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How many cloth diapers do I need to start?
January 21, 2013 11:00 am | by

One of the first questions that anyone who is considering cloth diapering asks is “How many diapers do I need to cloth diaper?”

Recommended Minimum Number of Cloth Diapers

For full time cloth diapering, we recommend 24 cloth diapers, regardless of the style you choose. Why 24? Breastfed newborns often go through 8-10 cloth diapers a day. To avoid stink, mold, mildew and other issues, we recommending washing your cloth diapers every other day. With 24 diapers, you have a few extra clean cloth diapers to get you through a day or two while the rest are in the washing machine.

If you’re choosing a two-piece system, such as Flip or Econobum, we recommend 24 inserts and a minimum of eight covers. You’ll use a cover 2-3 times before changing it.

We recently asked our Facebook fans about how many cloth diapers they like to have in their rotation, and many of them said they actually prefer to have 36 cloth diapers available. They shared that they like having a few extras available to keep stashed in their diaper bag, car or other places so they don’t have to constantly worry about repacking or running out.

Save Wear and Tear With a Larger Stash

Some customers who plan to use cloth diapers for an extended period of time or on more than one child, prefer to have more cloth diapers in their rotation so there is less wear and tear on each individual diaper. Think of it this way: if you only had 2 pairs of jeans total, wore a pair every day and washed them after every use, those two pairs of jeans would have been worn and washed 547 times each in three years. They might look pretty worn after more than 500 trips through the washer. However, if you have 6 pairs of jeans that you wash them after each wearing, each pair would be washed 182 times in 3 years, so they would likely be in much better condition.

For the same reason, we recommend a minimum of 24 cloth diapers. A larger rotation of cloth diapers in rotation will reduce the overall wear and tear on an individual diaper and lengthen the life of your entire collection.

Exceptions to the 24+ Diapers Rule

We do recommend at least 24 diapers per child to distribute the frequency of wear evenly, however, there are situations where you may want more or less than this recommended stash size. It all depends on your family’s lifestyle.

If your cloth diapering journey begins with an older child, you may not need a full stash of 24 cloth diapers. You may choose to start your cloth diapering journey with just a few cloth diapers for each day. Depending on how frequently you change your little one through the day, some parents may choose to stick to approximately 10-12 diapers.

Likewise, if you have more than one child in cloth diapers, we find that 36-40 is a good-sized cloth diaper stash especially if you are using a one-size style that can fit both children.

No matter what your budget is, we recommend cloth diapering. Even using just a few cloth diapers each day will save you money over disposables with each use. As you save money, you can reinvest those savings into building a larger cloth diaper stash until you reach enough for full time cloth diapering, if that is your goal.

If you have further questions about our recommendations and best practices to get the most out of your cloth diaper investment, give us a call at 1-314-892-1855 or email us at



About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.


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