Cloth Diapers: Hook and Loop Closure or Snaps?

Many cloth diaper brands are now letting the consumer make the choice if they prefer hook and loop closure or snaps by offering their diapers in both styles. For example, the Thirsties DUO Diaper comes in both options as shown in the pictures below:

Thirsties DUO diaper Snaps (above) and Aplix (below)

When purchasing cloth diapers you maybe unsure which to select, especially if there is a nominal difference in price between the two. I have experimented with both styles across various brands and I personally tend to prefer hook and loop closure. The main reason is because the diaper is basically a custom fit every time. Snaps are fastened at pre-determined increments which may end up not fitting your baby exactly right. The hook and loop closure allows you to pull the diaper tabs across as far as needed to be snug, yet comfortable for baby. A properly fitting diaper is essential to avoiding leaks and blowouts.

Additionally, I find that snaps take a little bit longer to diaper baby. This may not be a big deal when diapering itty-bitty babies who lay peacefully still while you change their diaper…however once they are a wiggly, rolling baby, snaps can definitely be more of a challenge both in getting a messy diaper off and putting a clean one on. That being said I know many cloth diapering mamas who prefer snaps.

One of the primary reasons for preferring snaps is that Aplix gets yucky (for lack of a better word) over time in the washing machine. I certainly can attest to that! Mine have had all sorts of “interesting” things stuck in them. However, I have found a trick to cleaning Aplix. You can use a toothbrush to clean the Aplix. Simply brush against the Aplix very gently with the toothbrush to loosen debris. Once the gunk is loosened you can pull it out with your fingers. It’s rather easy to do, just a tad tedious. Although sometimes a rote task such as cleaning the Aplix on your cloth diapers can be strangely theraputic and rewarding. 🙂

Dirty Aplix on a bumGenius

Aplix on bumGenius post "toothbrush cleaning"

Another reason some people don’t like Aplix is because it can prematurely wear out your diapers if the Aplix loses its grip. This mostly occurs from washing the diapers, not from general diapering use. When you wash and machine dry cloth diapers with Aplix closures they will hook onto each other requiring you to forcefully pull them apart after washing. Over time this will wear out the Aplix. Many cloth diapers have “laundry tabs” inside them to avoid the diapers hooking together while tumbling in the washer and dryer.

Laundry tab on a Thirsties

The laundry tabs also help reduce lint build-up in the hook tape. I will be honest that I rarely (okay virtually never) use the laundry tabs on my diapers, but I like the fact that they are there…just in case I ever decide to. 🙂  I should note however that I almost always hang dry my diapers which means they are not tumbling around in a dryer on a regular basis.

All in all there are pros and cons to both options and it really comes down to personal preference. Also your preferences might change over time as your baby grows or you try out different brands.  I have both styles in my diaper stash and consistantly find myself grabbing for diapers with Aplix. I know it’s time to wash a load of diapers when I only have clean snap diapers available. 🙂

What do you prefer; hook and loop or snaps? What do you like/dislike about each option?

PS. Tomorrow is a day to express gratitude so on that note I will share a few things I am thankful for!

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