30 Reasons to Love Cloth Diapers – Diaper Covers, Pre-folds, Flats, and Snappis!

Cloth Diaper ChallengeDay 17: Diaper Covers, Pre-folds, Flats, and More – back to basics cloth diapering!

I normally write about one-sized and pocket cloth diapers because the majority of my stash is made up of these systems.  Since that is what I use most frequently I often forget about the other systems.  I’m surprised to see that a number of families I talk with on Twitter use (and swear by) old fashioned pre-fold diapers.  Yes, many parents still use the simple diapering systems that our parents and grandparents used on us over the new modern systems.  Families prefer pre-folds and flats for their economical benefits, ease of use, and absorbency.  Many parents will travel with pre-folds and flats since they are easier to hand wash when laundry services are unavailable.

What is a pre-fold diaper? Many people are familiar with pre-folds because they use them as burp cloths or to dust around the house.  Or am I the only one who was raised using pre-folds around that my mom reused after we grew out of diapers?  They can come in cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and can be bleached or unbleached.  Pre-folds come in a variety of thicknesses (determined by the number of layers) that allow for them to be a very versatile option.  The most common pre-folds are the 100% Chinese or Indian cotton.  Families love using pre-folds for two main reasons – cost and simplicity.  The bumGeinus Econobum system is a simple organic cotton pre-fold and cover that sells for $9.95 making it one of the most affordable diapering systems on the market.

Pre-Fold Cloth Diapering System


What is a flat diaper? Similar to pre-fold diapers, a flat diaper is a larger square piece of fabric (cotton or hemp typically) consisting of one layer of material.  Flats are usually much larger than pre-folds and can be folded in a variety of ways to meet your babies specific absorbency requirements.  Flats usually run about $2 each for cotton and as little as $8 for the hemp variety.  Again, you’ll find many uses for pre-folds around the home and I hear they make a perfect for facials.

Flat Cloth Diapers

Flat Cloth Diapers


Do I need fasteners? Pins or Snappis? This is really a matter of preference.  When I was researching cloth diapers I found many resources on the many ways to fold and fasten both pre-folds and flats.  My mom used the old fashioned pins on my brother and I but today parents have a safer alternative – the Snappi!  The snappi is a flexible piece of non-toxic plastic that is T-shaped and has little teeth on each of the ends that will attach to the fabric.  What I found is that most parents will buy the Snappis thinking they need them and they will sit in a drawer after the first month because they don’t find them necessary.  I have two of them and it would take me at least an hour to figure out where I put them last.

Snappi diaper fastener

Snappi Diaper Fasteners


How do you fold pre-folds and flats? While there may be a variety of methods for folding (angel wings, bikini twist, kite fold, triangle fold, origami fold) you’ll find that most people use a very simple newspaper or diaper cover fold.  Simply fold the diaper into thirds so that it resembles the size of your favorite one-size insert.

What are diaper covers? A diaper cover is simply the water-proof outer shell of a cloth diaper that will hold your pre-fold or flat in place.  A diaper cover can also be used with fitted diapers.  Diaper covers are great because they can easily be wiped clean and can be used again almost immediately.  Today’s diaper covers replace those nasty plastic or rubber pants that our parents had to use.  Diaper covers can be simple like the bumGenius Econobum (which is very thin) or they can be just as fancy as your favorite one-sized diapers.  Covers can be one-sized or sized and can come in both aplix/Velcro or snap varieties.  They are usually much cheaper than modern pocket diapers ranging from $10-20 for most of the popular brands.

This week Rump•a•rooz released their newest product – an entire line of diaper covers!!  Each one is made from the same quality TPU (water-proof and biodegradable material) as their one-size diapering system.  The best part about the new Rump•a•rooz diaper covers is that they are available in the same solids and prints (12 solids and 8 prints including my favorite the eco owl) as their one-sized.  If you look closely at the images you’ll even see the fabulous inner leg gusset that Rump•a•rooz is known for (and why they are always my #1 pick in cloth diapers).  The new Rump•a•rooz covers are available on their Kanga Care website now and will be available at your favorite retailer very soon!  I’m really excited to see a lower priced Rump•a•rooz diapering option for those parents who may not be able to spend $23-25 for their one-sized pocket diaper.  With a price of $12 for newborn and $16 for one-size everyone can enjoy the luxury of Rump•a•rooz paired with the economical benefits of pre-folds and flats.

Rumparooz NEW Diaper Covers

Do you use pre-folds or flats?  Share with my readers your experiences and which system, folding styles, and covers you prefer.


Looking for more cloth diapering resources and tips?  Visit my cloth diapering archives, follow me on Facebook, and on Twitter.


Looking for cloth diapering resources and tips? Visit my cloth diapering archives, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.
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  1. Emily S. says

    I love prefolds and covers because we’ve never had a leak in them, they’re economical and absorbent. I use GMD prefolds and Thirsties Duo covers. I always use the sidewall or jellyroll fold with a Snappi.

  2. says

    I’ve used everything… pockets, AIO’s, prefolds, fitteds, covers, and now FLATS! My fitteds are the GMD workhorse diapers, my prefolds are GMD, and my flats are GMD’s unbleached birdseye. (can you tell I’m a HUGE GMD fan?!) I’ve never experienced a leak in my fitteds and the only times I’ve experienced leaking with my prefolds and flats were because of an improper fold. I’m thinking of moving to flats/covers at home and using fitteds at night and on the go. :-) The origami has been my favorite fold with the flats and the newspaper fold for my prefolds. :-) P.S.- I LOVE my Thirsties duo covers! It’s been the perfect combo for my little ones. :-)


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