Inserts are the absorbent part of the cloth diaper. They are usually rectangular-shaped and fit inside a pocket diaper, cover, or shell. The most popular material is a microfiber/microterry material (a synthetic). Inserts may also be hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, or minky. Microfiber/microterry should not be placed directly next to your baby’s skin (instead it may be placed inside a pocket).
Pre-folds are rectangular pieces of cloth that have a thicker middle layer. Also referred to as “your Grandma’s diapers” because they are the type of diapers most commonly used before the invention of the modern cloth diaper. Pre-folds are another budget friendly diaper and require a diaper cover or plastic pant (yes, they still make those too) to keep wetness contained. Pre-folds may be tri-folded and used like an insert or may be folded and pinned (or Snappied) to secure onto your baby. Most pre-folds are made of natural fibers like cotton, organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.