Cloth Diaper Covers – What Are They For?

Recently, I saw a post on my local cloth diapering group.  A mom had just bought some cloth diaper covers and realized that they were not like her beloved pocket diapers.  She didn’t know what they were actually for, so she asked the group.

I was about to answer… and then I realized that there’s no way that I could write a short answer about the wonders of cloth diaper covers.  Rather than post something that’s tl;dr (too long; didn’t read or “teal deer”) on a Facebook wall, I figured that making a nice blog post with visual aids made more sense.

Cloth diaper covers are pretty versatile things.  You can get cloth diaper covers in a variety of formats: basic, yoked, doubled gussets, or a snap in insert.

Basic Cloth Diaper Covers

Cloth Diaper Covers - What Are They For? (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

A very tiny Eudora modeling her Bummis Super Whisper Snap Wrap.

Your basic cloth diaper covers are a single piece of PUL or TPU with a closure of either Velcro or snaps.  You just lay whatever you put inside the diaper down over the cover, put your baby down on top, and close it up.  These are often a part of a lower price cloth diapering system with flats, prefolds, or contour diapers.

Examples include: Bummis (available at Cozy Bums, Cloth Diaper Addicts Amazon Store, and Nicki’s Diapers) and Econobums (available at Cozy Bums)

Double Gusset Cloth Diaper Covers

Cloth Diaper Covers - What Are They For? (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

The interior of a Thirsties cover.

Double gusset diaper covers are just what they sound like: a cover that is very similar to your basic cloth diaper covers, except they include a double gusset to contain potentially explosive and oozy newborn or breastfed baby poo.

Examples include: Blueberry Coveralls (available at Cloth Diaper Addicts Amazon Store and Nicki’s Diapers) and Thirsties (available at Cloth Diaper Addicts Amazon Store and Nicki’s Diapers)

All-in-Two/Hybrid Cloth Diaper Covers

All-in-Two and hybrid systems are your basic cloth diaper cover with a twist.  Some have a yoke style to them in order to keep the insert in place.  Others have a snap-in method for their inserts.  You can use the designed inserts with the hybrid cloth diaper covers, or you can mix and match your inserts for a fun experiment.  (Here’s a handy dandy chart to compare some all-in-two cloth diaper covers.)

Advantages of Cloth Diaper Covers

Cloth diaper covers are often lower priced and exceptional versatile.  You can use multiple types of diapers inside the covers (whether it’s a hybrid or all-in-two system or a basic cover).   Cloth diaper covers will also dry significantly faster than all-in-one diapers.  In fact, a Best Bottom diaper shell can dry in just a couple of hours on my drying rack.

Have you ever used cloth diaper covers?  Which did you prefer?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. With my oldest (he’s 14) I used the old fashioned prefold’s and I washed/stripped them and hung them on the line. I was SO thrilled with my 4th to find out there is a much cuter/easier option. Even my husband loved using the AI2’s!

  2. I am not a fan of pocket diapers. I love my Best Bottom shells and Flip covers.

  3. Mindy @The Inquisitive Mom says:

    I really like a gusseted cover, combined with a fitted. I know the two step process seems like a lot of work to people sometimes (that’s the feedback I get), but really they aren’t. Plus, it’s such a leak proof system with a fitted underneath. This is my pick for baby at church and going out and I think it takes up less room in the diaper bag than pockets.

  4. Motherease, big fan! I purchased several when my son was a baby and still have them now with baby #4, although I’ve supplemented my stash with some diapers that are less worn.

  5. Rachel N says:

    fitteds and covers are so wonderful for newborns. They contain all the mess since there are 2 elastics to go through. Everyone should have a couple of cloth diaper covers, even if you use disposable diapers. They work wonderfully to contain diarrhea messes when put overtop of a disposable.

    • They’re also great even over sposies for under little girl’s dresses. I know several disposable using families who use them for those dresses that don’t come with covers.

  6. Meg Michelle Greenan Liani says:

    Aha!! I am learning a lot from this!! I definitely like the sound of the Double Gusset Covers to keep in the mess and the Hybrids to mix and match! Thank you so much for sharing!! 🙂

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