Cloth Diaper Covers: Everything You Need to Know

by Bailey Bouwman

If you're a parent-to-be or a new parent, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the dizzying array of diapering options available... I like to remind us that every product on the market is designed by a parent who is trying to make cloth diapering better or easier. And because of that we have so many options for cloth diapering because humans are wonderful diverse and different. 

In this article, we'll be taking a deep dive into cloth diaper covers, one of many different types of cloth diapers.

Interested in learning more about cloth diapering? Check out our comprehensive guide on Cloth Diapering 101, where we break down the different types of cloth diapers and provide tips and tricks for success.

What is a Cloth Diaper Cover?

A cloth diaper cover is an outer layer that provides a waterproof barrier that's primary goal is contain moisture and prevent leaks.

A cloth diaper cover is designed to be used with an absorbent insert, which can be changed as needed while the cover can be reused. This inner might be a fitted diaper, an insert, a prefold diaper, or a flat

Cloth diaper covers come in many different materials and styles, but all are designed to be breathable and comfortable for your baby. They can also be made of wool

They typically feature strong elastic at the legs and waist to provide a secure fit and prevent leaks. They will also feature snaps to adjust the fit along the waist, and sometimes optional rise settings to adjust the length of the diaper. 

Why Choose Cloth Diaper Covers?

There are many reasons why parents choose cloth diaper covers over other types of cloth diapers or disposable diapers:

  • Cost-effective: Cloth diaper covers are often less expensive than other types of cloth diapers, such as all-in-ones or pockets. They can also save you money in the long run, as you'll need fewer covers than inserts. The average ratio is 3 covers to every 1 insert for standard PUL. You'll need about one wool diaper cover per day, 2-3 in general rotation.

  • Less laundry: because you only need one cover for every 3 diaper changes, families who use covers find they are able to maximize their laundry routine. Cloth diaper covers can be less bulky, and you can often wash many more days' worth of laundry in one load than other systems.

  • Customizable: Cloth diaper covers can be used with a variety of absorbent materials, such as prefolds, flats, fitteds, or inserts. This means you can choose the type of material that works best for your baby's needs and adjust the absorbency as your baby grows.

  • Long-lasting: Cloth diaper covers are durable and can last for years, as long as they are well cared for. This means you can reuse them for multiple children or sell them once you no longer need them.

  • Eco-friendly: Wool cloth diaper covers are made with a natural material that breaks down easier, and cloth diaper covers can make your stash smaller leading to less long-term waste and improved washing efficiency - especially if considering Lunapaca Alpaca Wool Diaper. 

  • Comfortable: Cloth diaper covers are designed to be breathable and comfortable for your baby, which can reduce the risk of diaper rash and other skin irritations. Wool diaper covers are particularly comfortable and breathable.

Choosing cloth diaper covers is a smart and eco-friendly choice for parents who want to save money and reduce waste. Try out a few different types to see which one works best for your baby, and don't be afraid to mix and match with different types of absorbent materials. With proper care, your cloth diaper covers will last for years and provide a comfortable and sustainable diapering option for your little one.

How to Use a Cloth Diaper Cover

Using a cloth diaper cover is easy and straightforward, once you get the hang of it. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Choose an absorbent material: Depending on your preference, you can choose from a variety of absorbent materials, such as prefolds, flats, fitteds, or inserts.

  2. Adjust the fit: Most cloth diaper covers have adjustable rise snaps, so you can customize the fit for your baby's size and shape. Make sure the cover is snug but not too tight, and provides good coverage around the legs and waist.

  3. Place the absorbent material inside the cover: Once you've chosen an absorbent material and adjusted the fit of the cover, it's time to place the absorbent material inside the cover. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the type of material you're using.

  4. Put the diaper on your baby: With the absorbent material inside the cover, it's time to put the diaper on your baby. To do this, lift your baby's legs and slide the diaper under their bottom, making sure the absorbent material is in the right place. Fasten the diaper at the waist using the snaps or hook-and-loop closures.

  5. Check for leaks: Once the diaper is on your baby, check for any leaks or gaps around the legs or waist. Adjust the fit as needed to ensure a snug and secure fit

How Much Will It Cost to Use Cloth Diaper Covers

When it comes to calculating the cost of cloth diaper covers, there are many factors to consider. The cost will depend on the brand of diaper cover, the number of days you want to have a stash of diapers for, and the type of inserts you opt for. 

For PUL diaper covers like our Kinder Cloth, we recommend having three cloth diaper inserts for every one cover. Our Kinder Cloth diaper covers come with one insert, so you'll need to purchase two additional inserts for each cover so that you can swap out the dirty insert with diaper changes. The cover doesn't need to be washed until it is soiled or begins to smell. We have included enough inserts for a three-day wash cycle in our example.

When using a wool cover like our Lunapaca, you can typically reuse the cover for an entire day before needing to dry it out! Alpaca wool covers are typically washed once every 2-3 weeks and we generally recommend having 2-3 on hand to rotate. In our example, we have included a smaller stash of fitted diapers so that you would be on a two-day wash cycle with the fitted diapers.

I've drafted out a little chart for the two styles of cloth diaper covers we currently carry at Nest & Sprout. I've also included a calculated cost per diaper change because comparing cloth diaper covers to other systems can feel complex. It's important to note that the high upfront cost of wool diaper covers is often off set by how few you need on hand. 

Diaper Cover Number of Covers Diaper Inserts Number of Inserts Total Cost Cost/Diaper
Kinder Cloth 8 Bamboo Inserts 24 $288 $12
Lunapaca 2 Fitted Diapers 15 $485


Lunapaca 2 Flat Diapers 24 $380 $16


Additional items to consider in the cost scenario include additional inserts or diapers for nighttime diapering. Nighttime is an 8-10 hour stretch, and some children will need more than just a simple diaper and require a booster to make it through the night. You may also choose to use disposable liners. Alpaca wool covers will need a specialty detergent like Soak Wash, but a little goes a long way.

Cloth diapering is amazing because you're in control of the cost - but sometimes that might mean too many options. If you're feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to just go with the pretty diaper - or the diaper that is resonating with you. Start with a few and see how it goes. You can say no, I don't like this. You can cloth diaper part time. 

Answering Common Questions about Cloth Diaper Covers

Question Answer
What are cloth diaper covers made of? Cloth diaper covers can be made of various materials, such as polyester, PUL (polyurethane laminate), wool, or fleece.
Do I need to wash cloth diaper covers before using them? Yes, only for the reasons we generally recommend washing clothing first. Cloth diaper covers are generally good to go. Now, if you're using sheets wool cloth diaper covers you will need to use lanolin application, and we can dive into that with your brand.
How many cloth diaper covers do I need? The number of cloth diaper covers you need will depend on how often you plan to do laundry and how frequently your baby needs to be changed. Generally we say one cloth diaper cover for every three diaper changes. Wool diaper covers generally last 1-2 days, but may need to dry every few diaper changes. 
How do I know which size cloth diaper cover to buy? Most cloth diaper covers come in one-size or sized options. One-size covers can be adjusted to fit babies from birth to potty training, while sized covers are designed to fit babies within a certain weight range. 
How often do I need to change the absorbent insert? The frequency of insert changes will depend on the type and amount of material used, as well as your baby's age and feeding habits. As a general guideline, newborns may need to be changed every 1-2 hours, while older babies may be able to go 2-4 hours between changes.
How do I wash cloth diaper covers? Cloth diaper covers should be washed according to the manufacturer's instructions, but in general, they can be washed with your regular laundry using a gentle detergent. Cloth diaper covers can be hung to dry and don't need dryer.
Do cloth diaper covers leak? Cloth diaper covers can leak if they are not properly fitted or if the absorbent insert is not adequately absorbent. It's important to ensure a snug but comfortable fit and to choose absorbent materials that work well for your baby's needs. If the PUL becomes damaged, it may begin to leak. It's worth noting that PUL is water resistant not waterproof, and regular changing will ensure best experience. 
Are cloth diaper covers suitable for overnight use? Cloth diaper covers can be suitable for overnight use when paired with the right fitted diaper or insert combo. We love using wool diapers overnight as it's a fantastic choice for a dry night.
Are cloth diaper covers easy to use?

Yes, cloth diaper covers are generally easy to use. For some systems you'll snap in a clean insert with each diaper change, or fasten a new dry inner (fitted, flat or prefold) to baby and then put the cover over.

This two step process is easy routine that you'll get into just like putting on a diaper and pulling on pants.


Do cloth diaper covers save money compared to disposable diapers?

Yes, cloth diaper covers can be a cost-effective option compared to disposable diapers, especially if you plan to reuse them for multiple children or resell them after use.

Cloth diaper covers tend to be one of the lowest cost cloth diapering systems because you need one PUL for every three diaper changes and the PUL diaper is the most expensive part of the cloth diaper system.


The biggest drawback to cloth diaper covers is that many childcare providers will not reuse between diaper changes. Many families will continue to use covers but send enough covers for every diaper change at daycare. The two step system can be easy to teach childcare providers and adapt to any rules a child care system may have. 

Cloth diaper covers are classic, easy, and perfect for many scenarios. These were a personal favourite of mine. I liked to fold a prefold diaper into thirds and lay it into the diaper cover, and then fasten to baby. 

Make the Switch to Cloth Diaper Covers Today!

At Nest & Sprout, we are committed to providing parents with the best cloth diapering options

Cloth diaper covers have many benefits, including affordability, versatility, and eco-friendliness. They are easy to use and care for, and can provide your baby with a comfortable and breathable diapering experience.

If you're ready to take the plunge into cloth diapering, we encourage you to check out our selection of cloth diaper covers and accessories. To learn more about cloth diapering, check out our exclusive cloth diaper blog. Don't forget to sign up for our email list to get access to our cloth diapering guide and other helpful resources.

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