A cloth diaper is a diaper made out of absorbent material that can be washed and reused. It’s a simple as that! Most cloth diapers consist of an inner and an outer.
That said, there are various types of cloth diapers systems. Here are the main ones broken down into three catergories:
Usually when we’re referring to cloth diapers we’re referring to the systems that consist of both an inner and an outer. There are exceptions to this of course, but generally speaking when we talk about things like flats and prefolds or anything else in the “inner only” category it’s pretty much a given that it will be used in conjunction with an outer cover although that’s often not explicitly said. Using an inner only for your little one is probably ok for very short stints of time but after a while, as the diaper becomes more soiled that wetness can soak through the diaper and get onto anything that the baby’s bottom touches. That is of course less than ideal. So we use the waterproof cover to keep that wetness from affecting things outside of the diaper.
If you’re not familiar with what any of these are don’t worry! We’ve got breakdowns for each linked above. Looking for a quick breakdown of each diaper system? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at the chart below. And if you’d like to download this chart for reference offline, you can do that here too!