Surprising Reasons to Knit Diaper Soakers–and 5 Free Knitting Patterns

If you’re looking for an outstanding gift for the parents of a baby and/or toddler, consider diaper soakers

If someone you love is expecting πŸ‘Ά, and you’re planning to knit a baby gift or three (of course), I have a few questions for you.

  • Will this baby be spending a lot of his/her first year outside?
  • Would you rather knit something that everyone else isn’t likely to give?
  • Finally, are these parents-to-be planning to clothe their baby in reusable rather than disposable diapers?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes!”, then I have the perfect possibility for you: Diaper soakers!

What is a Diaper Soaker?

In a world in which disposable diapers are often the first and only consideration for new parents (full disclosure: I was one of these), you may wonder, “what on earth is a diaper soaker?”

First, if you find the phrase “diaper soaker” somewhat unfortunate πŸ‘€, I feel you. I even searched for another term. The only one I found that didn’t include the term “soaker” was “wool diaper cover.” To me, this is a far more pleasant term, but it is a bit longer.

Anyway, we’ll set my squeamishness aside… πŸ™ƒ

Back to our original question: diaper soakers are the far more pleasant equivalent of plastic or rubber pants, if you happen to remember those. When a baby wears cloth diapers, s/he needs something atop those diapers to keep babies from leaving puddles.

Why Diaper Soakers Are the Superior Choice

Diaper soakers are a more pleasant alternative to plastic pants for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re far cuter. Most plastic pants are pretty dull.
  • When wool soakers are lanolized (as is recommended), the soaker will repel wetness. It will also have antimicrobial properties, and as a result, parents won’t necessarily need to wash the soaker every time the baby uses his/her diaper. (Changing the diaper will always be necessary, of course.)
    Don’t know how to lanolize? Keep your eyes peeled for the bonus tip video at the end of this post!
  • Because wool remains warm even when wet, baby won’t become instantly and uncomfortably cold when his/her diaper is wet.

Diaper soakers are a great idea for any parents planning to use reusable cloth diapers, of course. But for babies who will spend many of their early months outside–and who might be spending a lot of time in just a diaper–diaper soakers are almost necessary!

(Not hyperbole. Necessary, I say.) πŸ˜‰

Diaper soakers can be used with babies wearing disposable diapers, too, especially if that baby has graduated to crawling and spends lots of time outside in only a diaper. A soaker can keep the diaper from becoming covered in grass, dirt, sand, or wherever baby is spending time outdoors.

Are you convinced that your loved one’s upcoming baby needs a diaper soaker or two? Then keep scrolling for some adorable free soaker patterns! 😍

Tiny Pants - SandriFaToren on Ravelry
Tiny Pants
Photo: SandriFaToren on Ravelry

Adorable Patterns for Diaper Soakers

Tiny Pants

  • What you’ll need to make it: 100 to 120 yards DK weight wool yarn; US Size 7 and 6 circular needles or DPNs (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); 3 stitch markers; stitch holders or scrap yarn
  • Why you’ll want to: It’s easy why, as of this writing, this is the most popular soaker pattern on Ravelry. These adorable pants are knitted entirely in the round, in one piece, and the ribbed waistband and leg cuffs give it a simple charm.
Hideaway Nappy Cover - Marianna-Mel
Hideaway Nappy Cover
Photo: Marianna-Mel

Hideaway Nappy Cover

  • What you’ll need to make it: Between 30 and 110 yards DK weight wool yarn (depending on the size); US Size 6 needles; 4 buttons
  • Why you’ll want to: You’ll love that you can knit this all in one piece (no seaming!). The recipients of this thoughtful gift will love that the buttons on either side mean it’s easy to remove the cover to change baby’s diaper.


  • What you’ll need to make it: 150 to 200 yards worsted weight wool yarn; US Size 4 and 6 needles; 4 to 6 buttons or snaps; stitch markers
  • Why you’ll want to: The design is similar to the Hideaway Nappy Cover, but it uses slightly more advanced knitting techniques, like intarsia (to get that contrasting border) and short rows for shaping. If you feel comfortable with these techniques or want to give them a try, this pattern will be well worth the effort!

Little Seedling Soaker

Little Seedling Soaker - lsgarner on Ravelry
Little Seedling Soaker
Photo: lsgarner on Ravelry
  • What you’ll need to make it: 100 to 200 yards worsted weight wool yarn; US Size 6 and 3 needles; 2 stitch markers; 2 buttons; measuring tape
  • Why you’ll want to: This is another “button up”-style soaker, though this one features an adorable seed stitch pattern that borders the waistband and additional soaker panel in the crotch to help prevent leaks at nighttime.

Baby Bloomers

Baby Bloomers - Purl Soho
Baby Bloomers
Photo: Purl Soho
  • What you’ll need to make it: About 135 to 265 yards for main color and 45 to 90 yards for contrast color of laceweight wool yarn; US Size 0, 1, and 2 circular needles and/or DPNs (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: The design of this soaker features a shape reminiscent of baby bloomers of old, which gives this soaker a rather vintage feel. It’s also designed for bigger babies, so if the baby or toddler in question is ready to move on from smaller soakers but not quite ready for training pants, this soaker is a delightful option!

Bonus Tip: Lanolizing Wool Soakers

To get that water-repellent, antimicrobial effect for wool diaper soakers, you can actually lanolize the soakers after you knit them! This video will show you exactly how to do it.

Diaper soakers (outside of their unfortunate name πŸ˜‰) have so many advantages for parents of babies and toddlers. Why not treat the parents in your life to an adorable gift or two?

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