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Cloth Diaper Types & Materials

With all the different types and materials of today’s cloth diapers, some parents find the thought of choosing and using cloth diapers more complicated than it really is. In fact, we say bring on all the options—that means there’s the right type and material for every parent and every baby.

Types of Modern Cloth Diapers

Pros: Economical, versatile, flexible, easy to wash

Cons: Bulky, inconvenient, have to buy bigger sizes as baby grows

Fitted Cloth Diapers

Pros: Highly absorbent, hourglass shape and leg elastics keep messes contained, easy to fasten

Cons: Cover isn’t waterproof (have to get one), more expensive than prefolds

Pocket Diapers

Pros: Waterproof outer covering, use any absorbency layers, grow with your baby

Cons: Bulky, can leak, have to remove absorbency layer before washing

Pros: Simple design, trim fit prevents leaks, made with several absorbency layers, waterproof outer shell, fits babies up through potty training

Cons:Take longer to dry, can be pricey

Pros: Flexible design, waterproof shell, use any absorbency layer, works with cloth and disposable absorbency layers, cost-effective, travel-friendly choice

Cons: Some designs can leak, seem tricky to use (at first)

Fitted Cloth Diapers

Pocket Diapers

Pros

Economical, versatile, flexible, easy to wash

Highly absorbent, hourglass shape and leg elastics keep messes contained, easy to fasten

Waterproof outer covering, use any absorbency layers, grow with your baby

Simple design, trim fit prevents leaks, made with several absorbency layers, waterproof outer shell, fits babies up through potty training

Flexible design, waterproof shell, use any absorbency layer, works with cloth and disposable absorbency layers, cost-effective, travel-friendly choice

Con

Bulky, inconvenient, have to buy bigger sizes as baby grows

Cover isn’t waterproof (have to get one), more expensive than prefolds

Bulky, can leak, have to remove absorbency layer before washing

Take longer to dry, can be pricey

Some designs can leak, seem tricky to use (at first)

Check out our Major Styles page to learn even more about the 5 different types of cloth diapers.

Common Materials

The materials used to make the cloth diapers you put on your baby are just as important as the style(s) you choose.

Waterproof Layers

Most cloth diapers come with a waterproof outer layer made of either TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) or PUL (polyurethane laminate). We use TPU because it uses a special heating process rather than chemicals to waterproof the layers.

Absorbency Layers

The most diligent diaper layer, you have several options for absorbent cloths: bamboo, cotton, organic cotton, hemp, modal, polyester, fleece, wool, and “stay dry” fabrics. Some fabrics are even used together. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the common material types used in cloth diapers.

Conventional vs. Organic Cotton

Many parents choose organic cotton over conventional cotton because they believe organic cotton cloth diapers are made from safer materials since they’re made without chemicals. Some parents believe organic cotton is also softer and more absorbent than conventional cotton.

Before you buy organic cotton cloth diapers, though, be sure to check the label for organic certification. Get proof that what you’re buying is actually certified organic cotton (like our diapers). Look for an OE (Organic Exchange) or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) label.


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