Cloth Diapering: Prefolds and Covers

So last time we went over the cloth diapering basics and why people do it. Today we start to dive a bit deeper into the types of cloth diapers. Let’s start with the most basic and old school type of diaper: the prefold.

Green Mountain Diapers unbleached infant size

Prefolds are the diaper that people most often think of when they hear someone mention “cloth diapers”. Luckily, plastic pants are a thing of the past and adorable covers are the new norm. These are the kind of diaper we use on a regular basis and has been, in my opinion, the easiest. It is also the most affordable out of all of the options.

Prefolds are essentially a square of fabric that is thicker down the middle for more absorption. There are tons of brands and fabrics used (cotton, hemp, and bamboo, etc.) I use the Green Mountain Diaper brand, which I have heard is the best you can get. This particular brand comes in sizes priced to about $25 to $30 a dozen.

Pins are not essential and the alternative is a Snappi. It’s basically a plastic piece with “claws” that hold the diaper in place:

There are several different ways you can get it on the baby, with these being the most common:

You can use the angel wing fold (this is what I use) where you only fold the portion that comes up over their tummy:

The jelly roll fold where you roll the edges inward before folding up (good for those liquidy poops and babies that like to blow out of their diapers):


The bikini twist where you twist and then fold up over their tummy:


Or you can simply trifold the prefold and place it right into the cover (the easiest, but most likely to get poop on your covers):

Once the prefold is on the baby, a waterproof cover is used to keep the moisture in. Whenever we have had any blowouts with prefolds, the cover always has contained the mess. If the cover has no poop on it, it can be reused several times. The soiled prefold simply goes into the wetbag and waits to be washed.
Here is Dominik in a few of our covers when he is around 12 lbs:
Dominik with the angel fold


Thirsties Duo diaper cover size 1


Flip one size diaper cover
There are sooooo many different types of covers out there. Basically there are sized and one-size covers that are typically made of either PUL or wool/fleece. The sizes depend on budget and build of your baby. If you can afford different sizes, these are the best fit but one size options are available. PUL diapers are basically a cover with a waterproof lining. Wool/fleece covers are the most natural and breathable but are typically very expensive.
Care for the diaper depends on the type of fabric the prefold. I use cotton prefolds which hold up great with frequent washing in hot water. They are definitely the easiest to care for because microfiber can be difficult to wash and often gets stinky. We have hard water PLUS an high efficiency front loading washer (notorious for being difficult to wash diapers with) so cotton prefolds work perfectly with our situation. Covers are just washed with the diapers but are dried outside to prolong the waterproof lining.
If you are washing every other day, a typical prefold and cover stash include:
24 prefolds (total per size)
6-8 covers (you could probably get away with 3-4)
3-4 Snappis
3-4 dozen cloth wipes (cheap washcloths or cut up fabric are a great economical options)
Next time: Pockets and hybrids!


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