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Types of Cloth Diapers

Are you confused by so many types of cloth diapers in the market? Are you getting headaches from terms such as AIO, AI2, SIO, pocket diapers, classic diapers, diaper covers, …? Do you feel like you can never learn this strange language and especially usage of cloth diapers and decide to use disposable diapers just because it seems easier? Well, let us assure you that cloth diapers are not only prettier than the always-the-same disposable ones, but also pretty easy to use! In this article, we will shed light on all the various kinds of cloth diapers to help you choose the right system for you and your baby. 

Let’s put it straight - from any diaper, disposable or cloth one, we expect basically two things - to be as absorbent as possible and not to let any leaking through. Disposable diapers offer a chemical solution to ensure the absorbency - the liquid is absorbed by a gel within the diaper. Leaking is prevented by means of a plastic cover as the outer layer. 

With cloth diapers, the absorbent layer can be made of various naturally absorbent materials - mostly cotton, hemp, or bamboo. Leaking is prevented by the layer of polyester with a polyurethane laminating - the so called PUL layer. This material is waterproof yet breathable, just like a membrane jacket. In the end, the difference between all kinds of cloth diapers is just about how these two parts - the absorbent and the waterproof one - are combined and connected to each other. And here is the overview of that:



AIO (All-in-One) – this is the most comfortable and the most easy-to-use option. The PUL and the absorbent layers are sewn together to create one-piece diaper. It is put on in exactly the same way as a disposable diaper, and washed altogether, after each use. The advantage of this comfort and user-friendliness is sacrificed to a higher price and lower absorbency than in case of some other types of diapers. You also need to count with longer drying as the absorbent layer is permanently attached to the waterproof one. This also means the diaper cannot be tumble-dried (or placed on heating), as this might damage the PUL layer. 

Bamboolik offers a great solution to this - the AIO diapers come in the form of Pocket Diapers where the absorbent layer can be removed from the pocket. This means it can be washed separately and also tumble-dried, while the empty pocket (containing the PUL layer) will line-dry faster without its absorbent part.



AI2 (All-in-Two) – same meaning as SIO (Snap-in-One) which is also commonly used. This diaper is nearly as easy to use as an All-in-One diaper. The difference is that the absorbent part and the waterproof PUL layer are not sewn together, you need to snap them together first before you put the diaper on your baby. A benefit is that after each use, only the absorbent inserts need to be washed. The PUL Diaper Cover can be reused, unless soiled. It can be aired out for a while, then snap a new insert in and use again. Thanks to this, the system is as easy for changing as the All-in-One system, while being more economical. It is also the most variable system. You can combine all insert types according to your current need, so the parts are like LEGO-cubes.



Fitted Diaper – A diaper completely made of absorbent material. It needs to be used together with a PUL Diaper Cover. The advantage is high absorbency, but it is a bit more expensive than in case of the AI2 system, and you always must remember to put two separate pieces on (might be a little nuisance in case of more active toddlers who tend to run away from being changed :) )




Pocket Diaper – A diaper with a pocket which can be stuffed by absorbent inserts according to the current need for absorbency. Bamboolik Pocket Diapers contain a removable insert, so they are as easy to use as All-in-One diapers, but much easier for maintenance: the insert can be dried separately or even tumble-dried, while the empty pocket will air-dry faster - this is not possible in case of an All-in-One. 

Bamboolik’s Night Fitted Diaper is basically also a pocket diaper. It contains a sewn-in insert which can be pulled out for washing and drying, and put back in together with any extra insert to boost absorbency. But remember it needs to be used with a Diaper Cover, otherwise the night will be wet!

Pocketwindel Nachthöschenwindel 


Inserts – everything which makes a diaper absorbent. It is usually a squared-shaped piece of fabric made of an extra absorbent material. It can be combined with most types of cloth diapers. As part of our AI2 System, Bamboolik offers various types of inserts, varying by absorbency - for instance Short InsertToddler InsertNight Soaker, etc.

 EinlageLange EinlageNachteinlage




NB: The following types of diapers cannot be found in Bamboolik range, but they can of course be used for changing:


Classical square diaper – or flat diaper. The "old-fashioned" diaper used in the times of our childhood and before. It is by far the cheapest option and dries extremely quickly. It is suitable mainly for newborns as it can be folded well around the legs. Which brings us to its disadvantages - it needs to be folded, which might be too complicated and time-consuming for some, and also it is the least absorbent of all types of diapers. This can however be improved by adding an additional insert (for instance a Short Insert from the Bamboolik AI2 System). The flat diaper can be fastened around the baby bum using a Snappi fastener. It must always be used together with a waterproof Diaper Cover.



Prefold – This is basically a flat diaper, however it has one part, usually the middle one, thicker then the others - thanks to having more layers of the same material in that part. It is usually smaller than the classical square diaper. It is made of modern materials and thus much more absorbent and easier for changing. It is very variable and can be folded in more different ways, or can be also fastened by using the Snappi fastener - this is perfect for newborns. For older kids, you can simply fold it and place into the Diaper Cover. Yes, the Diaper Cover must also not be missing when changing with prefolds. These diapers are cheaper than some other diaper systems, however, as folding is needed, they again require some practice and a bit more work until you make it fit your baby perfectly.




Are you still not sure which diaper to choose, or you would simply like to touch all the kinds of diapers, or train changing with them on a doll (or on your actual baby of course :) ) ? Then get in touch with one of our cloth diaper consultants who will show you and explain to you everything you need!