Cloth Diapering Basics

When you’re first exploring cloth diapering, it can seem overwhelming. After you’ve figured out what types of cloth diapers you think will work best for your family and invest in them, there are still a few more things that are needed to get started.

Cloth diapering can be expensive but you can cloth diaper on a budget by sticking to the basics.

Paxton{21 months} Weston{1 month} in bumGenius 3.0s


The number of diapers needed vary by family and by the amount of time you’re cloth diapering. For cloth diapering part time, I’d suggest a minimum of 12 diapers per child. If you’re planning on cloth diapering full time, I’d start out with no less than 20.

The number I’m comfortable with is 24 diapers for diapering just one child. When I was just cloth diapering Paxton, we were averaging 8 diapers a day. Having 24 diapers gave us a 3 day supply and I’d wash every other day. Since I line dried everything, having that extra day worth of diapers was nice, I never ran out of diapers!

For cloth diapering my two boys (ages 2 and 5 months) we have 24 pocket diapers, 9 pre-folds/4 covers and 3 overnight pocket diapers. That equals to a total of 36 diapers for 2. There are some days I get a little nervous about running out of clean diapers but we’re washing every 1.5 days so that helps us get by on less.


The type of wipes you use comes down to preference. Some cloth diapering parents are grossed out by cloth wipes. I personally think they’re wonderful, you’re saving money by reusing wipes plus you don’t have to worry about disposable wipes getting in your diaper laundry.

We use cloth wipes. We started out with baby wash cloths which got the job done but weren’t the best size. Before Weston was born, I made cloth wipes from flannel which are wonderful.

I don’t use a wipe solution. I just keep it simple and only dampen about 2 days worth of wipes and store in a wipe container. In 2 years of cloth diapering, I’ve never had them sour. I also think the wet wipe does an adequate job cleaning up messes (and for those really messy diapers that I feel like a simple wet wipe isn’t enough, I’ll just give the child a bath!)

Diaper Pail

Cloth diapering families use all different types of diaper pails but you’re going to need a place to store your diapers. I’ve read that some parents use their washing machine as dirty diaper storage, some use trash cans with pail liners, some use hanging wet bags and others use actual diaper pails.

When we first started we used a plastic diaper pail. It was roomy enough for cloth diapering just one child with an every other day wash routine. When Weston was on the way, I started looking into a larger diaper pail but ended up purchasing a large  Wet Bag. The diaper pail holds all the cloth wipes, inserts and prefolds and the large wet bag (which hangs on the bathroom door) contains the covers. (We wash the covers separate from the inserts, prefolds and wipes.)

There’s no right or wrong way to store your dirty diapers, just do what’s best for your family!

Wet Bag

If you ever plan on cloth diapering outside the home, you’ll need a wet bag. We have a Planet Wise Medium Wet Bag  This bag will hold about 4-6 cloth diapers.

You could get by without a wet bag by just using plastic bags but the wet bags help hold in the stink (and trust me even wet diapers stink…do you really want your car to smell like that?)

Another benefit of the wet bag is it can contain clothes from messy accidents. Many times bibs, shirts and pants have been placed into our wet bag while out.


Washing diapers is a huge part of cloth diapering so you’ll need detergent. Most detergents that local grocery stores carry are not recommended for cloth diapers.

There are many different options like Rockin’ Green, Charlie’s Soap, Soap Nuts, bumGenius Diaper Detergent and some mama’s have had luck with plain ole Tide. Cloth diaper manufacturers often recommend certain detergents to use for their products, so start there when searching for the right detergent for you.

Are there any other basics you think are necessary for cloth diapering?

(And if you’re new to cloth diapering, ask questions! I’ll answer and I’m sure other Intentionally Simple readers who cloth diaper will chime in to answer too!)

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

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