There are so many misconceptions about modern cloth diapering, that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. In reality, many of the caregivers who come to our boutique for cloth diaper classes and education are surprised at how easy it is to successfully cloth diaper your child and how few drawbacks there truly are!
Does that mean every aspect of cloth diapering is exceedingly simple? No.
Will the benefits of cloth diapering still outweigh the challenges? Every. Single. Time.
In this article, we are going to break down the pros and cons of cloth diapering, as well as explain how you can navigate the bumps in the road and also give you some tools to be prepared for the journey.
Pros of Cloth Diapering
If you are a brand new cloth diaper user or are considering using cloth diapers in the future, you may not know that the list of positive aspects is actually pretty extensive.
Here are some true benefits that you can expect from choosing cloth diapers:
Cloth diapers save you money.
Cloth diapers save you A LOT of money. When we examined the cost savings of using cloth diapers in 2018, we found that caregivers can expect to save between $1500 and $3000 per child. Because diapering will obviously not be the only expense you expect to incur when welcoming a new edition, this is a huge benefit!
The biggest difference between financial planning for disposable and cloth diapers is that your cloth diaper investment will occur before your baby is even born. This also means that you could potentially have eliminated your future diapering expense before your baby is even born.
But what about all the folding, snapping and pinning?
Modern cloth diapers are more efficiently designed and more user friendly than they have ever been.
High quality modern cloth diapers will not only save you money, but they are so much easier to use than they have been in the past. Do you need a diaper with zero extra parts and pieces? Or a diaper that’s easy to use for multiple caregivers? Or one that never needs to be sized up?
One Size All In One are simple to use and go on in one easy step. Many All In Ones can be used from 8 lbs through potty training and are available in both snap and hook & loop options.
Cloth diapers are environmentally friendly.
There is still no perfect estimate as to how long it actually takes for a disposable diaper to completely breakdown inside our landfills.
Current studies estimate that it takes about 500 years for 1 disposable diaper to completely decompose. The impact of that number can be truly felt when we consider that the EPA reported 20 billion disposable diapers, or 3.5 million tons of waste, are placed in our nation’s landfills every year.
3.5 million tons of waste is about
- 7 million grand pianos or
- 1 million Asian Elephants or
- 500,000 adult T-Rexes or
- 3.5 million Great White Sharks or
- 44,871 Space Shuttle Endeavors
In other words, in just 5 years, the number of disposable diapers in our landfills will equal ALL of the items and animals mentioned above.
Not only can the same stash of cloth diapers be used from birth to potty training, but cloth diaper stashes can even be passed on from sibling to sibling and then passed on again to friends or sold to recoup some of your initial investment.
The sustainability and environmental friendliness of cloth diapers is an incredible benefit. It’s an aspect that not only benefits our children when they are in their diapering years, but also for years to come.
Cons of Cloth Diapering
So cloth diapers save you money, they’re easy to use, they have environmental benefits, and the list goes on. BUT, what about the challenges?
You will have to wash poopy diapers.
This seems like something we would not want to draw attention to when encouraging you to cloth diaper, but it’s actually just the opposite. Parents who come and see us rarely seek education without asking (at least once) ‘What about the poop?’
You will have to wash diapers that have been pooped in.
Before you decide that that absolutely is not for you, here are some interesting facts:
- The EPA and CFR actually require that toilet waste be disposed of through sanitary sewers and never in landfills. So, what does this mean for your diapering journey? It means that even if you were to use disposable diapers, you would need to empty solid waste into the toilet before disposing the diaper.
- Waste from Exclusively BreastFed babies, or EBF waste, is completely water soluble. This means that as long as your baby’s diet consists completely of breastmilk, there is no need to rinse your diapers before laundering them. They can go straight into your machine!
- There are several tools you can use to make this process easier and less messy! GroVia Bioliners allow moisture to pass through while keeping solids contained for easy clean-up. Just lay your Bioliner on top of your diaper surface and deposit solids into the toilet when you’re ready to change baby!
- If you want your diapering experience to remain as waste free as possible, you can also use a diaper sprayer to rinse your solids into the toilet and flush.
- Many diapers have a Stay Dry top layer which, besides keeping baby’s skin dry, allows solids to be quickly and easily deposited into the toilet.
The overwhelming response we get from caregivers who are initially concerned about poopy diapers, once they have seen the GroVia Bioliner and diaper sprayer options available, is how quick and easy the process can be. There are a few aspects to consider when choosing the tool that will work best for your family, but this challenge can absolutely be overcome!
You will have more laundry.
Yes, you will have more laundry. Cloth diapers should ideally be washed every 2-3 days. That means every 2-3 days, you will have an extra load to do.
Yes, that really means MORE laundry.
While this can initially make some parents second guess cloth diapering, there are lots of things that a few extra cloth diaper loads does NOT mean.
- You will never ‘run out of’ diapers. The late night 10pm trips to the store to get an emergency pack of diapers will never come.
- You won’t be looking at a brand new pack of diapers every other month or so and think, ‘Well now we have to size up and none of these fit! What am I supposed to do with a half pack of diapers that are too small?’ It happens more often than you think, and it’s so frustrating.
- You will never experience that horrific moment when your toddler somehow rips a disposable diaper open and hydrogels spill out EVERYWHERE. It’s like a glitter storm, if glitter were filled with pee.
A new stash of your favorite cloth diapers and two extra loads of laundry a week will actually eliminate more issues than it will raise.
Pro Tip: Print out your wash routine (detailing both cycle information and detergent amount and choice), laminate it and tape it to the washer. Now, not only can you wash diapers, but anyone who can throw in a load of laundry can too!
Cloth diapering is cost effective, easy to use, and environmentally friendly. There are also many tools available to help caregivers dispose of solids fast and effectively, When it comes down to it, two extra loads of laundry a week is nothing compared to the frustration of constant resizing, rashes, blowouts and chemicals that comes with disposable diapers.
Starting your cloth diapering journey can be intimidating at first, but once you choose a style, you are halfway there. You can find our favorite brands and styles as well as must have cloth diaper accessories in-store and online. You can also LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for more cloth diaper education, in-store events, and pro tips!