Choosing Diaper Covers For Cloth Diapers

There are a lot of questions that arise when choosing diaper covers for cloth diapers: What is the best material? What kind of fasteners should I use? How many should I have? How do I wash them?  This article will tackle some of these questions.

What Type Of Material?

Most commonly, these days, you will use diaper covers for fitted or prefold diapers.  You have some different options for fabrics.    Waterproof covers are made of synthetic materials.  They could be PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric), or perhaps nylon.  The key is that the material is impermeable to moisture, so your baby’s diapers don’t leak.  PUL is the plastic backing on the cover that makes the cover waterproof.  PUL is the same plastic sealer used for reusable swim diapers for baby.

Whether diapers or swim diapers, waterproof covers are the best protection against leaks.  Bummies, Thirsties, Bumkins, and Dappi are some good examples of waterproof diaper covers.

For nighttime diapering, you definitely want to use waterproof covers.    I also suggest using an extra absorbent layer–called a doubler–at night.  This adds extra protection against leaks.

While not completely waterproof, wool is a fantastic natural fabric for diaper covers.  This is because wool is naturally anti-microbial, so it keeps odors from forming.  It is also moisture resistant.  Imse Vimse and Little Beetles both make great wool covers.    You won’t have to wash wool covers very often.  You can use them until they start to get heavy with moisture, or they start to smell.  You can even get away with just rinsing them and hanging them to dry.    They will dry, smell fine and be ready to use again.

What Kind Of Covers?

What kind of diaper covers should you use?  I recommend getting one of each kind when starting out, and see what works best for you.

Keep in mind that wool is more expensive.  But they are the best natural option.    If you want to save on wool covers, I suggest a “one size”.  The one size can theoretically be used from newborn to potty trained, so you won’t have to buy a whole bunch of new covers as your baby grows.   You can also try Fuzzibunz diapers or BumGenius, which are pocket diapers.  They are basically a cover and absorbent insert in one.  They are really easy to use, and can come in a “one size” option.  They may be a bit bulky for your newborn.  But after a few months they will grow into them more.

How Many Should I Get

Ideally, if you are using prefolds, or even fitteds, you should have 6-10 covers.  You can usually reuse  a cover once the prefold gets wet.  Only after a couple of pees will you have to swap it out.  I recommend getting 3 or 4 wool covers, and 4 or 5 synthetic, waterproof covers.

Top Quality Cloth Diapers (Cloth Nappies) You May Not Have Heard About

There are a ton of great cloth diapers to choose from, online, in catalogs and in stores.  If you do a google search you will find some of the top brands, like BumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Bummis and Bumkins.  These are all great diapers in their own right.  But there are some equally, if not better, ones out there that may be a bit under the radar.  I would like to tell you about some of these.

Continuum Family

If you’re searching for best reviews cloth diapers, you may not dig up Continuum Family on the first page of Google.  Nonetheless, these are top quality natural cloth diapers (cloth nappies).  You can get several different diaper covers, from merino wool to polar fleece.  You can get some top quality unbleached “Indian” prefolds.  Continuum Family has set great standards, with high quality fabrics and stitching.  They are eco-minded, health-minded and even tuned into elimination communication, a practice of “early potty training” in which parent and infants communicate about elimination using cues, timing and intuition.


Thirsties mission is to provide sustainably produced and quality designed diapers that are reasonably affordable.  The idea here is to make cloth diapering accessible.  Thirsties have certainly stayed true to their mission.  All of their products are USA-made, and they do not skimp on the fabrics.  Everything is top quality.  We used their waterproof covers when our daughter was an infant.  We were big fans.  They contained moisture, fit well and were very cute actually.  I highly recommend their covers.


Swaddlebees makes everything from all-in-ones (AIOs) to accessories like wipes, changing pads and wet bags.  We are big fans of their 100% cotton wipes.  So soft.  Their AIOs are also really nice.  The Mini Napi, for example is a great AIO that can also double as a pocket diaper if you use an insert.  It has an organic cotton inner layer and a waterproof outer layer of PUL (synthetic).  They have snapping and hook-and-loop fastening options, so you have lots of choices with Swaddlebees.  Like Thirsties, Swaddlebees touts their USA-made products, although when supply is low, they get some fabrics from Turkey.  The best thing about Swaddlebees is their fit.  They seem to be some of the best fitting cloth diapers around.  There’s not a lot of bulk or sagging.  After using prefolds, which can be more cumbersome, Swaddlebees are a great change.

These three companies are three of my top selections of “lesser known” cloth diaper makers.  Being lesser known certainly does not imply a sacrifice of quality.  On the contrary, these three companies make great products that stand up to any of the most popular brands.