What are Soakers?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Soakers are simple diaper covers, most often crocheted or knitted from wool, or other natural fabrics like angora or goat hair. Such covers for diapers are still commonly used in many parts of the world, to provide a little protection against wet diapers. Many people prefer them to using rubber or plastic pants, since they provide greater breathability for babies’ bottoms, and they tend to be environmentally friendly. As many people turn to eco-friendly solutions to raising babies, soakers have again become popular.

Most soakers simply look like a pair of woolen underpants, and fit over the top of the diaper. As mentioned they provide some protection against the damp, but not total protection. Wool is most commonly used, especially wool coated with lanolin, because of its ability to absorb water well. However, you should make sure wool is not creating irritation; some babies may have skin reactions to wool, as do some adults.

You really have to be up on your game in terms of diaper changing if you want to use soakers, and you may want to choose durable clothes for baby, since soakers won’t prevent exterior layers from getting wet. You’ll also need quite a few pairs, especially for newborns who may wet or dirty diapers every few hours. If the soaker is at all wet, it needs to be changed. Any bedding should be covered with puddle pads or other nonabsorbent material that protects your mattress.


Some people navigate a middle path between soakers and other diaper covers. They use wool covers during the day when they can quickly respond to baby’s need for a quick diaper change, and use rubber pants or sturdier diaper covers at night in order to avoid soiled mattresses or bedding once baby sleeps through the night. Since it isn’t uncommon for babies to at least urinate when they sleep, soakers can definitely be a liability when they’re used at night, especially if you plan on co-sleeping with your child.

Some risk of wetness spreading is avoided by placing down a large puddle pad, but if this shifts in the night, you could end up with a soiled mattress. Given the price of replacing large mattresses for adults, it’s a good idea to have extra protection when the baby sleeps with you. All diapers, whether cloth or disposable, are prone to some leakage, so using large puddle pads always makes sense if a baby is sleeping with you.

When a baby is having difficulty with diaper rash, soakers can come in handy. Since they are made of natural fabrics, they provide extra breathability. You’ll also know if you check often when a baby is wet so you can quickly change diapers. If you’re interested in these diaper covers, you can find premade ones in a few high-end baby stores, and quite a few types online. There also exists many patterns for making your own covers with various crochet and knitting patterns available, many of them free or inexpensive.


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