How To Use Cloth Diaper With Inserts: A Friendly Guide to Using and Caring

Welcome to the world of cloth diapering! If you’re here, chances are you’re interested in cloth diaper inserts and the benefits they offer.

Cloth diaper inserts are a great way to reduce your environmental impact, save money, and provide a comfortable and healthy option for your little one’s bottom.

Cloth Diaper Inserts
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Understanding Cloth Diaper Inserts: Types and Materials

If you’re considering using them, it’s important to understand the different types and materials available. Each type comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and some may work better for your baby’s needs than others.

Microfiber Inserts

Microfiber inserts are made from synthetic materials and are highly absorbent. They’re also relatively inexpensive and easy to find. However, they can be prone to compression leaks and may not last as long as other types of inserts.

Bamboo Inserts

Bamboo inserts are made from natural materials and are highly absorbent. They’re also antimicrobial, making them a great choice for babies with sensitive skin. However, they may be less durable than other types of inserts and can take longer to dry.

Hemp Inserts

Hemp inserts are made from natural materials and are highly absorbent. They’re also durable and can last for a long time with proper care. However, they may be more expensive than other types of inserts and can take longer to prep.

Charcoal Inserts

They’re also antimicrobial and can help to reduce odors.

It’s important to note that there are many different brands and variations available in the market, and each may have unique features and benefits.

How To Use Cloth Diaper With Inserts
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Prepping and Washing Cloth Diaper Inserts

This step helps to remove any manufacturing residues and enhances their absorbency.

Here is a step-by-step guide to prep:

  1. Wash them in hot water at least three times to remove any residues and pre-shrink the fabric.
  2. Dry them completely in a dryer or on a clothesline.

How to wash your cloth diaper inserts effectively:

  1. Remove solid waste from the diaper before washing.
  2. Rinse the diaper in cold water to remove any excess urine or feces.
  3. Run a hot wash cycle with an appropriate amount of detergent to remove any stains or odors.
  4. Run a second rinse cycle to ensure that all detergent is washed off.
  5. Dry the diaper inserts in a dryer or on a clothesline. Avoid using dryer sheets or fabric softeners as they can decrease absorbency.

Choosing the right detergent is crucial to ensure that your cloth diaper inserts are clean and fresh. Look for detergents that do not contain fabric softeners, enzymes, or optical brighteners. These ingredients can leave residues that affect the absorbency of the diaper inserts.

It is also essential to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to prevent damage to the fabric and ensure their longevity.

How to Use Cloth Diaper Inserts: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose the right size insert: Most cloth diaper inserts are one-size-fits-all, but some come in different sizes to fit babies of varying ages and weights. Make sure you have the correct size for your little one before proceeding.
  2. Prepare the insert: If this is your first time using the insert, make sure you prep it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves washing it several times to increase absorbency.
  3. Fold the insert: There are several ways to fold, but the most common is the tri-fold. Simply fold the insert into thirds, lengthwise, and tuck it into the diaper cover.
  4. Position the insert: Place the folded insert into the diaper cover, making sure it’s centered and covers the entire area where your baby’s bottom will be.
  5. Adjust the fit: Depending on your baby’s size and the type of diaper cover you’re using, you may need to adjust the fit of the insert. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight, and that it’s not sticking out of the diaper cover.
  6. Fasten the diaper cover: If your diaper cover has snaps or hook-and-loop fasteners, use them to secure the diaper around your baby’s waist. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight, and that the insert is still properly positioned.

Keep in mind that every baby is different, so it may take some trial and error to find the right fit and absorbency level for your little one. Don’t be discouraged if you experience leaks or other issues at first.

Boosting Absorbency: Adding Extra Inserts

While they provide excellent absorbency on their own, there may be times when you need to add an extra insert for increased protection. Here’s a guide on how to boost absorbency with additional inserts:

When to Add Extra Inserts

There are a few scenarios where extra inserts may be necessary:

  • For heavy wetters
  • During nighttime diapering
  • For long car rides or flights

If you notice that your diaper cover is saturated quickly or your child is experiencing leaks, it may be time to add more absorbency.

How to Add Extra Inserts

The process for adding extra inserts is simple:

  1. Start with a clean diaper cover.
  2. Choose an appropriate insert to add based on your situation. You can choose inserts made of different materials to increase absorbency.
  3. Lay the first insert flat in the diaper cover.
  4. Place the second insert on top of the first, making sure it is not too bulky or uncomfortable for your child.
  5. Fasten the diaper cover as usual, making sure there are no gaps or leaks.

Tips for Using Extra Inserts

  • Make sure the inserts are properly washed and prepped before use to ensure maximum absorbency.
  • Use a diaper cream barrier if necessary to prevent any irritation from wetness.
  • Check for leaks frequently, especially during the first few uses, to ensure the extra inserts are not causing gaps or discomfort.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

As much as cloth diaper inserts are convenient and eco-friendly, they can still pose a few challenges. Here are some common issues that parents run into and how to solve them.


Leaks are often caused by improper fit, insufficient absorbency, or a combination of both. Here’s what you can do to prevent leaks:

  • Check the fit of the diaper and adjust the size, if necessary.
  • Add an extra insert or use a booster for increased absorbency.
  • Ensure that the insert is positioned correctly and fully tucked in the diaper cover.


If your cloth diaper inserts are emitting an unpleasant smell, it could be due to buildup or incomplete cleaning. Here are some solutions to try:


Extending the Lifespan

Here are some tips for keeping your inserts in top shape:

  • Follow the care instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying. Using the wrong detergent or washing them in hot water can damage the materials, reduce absorbency, and cause premature wear and tear.
  • Store them properly: When not in use, keep your inserts in a dry and well-ventilated space. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or areas with high humidity, as this can cause mold and mildew.
  • Wash them regularly: Washing your inserts frequently (at least every other day) not only keeps them clean and odor-free, but it also prevents bacteria and detergent buildup from affecting their absorbency.
  • Treat stains promptly: Attack stubborn stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in. Natural stain-removing methods, such as using lemon juice or hanging them in the sun, can be effective without compromising the materials.
  • Rotate them: Using the same set of inserts every day can lead to faster wear and tear. Consider rotating between multiple sets of inserts to spread out the use and prolong their lifespan.

Pros and Cons

Like any baby product, they have their advantages and disadvantages.



  • Initial investment: The upfront cost can be higher than disposable diapers, requiring parents to invest in several inserts and covers.
  • More laundry: Cloth diaper inserts require more frequent washing, which means more laundry loads to wash and dry.
  • Less convenient: Cloth diaper inserts can be less convenient when traveling or going out, as they require more planning and preparation.
  • Potential leaks: If not used or washed properly, cloth diaper inserts can leak, requiring additional attention to ensure they are functioning at optimal absorbency.
  • Stains: Stains can be more difficult to remove from cloth diaper inserts than from disposable diapers.

Overall, cloth diaper inserts can be a practical and environmentally friendly choice for parents who want to reduce their carbon footprint and save money in the long run. However, they may require more effort, planning, and attention to ensure proper usage and maintenance.

Tips for Traveling

Here are some tips to help make your travels a success:

  • Pack enough inserts: Make sure you bring enough inserts for the duration of your trip, plus a few extras just in case. Depending on the length of your trip, you may also want to consider bringing a portable washing device or plan to visit a laundromat.
  • Use a wet bag: A wet bag is a waterproof bag designed to hold dirty cloth diaper inserts. Packing a few wet bags in your suitcase will make it easy to transport dirty inserts throughout your trip.
  • Explore your lodging options: If you’re staying with friends or relatives, check to see if they have a washer and dryer available. Many hotels and vacation rentals also offer laundry facilities.
  • Bring a travel-sized detergent: Pack a small amount of your regular cloth diaper detergent or invest in a travel-sized bottle. This will allow you to wash your inserts without having to purchase a full-sized container of detergent while traveling.
  • Consider disposable inserts: If you’re traveling by plane or don’t have access to laundry facilities, you may want to consider using disposable inserts for the duration of your trip. This will make it easier to manage dirty inserts while on the go.

Caring: Dealing with Stains

There are several natural methods and safe products you can use to remove them effectively.

Natural Stain-Removal Methods

Lemon juice, baking soda, and sunlight are all effective natural remedies for removing stains. Here’s how to use them:

Lemon juiceSqueeze fresh lemon juice onto the stain, rub it in gently, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.
Baking sodaMix Baking soda with water to create a paste, apply it to the stain, and let it sit for a few hours before washing as usual.
SunlightHang the stained inserts in direct sunlight for a few hours, allowing the sun’s natural bleaching properties to remove the stain.

Safe Stain-Removing Products for Cloth Diapers

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Buncha Farmers Stain Stick: Made from all-natural ingredients, this stain stick is safe and effective for removing stains from cloth diaper inserts.
  • Rockin’ Green Funk Rock: This natural powder uses enzymes to break down stains and odors, leaving your diaper inserts fresh and clean.
  • Biokleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Remover: This plant-based formula removes stains and eliminates odors without harsh chemicals.

Cloth Diaper Insert Accessories: Liners and Doublers

For maximum comfort, absorbency, and convenience, you may want to consider using cloth diaper insert accessories such as liners and doublers.


They are designed to provide an extra layer of protection against wetness and help keep your baby feeling dry and comfortable. Some liners are made of bamboo or hemp, while others are disposable and made of biodegradable materials.

Liners can be especially helpful for babies with sensitive skin or those prone to diaper rash. They can also make cleaning up messes easier by containing solid waste to the liner itself, which can be disposed of separately from the diaper insert.


They come in various shapes and sizes, and are typically made of highly absorbent materials such as bamboo or hemp.

Doublers are especially useful for nighttime diapering or for heavy wetters. They can also come in handy when traveling, as they allow for longer periods between diaper changes.

Choosing the Right Accessories

When choosing, consider your baby’s needs and your diapering routine. If you want to minimize laundry, disposable liners may be a good option. If your baby is a heavy wetter, doublers may be necessary for nighttime or extended periods.

Some brands may offer liners or doublers specifically designed to work with their inserts.

Overall, cloth diaper insert accessories can provide added comfort, absorbency, and convenience for parents and babies alike.

Nighttime Diapering: Best Practices for Using Inserts

There are several tips and tricks you can use to ensure your baby stays dry and comfortable throughout the night.

Choosing the Right Inserts

One of the key factors in successful nighttime diapering is choosing the right inserts. Look for inserts made of highly absorbent materials such as bamboo, hemp, or charcoal, as these will provide maximum absorbency.

You may also want to consider using a combination of different types of inserts, such as a microfiber insert topped with a bamboo or hemp insert. This can help boost absorbency even further.

Layering Inserts

Layering inserts is another effective way to ensure maximum absorbency for nighttime diapering. Start with a microfiber insert for its quick absorbency and follow up with a bamboo or hemp insert for long-lasting absorbency. You can also add a third insert for extra protection if needed.

Using Diaper Liners

If you’re concerned about stains or making cleanup easier, consider using a diaper liner. These thin, biodegradable sheets sit on top of the diaper insert and catch solid waste, making cleanup a breeze.

Fitting the Diaper Correctly

Proper fit is essential for preventing leaks and ensuring your baby stays comfortable. Make sure the diaper is snug around the legs and waist, but not too tight.

Changing Diapers Regularly

While they can hold more liquid than disposables, it’s still important to change your baby’s diaper regularly. This will help prevent leaks and keep your baby feeling dry and comfortable.


Nighttime diapering may require a bit of trial and error, but by following these tips, you can ensure your baby stays comfortable and dry throughout the night.

Removing Odors

Wash Regularly

Try washing them every two to three days to avoid any build-up of bacteria or residue.

Use the Right Detergent

Avoid using fabric softeners or any products with fragrances, as they can leave residues that can cause odors. Instead, use a gentle, fragrance-free detergent that is specially formulated for cloth diapers.

Pre-Wash and Rinse Well

Before putting your cloth diaper inserts to a regular wash cycle, pre-wash them to help remove any excess urine or solid waste. Afterward, rinse them well in cold water, then proceed to the main wash cycle.

Consider Natural Deodorizers

Add half a cup of white vinegar to your final rinse cycle to remove any lingering smells.

Alternatively, you can place a few drops of tea tree oil on a cloth and toss it in during the wash cycle.

Avoid Dryer Sheets

Finally, avoid using dryer sheets when drying your cloth diaper inserts, as they can cause residue buildup, leading to odors. Instead, opt for wool dryer balls or natural dryer sheets made of cotton to reduce static and prevent odors.


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:

Can I use cloth diaper inserts overnight?

Yes, they can be used overnight. For maximum absorbency, consider layering multiple inserts or using a thicker, more absorbent material like hemp or bamboo.

How often should I wash cloth diaper inserts?

You should wash cloth diaper inserts after every use or every other use, depending on how soiled they are. It’s important to wash them frequently to maintain their absorbency and prevent odors.

How do I deal with stains on cloth diaper inserts?

To remove stains, try soaking them in a mixture of water and oxygen-based bleach before washing. Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it can damage the inserts and reduce their absorbency over time.

How to use cloth diapers with inserts, step by step

Here are the step-by-step instructions for using a cloth diaper with inserts:

  1. Place the waterproof outer cover/shell of the cloth diaper underneath the baby.
  2. Insert the absorbent inserts (usually microfiber or bamboo) into the inner pocket/pouch of the diaper. Fold or roll the inserts as needed.
  3. Bring the front of the diaper between the baby’s legs and do up any fasteners, like Velcro or snaps.
  4. Check the fit – it should be snug around the legs and waist but not too tight. Adjust as needed.
  5. When soiled, remove the outer cover and any solids by flushing or composting.
  6. Strip the inserts and wash according to your laundry routine.
  7. Replace clean inserts and cover and re-diaper baby as needed!

Proper fit is key – adjust the fasteners until it’s just right for your baby’s size.

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