What Do I Need to Start Cloth Diapering?

Once you’ve made the decision to use reusable diapers for your baby, then it’s time to work out what supplies you will need to make cloth diapering work most efficiently and easily for you!

Pocket Covers

The biggest consideration is what kind of diapers to get. For my children I used pocket diaper covers, some with microfiber inserts and some with bamboo inserts. For night time I had bamboo diapers with the PUL covers. The pocket diapers with absorbency inserts were my favorites. I can’t recommend them enough, they’re gorgeous, easy, and they work, and using a gift registry for my baby shower meant my initial outlay wasn't so huge. You may like to choose a newborn diaper system for when they are tiny, then go to diapers for larger babies once your baby leg diameter is bigger.
Every baby will go through a different number of diapers, so there’s no clear cut answer to this, but the big question is:

How many cloth diapers do you need to start

  1. 18 – 24 reusable cloth diapers is a good number to start with. 36 is good to help your stash last until potty training.
  2. Wash more frequently with a newborn as they need to be changed more often.
  3. If you want to wash less frequently you can add to your diaper stash as you work out what kind of diapers work best for you.

Having 24 to start with will mean you wash cloth diapers every other day which is generally pretty normal. You’ll probably find as you get used to them, you’ll work out what you like and then you can get more of your faves. Having fitted diapers that are washable reusable and designed to fit baby bottoms perfectly can be a bit fun. You know you’re looking after your little ones and the environment the best you can and you can save money at the same time!
After you add to your stash, you could then manage a wash every 3 days. This means your diaper system could work more efficiently. Adding to your stash would also mean that each diaper would not have to be used in every ‘cycle’ so they get a break every now and then extending the life of your diapers. This is especially great if you’re planning on using them for your next babies.
Now, when you wash diapers you want a laundry care system that works for you. Many moms love the diaper sprayer, also called a spray pal which helps wash the solids into the toilet. Also a flushable, biodegradable diaper liner makes for an easier clean up. These kind of cloth diapering accessories, while not essential, can make your day to day a lot easier.
When it comes to detergents, while it isn’t absolutely necessary to purchase a specific diaper detergent, you do need to make sure the one you use isn’t full of fillers. See our post on washing reusables for more information on detergents.

Most Absorbent Reusables for Overnight

It’s also important to consider the diapers you’ll be using overnight because they’ll need to be boosted up with extra inserts to get bub through the night, but cloth diapering overnight is totally doable even with a heavy wetter. Bamboo is a great natural fibre choice as it’s so absorbent and is kind to babies’ delicate skin. Some use a microfiber insert on top of 1 or 2 bamboo or hemp inserts. This is effective because the microfiber absorbs quickly, then slowly leaks onto the slower absorbing bamboo or hemp. You’ll need to use diaper covers with the double gusset so you can use more bulk for the cloth diaper inserts without the risk of leaking via leg gaps.
Wet Bags for Clean and Dirty Diapers and the Diaper Pail
There is a variety of wet bags available. These are waterproof with zip closures keeping moisture and smells inside. Having one for clean diapers and one for dirty ones is a good idea. When it’s wash time, simply empty the wet bag into the washing machine and throw the wet bag in too to give it a freshen up. There are now wet bags that are ‘laundry’ bags and these are large enough to line a diaper pail, then you can zip it up to eliminate the smells until wash day.

Cloth Baby Wipes

If you’re going reusable with the diapers it makes sense to have reusable wipes also as you can just wash them all together. I made my own; they can be made of a variety of fabrics including terry towel, flannel, and even micro-fleece. Micro-fleece is really easy as the edges don’t need to be finished. 8 x 8 inches is a good size for a reusable wipe.
There are also several kinds of wipes solutions that can be made from home eliminating the use of the chemicals on the readily available disposable wipes. Here’s one that is good for rash prevention. Use 1/4 cup olive oil, 3/4 cup distilled water, 1/2 teaspoon baby shampoo, 1 drop tea tree oil and 2 drops of lavender oil. Just mix it up a small quantity and store in your wipes container or spray bottle and you’re ready to go. When considering cloth or disposable, make sure you choose what will work for you the best.  If you don't want to make your own solution, these look pretty amazing!

Baby Changing Pad

With change pads at home you can have one on your change table, but you’ll need one for out and about too. This is ideally something that will protect your little one from the surface you’re changing on, and will also protect the surface from any messes. Change mats that are easy to wipe and have a little padding are ideal. They also come in heaps of fun designs.


So there are a few things to consider when you thinking about starting cloth diapering. There isn’t an exact number to give when you’re asking about how many diapers you’ll need to start. It’s going to vary depending on the age of your child, how much of a ‘wetter’ they are and how often you want to wash. Taking all this into account, you’ll be able to get a good idea of how many you’ll need to start, and the other accessories that will make life much simpler and easier.

P.S. See our favorite baby carrier here!  Also, when you're out and about these are the best!