And How

Monday, October 8, 2012

MY "Facts" about Cloth Diapers

I'm not a cloth diaper expert by any means, but after reading a thread about cloth diapers today on one of the local news channels on Facebook, I realized that most people are misinformed about cloth diapers.  I wanted to share the information that I know to be true about them from my (little) experience using them.

1.  Cloth diapers are expensive when you buy them new.  If you don't care about having "new" cloth diapers, they can be super-cheap.  I actually prefer to buy used because it saves a little work from having to break-in new diapers.  Every cloth diaper I have bought has been purchased used for less than $5 per diaper.
Can you tell this is a used diaper?  Bought for $2, sold for $5!
2.  You don't have to be anti-disposable to use cloth diapers.  We do use disposable on occasion.  They are expensive (even if you use off brand) and inconvenient when you run out, but sometimes we throw a disposable in the diaper bag because it takes up less space or for other reasons and I don't feel guilty about it.  We've used about one or two bags of disposables for Anna over the course of her life so far and that's okay too.  We consider ourselves to be very flexible.

3.  You don't have to use "special" detergents or bleach with cloth diapers.  As a matter of fact, you SHOULDN'T use bleach on cloth diapers because it will make them not last as long.  Diapers can get clean with a small amount of detergent and warm-hot water.  The detergent I use to clean my diapers can be used on any of our clothes and it's safe for the environment.  You do need to be careful about the detergent you use, but doing a little research will tell you that there are lots of available detergents you could use.
Clean and White!
4.  Washing cloth diapers is the easiest laundry you will do.  Diaper day is not a chore.  I empty my bag of diapers in the washing machine and let the machine do the work.  If there are any stains, I let them sit in the sun with a bit of lemon juice to clear it right up (although if stains don't bother you, you can skip that step).  Sometimes I throw my diapers in the dryer and sometimes I hang them outside to dry.  Depends on the weather.  When they are dry, I throw them back in the drawer.  No folding required=Awesome!

5.  Poop is disgusting in cloth OR in disposables.  People think that you never have to handle poop if you don't use cloth diapers, but if you've ever had a baby, you know that explosive poops happen with disposables and at some point (or several), you are going to have to touch poop...and it's probably going to be on you and you won't even know it.  In the eight months I have cloth diapered Anna, she has only had one "explosive" poop in cloth that has come out of her diaper.  That is unheard-of with disposables.
Cloth diapers have saved her cute outfits (and mine!)
6.  You don't have to put your hand in the toilet to clean diapers (although I've done it before and it's not that horrifying).  I have a diaper sprayer now (a modified sink sprayer, basically) and it rinses the poop off the diaper so I can flush it down where it is supposed to go (FYI--you are supposed to dump poop out of disposables too and flush it, but no one does it).  Not to mention, if you are exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months (or just for however long you are breastfeeding), you don't even have to rinse poop out of diapers before washing them! Once you start solids, most poops fall into the toilet without much help.

7.  When you no longer need your cloth diapers (or don't like them anymore), you can always sell them (if you buy them used to begin with, you might can even get all your initial investment back!).  At some point they will reach the end of their life and you can trash them, but if you buy cotton, hemp, bamboo, or other natural fiber diapers, they will biodegrade and become a part of the earth again.  They won't take up space in the landfills for our children and grandchildren to have to deal with.  The extra water and detergents you use are no match for the environmental cost of plastic coated diapers sitting around for ages leaching chemicals into the land of our descendants.
Go green!
8.  You can't beat the cute factor in cloth diapers.  There's not a denim-look disposable diaper that can even compare to a sweet cloth diapered bottom (see photos above).  But be'll have to go up at least a size in your baby's clothes because of a fluffy tushy:)
Girl's got curves:)

9. It's never too late to try it out (unless your kid is already potty trained of course!)! I started cloth diapering Jude when he was 19 months old and he was potty trained within two or three months! An initial $50 investment saved us hundreds in diapers and pull-ups we didn't have to buy for the next year or so AND they are as good as new for Anna to use when she gets a little bigger!

Overall, I understand people not cloth diapering full time and I know that it's hard to cloth diaper economically in some areas (hello, Florence), but I think it's always worth a try, even if you only use one or two cloth diapers a day or week.  Oh well, I guess that's all I have in my arsenal, but I hope it helps someone make the decision to at least give it a shot:)


  1. My cloth diaper issue came in with daycare providers. They where not allowed to rinse then, they could only bag them for me.

    1. I know...and then you run into the issue of your diaper being lost or misplaced which would be a major headache. It would definitely be a lot harder to cloth diaper if I didn't stay at home (especially since I wash and sun diapers in the morning). Like I said, I don't judge people for not using cloth...but I don't want people to avoid them because of some misconceptions:)

  2. I think your opinion is especially valuable because you've used both cloth and disposables. I have a very high opinion of cloth diapers and agree with all of your points. We used Bum Genius pocket diapers with Jack (with velcro tabs) and the only problem we had was that in his second year we had trouble with smells with the microfiber inserts. I have read that those get harder to clean over time, so switched to the organic cotton Bum Genius All in Ones for Cora. I'm so happy I did bc there are no parts! I pretty much have to hang them outside or they would take forever to dry in the dryer, but I've got my system down and clothes liners on the back porch :)

    1. Oh Courtney, what I wouldn't give for a clothes line on our back deck. Unfortunately, our dog would see that as a challenge to see how many diapers he could pull off and destroy. We do have a great drying rack from IKEA that we put in our driveway on diaper day. It works out great. I've heard that about microfiber inserts...I imagine that would be especially tough to get clean with an HE machine. I'm sure you're loving those AIO's! We only use Grovia's which are considered "AI2's" and I love basically having no parts too!