How to Prep Prefold Cloth Diapers

How to Prep Prefold Cloth Diapers

When Daniel saw the large, smooth "sheets" of cotton that came in the mail, he was pretty sure I ordered the wrong thing. That's because prefolds need "prepped." There's a few steps to take to make them absorbent and diaper-ready.

Prepping Prefolds Before Use

Wash prefolds on hot.

You can add a small amount of detergent, but even that's not really necessary. I added a little in the first cycle, then not again for the others.

Prepping Prefold Cloth Diapers

Dry prefolds on high heat.

Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. After a couple cycles, I got tired of this and didn't let them fully dry in between. Although the high heat in the dry is what helps them quilt up and become absorbent.

How to Prepare Prefolds

Repeat until prefolds are quilted.

Keep the wash-on-hot/dry-on-high-heat cycle going until the diapers shrink and quilt. It takes 6-8 cycles to reach max absorbency. They can generally be used in as little as 3-4 cycles if needed, but might be more prone to leaks at that point.

The photo above shows a brand new prefold on the far left, then a prefold after 1 wash, a prefold after a few washes, and a fully quilted and prepped prefold after 8 washes on the far right.

If you're buying prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers...

when you order, select the box that says you want the How-To Booklet. They thoroughly cover prefolds care.


  1. Thank you for this! I am expecting my first baby in January and really want to cloth diaper, but there are SO many options, it's kind of been overwhelming! I have been leaning towards prefolds for a while now though so your entire site has been so extremely helpful!

  2. Larissa Ramos9/3/14, 11:00 PM

    This site is amazingly awesome! I am switching to cloth ASAP thanks!!!