Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Prefold Cloth Diapers

Last week, we talked about flat diapers and why you should love them. Today's focus is on a close second: prefolds.

Like flats, prefolds are often snubbed because they seem complicated. However, we at Mulberry Street Diaper Co. believe they're a GREAT option for many reasons. Today, I'll take you through a) the benefits, b) the different options, c) prepping, and d) folding techniques/closures.

Benefits: Like flats, prefolds are very easy to wash and dry (though they do take longer to air dry). They are versatile; you can fold them many different ways for babies of all shapes and sizes. They're also inexpensive, ranging anywhere from $1.00 to $5.00 per diaper. Prefolds can also double as burp cloths or sheet savers (and make great cleaning cloths later on).

Options: Here at Mulberry Street, we carry a variety of prefolds for your baby's needs.

Original prefolds are absorbent pieces of fabric (basically a flat diaper, "prefolded") which must be wrapped and secured around baby (scroll down for more info).

unbleached original, unbleached better fit, and bamboo cotton prefolds

Better fit prefolds are just like originals, except they're designed to be trifolded and laid inside a cover (no securing required).

Stay Dry prefolds are great, because they include a layer of microsuede to wick moisture away from the bum. The stay dry prefolds we carry are better fit.

Cotton prefolds (a classic) are absorbent, versatile, and inexpensive.

Bamboo prefolds (new!) are absorbent, soft, and naturally antimicrobial.

Unbleached prefolds are a natural brown color

bleached versus unbleached prefolds

Bleached prefolds are a classic white. One disadvantage may be that bleached fabrics do not tend to last as long.

Indian cotton prefolds tend to be softer and quicker to prep, but may not last as long as Chinese cotton.

Chinese cotton prefolds are a more heavy-duty option, however they are not as soft and take much longer to prep (see below).

Prepping your Prefolds:

Prepping is the process of preparing your diapers for use. If you buy them new, they will not be soft or absorbent until they are properly prepped. Because natural (especially unbleached) fibers have oils in them, you'll have to either boil or wash them before use.

Boiling method (click for video link)

Wash method: To prepare prefolds in the washing machine, you'll need to do several hot washes (drying in between each). Detergent is optional. Indian cotton prefolds (like we carry) must be washed 3-5 times; Chinese cotton must be washed 7-10 times. Bleached cotton can be washed less than unbleached because it has been stripped of its natural oils already. Remember that your prefolds will shrink and quilt up. They will become more and more absorbent with each wash.

Folding your Prefolds:

There are so many great ways to fold a prefold! Below are a few of our favorite options:

Classic Fold:


trifold with a better fit prefold


A note on closures: There are basically 3 different options for securing a prefold around your baby: pins, Snappis, or Boingos. This is completely personal preference, so do what feels comfortable to you!

In closing:

Remember that all prefolds will need a cover, as they are not water-proof themselves. Here at Mulberry Street, we recommend Thirsties (conveniently correlate with our dual-sized prefolds), Flip, Rumparooz (newborn and one-sized), and Blueberry. Wool is also a great option!

Happy diapering! Remember, we're always available to answer questions and help you select the best option for your family! Contact information can be found here.