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Getting Started: How many cloth diapers do I need?
March 27, 2022 8:00 am | by

I want to cloth diaper. Now you’re asking yourself, “What do I need to start using cloth diapers”?

Well, do you know the answer?

If not, that’s okay. We are here to help.

Getting started with cloth diapers and building the number of diapers available for cloth diaper changes is easy. Not sure? It’s ok. Lots of families use both disposable diapers and cloth diapers.

Here’s how you can begin:

  • Purchase 24 cloth diapers in the style of your choice. Why 24? Newborns often go through eight to 10 cloth diapers a day, and we recommend washing your cloth diapers every other day to avoid stink, mold, mildew and other issues. With 24 diapers, you also have a few extra clean cloth diapers to get you through a day or two while the rest are in the wash machine or your diaper pail. If you use two-piece cloth diaper systems like Flip or Elemental Joy, you may want to have at least 10 covers and 14 prefolds or inserts. For multiple children in cloth,  36-40 cloth diapers is a decent-sized stash, especially if you are using a one-size style that can fit both children.
  • Diaper pail or wet bags will allow you to store dirty diapers until laundry day. Vented diaper pails allow air flow, which also helps to prevent mold. Wet bags come in a variety of sizes, fabrics and styles to suit the needs of any family. If you are not using a diaper pail, you will want a wet bag large enough to hold two days worth of dirty laundry. You may also consider a wet bag that is a smaller size to hold a few dirty diapers for your daycare provider or those times you are out and about with your little one.
  • Choose the detergent that works best for your family.  Although many detergents will work well when washing cloth diapers, it is important to find one that effectively cleans your diapers and works well for the needs of your whole family. Keep in mind that some detergents contain ingredients such as perfumes, dyes, optical brighteners and fabric softeners that may leave residue on fabric, which in our experience, can be problematic for cloth diapers and for little ones with skin sensitivities. You can find more information about our cloth diaper laundry recommendations here.
  • Diaper sprayers are an easy way to remove the “yuck” from your diapers before laundry day. These certainly aren’t required when you use cloth diapers, but can make a world of difference. I mean, come on, do you really want to dunk your dirty diapers in the toilet to remove the waste?
  • Cloth wipes and bottom cleaner will help you get the most bang for your buck. You’re already using a sustainable product by choosing cloth diapers, so why not add another into the mix? Cloth wipes and bottom cleaner are a gentle, all-natural way to clean and soothe your baby’s bottom. Additionally, cloth wipes can also be used throughout your house when your baby outgrows their diapers.

Preparing for a new baby can be costly. So if you’re worried about the upfront cost of purchasing these products at once, Cotton Babies offers the opportunity to pay over time. Add everything that you need to your registry, and buy a few diapers here and there when you’re able. Have friends who want to help? Consider holding a virtual cloth diaper baby shower!

If you have more questions, set up a time to talk to with us. We’re here to help!

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.



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  • Alexis said...
    March 28, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Great article! I have a 3 1/2 month old and have been heavily considering switching to cloth diapers by the time he’s four months. A friend has even let me borrow her stash so I could try it out on him. She gave me pocket diapers, and when I go to change him the cover is still sometimes damp, even though I used two inserts… I think she is using an off brand- could that be why? The thing that is keeping me from expanding my own inventory (I just have a few pre-folds and a diaper cover) is the washing routine. I don’t know if I could faithfully commit knowing that each load of cloth diapers means three cycles (pre-wash, hot wash, rinse, and sometimes extra rinse). Is there an easier routine? My friend initially told me just to use the sanitize cycle, but blogs posts like this one are telling me not to, which might be the tipping point in my cloth diaper debate. Help!

  • mandy said...
    March 17, 2014 at 1:44 am

    It’s so usuafull! Thanks for your post!