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Flat and Prefold Cloth Diapers

Flat cloth diapers are the classic cotton square which is folded to fit baby, and secured with diaper pins or a Snappi.

A variation of the flat diaper is the Prefold, which includes extra layering in the center.

Flat and prefold diapers are the least expensive choice in cloth diapers, costing in the area of $15-$40 per dozen. These diapers require waterproof outer covers, so they are a three piece diapering system (diaper, cover, closure for diaper). Typically, these diapers are closed with either diaper pins or a Snappi.  However, another option is to simply lay them in a wrap style cover and forgo the additional closure type.

Most of these diapers are made from birdseye or other gauzy fabrics. Some are made from velour, hemp or bamboo/organic materials. They are very absorbent, easy to clean, and quick to dry. Still widely used today, flat and prefold diapers are a very economical and simple choice for cloth diapering. But these cloth diapers have other uses as well. Fans of other diapering types often use flat or prefold diapers for doublers or pocket stuffers.

For a little fun with prefold or flat diapers, look at the many dyed or embroidered options available on the market.

Advantages of Flat and/or Prefold Diapers:

  • Absorbent
  • Very economical
  • Easy to launder and fast to dry
  • Can be used as diapers, doublers, pocket stuffers, burp cloths, or even cleaning rags.
  • Available in lots of dyed colors, and can be embroidered very easily.


Disadvantages of Prefolds & Flat Diapers:

  • A cover is required to make the diaper function
  • Must take the time to fold
  • Not as convenient as an AIO
  • Hard to use on squirmy babies
  • Pins and/or a Snappi can be hard to use
  • Runny messes are harder to contain with these diapers

    Want to learn about other diaper types? Visit our Cloth Diaper Terminology section.