Cloth Diapering Essentials |

Cloth Diapering Essentials

Erin April 16, 2013

Guest Post by Erin of The Humbled Homemaker

When I first set out to cloth diaper, one of my first challenges was simply affording the diapers and all the extra accessories it seemed were necessary to ensure a successful cloth diapering experience.

There were the wipes and the wetbags and the special creams and sprayers and liners. Not to mention the diapers themselves!

Sure, I knew using cloth diapers would be better for my baby’s bum, kinder to creation and better for our budget (eventually), but how in the world could I afford to fork out all the upfront costs of all the accessories involved?

I found out that the best way to afford cloth diapering supplies is to buy them little-by-little, and that there are very little cloth diapering essentials. Really, you can have a successful cloth diapering experience with much less than you can imagine.

So what are the biggest cloth diapering essentials?

unfastened contour

1. Diapers

Yes, this is a no-brainer! You can’t cloth diaper without the diapers themselves!

How many do you need? Well, that is really up for debate and dependent on the age of your child and how often you do laundry. But a good rule of thumb is to have around 24 diapers for newborns (if you want to wash the diapers every other day) and about 12 to 18 for older babies who are already eating solid foods.

You may get a bit of a sticker shock if you look at the price of modern cloth diapers and multiply that number by 12-24! Prefolds are a very good, easy, affordable option for the newborn stage, and if you want to use modern cloth diapers later, you can purchase a few at a time until you have your stash built. Buying used or making your own are also very good options!

cloth wipes

2. Wipes

No, you do not have to use cloth wipes, and I go back and forth in using them myself. But you will obviously need some kind of wipes!

My preferred wipes are baby wash cloths. They are cheap, and, to me, they are the perfect thickness to make sure those little cracks and crevices are clean and rid of poop.

Sure, you can splurge on some fancy,  hand-made cloth wipes if you want, but they are not necessary. Save your money to add another diaper to your stash and stick with cheap wash cloths.

Cloth Diapering Essentials

3. Detergent

If you’re going to use cloth diapers, you must have the ability to wash them. There are a ton of cloth diapering detergents on the market today, and plenty of cloth diapering mamas just use Tide.

Finding a good detergent for your diapers can be a challenge at first. There is no one right answer here. What works for one will not work for all. Everyone has a different water type, and different detergents work differently depending on your water type–or even depending on your washing machine!

I personally use Country Save detergent on my diapers. You can get it pretty cheaply on, but I actually purchased a huge case of it on Craigslist from another cloth diapering mom, and it’s lasted me for two years!

Although some moms do not have issues using Tide or a “free and clear” type detergent, I personally do not recommend this. My recommendation is to ask what other cloth diapering mothers who live near you use because that may be a good indication of what detergent will work for your water type.

Some cloth diapering mamas make their own detergent. I have personally stayed away from this because some homemade detergents can leave residue.

The most important thing is to find out what works for you and stick with it!

What do you see as cloth diapering essentials?

confessions of a cloth diaper convert



I recently released a 200+-page cloth diapering ebook with everything you need to know about how to have a successful cloth diapering experience! I am offering all MAM readers 20% off the book now through April 29 using code MAMCloth! Read more about the book or purchase it here.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.



This is the writings of:

Erin is a believer in Jesus Christ and stay-at-home wife and mom of two little redheaded girls. She is passionate about Jesus, mission work, her family and researching how to live a healthier lifestyle. She writes for several print and online publications, blogs about natural living and homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker and also edits eBooks. She is author of Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.


  1. Actually, more than detergent or wipes, I’m concerned about cloth diaper safe diaper creams! I understand that regular diaper cream can damage a cloth diaper. Is this true? Are there any regular diaper creams that are safe for cloth diapers, like triple paste? Recommendations on super-good cloth diaper safe diaper cream would be great! Thanks!


    • Yes, some creams can damage diapers, making them repel liquid! Not good in a diaper. 🙂 We make our own or use Earth Mama Angel Baby, although I try to also use a cheap fleece liner. Helps the issue. 🙂


  2. What I was confused by when I started …

    I understood the “old fashioned” system — prefolds and covers.

    But all the new terminology: one piece, two piece, stuffed, wraps, etc. I was trying to sort out when “diaper” meant the inside part (like a prefold; although the shaped diapers are awesome!), and when “diaper” meant some new fangled all in one thingy, and when “diaper” meant cover … and what was the difference between a cover and a wrap? and a soaker?

    We ended up being happy with prefolds and some old wool covers, along with a Kushies cover and a Thirsties Duo cover. I use one of those 5 gallon buckets from Home Depot and wash with either Dreft or Whole Foods 365 unscented powder detergent (although I know this depends on your water/washer, too). Works for us!

    If you are trying to get started cheaply — if you are near any Amish settlements (Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania), they sell very basic supplies very reasonably.


  3. I’ve invested in a brand of diapers called Sprouts Change. I only bought 8 covers and 24 inserts. I wash every two days using soap nuts. Love it!


  4. […] Way 10 REASONS TO CLOTH DIAPER via Nourishing Joy 6 REASONS THAT CLOTH IS BETTER via Mama Natural CLOTH DIAPER ESSENTIALS via Modern Alternative Mama WHY WE CLOTH DIAPER via Wellness […]


  5. I am so glad you did this blog! I see so many people say you “need” so many different things! Personally, I expect my daughter to be around 8 lbs when she is born (her brother was a little bigger than that), so I don’t expect to need newborn diapers for very long. So we have fewer of them & will most likely be able to use our one sizes almost immediately. You should also mention that there are a TON of buy/sell/trade groups out there (especially on FB) for moms looking to start on a budget (and help save the environment just a little more!). As far as diaper safe rash creams, the fleece liners are said to work just fine protecting the diaper itself. But coconut oil is CD safe as well, much cheaper than most rashes, and has none of those questionable ingredients. Hope this helps someone!


  6. […] Way 10 REASONS TO CLOTH DIAPER via Nourishing Joy 6 REASONS THAT CLOTH IS BETTER via Mama Natural CLOTH DIAPER ESSENTIALS via Modern Alternative Mama WHY WE CLOTH DIAPER via Wellness […]


  7. What a helpful list for cloth diapering newbies. 🙂 I’m on baby #3, but he’s my first in cloth diapers. I’m sold! We started with a bunch of BumGenius 4.0s and a few Flip covers. I prefer the Flips and am now experimenting with wool covers, which I LOVE! Wish I’d known about wool when we first started. It seems intimidating, but it’s really very easy and I love the natural, breathable fibers (instead of the plastic, PUL covers and microfiber pockets and inserts).


  8. […] you’re a cloth diapering mom, or are considering it, one thing that might be a huge question on your mind is, how do I wash […]


  9. […] personally love cloth diapers, and I sew my own.  If you need disposables, there is Seventh Generation, Huggies Pure & […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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