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How to Choose Your Prefold Cloth Diapers

Prefold diapers are 3-panel diapers made from multiple layers of lightweight, woven fabric with extra layers in the center panel for absorbency.  Prefolds and diaper covers are consider by many to be the most economical diaper system. 

The Choices (material, size and layering)

There are 3 basic choice to be made when choosing a prefold diaper.  They are material type, sizing type and layering.

Material: We offer prefolds in four materials: 1) Bleached Cotton Prefolds, 2) Unbleached Cotton Prefolds 3) Organic Cotton Prefolds and 4) Bamboo/Organic Cotton Blend Prefolds.  See further below for more details on these materials.

Sizing: We offer two sizing schemes 1) Traditional Fit and 2) Better Fit (also called tri-fold sizing).  Traditional fit diapers are wrapped around baby's waist and fastened with diaper fasteners or pins and finally a diaper cover is placed over them.  Better Fit Diapers are shorter and are just fold into a rectangular insert called a trifold and placed in diaper cover like an insert and then the cover is placed over them.  No pins are fasteners are needed with Better Fit diapers you just need a good diaper cover. The final part of sizing is choosing the diaper size based on the weight of your baby.  Every page has a size chart for this purpose.

Layering: If you've never purchased prefold cloth diapers before you are probably confused by seeing numbers like 2x6x2 or 4x8x4.  These numbers simply refer to how thick a diaper is.  Each prefold has 3 panels (2 outside panels & 1 center panel).  If a prefold says it's 4x6x4, that means the center panel has 6 layers of fabric and the outer panels have 4 layers of fabric.  Typically 4x6x4 is great for daily use but may need an extra doubler/insert for nighttime use.  Diapers that are 4x8x4 in thickness are generally thick enough for most infants to use at nighttime or daytime.

Prefolds Are The Most Commonly Used Cloth Diaper Type

Prefolds are the most commonly used cloth diapers in the U.S. Most cloth diaper services use prefold diapers for the same reasons that so many parents choose to launder prefolds at home.

  • Soft and comfortable for baby - Indian prefolds in particular wash up to a nice, textured softness.
  • Customizable fit - Because you choose the fold every time you put a diaper on your baby, you can always make needed adjustments.
  • Wash thoroughly and easily - Simple cotton fabric is easy to keep clean.
  • Tough and durable through multiple children - You can do almost anything to a prefold diaper, and it will still work
  • Natural Fibers - No microfiber or polyester which means only soft cotton durable cotton touches your baby

Bleached, Unbleached, Bamboo, Organic???

Bleached prefolds are bright and white.  Bleached cotton prefolds tend to wash up extremely well and require only 1 wash to prep them before use.  If you want to keep it simple, bleached prefolds are for you.

Unbleached prefolds are our most popular prefolds!  Our savvy customers prefer unbleached prefold diapers almost 4 to 1.  Unbleached prefolds take 3-5 full washing cycles to prep before using.  This is because you have to wash the natural occurring oil from the cotton out before use.  However unbleached prefolds are usually softer than bleached.

Organic prefolds are even softer than unbleached prefolds.  Our OsoCozy Organic prefolds are 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.  You can't get any more natural than these.  These also take 3-5 washes to prep.

Bamboo Organic prefolds are an ultra soft bamboo cotton blend, made from 50% rayon (made with bamboo) and 50% organic cotton, grown and harvested according to SKAL International Standards for Sustainable Textile Production. These prefolds are extremely absorbent and luxuriously soft. These also require 3-5 washes before use.  However with that buttery softness comes a more delicate fabric.  No washing or drying on high temperatures.  Instead use only warm water and medium heat.

Indian Prefolds or Chinese Prefolds

The names Indian Prefolds and Chinese Prefolds refers to the place where these  prefolds are manufactured.

  • Indian Prefolds are softer and more textured. Their twill weave fluffs up when washed.
  • Chinese Prefolds are lighter weight. Because of their tightly woven gauze, they stay more smooth. Since they stay more smooth, these are a favorite for making customized burb cloths.