The 5 Ws of Cloth Diapers

When I was growing up and asked my parents if I could go do something they always asked who, what, when, where and why.  The hardest was always why.

My husband and I believe that having a firm why to everything you do is vital.  Not understanding why you do something leaves you open to doubt, failure and often misleads those watching you.

Choosing to cloth diaper starts with a why.

Why Cloth Diaper?

I have blogged about why I cloth diaper and why others would choose to cloth diaper many times over the last 3 years.  Below are links to posts dealing with environmental, financial and health reasons to choose cloth diapers.

And you must check out the 5 winning stories of the “Why I Cloth Diaper” contest.

Once a family becomes firm on their why, they begin to answer the other 4 Ws: who, what, when and where.

There are a couple of ways to answer the who.

First, who are you?  This is tied to the why.  Are you a struggling parent just trying to give your baby the best?  Are you devoted to saving the environment? Is your life filled with all things healthy?

You’re probably a mix of 1 or more of these.  Who you are isn’t defined by whether you cloth diaper or not.  You’ll quickly find, though, that your support will be found by interacting with others with the same drive as you.

Who can also be the “who do I trust to buy cloth diapers from?” As in every other area of sales there is someone waiting to scam you.  Follow these steps laid out in How to Successfully Buy Used Cloth Diapers to ensure a smooth transaction.

Answering the who this way leads right into the where.

Where do you buy your cloth diapers?

In Where To Buy Cloth Diapers, I list a few of the places I buy cloth diapers.  I have since added a couple of stores to satisfy all my buying needs: Diaper Junction and Kanga Care.

All About Cloth Diapers is blessed to have 13 wonderfully loyal advertisers.  You can find their ads in the sidebar and at the end of every blog post.  All are places I have shopped with confidence and recommend frequently.

So, we’ve answered the Why, Who and Where.  Next, is the when.

When Is The Right Time to Start Cloth Diapering?

Right from the start…or RIGHT NOW!  It doesn’t matter how old your child is they can be cloth diapered. Well, as long as they’re not potty trained :)

I began cloth diapering in 2005, when my first son Haven was 15 months old.  You can read more about my start in How My Cloth Diaper Journey Began.

I’ve chronicled cloth diapering a newborn with Paisley, Sterling and our most recent baby Camden.

Thinking about cloth diapering but not sure if it’s smart (because baby is close to potty training, you are moving soon, you are expecting….)?  Give it a try and let me know what you think after 30 days ;)

And finally we come to the BIG question…

What the heck do I buy??

If you’re new to cloth diapers the choices seem overwhelming.  If you are a veteran…the choices are overwhelming.

No one can try every cloth diaper.  I’ve tried more than a hundred and my friend Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry has the video proof that she’s tried at least 100.

First, you need to learn the lingo.  Here are a few posts giving you some basic starter information:

After you become familiar with what the different cloth diaper styles are you can begin choosing what you might like to try.  Many online stores offer trial packs.  This gives you the opportunity to see if a certain style or fabric will work on your child without completely wasting your money.

This has been a link heavy post but I pray it brings clarity to the big world of cloth diapers.



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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

15 Responses to “The 5 Ws of Cloth Diapers”

  1. Brianna Says:

    Your blog has so much helpful information! It has been a great resource to me as I’ve started the cloth diapering journey with my first baby this past year! I was wondering if you’ve ever used El Bee diapers and what you thought of them. I tried searching through your reviews and didn’t see them mentioned, but it’s possible I may have missed it. Thanks!


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I haven’t ever tried them. Cute but I always read that they aren’t that absorbent, so I never bought.


  2. britney Says:

    This is in response to Jenene’s question about BG xsmall aio. I had the same issue back in march and seemed to be doing the same washing and stripping until I read on BG’s website that microsuede (which is what these little ail diapers are made of) require pressure to absorb. So when they are on baby and fitted against them, they will absorb as soon as they urinate. They say don’t even bother with the “pouring water on it” test because it will bead up and roll off every time. I then tried that same water test, but then pressed my hand over the water on the diaper and it totally absorbed! Never had any leaks aside from the leg holes being too big for a little bit. Hope this info helps. Good luck! I loved my xsmalls!


  3. Joy Says:

    We just wanted to let your readers know that we’re giving away a double pocket wet bag from Monkey Foot Designs this week on It’s perfect for hauling wet cloth diapers, swimsuits, snacks or breast pump gear on the go and you can enter multiple times. Stop by to win!


  4. Sommer Says:

    Autumn, all I can say is I wish so badly that I had stumbled upon your blog when I first made the decision to use cloth diapers! It wasn’t until I had made the decison on what types of diapers to use, and purchased those diapers (and made several regrettable purchases and mistakes) that I came across your posts. You make everything so much easier with all of your extensive research, and the links in your posts are very useful! I hope that as time goes by more families who make the decision to cloth diaper or are thinking about it will find this information and support.


  5. Jessica S. Says:

    What is the best (yet good on the wallet) laundry detergent to use on cloth diapers?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I have finally switched over to Country Save after years of having it recommended to me. I love it. I buy it off Amazon using the Subscribe and Save program. I think it ends up coming to 0.09/oz


  6. Jenene Says:

    Thank you so much for doing what you do. People are astonished that I use cloth diapers, and I always tell them that I couldn’t do it without your website.

    I also have a question: how do I get my BG AIO x-small diapers to become absorbent? I have washed them a dozen times, tried stripping them two different ways, but when I sprinkle water on them, the water beads. I’m determined that they will not be a waste of money, but I don’t know what else I can do!


    • Lindsey Savage Says:

      Did you try Rockin’ Green detergent? I had the same problem and then I tried Tide powder form, no dyes or perfumes. My diapers are doing fine now. I have heard so much good stuff about Rockin’ Green too, though. I will be getting some soon.


    • AP Says:

      Jenene- Are you using a cloth friendly rash/baby cream?


  7. Rachael Says:

    We wanted to cloth diaper from the get-go (son is now 3 1/2 weeks old). We got some disposables as gifts and some from the hospital, which were nice as we figured out the ins and outs of washing and routines. But we are using cloth almost exclusively now (except for away from house changes, its still disposables in the diaper bag). I’ve found there was more I could have done before baby was born to be better prepared, but hindsight is often 20/20, right?

    Next baby, whenever that is, should be ib cloth from day 1, but, of course, only time will tell!


    • Mary Says:

      Eight weeks (give or take) till I get to meet my LO. Please… Your hindsight would be much appreciated. What have you learned that you wish you had known ahead of time?


      • alli Says:

        The biggest thing that I wish I would have known ahead of time doesn’t really become relevant until your baby is eating solid foods and sleeping through the night. We used prefolds, exclusively, and then suddenly at about 9 months old, our daughter started getting TERRIBLE rashes & bloody open wounds every time we had her in a cloth diaper overnight. I thought it was maybe yeast at first, so we bleached everything but that didn’t help much. I tried changing my wash routine, I stripped diapers, but nothing helped at all, and we struggled for MONTHS with the rashes – using disposable diapers until it cleared up, and then back to cloth until the rash came back (usually after an overnight diaper). Then a friend gave us some pockets with a stay-dry inner and microfiber stuffers. We have to use 3 stuffers at night, but no more rashes! So I guess my advice is, if you get rashes, try something more absorbent before you try anything else, especially if the rashes are primarily worse in the morning.


        • Alli Says:

          oh, and to clarify – we still use prefolds during the day. They are more than sufficient for daytime use since we change her every few hours. We only really need about 4 pockets. Our pockets are like BGs but I can’t read the tag on them. I really wish I knew what they were!


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