If you’re new to cloth diapering, you may be wondering, “What do I REALLY need to get started?” Below are just a few of our recommendations for essential items.


Regardless of which type of diapering system you choose, you’ll need enough diapers to make it through 1-3 days, depending on how frequently you plan on doing laundry. The average newborn may need to be changed every 1-3 hours, so you may want to have 12+ diapers for a day. A nice stash of cloth diapers consists of about 15-24 diapers. Many families find that cloth diapers are too cute and may have much larger stashes.


If you decide to use cloth wipes you’ll need around 12-24 wipes. Cloth wipes can be pre-moistened with wipes bits or other cloth wipes solution. You can also use dry wipes and spray the baby’s bottom with a wipes solution or just use plain water. Wipes are available in flannel, cotton, hemp, and velour fabrics.

Diaper pail

You’ll need a pail, pail liner, or large wet bag to store your dirty diapers between washings. You can place a waterproof pail liner inside a small kitchen trashcan with a lid to keep the smells contained or use a hanging wet bag or pail system that has zipper closures to keep the smell contained.

Small/Travel-size wet bag

It can be handy to have a small or medium wet bag (also waterproof) to store any dirty diapers that you have while away from home. These wet bags are available with drawstring and zipper closures and can be machine washed with your cloth diapers

Extra inserts

You may not need them right away, since most diapering systems already come with inserts. If you have a heavy wetter, you may find extra inserts (hemp is the most absorbent) to be helpful to keep your baby’s sheets dry overnight.

Cloth diaper laundry detergent

When washing your cloth diapers, you’ll want to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s’ wash and care instructions that came with the diapers. Most manufacturers’ recommend washing your cloth diapers in a detergent that does not contain enzymes, fabric softeners, whiteners, brighteners, fragrances or bleach. Other detergents may be available at your local grocery stores

Diaper Sprayer

A diaper sprayer is considered a luxury item to some and an essential to others. While you don’t need a diaper sprayer to cloth diaper successfully, it may help keep your hands free of poop. Diaper sprayers attach to your toilet and will allow you to easily spray off the poop directly into the toilet and flush it away.


Cloth diapers may get stained from the solids. Line drying your diapers in the sun will help naturally bleach out any stains left after they’ve been washed. It may reduce the risk of damage that may occur over time when exposed to the heat of the dryer. Heat may weaken the waterproof PUL and/or elastic in many diaper covers/shells. There are also indoor line drying systems that will allow you to air dry your diapers when the weather is not nice.

Optional accessories:

Snappi’s or pins

If you decide to use pre-fold or flat diapers, you may find these fasteners helpful to keep the diaper on underneath the diaper cover.


Diaper liners are available in thin disposable sheets, fleece, or raw silk. A liner will make dealing with poop a little easier. Fleece and silk liners are helpful if you have to use a diaper cream or to keep your baby’s skin drier in natural fiber diapers.

Cloth-friendly bum creams

While diaper rashes occur less with cloth diapers, you may still experience rashes when your baby is teething, sick, introduced to new foods, or exposed to wetness (overnight). Many diaper rash creams will clog the fibers of your diapers, making them repel moisture and leak. There are several cloth diaper-friendly rash creams on the market.

Swim diapers

If you live near a pool or body of water, you may want to get a few reusable swim diapers for swim season. They are like cloth diapers without the absorbent materials (that may weigh down your child in the water). They will keep the any solids contained inside diaper and out of the pool.