Cotton diapers are the most common type of cloth diapers. Cotton is relatively inexpensive and absorbent and comes in a variety of types to meet different needs.
Cotton is a versatile cloth diaper fabric and can be used as part of the soaker (absorbent) layer, in diaper doublers and in inserts. Because it is not waterproof, cotton is not used as the outer layer of a cloth diaper except when bonded with a waterproof fabric like polyurethane laminate (PUL).
Compared with other popular cloth diaper fabrics such as hemp or bamboo, cotton is inexpensive, but it is not as absorbent as hemp or bamboo. Cotton baby diapers will, therefore be slightly bulkier than hemp diapers or bamboo diapers to get the same level of absorbency. Keep in mind, hemp and bamboo diapers are typically a blend of cotton and hemp or cotton and bamboo.
Cotton comes in several different varieties, which each have their own characteristics and benefits.
Birdseye cotton has an immediately recognizable textured diamond shaped weave and has been used for years as cloth diaper fabric. It is durable and can typically found in prefold diapers or flatfolds.
Cotton twill has a tight weave and is most commonly used in prefold diapers.
Terry cloth fabric is a looped pile that is soft, absorbent and durable. Several popular brands use terry cloth for the inner, absorbent layer of their diapers, as well as for soakers, pocket diaper inserts and wipes.
Velour is extremely soft. It is stretchy, plush and absorbent.
Sherpa is brushed terry fabric. The loops of the terry remain intact, which maintains a high degree of absorbency, and the brushing creates a very soft and downy feel to the fabric.
Organic cotton is grown without chemicals and produced without the use of bleaches and dyes.
Cotton is such a commonly used cloth diaper fabric, you will find most popular brands offer cotton cloth diapers as a part of the line of cloth diapers. I have not included a list of popular brand that sell cotton baby diapers simply because so many brands offer some type of cotton cloth diaper, a list would not be particularly helpful. If you review the pages that describe each type of cotton diaper (terry, organic cotton, etc.) you'll find lists of companies that offer these specific types of cotton diapers.