in defense of prefolds

in defense of prefolds

We started cloth diapering again this week.

We had stopped for several months. In short, I’ve just had issue after issue with my diapers. I had issues with detergent, with smell, and then issues with mold. I was so frustrated. Most of the problems are due to my front-loader washer and the bad water quality in our house. (The water from our kitchen sink.) The synthetic fibers that are really popular (like microfiber) do not handle either of those things well. I love pocket diapers, but it is very difficult to find them in all-natural fibers. I did end up with a stash of mostly GroVia’s AI2 and a few AIOs, but then those molded. I just switched to disposable diapers while I tried to decide what to do.

In the end, I decided to go back to cloth and go with prefolds. In the past, I’ve not been a fan of prefolds; instead, I preferred the easier-to-use pocket diapers. However, I think they have a lot of good points and I wish I’d given them more respect.


– Prefolds are easy to troubleshoot. It’s difficult to mess them up. They are generally all cotton, and there is no elastic to mess with. They can be bleached or boiled if needed.
– Prefolds are much more cost efficient. I picked up 2 dozen prefolds for about the price of 2 pocket diapers. If I mess them up and need more, then it’s not as expensive to replace.
– In a lot of ways, prefolds are much simpler. I don’t have as high of expectations, and I think overall once I get used to them I’m probably more satisfied in the long run. This is a hypothesis based on conversations with my friends who used prefolds from the start, and my own experience with trying a lot of pocket diapers and running into issues.
– Prefolds require separate covers, which is a pro and a con. It’s another expense, but covers can be reused for 3-4 diaper changes so you don’t need as many. Pocket diapers require a new cover + insert with every diaper change.

– Prefolds have a steeper learning curve. They will probably confuse someone who is unfamiliar with them (grandparent, nursery worker, etc). I liked how easy it was to teach someone to change a pocket diaper.
– Prefolds are sized, so I’ll have to buy them in various sizes as she grows. I can use one-size covers, however.

So far, I have gotten the hang of it, though I need to do some experimenting with different ways to fold the prefold on the baby.

A few weeks ago when we were in Indianapolis, I stopped by a cloth diaper store named Toasty Baby that my friends own. They were very encouraging with my diapering frustrations. I was able to pick up 2 dozen seconds from a diaper service that recently went out of business. I also got a new brand of cover – Best Bottoms. I think they’re my new favorites! They’re a little pricier than the other covers I’ve tried (Flips and Thirsties Duo) but I can definitely tell they’re better quality.

I also picked up this totally awesome hanging wet bag:
Cat-print wet bag!

I love it! I am using it as my diaper pail right now because it fits in my room a little better and I can carry it back it forth to whatever room I’m changing the diaper in, but we’ll see what I end up doing in the long run.

Overall, I think I’ll be glad when I don’t have to change any diapers anymore. But in the meantime, I’m trying to balance what is best for me and our family, and the other pros that cloth diapers give us.


3 thoughts on “in defense of prefolds

  1. And, seriously, how can you beat that cute tushie? ;-) Glad you’re back on the bandwagon!

  2. Prefolds (or just flat inserts) and covers have been my fave CDing method – to me they’re easier and cheaper. I have some Blueberry covers, which look just like the Best Bottoms, in addition to Flip and Wonder Wraps. I used some wool this time around – like anything else, there were pros and cons to that.

    We had a front load washer and I HATED it! Not only did the diapers not seem to get really clean, the rubber ring around the opening caught stuff and ended up smelling bad. After a while, the washer would start leaking and there would be huge puddles on the floor. We ordered a part for it, but it kept happening. It wasn’t that old and we finally replaced it with a top loader. The sales person told us that the top loaders aren’t marketed as energy efficient because people don’t change the water level to accommodate the correct size load; usually they leave it on the largest setting.

  3. You won’t have to teach grandparents how to use prefolds. We used them before you were born! :-) Glad you’ve been able to move forward on this. It’s frustrating to be in limbo because of no clear options.

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