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Cloth Diaper Accessories - What They Are and Why You’ll Want Them

February 14, 2011

Diaper Accessories (What They Are and Why You’ll Want them)

Inserts, woolies, and doublers... oh my! With so much information out there, figuring out the world of cloth diapers can be a bit overwhelming. Here we’ll tell you what it all means and what really matters?
*See also Cloth Diapering Essentials (What You’ll REALLY Need to Cloth Diaper)

Diaper Covers ($10 - $15 ea.)

Pre-fold, contour, and fitted cloth diapers are just that - cloth. This means that when baby pees they get wet. To keep your baby’s clothes dry, you’ll need to wrap that cloth diaper in a waterproof cover. Diaper covers can be made from polyurethane laminate (PUL), nylon, fleece, or wool. They are often fitted with elastic around the legs and waist to ensure a snug, leak-proof fit and they fasten with either snaps or Velcro.

Money-Saving Tip: Search our Deals section for discount codes and gently-used diapers and diaper covers. You can also check out Facebook for FSOT (for sale or trade) groups like Pooters FSOT and trading websites like eBay and Mercari for gently-used cloth diapers and accessories. 

What to Look For:

  • Elastic in the back
  • Wipeable interior
  • Durable, KAM snaps
  • Snaps that let you adjust the rise and waist of the diaper

Diaper Pail ($20)

A diaper pail is a 13-gallon (or 54-quart) plastic container with a lid designed for storing your dirty diapers.

Money-Saving Tip: Instead of buying an actual "diaper pail" you can save money by buying a standard 54-quart / 13-gallon plastic trash can with a lid. I have this one in White that I scooped up from Walmart. It's lasted me 10+ years and 4 cloth-diapered babies with no cracks or leaks.

What to Look For:

  • Thick and durable material like plastic or metal
  • Lid (preferably one that can lock to keep little hands out of it)
  • At least 13-gallons to hold 2 to 3 days worth of diapers

Diaper Pail Liner ($20)

This is a waterproof bag that fits inside of your diaper pail. Most are made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) and are designed to fit perfectly inside a 54-quart / 13-gallon diaper pail. The bag will keep odors in but will also ‘breathe’ a little bit so odors don’t build up.

Money-Saving Tip: This is something you won't want to skimp on. A generic plastic bag or trash bag will not work the same. You can however save a few dollars by purchasing a waterproof tote bag from your local sporting goods store like this one. I have this one from Wahmies. It's held up very well over the years and I've never had to replace it. You can also check out your local sporting goods store for a "dry bag" like this one in a 40-Liter or 50-Liter size.

What to Look For:

  • Thick and durable waterproof material that can be washed

Diaper Sprayer ($30)

This is a small pump-like sprayer (similar to the sprayer found on kitchen sinks) that attaches to the waterline of your toilet. This little pump works great for rinsing poo off diapers without having to touch the poo itself.

Money-Saving Tip: Use an old or cheap spatula like this one to scrape off the poop. If you're a bit more crafty, you can attach a bidet sprayer like this one to your toilet to rinse off your diapers (approximate cost $25). 


    Doublers ($5 ea.)

    Also referred to as inserts. These are pad-like absorbent pieces of cloth that can be added to a diaper to increase absorbency. You either lay it inside of the diaper next to baby's bottom or, if it's a pocket diaper, you stuff it inside the pocket.

    Money-Saving Tip: Doublers are available in microfiber, hemp, and bamboo. Microfiber absorbs quickly but tends to make baby's diaper bulky. Hemp and bamboo absorb more slowly than microfiber but are at least 3 times more absorbent. If your baby is a heavy wetter, buy a hemp or bamboo doubler like this one instead of purchasing several microfiber inserts. Not only will it absorb more, but they will resist odors and keep your diaper trim.

    What to Look For:

    • Inserts made from natural fibers like hemp or bamboo. 

    Nighttime Diapers ($30 - $60 ea.)

    When your baby starts sleeping for longer periods of time, they will start peeing more at night. A nighttime diaper is a diaper that has extra absorbent layers and is designed to keep your baby from leaking through her diaper at nighttime. Nighttime diapers come in a variety of styles, but the most effective ones are fitted diapers. 

    Money-Saving Tip: For nighttime, you'll need to invest in 3 solid diapers and an oversized diaper cover like the ones in this bundle. Do some research and add a few to your baby registry to get some as a gift. 

    What to Look For:

    • Fitted diapers
    • Bamboo or Hemp fabric
    • Elastic in the leg area
    • Extra absorbency in the front of the diaper for boys and tummy sleepers

    Liners ($6 per pack)

    Liners are thin pieces of material (cloth or biodegradable paper) that can be placed inside a diaper. You can use them to do 3 things:

    1. If you're not using a cloth-diaper friendly rash cream, use a paper liner or a fleece line to create a barrier between the baby's bottom and the diaper so the cream won't stain or get stuck in the fibers of the diaper
    2. If you're out and about or if your baby is in daycare, a paper liner is great for catching poop and making it easier to change and clean up your baby.
    3. If your baby has sensitive skin or gets fussy when they feel wet, a fabric liner made from fleece can be used to wick moisture away from your baby's bum so they feel dry even when the diaper is wet.

    Money-Saving Tip: Make your own fleece liners using a large fleece throw like this one here and cut it into 6" x 12" rectangles. No need to sew. This video shows you how to make fleece liners from a blanket in less than 10 minutes.

    What to Look For:

    • Microfleece (not polyester, cotton-blended, etc.)
    • Flushable liners made from Bamboo Viscose or Wood Pulp

      Woolies ($40 - $50 ea)

      Woolies are diaper covers made from 100% merino wool - a specific type of wool produced from the Merino sheep.  Merino wool is very different from the wool image that's probably in your head right now. Its soft, breathable, and non-scratchy. The best part is that Merino Wool absorbs 3X it's weight - making it perfect as a diaper cover over a nighttime diaper where a lot of moisture is involved. And because it's breathable, it allows air to circulate freely to prevent diaper rash. Woolies come in all shapes and sizes - as pants (called longies), shorts (called shorties), and skirts (called skirties).

      Money-Saving Tip: If you know how to sew, make a quick trip to your local Goodwill to find a 100% merino wool sweater and make your own using a free diaper cover pattern like this one. 

      What to Look For:

      • 100% merino wool

      Wet Bag ($20)

      This is a bag for storing your dirty diapers when you’re away from home. It’s typically made with a PUL waterproof inner layer, a designer cotton fabric layer outside, and a zipper closure. These bags keep odors and moisture in but also allow the diapers to breathe so the odors don't build up. I've used one like this for years and it's held up very well to washing and everything else.

      Money-Saving Tip: If you’re only away from home for a short amount of time (e.g. less than 24 hours) you could substitute this for a gallon-sized plastic bag. You can also check out your local sporting goods store for a "dry bag" or "dry sack" in a 5-Liter size like this one.  Many of these will come in sets of 3 or 5 with varying sizes so you can get several wet bag sizes for less than $7 each.

      What to Look For:

      • Thick and durable waterproof material that can be washed
      • Easy open and close (roll-top or zipper - don't use a cinch sack it will leak)
      • Area to store both clean and dirty diapers



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