Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top Three Reasons Cloth Is Best

The majority of new parents are not aware of the many benefits and the ease of use of modern cloth diapers. For this post, I've tried to condense my ideas down into three main points about the differences between cloth and disposables: cost, disposal of wastes, and the environment/health. Warning: this post is one-sided because I have never used disposables and they are not appealing to me to try out. But, I have done my research!
  1. Cost: For $350-$450, you can get set up with a great stash of enough cloth diapers to last you from birth until potty training. Yes, you can spend more than that, but you can also spend less. I have read of some people who went as simple as possible and bought mostly used and diapered a baby for around $100. Compare that to disposables, where you'll be typically spending at least $1000 (based on buying store brand and only changing 6-8 diapers per day), some estimate as high as $3000, depending on how many you use in a day and what kind you buy. AND, you can re-use or re-sell the cloth diapers your baby is done with them, leading to more money savings. Yes, you do need to spend the money up-front, whereas with disposables it is a monthly shopping expense. There are a few ways to get around shelling out the entire cost for your diaper stash at one time, though: 1 - register for cloth diapers for your baby shower, 2 - buy them a few at a time throughout your pregnancy, 3 - buy them a few at a time after your baby's birth, while using up any disposables you were gifted.
  2. Ease of use: Modern cloth diapers can be as simple to put on your baby as disposables. Pins are no longer necessary, and most diapers now go on with velcro or aplix, or snaps. Cloth diaper washing routine is generally the same as for regular clothes, plus one extra rinse cycle, which you can probably set automatically on your washer. Breastfed poo can go straight into the washer, as can the wet bags that you can use to hold the dirty diapers. The more absorbent microfleece and microfiber diapers might need an extra cycle with bleach or peroxide once every couple of months to avoid stinky build-up, but that's it. Once your baby starts eating solids, you can shake the poo into the toilet before putting the diaper in the dirty bag. With cloth diapers, there is an average increase of 3 loads of laundry per week. Some people only wash once a week, others wash every day. It depends on your preferences and how many diapers you have. Also, I have heard time and again that people experience fewer "blow-outs" with cloth (we only have had 2-3 ever) so that means fewer outfit changes and less clothing to wash. In addition, you never have to run to the store late at night because you ran out of diapers!
  3. Health and the environment: Cloth diapers are better for the environment and for your baby. With cloth diapers, you are disposing of your baby's wastes by putting them into a water treatment system designed to handle such things. With disposables, you are typically putting the waste into landfills where it can seep into the ground. Disposable diapers are the number 3 single item in landfills, with each (disposable-diapered) baby creating about 1 ton of waste during the diapering years. Disposables are typically made of bleached paper and plastics that include traces of dioxins, and the sodium polyacrylate gel that creates the absorbency of disposables can get onto the baby's skin. Some babies are allergic to the materials in disposables, and if you feel the differences between a disposable and a cloth diaper you will easily see which one would be more comfortable for your baby. There has also been some research done on the increase in temperature around babies' genitals with disposable diapers, due to the plastic not allowing air flow, and some possible negative effects of that.
Lastly, cloth diapers are cute and soft and make diaper changes so much more enjoyable!

What are your reasons for using or not using cloth diapers?


  1. I decided to use cloth both for cost and for health reasons. And my little one's bum has never looked cuter! Just wanted to let you know that I have two awards for you over at my blog.


  2. We're getting ready to switch from disposable to cloth! What brand cloth diapers would you suggest? We're looking for something simple and cheap. Also, what size would be best (and be used the longest) for a three month old? Found your post very encouraging and helpful...thanks!

  3. Jess - Thanks so much for the awards! I'm honored!

  4. Allie - We love BumGenius AIOs and pockets, Thirsties pockets and covers, and Goodmamas fitteds with covers or wool. I have pretty much sold everything else in our stash at this point. I have heard great things about the new GroBaby diapers and would love to try them out. I recommend buying a variety, following the weight guidelines the companies provide for sizing (I'd guess your little one would fit smalls and anything one-size right now), and seeing what works best for you, then passing on or selling the rest. I have bought more than half of my diapers used and had a great experience with that, saving even more money. Check my other cloth diaper posts for more advice, or head over to or diaperpin. Good luck to you!

  5. Rose, thank you so much! So funny that we both wrote music posts the other day and I love that Henry was your top boy name's a good one! ; ) Can't wait to read more of your blog and check out your other cloth diaper posts as well as those sites. /Thanks again!