Colored Prefold Cloth Diapers

Prefold Cloth Diapers: Practical and Effective

Prefold cloth diapers get a bad rap sometimes. Yes, they require some degree of folding, but it is easy to learn how to fold a prefold cloth diaper. Yes, they are a bit less convenient for cleaning up after a messy diaper (flushable liners or a diaper sprayer help a lot!). However, they are absorbent, inexpensive, and with a tiny bit of practice they are really easy to use.

We have been using prefolds part time since my daughter was born. They hardly ever leak and they are a natural fiber option that is very cost-effective. You can get started with a prefold cloth diaper package for around $100 or so. Bummis organic cotton prefold packages from are still well under $200. One of the most amazing features of prefold cloth diapers is that they can be used for so many things other than diapering.

A mom just told me that her mother is still using leftover prefolds to clean her home – 30 years after she used them for diapering! Try that with a disposable – ew, wait, don’t!

Other moms have told me that they use prefolds as burp cloth diapers, for cleaning up spills and pet accidents, as impromptu bibs, doll blankets, converted into training pants, and more. Preemie size prefolds are easily folded into thirds for use as cloth menstrual pads. We use a clean prefold cloth diaper underneath the dining room booster seat to help protect the chair underneath from spills.

What is your favorite use for outgrown or leftover prefold cloth diapers? The comment with the most creative use (as judged by me, though user comments will count heavily in favor!) will win a 3 pack of large colored prefold cloth diapers. If you make prefold burp cloth diapers, include a link to your creations.

Comments will close August 23.

Update August 24: Jeanice, you are the winner! I’ll email you with details on how to claim your colored prefolds!

BumGenius Econobum Cloth Diaper Review

The Econobum sounds like a good idea. A one size prefold and a one size cover, priced at a low enough point to encourage reluctant cloth diaperers to take the plunge. For the most part, this system will work fine and is easy enough to get started with. A package of a dozen diapers and a few covers costs just a little more than one month of disposables. If you are on a budget and really can’t afford any other option, Econobums are workable.

First, let me admit that I am not a fan of the “fold it in thirds and let the cover do the work” diapering systems. In my experience, this leads to leaking. The Econobum was no exception. My little one had a bout of the stomach flu while were testing this system. I am not going to get graphic, but believe me, a folded prefold does not contain as well as a fastened prefold. Cleaning up that mess was NOT fun. Nor was having to do an extra load of laundry to wash her pajamas. The only other diaper that leaked that badly during her 2 weeks of tummy troubles was – surprise! Disposables. Cloth diapers, in general, do a much better job of containing messes than disposable diapers. We had no leaks at all with a Snappi’d prefold and other covers.

The Econobum prefold is basically an Indian prefold with an even thickness all over instead of being thicker in the middle. There are stitch lines to indicate where to fold it for smaller or larger babies. Folded for the infant size it is a little wider than I like for little babies. Folded for the large size, it is far too narrow to give good coverage for an older baby like mine (and she is just 22 pounds). The absorbency is similar to a thin prefold, not as good as you would get from a premium prefold.

And then, there is the cover…. The Econobum diaper cover is thin, really thin. It feels thinner than the standard 1 MIL PUL used by most companies. I have only washed it a handful of times, so I can’t speak to how longlasting it will be. The binding on the edges rolls out on the tabs, so they show under clothes. The sizing of the cover is good and I do like the fit, but the thin elastic at the legs is likely one reason it leaked so badly for us.

Further, the math does not make as much sense to me as the advertising would indicate.

A package of 3 Econobum covers and 12 prefolds is $49.95. If you are trying to cloth diaper on the least amount of money possible, Econobums are a workable solution. Update May 2012: Several of my customers have said that they are very pleased with the Econobum diapers and one told me she has used hers for more than 2 years now and it is holding up well.

Three Thirsties Duo Wraps and 12 premium infant prefolds costs about $60 in my cloth diaper store. Add a Snappi and you also have great protection against leaks. Yes, you would need to buy two sizes, but I feel that the better fit, greater absorbency and better resale value make them the better deal. If you really need to keep it cheap, there are several one size diaper covers available including one from Kissaluvs and one from Happy Heiny’s – both in our testing phases so watch for reviews on them soon.

If you want to try cloth diapering with a minimum investment or you really, really need to keep it cheap, the Econobum may work well for you. If you can afford to spend just a little more – or you want your cloth diapers to last through more than one child, you may want to look at a different system.

Indian Prefold Cloth Diapers

Indian Prefold Cloth Diaper

Indian Prefold Cloth Diaper

Prefold cloth diapers rock. Seriously. Even with the many, many cloth diapers I have, I use prefolds about half the time. Why? They are easy to use. They are super absorbent. They are great for clearing up the food allergy rashes my little one is prone too. They are inexpensive. They are cute. And getting a good fit is easy, even when your baby changes sizes rapidly!

This picture shows a hand-dyed Indian unbleached prefold diaper held on with a Snappi. Prefolds are really inexpensive, even high quality premium Indian prefolds are just about $2.25 each and will last through hundreds of washings. Consider that 9 disposables will cost the same and last through only 9 uses – it is clear that prefolds are a bargain. Prefer organic? Bummis new organic cotton prefolds are a real deal at $3.25 each. Infant sizes are less, of course!

Even cute hand-dyed premium Indian prefolds like this one are only $4.77 (at least at One Lucky Mama, I have seen them higher elsewhere). So, for the cost of 2 days worth of disposables, you can have an adorable diaper that will last a year or more. Indian prefold cloth diapers are made with cotton, in this case unbleached cotton. Natural fibers are breathable and biodegradable. Since they are dyed with low-impact dyes they are a fun and relatively ecofriendly way to spice up your diaper stash. We have so many colored prefolds, the only white or unbleached prefolds we have are samples of other brands. I do wash all the diapers together and we have never had a problem with the colors bleeding.

Eva has had a few really bad allergic reactions to food that have literally left open sores on her bum within a few hours after eating the offending food (corn seems to be the newest villian – even her lips and chin peeled!). Nothing clears her skin up faster than putting her in prefold cloth diapers with either no cover or wool covers.

No, the diaper is not making her bowlegged. She can’t stand alone yet, so I propped her against the wardrobe for a picture! The fold you see here is a modified newspaper fold. I’ll have to post a tutorial, it is super easy. A lot of people are intimidated by folding prefolds, but they are so much easier than people make it sound. I usually alternate between newspaper fold and the twist fold, but it takes just a few seconds to get a diaper on even my contortionist wild child (ever seen a kid stand on their shoulders to avoid a diaper change?