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The Complete List of Cloth Diaper Essentials

So you’ve decided to use cloth diapers for your baby – yay! But now you’re wondering what in the heck you need to make this a successful journey, am I right? Honestly, all you need are your cloth diapers and a washing machine. However, there are certain essentials that will make your cloth diaper journey a little easier and worth the investment. However, I do want to note that this list is short because cloth diapering is not and doesn’t have to be complicated. Read on to see what these essentials are and why you need them!

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Diaper Sprayer and Shield

Okay, the #1 question I get all the time about cloth diapers is what do you do with all that poo? A diaper sprayer! While there are a few ways to get rid of solid poo in your cloth diapers, a diaper sprayer is your best bet and worth its weight in gold. Think pressure washer for your diapers. A diaper sprayer is hooked up to a toilet and will get all the solids off, including the non-ploppable poo! Combine the diaper sprayer with a shield to prevent splashing and contamination, then just flush the poo down the toilet and add your freshly sprayed diaper to your dirty stash. It’s that simple and you can stash the diaper sprayer out of the way when it’s not in use.

A diaper sprayer and shield costs around $60 as a bundle. In my opinion, it is well worth it and my #1 cloth diaper essential! Of the other cloth diaper essentials listed below, the diaper sprayer and shield are the most costly, so you can save money elsewhere. 

Read this post to see how fast it is to spray off solids from cloth diapers. 

Trash Can and Pail Liners

Speaking of your dirty stash, you’ll need somewhere to store it in between wash days. Since you’ll be storing wet and dirty diapers for a few days before washing, I would not recommend a closed system as this can lead to even more stink and mold. If possible, I recommend an open-air system, such as a regular trash can with a pail liner. 

In our family, we have two pail liners to alternate while one is in the laundry. It works really well and you don’t need more than that, unless you have multiple dirty stashes around the house (i.e. one for downstairs and one for upstairs). 

Pail liners cost around $20 for a set of three.

For your open-air trash can, you can easily find one for less than $10 at a local retailer, such as Wal-mart or Target. 

Related Post: Newborn Cloth Diapers: Do You Really Need Them?


Wetbags are essential when you cloth diaper and you are out and about doing errands. Wetbags keep the moisture and smell locked in when you change cloth diapers. Some wetbags are wet/dry combos, so you can keep clean cloth diapers and clothes on one side and the dirty ones on the other side. 

Again, you don’t need many wetbags – just enough to make it through one laundry cycle. However, if you plan on using your cloth diapers at daycare, you will need more. This will depend on how your school would like you to take home the dirty cloth diapers. 

Depending on the size of the wetbag, the cost can range from $10-20. 

Drying Rack

Your family may already have a drying rack as part of your regular laundry essentials, but it is a must-have for when you use cloth diapers. Each cloth diaper brand has their own instructions on how to dry their shells. However, it is more the norm to hang dry the cloth diaper shell. This is to prevent damaging the polyurethane laminate (PUL) or waterproof layer. Hanging dry will also help with the wear and tear of your cloth diapers, making them last longer for your family and preserve the resale value. We also hang dry the inserts after one cycle in the dryer. 

We love this drying rack and it’s the perfect size to fit our stash of ~30 diapers when we wash once weekly.

Again, depending on the size and quality of the drying rack, the cost can range from $20-40. 

Pro tip: when you hang dry your shells, dry them “hotdog” style to decrease the strain on the elastics

Cloth Diaper-Safe Rash Cream

One of the reasons why you may be using cloth diapers is because it’s healthier for your baby’s skin and lessens the risk of diaper rash (our two kids have never had diaper rash in their life and they are 3 years old and 8 months old!). However, it’s always a good idea to have a rash cream on hand, just in case. 

BUT! Not all rash creams are safe for use in cloth diapers. There are some that could cause buildup in your cloth diapers, leading them to lose absorbency. This causes those dreaded leaks! 

In general, MOST diaper creams will wash out of diapers made of NATURAL fibers, such as hemp, bamboo, and cotton. Just make sure to use a good wash routine and hot water. Because we use our favorite pocket cloth diaper with a stay dry lining, we avoid any petroleum-based rash cream. 

Below is a list of cloth diaper-safe rash cream to choose from. We personally use this one after every bowel movement (as a skin protectant) and love how buttery it feels. 

The cost of cloth diaper-safe rash creams is usually under $15. But a tube will last you a long time (hopefully) because rashes are infrequent with cloth diapers. 

Final Thoughts

This rounds out the list of cloth diaper essentials! Again, I want to emphasize that I kept this list short for two reasons: 1) cloth diapering is not and doesn’t have to be complicated 2) you can and will save money when you cloth diaper, even when you include all of the “extra” accessories. When you combine this list of cloth diaper essentials, the total is $120-150. I excluded the cloth diaper-safe rash cream from this total because rash cream is still an expense, even if you use disposable diapers. 

When you add up the one-time cost of the actual cloth diapers and the essentials listed here, cloth diapering is more cost-effective than disposable diapers over time. Not to mention, it is better for the baby and great for the environment!

Do you agree with this list? What cloth diaper essential would you add? I would love to hear from you about your cloth diaper journey, whether you are just getting started (or even thinking about it) or you’ve been cloth diapering all of your little ones! Comment below and let’s chat!

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