to buy the appropriate size. Like prefolds, if the cover is still clean, you can reuse it and only replace the fitted cloth diaper when changing.

Contour Diapers

Contour diapers are a cross between fitted diapers and prefolds. They are contoured to fit your baby, meaning they fit snugly around the legs, making them a good nighttime option. But keep in mind that these economical diapers do require a pin or diaper clip to secure them. They also require a cover in order to be waterproof, which you can reuse as long as it's not dirty.

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers are one of the first new designs of modern cloth diapers. They have a waterproof layer, which means no cover is necessary, and look a lot like a disposable diaper. Inside, you'll find a stay-dry lining with a pocket in which you place a diaper insert or a prefold for more absorbency. Of course, after the diaper is soiled, you must replace the entire diaper and take the stuffing out of the pocket before laundering.

All-in-Ones

All-in-ones (AIOs) are similar to disposables, except they are made of cloth. Like the pocket diaper, they have a waterproof outside and have multiple inside absorbent layers that you can fold for more absorbency as needed.

If you need more absorbency, there are boosters you can stick on top of the layers as well. These boosters may an adhesive strip. Like the pocket diaper, AIOs are used once and then once soiled, a new one must replace it.

Hybrids/All-in-Twos

Hybrids are also called all-in-twos (AI2s). They are similar to AIOs, but AI2 diapers often have detachable absorbency layers inside which allow you to customize absorbency more efficiently.

This feature also allows you to remove a soiled insert and snap in a new, clean one—as long as the rest of the diaper is clean. There are also boosters and nighttime inserts you can add for overnight cloth diaper use.

How to Begin With Cloth Diapering

If you have not yet tried cloth diapering, it can seem like an intimidating process. However, once you find the type of cloth diaper that works for you, it can be a great alternative to disposable diapers. Plus, there is a large community of support out there if this is the route you decide to take.

In fact, the cloth diaper community and many natural baby care retailers are happy to talk with you. They can answer any questions you might have and even help you troubleshoot if you are having difficulty using the diapers.

In the meantime and as you get started on your cloth diaper journey, you may want to start by purchasing just a few diapers secondhand in different styles. Purchasing secondhand will help you keep costs down, and having a variety to test will give you some time to determine which style works best for you.

Additionally, you can experiment with combination diapering. In this scenario, you might use cloth diapers when you will be home and disposables when you are out and about. Or perhaps you prefer using cloth during the day and disposables overnight to cut down on the number of nighttime changes.

The beauty of diapering your baby is that you are not required to an all-or-nothing lifestyle. There are plenty of families who use a combination of cloth diapers and disposables.

If you do decide that cloth diapers work for you and your family, you may want to invest in a few supplies that will make the process more efficient. For instance, many people who use cloth diapers have found that using a bidet or sprayer in the bathroom to rinse the solids out of the baby's diaper and into the toilet is more helpful than other methods (like swishing the diaper around in the toilet).

You also will need a wet bag for carrying soiled cloth diapers home with you when you're out—assuming you're not going to use disposables. And some parents have found that using handmade wipes or flushable wipes to clean out any solids while out can be useful to have on hand.

Even if you plan to use cloth diapers all the time, it's still a good idea to have some disposable diapers on hand for emergencies. For instance, if you lose power for a few days and cannot use your washing machine to clean your cloth diapers, you may be happy to have some disposables on hand.

How to Clean Cloth Diapers

Once dirty, you should rinse the cloth diaper under warm water immediately. However, if your baby is not yet eating solids, this may not be necessary, especially if you are breastfeeding. If your baby or child is eating solids, flush any solid waste down the toilet.

Place dirty diapers in a cloth diaper bag or diaper pail with a liner in it. Disposable liners can be thrown in the trash or flushed in the toilet as long as the package indicates that they are flushable.

Most cloth diaper brands suggest that you wash diapers every two days, three days max. Doing so helps prevent smells and ammonia build-up in the diapers.

Keep in mind that once a smell gets locked into the fabric, it can be very hard to get out. You also will need to wash the wet bag or pail liner with each load. Just follow the guidelines provided by the diaper manufacturers. It's also a good idea to wash the diapers alone and not with other baby items.

Use plenty of detergent and run an additional rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is rinsed off the diapers in order to avoid skin irritation. Keep it simple, and skip any extras like adding fabric softener. There are disinfectants that can be added to the wash, but these should be used sparingly and only on occasion.

A Word From Verywell

As you consider whether or not cloth diapering is right for you and your family, remember that it is not an all-or-nothing decision. There are no wrong approaches. By trying different diapering methods, you may soon discover that cloth diapering can enhance the diapering experience for both you and your child.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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