Language lesson: Speaking cloth diaper


When I first started looking into using cloth diapers, blogs, reviews and online forums all seemedGreek to me. I had no idea what the difference between pockets and all-in-ones were and what in the world was a prefold?

So, if you’re a newbie, here’s a quick and easy key:

Flats: Flats are the ‘old fashioned’ diaper. They are large squares of material and can be folded in any number of ways but require fastening and a waterproof outer layer. They are easy to hand wash and dry very quickly.

Prefold: Prefolds are thick soakers that can be folded into thirds and laid inside a diaper cover. They do not need fasteners if used with a fitted cover and dry very quickly.

Pocket (below): Pocket diapers have an absorbent insert of microfiber, bamboo or hemp stuffed into a pocket created by a waterproof cover with a fleece liner sewn inside. Since the insert comes out, these dry fairly quickly – covers usually only take a few minutes in the dryer while the inserts take about an hour.unnamed-1

All-in-one (below): These diapers’ absorbent layers covered in fleece and attached to a waterproof outer layer. They are the closest to disposables since there isn’t any stuffing, pinning or folding required. Since these are all sewn together, it takes awhile for them to dry – about an hour in the dryer then flipped inside out and dried for another 15 minutes or so.


Fitteds: These diapers are made up of super absorbent cloth and are similar in shape and size to disposables, but are not waterproof so they need a cover. These dry fairly quickly since they are in two parts.

Hybrids: These diapers have reusable, waterproof covers that can be combined with either disposable inserts (usually biodegradable) or absorbent, washable cloth inserts.

All-in-twos (below): These diapers consist of a waterproof shell with an insert that either snaps  or lays in the bottom. Since the inserts can be removed, users can change out the insert if it’s not soiled instead of washing the entire diaper. These dry very quickly since the inserts are small and the covers dry within minutes.unnamed-3

One size: These diapers can take a baby from birth to potty training and have snaps or gussets that change the size.

Sized: These are like disposables in that they are designed for specific weights and allow users to find good fits for their baby without additional bulk.

Wet bag: Wet bags can be used to store used diapers until wash day. They have a fabric outside and waterproof inside and keep the stink in.

Check back later this week to see what we’ve found works best for us. Really in the cloth diaper mood? Check out my story about the resurgence of cloth diapering in Maine.

Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.