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Chinese Prefold Cloth Diapers

Updated on August 7, 2011

Chinese Prefold Cloth Diapers—what are they?

There seem to be lots of technical terminologies surrounding the diaper trading segment of the market. All-in-ones, diaper service quality, soaker pants, pocket diapers—all these terms refer to or describe that which is the most basic garment of all—the diaper. (Shall we call them “baby talk?”)

A Chinese prefold diaper, sometimes even abbreviated to a more-confusing CPF, is the classic rectangular-shaped diaper which is further divided into three sections—think of three individual rectangular cloths sewn together to form yet a bigger rectangle. An example of a Chinese prefold diaper is shown on the right.

The “old-fashioned” rectangular, one-layer diapers are often referred to as “flats.” The Chinese prefold, along with other prefolds such as the Indian and European prefolds, are variations of such.

The three sections were made to optimize absorbency where it is needed most. The middle section, which gets “soiled” more, is made up of 6-8 layers of cloth (or other absorbent material), whereas the two outer sections usually have only 4 layers. On the packaging, Chinese prefold diapers are usually defined as 4-6-4 or 4-8-4, pertaining to the number of layers each section has.

Chinese prefold diapers can be used with diaper covers, or simply secured in place with fasteners, safety pins, or with a “Snappi.”

To learn more about folding Chinese prefolds and other diaper folding techniques, click here.

The flat and prefold diapers are perfect for those in a tight budget because they are the least expensive. They cost around $15-20 per dozen. They are usually made from cloths such as gauzy fabrics, velour, or hemp. They are very absorbent and easy to clean and dry, which makes them a very simple yet economical choice for diapering. You can even have a little fun and style by choosing some of the many printed, dyed, or embroidered choices available on the market.

When shopping for Chinese prefolds, look for the term Diaper Service Quality or DSQ. It refers to diapers that can withstand harsh cleaning methods typically used in bulk diaper cleaning services. Basically, the manufacturers are simply stating that the diapers are tough and last long.

Where and what to get

If you are planning to order your cloth Chinese prefold diaper, there are a handful of diaper specialty shops out there. Below are some examples.

If you are more of the eco-friendly type and want only 100% organic and green products for your baby, you can check out Green Options Community for a list of available prefolds complete with reviews from their members.

Some of the highly-recommended products include Gerber’s birdseye prefolds, Green Earth’s unbleached Chinese prefolds, and All Together’s organic prefolds. More information on these products can be found below.

The Green Earth unbleached prefold diaper is also available from for only $1.89 each. It is made from 100% cotton—birdseye weave—which makes them soft, durable, and highly-absorbent. It has a 9-8-4 layering design. It also has received great reviews from satisfied customers.

Read reviews for Green Earth Prefold Diapers.

Another good prefold diaper is made by SwadleBees. SwaddleBees’ diapers cost $15.95 for a pack of six. Their size 1, intended for babies weighing 7-15 pounds merasure 12 by 16 inches.

Read more about SwaddleBees diapers.


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