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Using Prefolds

So you've taken the time to properly prep  your prefold cloth diapers. Are you looking at these big fluffy rectangles of cotton and wondering what to do now?  No fear!  Our use guide and videos will give you all of the information that you need for successfully using prefolds.

Prefold Diapers: User Guide

When using prefold diapers, creativity and flexibility are key. There are no set rules, and certainly no "one, right way" of fitting a diaper to your baby. You may have to do a bit of experimentation as your baby grows and develops to determine what folding technique(s) will work best.

A successful diaper has two parts: an absorbent inner and a waterproof outer. With prefolds, the absorbent part of the diaper is the prefold, and the waterproof outer is the diaper cover. A prefold can be used alone (pinned or Snappied snugly around your baby), but it will not be a water-tight system unless a cover is also used. Prefolds can be folded in a multitude of ways, depending on your baby's needs and your personal preference. The following are some common folding techniques:


Simply fold your prefold vertically into thirds along the seams, and lay it lengthwise along the inside of your diaper cover. This usually only works well when you have a snug-fitting diaper cover, such as a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.
The Trifold can be varied depending on whether you want more absorbency in front (for boys) or in the middle (for girls).

Boy Fold
Fold up the bottom few inches of the prefold horizontally, before you begin folding vertically in thirds. This will effectively double the absorbency in the front of the diaper, as shown here:

Girl Fold
Fold the diaper into thirds horizontally instead of vertically. This will keep the most absorbent part of your prefold in the center of the trifold, as shown here:

Newborn Fold, aka Liquidy-Poop Fold
A great way of capturing liquidy poop is to fan open the back of the trifold, as shown here:

The following folds can be wrapped around baby and Snappied (or pinned) into place, and then covered with a diaper cover. Using a Snappi or pins is optional; a well-fitting diaper cover will keep your prefold snugly in place without having to secure the prefold.

Bikini Fold

This fold works well for babies with chunky thighs. Lay diaper flat on diaper cover, and place baby on top. Grab the bottom right corner with your left hand and the bottom left corner with your right hand, and then twist the diaper over (your arms will no longer be crossed). Bring the front half of the diaper up to the baby's tummy and fasten the diaper cover. Any excess diaper can be folded down in order to fit within the cover.

Angel Wing Fold

Lay diaper flat on diaper cover, and lay baby on top. Fold the front of the diaper into thirds, leaving it open in the back so you can bring the wings around to Snappi or pin (if desired). Bring the folded front half of the diaper up to the baby's tummy and fasten the diaper cover. Any excess diaper can be folded down in order to fit within the cover.

Washing & Storage

Dirty Diapers

  1. Remove diaper and cover from baby. If it's a poopy one, shake off excess poop into toilet.
  2. Put wet or soiled diapers into your diaper pail, to be stored until laundry day.
  3. If your diaper cover is wet or soiled, rinse and air dry it and rotate to a fresh one. Diaper covers can be re-used if not wet or soiled. Store dirty covers in your diaper pail. Never soak your diaper covers! This will interfere with their waterproof qualities.
We recommend using a dry pail for storing soiled diapers. We suggest using a reusable diaper pail liner which can be used to line a container, or simply hung on its own on a doorknob or hook. The pail liner can be tossed into the washing machine along with your diapers, eliminating the need to rinse and scrub out your container. Offensive odours are not normally an issue, unless you leave your diapers for longer than 2-3 days at a time in the diaper pail (or pail liner).   Then it's time to wash your cloth diapers!

A note about detergents...

Please choose a washing product that does not contain any of the following additives. These can create detergent residue problems, which will lead to leaking, diapers that do not absorb properly, and stinky covers.
  • Bleach or whitening agents (Oxygen or hydrogen-based bleach alternatives are okay)
  • Fabric softeners
  • Natural oils
  • Perfumes
  • Dyes
  • UV brighteners
  • Stain guard ingredients
  • Enzymes
Some detergents marketed as "free" or "clear" are not necessarily recommended as they often contain additives to remove dust and allergens from fabrics.


If your cloth diapering system is the correct size and absorbency for your baby, you should not experience leaks! If you do, make sure that:
  • Your diapers have been washed and dried at least 3 times before first use, in lots of hot water, with a zero-residue detergent.
  • The diaper and Bio-soft liner are completely contained inside the diaper cover around legs, back and belly.
  • You are not using ointments containing petroleum or fish oils, as they can ruin the performance of your diapers and covers (use all ointments sparingly! Bio-soft liners act as a good barrier between diapers and creams)
  • The diaper covers fit snugly and you are using the correct size of diaper and cover for your baby. Even the best diaper cover will not work without an adequately absorbent diaper!
A huge advantage to using cloth diapers is that you will know when your baby is wet. Changing your baby's diaper as soon as it is wet or soiled is healthy for baby’s bottom -- no matter which diapering system you use. Expect to change your baby's diaper approximately every 2 hours in the first few months. You may find that as your baby grows, from time to time you need more absorbency. It may be when your baby starts to sleep for longer at night, or when your baby is nearing the limit of the diaper's size range, but is not yet ready to move up to the next size. If this is the case, simply add a doubler to increase absorbency.

If you notice leaking right through the fabric of the diaper cover, you have a detergent residue problem and will need to "strip" your diapers and change your washing routine. Other signs of detergent residue are smelly or yellowed diaper covers, and diapers that are not absorbing properly.

How to double up your prefold and use a Snappi. from GroVia on Vimeo.

GroVia Prefold Tutorial from GroVia on Vimeo.

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