Compare Cloth Diapers – Prefold Reviews

How to use Indian prefolds

Prefolds are the most common one-size diaper. They are cloth diapers that stretch any budget through low cost, little need to buy multiple sizes, and very simple care. Below we’ve gathered comments and reviews from our customers, so you can find out what other parents think of prefold diapers.

For the advantages and disadvantages of each style of cloth diapers, see our comparison posts.

The listing of Prefolds and Flat Cloth Diapers at bynature.ca includes reviews, ratings, price, and tiny icons that indicate which standards this product exceeds as part of our Safe Family Promise. We hope all of these help you to find the diapers that best fit your needs as a family.

Hemp flat diapers Indian cotton prefold cloth diapers Prefold starter kit


Prefolds Are So Versatile

Parents use prefolds for more than just diapers.

“I think I use these the most of all my diapers. They are very inexpensive and it’s cheap to have a lot of them on hand.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Miranda, “Use these all the time. . .”

“It is super handy to have a few of these around for all sorts of uses. Under his bum in case he pees when he’s “airing out,” stuff inside any pocket diaper when I can’t find the insert, use to double up for naps or long car trips, or just as a diaper in a pinch. Washes and dries easily. Soft, organic, absorbent, comfortable, custom fit – what more can you ask for?” Hemp flat diapers reviewed by Kristen, “Perfect multi-use diaper”

“My son is almost two, and we’ve been using premium size prefolds since he was about a week old. These are so much cheaper than fitted diapers, and they are not difficult at all to use. They are also incredibly durable, and we’re planning to use them for an eventual second child.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Mary, “Prefolds all the way!”

“These diapers are deceptively easy to use (even my husband agrees!)” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Westee, “Low maintenance, economical way to cloth diaper your baby”

“I invested in a full set of diapers when I first became pregnant, since I knew money would be tight when my Mat Leave started. Best money I ever spent.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Barbara, “So many good reasons to use pre-folds”

“Bummis cloth diapers are by far my favourite. They are the best value, easy to use, the pre-folds are so absorben, the diaper covers are gorgeous and good quality, and we NEVER have leaks with Bummis. I use several different kinds of cloth diapers (pockets, aio’s and fitted diapers with a cover) and the Bummis prefolds remain my favourite.” Bummis starter kit reviewed by Steff, “I love Bummis”


Washing & Drying Prefolds

Washing prefolds couldn’t be simpler. Rinse on warm (about body temperature) then wash on hot. Parents like that prefolds don’t take extra care.

“Prefolds are easier to clean than the pocket or fitted diapers because they wash flat without any little crannies for poop to stick into.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Barbara, “So many good reasons to use pre-folds”

Many parents mentioned in their reviews that line drying prefolds leaves them stiff. This is going to be true of any all-cotton diapers, and it is an easy problem to solve. You can either just machine dry the diapers, or, even you want to save energy, just finish the diapers off in the dryer. If you don’t want to use a dryer, you can roll the diapers around in your hands after they are dry to flex the fibers and soften up the feel.

Don’t add fabric softener, though! This is a chemical additive that can inhibit the absorbency of the cotton. You want mechanical softness rather than chemical softness for the best performance.

“I don’t recommend them for line drying–they seem to get very stiff that way. Pop them in the dryer, though, and they’re good as new every time.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by Mary, “Prefolds all the way!”


Prefold Sizing

Some parents find they can use one size prefolds and just stick with those. Other parents change sizes to get a batter fit. Whether you go with one-size or not depends on whether you mind the bulk on a very small baby and whether you want to pay for a new set of diapers. Even doubling your cost for prefolds still leaves the cost of cloth diapering with prefolds much lower than with disposable diapers or with any other style of cloth diapers.

If you have a very small newborn or a newborn with skinny legs, you might have to use newborn size prefolds and adjust your folds to make keep from having leaks. Bummis has a starter kit just for newborns with a new, smaller size diaper for the tiniest babies. These diapers come in handy later as doublers and wipes.

“I do agree that prefolds can be a bit bulky, so I find that they make great ‘everyday’ diapers, and I use fitteds or AIO’s when my son wears ‘going out’ clothes like jeans.” Unbleached prefolds reviewed by SK, “A must have!”


That’s it!
We’ve spent a month comparing the four major styles of cloth diapers as well as our customers’ reviews of those diapers. Every style and every brand is someone’s favorite. Every diaper was created by someone who wanted to make a product that would help parents and babies. We carry diapers that we have found work for us or that have worked well for our customers. Please continue to share your experience with other parents by reviewing cloth diapers and other products from bynature.ca.

Compare Cloth Diapers – Prefold & Flat Diapers

Hemp cotton prefold cloth diapers

Finally, my favorite cloth diapers. I did say that fitted diapers are my favorites. Well, prefolds and flat diapers are my other favorites, and I’m ready to compare them with the other great cloth diapering choices you have available.


Prefold Cloth Diapers

I just laugh when people talk about “modern cloth diapers” as if there is something about prefolds and flat diapers that they are trying to avoid. In my experience talking to a big variety of parents in a variety of situations, at least half still use prefolds. Why? Because they work!

Prefolds provide simple and adaptable moisture absorbency for any cloth diapering system. Prefolds are a rectangular diaper with extra layers down the center. As with fitted diapers, you will need to use a waterproof diaper cover over prefold diapers.

Because of the simple construction and materials of a prefold diaper, they are much less expensive than fitted, all-in-one, and pocket diapers. If fitting cloth diapers into a tight budget is your priority, prefold or flat diapers are your least expensive choice.

The prefolds sold at bynature.ca are either all cotton or a hemp/cotton blend. These natural fibers are absorbent and very easy to wash. You don’t need a special routine to get a cotton diaper clean. They can take a beating, which also means you save even more money because they will usually last for more than one child.

If you like variety in your cloth diapering system, prefolds can help. They can be used as inserts in pocket diapers as well as on their own under covers. You don’t need special inserts or special fibers since cotton prefolds will do both jobs all on their own.

Prefolds come in different weights and sizes, but you can usually use the same size for all but the tiniest babies, adding your newborn prefolds as doublers as your baby grows.


Flat Cloth Diapers

Flat diapers are what our (great-great)grandmothers used before prefolds were available through diaper services. My grandmother saved her flour sacks for both kitchen towels and baby diapers. My mother-in-law uses my husband’s old diapers as kitchen towels now. Towels and diapers do a similar job of holding moisture.

Flat diapers come in a variety of sizes as long as you are looking for variety between 18″x18″ and 36″x36″. (A bit like Henry Ford’s Model-T, which came in any color you want as long as you want black.) The smaller sizes are usually a heavier weight, such as terry toweling, in order to provide enough absorbency for a diaper. The flat diapers we carry are made from cotton birdseye and shrink to about 28″x28″ after washing.

Flat diapers will need to be folded to create a size to fit around your baby and into a diaper cover. Prefolds are called that because they took a popular diaper fold and sewed it into place. The diaper came prefolded, which meant more layers needed heavier washing to get clean, but cleaning both types of diapers is super simple compared to more complex diapers.

Most parents also use a closure to keep the diaper snug on the baby to prevent leaks. Yes, some parents—many parents—still use pins because they are practical and they work, but another very popular choice with prefolds is a Snappi diaper fastener. This is a plastic T-shape with teeth to grab and hold the diaper on the baby. I skipped both of these and used flat diapers without closures. I had pins, but I ignored them. I just used diapers folded in thirds with snug covers and T-shirts that snap at the crotch to keep diapers on.

Snappi cloth diaper fastener


Prefold & Flat Diaper Advantages

  • The least expensive diapering option.
  • Very quick to fold and put on a prefold. (My husband says he reached for them first because they made a quicker diaper change.)
  • Customized fit and absorbency for every change because babies can grow even week to week, and you don’t want to have to buy new diapers.
  • A variety of folds put absorbency and a kind of catcher’s mitt exactly where you need it.
  • Very easy to wash.
  • Very quick to dry, especially flat diapers.
  • Flat diapers have lower environmental impact in production, washing, and drying that any other type of diaper.
  • Now, prefolds even come in colors, sometimes with prints.
  • After they are done being diapers, either prefolds or flats make good cleaning rags.


Prefold & Flat Diaper Disadvantages

  • You have to fold, even a prefold.
  • On a very active baby, your skillful fold can move around inside the cover unless you use a Snappi or pins.
  • Harder to put on a standing or running toddler.
  • No gussets can mean messes if you don’t fold with messes in mind.
  • The chemical impact of the bleaching process on bleached (white) prefolds results in a shorter life for the fibers.
  • A substitute caregiver can be intimidated by folding no matter how simple you think it is.

Saturday we’ll share highlights from our customers’ reviews of prefolds and flat diapers. You still have a few days to add your review.

How to Fold a Prefold Cloth Diaper

Prefold cloth diapers are extremely popular and extremely versatile. When first faced with prefolds, though, some parents wonder what exactly they are meant to do. Drawings of cloth diaper folding help, but a video helps more.

In my recent video explorations in anticipation of the Why Cloth Diapers? video contest, I’ve seen some great cloth diaper videos. This how-to from Bummis is so simple and so clear. Why would anyone choose a more complicated solution when these organic cotton prefolds work so well and so easily? Prefold cloth diapers still offer the best value for cloth diapers.

Rethinking Prefolds

Raising Arrows profile

Prefolds used to scare me. I had visions of pricked fingers and droopy drawers. I took one look at that flat piece of cloth and ran the other direction into the arms of nice and simple fitted and pocket diapers. I wanted nothing to do with a diapering system that required an engineering degree to use.

So, I ignored prefolds for 4 long years.

That is, until a friend made me some gorgeous embellished prefolds, and I fell in love. I was determined to use them. I could not let such cute fluff go to waste.

However, finding decent step-by-step instructions on the internet seemed nearly impossible.

I finally enlisted the help of an avid prefold-using friend of mine to show me exactly how to make this cloth diapering method work for me.

I’d like to share some of what was passed on to me that has made using prefolds a much friendlier venture.

  • 1. Practice, Practice, Practice. The only way to get to know a prefold is to use a prefold. Find diagrams online and go over and over them with your baby.
  • 2. It’s okay to make the diaper snug. As I tried all the different folds, I found I never had a diaper that was tight enough to work. I was afraid to tug on the wings and get them plenty tight around baby’s waist and legs. Therefore, it seemed as if none of the folds were working and I was discouraged.
  • 3. Tuck around the legs. It is perfectly acceptable to tuck the fabric snugly around baby’s legs to act as a gusset for holding in what diapers are meant to hold in. Needing to tuck a bit does not mean you’ve failed.
  • 4. BUY A SNAPPI! I cannot even begin to tell you how much better this is than using diaper pins. I know there are die-hard diaper pin folks out there, but for a prefold newbie, you just can’t beat a snappi.
  • 5. The Snappi is supposed to stretch. You are not going to break it. Stretch it from baby’s side to baby’s other side and down the center. That stretch is what holds the diaper on. If you don’t stretch the snappi, you’ll lose the diaper.
  • 6. Just laying the diaper in the cover really does work (on an older baby, that is). My friend showed me on her toddler how she could just lay a trifolded prefold in the diaper cover and then fasten the cover. I thought she was crazy. No way, no how would that ever work, right? Oh, but it does! That right there makes this the fastest diapering system in the west! Perfect for babies on the go!

Honestly, now that I’ve become familiar with prefolds, I’m quite smitten by them. They are incredibly absorbent and really very easy to use. So glad I gave prefolds a chance!

Amy of Raising Arrows received the greatest number of your votes for The Most Inspiring Blogger in our Blog to Inspire contest.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Throughout March we will offer guides to getting started with some of the basic practices of attachment parenting. This is Cloth Diaper Week with tips, products, resources, and personal experiences.