Easy and Effective Cloth Diapering on a Budget

Baby Budget Cloth Diapering Family

I’ll be honest, before I had a baby, the thought of cloth diapering was not something I considered. In fact, it was something I said I would never do. Now, if you are coming to this page because you are all on board with cloth diapering, you might be totally turned off to my background now, but keep in mind, I knew nothing.

I knew nothing about cloth diapering or diapering before I had a baby. In fact, I pictured cloth diapers as the old-fashioned white cloth wrapped and tied around a baby. I didn’t know about covers, I didn’t know about the modern cloth diapers. I knew nothing. I told you; I was clueless.

My switch came once my son was born and I was dealing with multiple blow outs a day. I tried EVERY brand of diapers and was determined to find a solution to saving all the cute onesies that were ruined in another blowout fatality.

After doing some research, I posted in a mama forum. One user replied to me saying that she had the same problem until she tried cloth diapers. Since trying cloth diapers, she hadn’t had a problem. So the research began and soon I was fully immersed in the cloth diapering world.

And a world it is. There is so much information about cloth diapering, laundering cloth diapers, types of cloth diapers, and tips for cloth diapers. With all this information, I made mistakes because I found information that was just sponsored or found general information.

Finally, after finding a community of people that also cloth diapered, I was able to find a cloth diapering solution that worked for me and one in which I didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to start up.

Why Cloth Diaper

I began down to the path of cloth diapering because of blowout problems of my baby (my issues ran deep…). I’ve stuck with cloth diapering for many reasons, the biggest of which relates to my budget.

  1. It helps prevent blowouts! – After I began cloth diapering, my issues with blowouts disappeared completely. I went from multiple blowouts a day in every diaper brand I tried (I had an explosive child) to none. It was a miracle
  2. They are cute – Now that I have started, I realized that so many mom’s these days choose to cloth diapers. It is surprisingly very popular! And I think a big reason they are so popular is because they are so darn cute! There are so many colors, designs, and patterns; you will find something for you.
  3. It is better for the environment – Less waste, less chemicals, less diapers sitting in landfills. The environment will thank you.

  4. It is better for your baby – Disposable diapers are full of toxins and carcinogens. Although they are technically safe for your baby, it is not the best thing and one more toxin that you can eliminate from your baby
  5. It is so much cheaper – This was a huge selling point for me! For as little as $100, you can get started and be set for the entire time you use diapers with your little one. Let’s put that into perspective. The average person will spend close to $500 on diapers alone in the first year of life! That is over $400 in savings in the first year alone!

Types of Cloth Diapers

All in Ones (AIO) – The diapers are (just as the name suggests) all in one. There aren’t parts you have to buy, you put the diaper on, take the diaper off and wash the whole diaper.

Pocket Diapers – These diapers look similar to the All in One but have no padding in the actual diaper. For each diaper, you take out the absorbent cloth piece and wash the diaper separately

All in Two Diapers – This is an outer, waterproof cover with a snap. You lay the insert inside the cover and snap it right in.

Prefolds – This is the most cost effective way to cloth diaper and the type of cloth diapering that I will focus on in this post. In this cloth diapering system you have a cover and a prefold cloth. You can either wrap the cloth diaper around the baby and secure the wrap with pins or a snappie or simply fold the cloth diaper up and lay it inside the cover. In this system and the All in Two’s you can reuse the cover unless the cover gets dirty so you don’t need as many covers as you would need for another type of cloth diapering.

Easy and Cost Effective Prefold System

What you need to get started

As I said before, you don’t need as many covers in this system as others because you can reuse the cover as long as your baby doesn’t get poop on it. When I started cloth diapering, I began with pocket diapers and didn’t like the amount of work it was and I had issues with leaking(probably because of the brand of diapers I used). So I began this system cautiously. I only bought two diaper covers to start out with and, while I wanted more, I was able to get by with only two covers at the beginning. Here is what you need to get started:

You can start out, and really get by on this system with spending less than $100. If you buy 3 covers, 2 dozen prefolds, 1 set of snappies and a set of dry bags, you are looking at $95-$100 depending on Amazon’s prices at the time. If you choose not to wrap the prefolds, and simply place the prefold diapers in the cover (like a maxi pad) you don’t need to buy the snappies which saves you another $10-15.

How to Use Cloth Diaper Covers and Prefolds

Using this system on diapering may seem overwhelming at first, but it couldn’t be more simple. After you have your basics (and your baby, of course) you can choose if you want to wrap the prefold around your baby. The other option is to fold the prefold and lay it in the cover.  

To wrap the prefold

There are multiple ways to fold this and secure it with a snappie. I’m not going to discuss every way to fold and wrap a cloth diaper. The easiest way that I found to fold the cloth diaper is to fold the bottom part in, leaving the top fully extended.

  1. Lay the baby in the wrap like a regular diaper.
  2. Fold the bottom, folded panel up and bring the top flaps around the baby.
  3. Secure the bottom flaps around the baby and into the center panel with the snappie.

I find this method to work well with a newborn but I soon move into the folding method, which is far easier.


To fold the prefold 

  1. This is the easiest option by far.
  2. Fold the diaper at the creases (in thirds).
  3. Lay the Diaper in the cover.
  4. And secure the cover around the baby.

This method works great and is by far the easiest way to use prefolds. At night, I typically will put an additional layer on the inside of the diaper. Hemp and bamboo liners work the best of this but I have used microfiber for the extra absorbency and this works great too!  

What about Poop?

This is the thing that probably freaked me out the most. I mean, gross, you have to put poop into your washer with your other clothes? It’s not as gross as you think. For exclusively breastfed and formula fed babies, you put the diaper straight into your diaper pail or wet bag, then put it all into the washer. I wash the diapers alone but it will not get into your washer.

Once your baby has more solid foods, simply shake the solids into the toilet and then wash the  diaper. Bing, bam, boom, easy breezy!

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

There are so many forums, groups, blog posts, and videos about washing techniques and systems with cloth diapering. It was very intimidating for me when I started. Well, it’s not as hard as some people make it out to be. Or, really, it is as complicated as you make it. You can have a super fancy system but here are a few basics:

  • Typically, wash a load of diapers every 2-4 days
  • Use a good detergent (but I have used many different types of detergents and found very little difference) Tide works great
  • Wash with a pre soak and extra rinse
  • Sun dry cloth diapers – this will help remove stains and maintain diaper quality for longer. However, if you are renting or live someplace where you cannot sun or line dry, it is fine to stick them in the dryer.

That’s it! Seriously. It is easy. With young children, I am looking to simplify anything and everything. I was not all about to learn a long and complicated washing system. If you want more, there are many resources that will help you, but this works for me!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.