Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems
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Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems

Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems

I’ve been cloth diapering for over 6 years, but I still sometimes find myself surprised by the strange looks and the mistaken opinions that most people have when the topic arises.

I want to dispel some myths in what will be a short but hopefully clarifying series on cloth diapering.

In my experience I have found that using cloth dipes is simply not:

  • More expensive
  • More disgusting
  • More time consuming
  • More inconvenient
  • For hippies only πŸ™‚

Today I will begin by addressing two of the most common myths that I hear, next week I’ll continue on with the following 3 myths, and then I will open it up for you to ask me all of your more specific questions that I will do my very best to answer.

Cloth diapering isn’t more expensive

It baffles me to no end that people wonder this, although I suppose it might be because they gasp at the idea of the initial cost outset. Yes, cloth diapers do cost more upfront. No, they are not even a fraction of the cost long term.

Let’s crunch some numbers.

The average baby goes through about 6 diapers per day. Many newborns go through twice that many, averaging 8-10 per day at least, while an older baby may get down to as little as 4 diapers per day, so we’ll use 6 as the overall average.

6 diapers x 30 days= 180 diapers monthly

Case of Size 4 Pampers diapers at Amazon (with 192 diapers) = $33.14 (that’s a very cheap price, actually- now you know where to buy disposables if my posts don’t convince you to try cloth!)

Disposable wipes= About 200 monthly (this is very conservative- it’s probably much higher)

Wipes cost (bought in bulk)= About $0.02 to $0.04 each.

Averaging that at $0.03 per wipe at 200 per month, that’s another $6 monthly.

Total disposable diapering monthly cost: $39.14 approximately (higher for a baby under 3-4 months old)

(Not to mention the use of other products like a Diaper Genie and it’s refills, etc.)

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Image by trenttsd

Now let’s crunch the numbers for cloth.

15 FuzziBunz One Size Diapers= $284.20 USD (includes shipping- this is from Nicki’s Diapers)

Add $21.95 for a hanging, washable dirty-diaper bag, and another $25 for 24 unbleached cotton washable wipes.

A set of diapers like this will carry you from the time baby is about 8-10 lbs all the way through potty training. I use and adore these diapers myself, and they still fit my 4 year old who needs a diaper at night. 15 diapers will allow you to go 2-3 days between washes, depending how many diapers baby goes through. Note that there are much cheaper options (like cotton prefolds and fitted covers, but I’ll stick with the pocket diaper example because of their popularity and ease of use).

Assuming baby fully potty-trains by 24 months old (idealistic, but not really likely):

Monthly cloth diapering cost= $13.80 per month

A few more things to note:

  • If baby takes longer than 2 years to potty train (which many do), your monthly cost only goes down.
  • You will also likely get to use each set of diapers and wipes for 2 children, not just 1, if you take good care of them (I will definitely get two kids out of my current pocket diaper stash). If so, you just cut your cost almost in half.

Now what about hot water costs and laundry detergent?

Yes, there is a slight cost increase, but it’s very low. I wash 2-3 loads per week, and I do use hot water (keeping my water levels low). But, I air-dry my diapers, saving on electricity and preserving the life of the diapers, as many moms do. I would guess that the additional utilities costs are maximum $5-10 per month.

I buy my detergent in large boxes to keep the cost down. I use less detergent in my diaper washes than in my regular wash, to prevent build-up. I probably use the detergent equivalent of about 5-6 extra laundry loads, which doesn’t cost more than $1 monthly (even with the use of a high-quality, natural detergent).

Even supposing we bump our $13.80 up to $22 Β to account for extra costs associated with washing, we are still at just over half the cost of disposables.

Final monthly cost comparison

Cloth diapering= $22

Disposable diapering = $39.14 (minimum)

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Image by futurestreet

Cloth diapering isn’t more disgusting

I know, I know. You don’t believe me.

Let me ask you this… by using disposables, do you avoid having to wipe really dirty bums and avoid smelling nasty diapers? Do you avoid messy diaper blowouts on occasion? I didn’t think so.

Additionally, did you know that even with the use ofΒ disposables, you are supposed to be dumping all solid waste into the toilet, rather than simply rolling the full diaper up and tossing it in the garbage can? (I know, hardly anyone does that, but it’s true!)

When I take off a wet diaper, I get nothing more on my hands than I would with a disposable diaper, and I simply toss it in my diaper pail and close the lid. When I clean up a dirty diaper, I get no more on my hands than one might while cleaning up a disposable diaper with a disposable wipe (and then I go wash my hands, same as everyone else).

Dirty diapers go in a dry pail, so there is no dirty water sloshing around. Toss them in, close the lid, walk away. Spray air freshener if you like. When it’s time to wash, open the washer, dump the entire contents of the pail in, turn it on and close the lid. I spray and rinse out my pail, dump the dirty water and only once in a while give it a true scrub when it needs it. And if you want to avoid needing to scrub out a pail, use a washable wet bag to store your diapers instead, which gets tossed straight into the washer with your diapers, and comes out smelling fresh.

The only time that cloth diapering is potentially less pleasant is when I need to rinse out a dirty diaper in the toilet before putting it in the pail. I grab the four clean ends of the diaper to hold, swirl it around a bit, flush the toilet, and toss the diaper in the pail. Short and simple, hold your breath if you like and I won’t tell a soul.

diaper bag

Image by burstyriffic

What about dirty diapers in my purse or diaper bag while we’re out?

Easy. Get a small, washable wet bag that fits your diaper bag (mine can even go in my regular purse). It keeps any wetness and stink inside, until I can get home to dump the contents and wash the wet bag so that it’s fresh to take out with me once more.

Two cloth diapering myths dealt with, three to go next week, and then I’ll open it up for any and every question you can throw my way… Until then, look forward to a cloth diapering store giveaway coming up this Thursday!

What do you think about the issues of cost for disposables vs. cloth? And be honest, fellow cloth diapering mamas, is it disgusting or not?

Top image by simplyla

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  1. I loved this post, Stephanie! πŸ™‚ I agree with everything you said… and for an older baby, sometimes I use disposable liners that can be either washed and re-used (if in a wet diaper) or flushed (from a poopy diaper) so there is no extra “ick” with a poopy diaper. πŸ™‚

    I think your numbers are very conservative for disposables costs — but HIGH on the cloth side. (i.e. further proving your point) — showing that even with the most luxurious cloth diapers, you are still saving money! I’ve gotten most of my diapers as gifts (baby shower) or homemade (from flannel receiving blankets) or second-hand (passed on to me, as my original cloth diapers from 8 years ago are all worn out now). Sure, they aren’t as fancy/convenient, but it has meant very, very little out-of-pocket! πŸ™‚

    1. @Tammy L, I agree, my numbers are exactly as you said– conservative for disposable, and high for cloth. I actually did that on purpose. I didn’t want to have a bunch of people telling me that disposables cost less than what I had calculated (even though I know that many people spend more than the numbers I used). I also wanted to show how, even with higher cloth diapers numbers than is necessary (because yes, you can do it so much cheaper than that), the cloth STILL wins out as cheaper. Does that make sense? I wanted to make it a worst case scenario and have the cloth still be the obvious winner. πŸ™‚

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,
        I just want to chime in – I don’t want to offend at all, BUT I use disposables. I know the advantages of cloth, I can see the benefit somewhat, personally I might give it a try but my DH is totally opposed to it. Because of that I have not pushed it, just used disposables.
        And honestly, that number for monthly on disposables is high “for me”. A normal month, not counting killer sales, clearance buys, etc, I wouldn’t spend over about $29 in diapering – inc diapers and wipes.
        Now, granted, even your higher number on cloth is lower but not as big a difference as it might seem.
        I ‘rarely’ spend more then .12 – .14 per diaper, using Amazon Mom. Wipes are currently cheapest at Costco at roughly .0214 a wipe. I used your number at $6 a month though since that’s a fair number going thru Amazon Mom.
        So, just a little “in defense” of disposable, it does cost more – and yes, plenty of people spend more then me using them! – but for us, in this season, it works for us and the slightly higher cost is worth it for us , in deference to my husband’s wishes and simplicity sake with 4 going on 5 little ones, ages 6 and under. πŸ˜‰
        I do have to say, I love your blog, read it often and do agree with your stance on cloth diapering, it’s just not for us right now!

        1. @Jen, Thanks for the critique of my numbers. πŸ™‚ I know that there are certainly some people out there who use less diapers or spend less, but the majority of people probably spend at least what I quoted or more. It really depends on how thrifty of a shopper you are, and some parents just do a lot of diaper changes, more than others. So I totally believe that your numbers are true for you and many others, I just know that they’re probably low for the “average” disposable using family.
          But, please don’t hear me as saying that you are wrong to choose disposables. By no means. All I’m really trying to do is defend cloth diapers a little, not put down those who choose to use disposables for various reasons. We have plenty of friends and family who use disposables, and yes, even we have used disposables for certain reasons, in certain seasons.
          So, no judgment whatsoever. If it’s worth it to you, and this is what works for your family, then that’s great. πŸ™‚

  2. Great post! I have been cloth diapering with my first child since birth and love it (more the money savings). We bought a sprayer that attaches to the toilet on amazon, we can spray the poop right into the toilet as my husband isn’t a big swirling fan lol. We make our own detergent too which saves a TON of money and is safe on my babies bum.

      1. YA! Its

        1c. Washing Soda
        1c. Borax
        1 bar castle soap grated

        I found some castle soap for $1.50 at my local health food place. I use a formula scooper (2oz. or 1 T.) for a full load. For my diapers which is usually just a small load Ill use about a quarter or a bit more of a formula scooper or Tablespoon. They smell and look clean so I guess it works! LOL

  3. Nice post. I just started cloth diapering. Any advice on keeping my son dry at night? We started using hemp inserts. But he still wakes up soaked in the morning. I feel like I’m putting the diaper on quite snuggly. But maybe I still don’t have the fit quite right? Or maybe I need to add an extra liner? Any advice would be appreciated.

    As someone that just started cloth diapering I agree with what you’re saying. Cheaper for sure. Not gross at all. I’m actually really enjoying cleaning diapers πŸ˜› And they are just too cute! Not to mention I feel so much better putting them against my son’s skin. I enjoy not having to remember to stock up on diapers or make special trips the store just for diapers.

    1. @Mary,

      Mary, I don’t know what style cloth diapers you use, but I have a heavy wetter too and I use the pocket diapers (fuzzi bunz and bum genius). I have found the microfiber inserts to be really absorbent, and I usually use an insert + a microfiber doubler at night for extra absorbency. I haven’t found hemp to be quite as absorbent.

      If you aren’t using pocket diapers I wouldn’t recommend microfiber. The microfiber shouldn’t come in contact with the baby’s skin because it is so absorbent it actually pulls moisture away from the skin, causing a rash!

      1. @Jennifer, I use pocket diapers…both fuzzibunz and bum genius. Last night he stayed dry with a microfiber plus a hemp. I’m going to try that again tonight. I’ll also try the regular insert plus doubler and see how that goes. Thanks for the suggestions.

    2. @Mary,
      You mention he’s soaked – is the diaper truly soaked, or is it leaking? We have always had problems w/ pajama pants – they seem to roll under the front of his diaper & wick out. During the summer he wears just a t-shirt & sleep sack to solve the problem & during the winter, we try to use one piece sleepers.

        1. I used to have a problem with my son being too wet at night too. I use pockets and unless I used 3 good (at least 3-4 layers each) inserts he would wake up with a soaked diaper. I recently got some prefolds at a yard sale and I use them inside my pockets and I can finally put him to bed in a cloth diaper and he wakes up with dry clothes! The prefolds are big so I trifold them and stick them in and fold the extra sticking out back in so that there is 6 layers of the prefold in the front of the dipe. Does that make sense? It is a little bulky but my 20 month old doesn’t seem to mind and its not as bulky as 4 microfiber or hemp inserts.

    3. @Mary,

      Hemp is very absorbant but it is also very slow to absorb. You really need to put a bamboo booster on top to help it absorb. Hemp can sometimes be too heavy for pocket diapers so it could be causing leg gape which would allow leaks.

      Also, do you popper a baby vest over the diaper? This can cause wicking so it is best not to wear vests over diapers.

      If none of that works, fitted diapers & wool work much better at night. Invest in some second hand Holden’s Landing bedbugs which are great night diapers.

      1. @Nicola, Never heard of a bamboo booster. Maybe I’ll have to look into that.

        Not sure what you mean by “popper a baby vest over the diaper.” Do you mean use a sleeper or sleep sack? He does wear a sleeper and sleep sack. Not sure how to avoid that. Else he’d be too cold.

        I have heard that wool works well. So much to consider/figure out πŸ˜›

        1. @Mary,

          Sorry I’m Irish so I am not sure what you call them in the U.S. We call them baby vests. Ok Carter’s call them “shortsleeve body suits”. Generally, they are too tight over the diaper & they cause the diaper to wick (general feel of damp on pj’s, sleep sack & blankets) & leak. You could put a larger size over the diaper instead so that it is loose where it fastens over the diaper. Does that make what I was trying to say clearer?

  4. Thanks for this post. We used cloth diapers and trainers for our youngest and it was the best experience. They are the cutest things, easy to use, not gross and so much better for kids. Almost makes me want to have another kiddo….almost πŸ™‚

  5. We’ve been cloth diapering our son for a year now. The only time I’ve found cloth a little disgusting is when I need to “scrape” out a diaper. This has only happened a handful of times, usually I can just plop it into the toilet, no sprayer needed.

    The times it happened were during the week of transition from exclusive breast feeding to eating solids and during a round of antibiotics (despite copious yogurt consumption).

    I LOVE cloth and have only seen our water bill increase about $10/month (max) and our utilities haven’t increased at all. I dis use disposables the first two weeks after our son was born and would recommend the same to any mom who has laundry on a separate floor and doesn’t have a personal maid ; ) Now that we’ve done it for a year, I think DH could handle the laundry, but it was quite intimidating for both of us the first round (though it’s really quite simple!)

    1. @Sarah G, This is what I’ve done…. I had a c-section and between the laundry being downstairs (and having no maid πŸ˜‰ ) and everything else, we’ve used disposables this first week and a half.

      I’ve started to cloth diaper during the day to see how it works and what combination of diaper systems seems to work the best. So far, prefolds and soakers has been surprisingly effective. Prefolds and whisper wraps are nice too.

      I can’t seem to avoid the umbilical cord stump though, so I’ll only use the cloth once or twice a day until that falls off and then switch to all cloth during the day. Hoping to switch to cloth at night, too, after we get the daytime CDing figured out! πŸ™‚

      Anyway, love the article and the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing! Thanks!


  6. @Mary,

    Try a microfiber insert over the hemp. Hemp absorbs a TON, but it absorbs slowly. The microfiber will suck in the wetness quickly, and the hemp will hold it. My 7 month old uses a hemp with a microfiber insert and doubler over it in a pocket diaper. My third son was wearing hemp and 2 microfiber inserts when he stopped wearing diapers at night.

    @Stephanie, you forgot to mention that potty training is often faster and earlier with cloth – a big plus for me that I saw between my first son (in disposables) and second (cloth at 14 months on). Son number 3 was in cloth from the beginning and is in underwear even at night now. He’s 2! Also, people seem to forgot they can do a mix of cloth and disposables. I did this especially when I had newborns in the house and sleep was elusive.

  7. I cloth diaper my twins, and it’s saved us a ton of money! Yes, the initial cost was high for 25 fuzzibunz OS, but now we are totally saving money! My girls are 26 months old. Sure, dunking gooey diapes is kinda yucky, but that happens rarely. I’ll sure take that over spending a gob of money and putting all that in landfills.

  8. I go back and forth. I don’t cloth diaper until 3-6 months to get over that hump when they use so many diapers. However when my 4th came I didn’t even try and here is why.

    Time. Cloth diapers never came clean for me in one wash, it would take a rinse and 2 hot washes, which would tie up my washer. Also my washer is in the basement, another consideration and finally having more than 2 or 3 children.

    If you can get great deals on disposables and you have the same scenario as me you might find it worth the extra money because the extra time is not worth it. I personally do think its grosser to do cloth. Swishing and then bringing the stinky can down to the basement.

    But if you really need to save money and you have some extra time (I order from Amazon too, so its not like gas or loading kids into carseats for us), Cloth is cheaper. Also if you have a good washer machine? I think that would of been different for me, less washes. I did try Bac Out and it does work so that might have eliminated the 2nd wash.

  9. Stephanie,

    What detergent do you use for cloth diapers. I’m still trying to find one I like. Any suggestions from anyone is appreciated. We are using Bum Genius.

    1. @Jennifer C.,
      We love Charlie’s! I’ve never had any trouble with buildup, and I use it for all of my washing. I wash everything cold (except diapers) & it works great. A friend & I went in together to buy a huge bucket from Amazon, so now we both have enough for about a year! It was significantly cheaper than buying the small bags.

    2. @Jennifer C., We used to use Purex Free and Clear with our top loader. Now we use Country Save with our Front Loading washer (though it can also be used with a top loader). It works out to be quite inexpensive per load and I don’t use nearly as much as recommended and everything gets clean. I usually buy Country Save on Amazon.com and split the order with a friend.

  10. I have never swished a diaper in 2 years. I just wipe with toilet paper if it doesn’t come off with just turning it over. Just like one more swipe to baby’s bottom!

  11. I enjoyed your cost breakdown! I do part time cloth – works for us! Disposables for outings, and overnights. I also haven’t found a detergent that works well enough for me to recommend, so suggestions would be welcome here too!

  12. I love this post! And I actually have found it to be much cheaper than this! But that’s just me. I found that by 5 months time, I would have spent the amount I spent on cloth just on disposables. So that’s AT LEAST saving 75% a month.
    Also for us, cloth does prevent blow outs. We have decided to no longer travel with disposables because every time we have at least one huge blow out and usually on the car seat too. Ugh. In cloth we just don’t have that problem. Ever.

  13. I cloth diapered all three of my sons with prefolds and pins. I tried some all-in-ones and pockets but always preferred the prefolds with wool covers. I knitted a wool wet bag that worked fabulously for containing moisture and odors when we were away from home.

  14. We love cloth! Like you, I have been cloth diapering for over 6 years now. Although I have used disposables in awkward situations (eg. traveling) and overnight for one child, I much prefer my cloth diapers. We have a few pockets, but mostly fitteds and covers. I bought most of my diapers secondhand. I did buy new cotton prefolds for my third child as a newborn so she was cloth diapered from a few hours old! I hate the cost and the perfumey smell of (some) disposables and wipes. It is much easier to wash a load than go out and grab more diapers at midnight! We have a top loader and either line-dry or put in the dyer. We are getting a front loader this week so we’ll see how that goes!

    Yes, poop is gross, but they poop no matter what kind of diapers you have!

  15. Wow! I am so glad you are doing this series. I don’t have my own kids yet, but I have always struggled with deciding if I want to eventually use disposable or cloth diapers. The frugality and environmentally friendliness of cloth diapers has always called to me, but I was really, really worried about it being more disgusting. I am happy to hear your perspective and that it’s not so bad. Looking forward to the next installment!

  16. It boggles my mind that some would think cloth diapering MORE expensive! Are you kidding?? The average baby goes through at least $2000 of disposables EACH from birth to potty training. Cloth sure doesn’t cost that much! I have an absolutely gigantic stash (24 NB pockets, 24 – 30 small pockets, and 36 medium pockets). The mediums started on my daughter at age 1, and are going strong on my son now (2.5 years later). I fully expect them to last through another baby or two, especially since I sewed them myself and can easily repair elastic or whatever if needed. Though even that’s rare. They’re snaps, which will never wear out. Yet, they cost me a max. of $3/diaper. So we’re saying my entire stash is $250! Those NB pockets have been through three babies already (friends borrowed them) and look brand new (yeah, babies wear them 1 – 2 months).

    Okay, I bought prefolds too, but that might take the total to $400. For two kids so far. Very cheap!! And yeah, it’s so cheap to sew my own but if I used the prefolds with covers instead it would be just as cheap and totally accessible to anyone.

    As for disgusting, we think that disposables are WAY more disgusting! Blow-outs are MUCH more likely in disposables because they don’t have strong elastic. Which, to me, is much more gross. You have to clean baby’s legs and back and change their entire outfit, instead of just their diaper! I can probably count on ONE HAND the number of times I ever had a blow-out in cloth.

    Plus disposables have a funny chemical smell, icky, and especially smell when dirty.

    With cloth, I just dump any solid mess into the toilet (or not, sometimes, but it hasn’t mattered in my washing machine!) and let the rest go. I do not dip, spray, rinse in any way and have no problem with diapers coming clean. I have rarely needed to strip and usually that was related to having used some rash cream.

    Overall we (both my husband and I) MUCH prefer cloth!

  17. Cloth diapering is a great way to save money. Many of the diapering websites offer package deals to people wanting to experiment with cloth diapering. Some offer a variety of dipes to try or a deal on a starter kit. Many of these same sites allow you to return the dipes (used but washed and stain-free) if you are not happy. I also recommend borrowing from friends who cloth diaper–for testing what works best for your baby. There are ways to save even more if you look at “gently used” diapers–those diapers that get returned. These are a GREAT deal. You can also look on eBay or Craigslist, as people often sell dipes in lots. Even if there is a bit of wear, the savings is worth it.

    Additionally, if you breastfeed exclusively, then the poo is really easy to deal with. We don’t rinse out poo at all–just toss it in the wash, and it comes out. Once you introduce solids, the liners are an easy fix. For stains, if you can, hang the dipes in the sunshine. For any stinkiness, sunshine is a wonderful fix, as is simple striping to get rid of detergent build-up.

    My husband was a bit worried about being able to “get” it, but really, the process of diapering your baby is something to master no matter what type they wear. The savings and the added bonuses of being better for the baby’s bum and environment are all reasons we use cloth dipes.

  18. Your breakdown was very thorough and helpful. But I have to admit with coupon-ing/sale-scouting I am able to get my 10 month-old disposable diapers for approximately .07 a diaper. I usually use 4 a day. I also use about 2 disposable wipes a day which I get for 1/2 a cent each. That comes out to about $8.70 a month. I am a do-it yourself type person (grind my own grain, garden, etc.) but with diapering I have used disposables for my 5 children because I think it is cheaper. I also live in an area where water costs are very high. Maybe if I had invested in cloth initially it would have been cheaper over these past 9 years. But there have been seasons where I have gotten a years’ worth of diapers for .05 a diaper, too.

    1. @Jennifer, I totally believe that you’re able to get your diapers and wipes as cheap as you do if you coupon and shop the sales. I know that many couponers get their diaper stash practically free. I just know that most parents don’t buy their diapers that way, so I was trying to use numbers that make sense for the average family. πŸ™‚

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Yes, I suppose the average family doesn’t scout for such good diaper sales. I’ve been doing it for so long now it is just hard for me to imagine ever paying full price for a package of diapers. But I do see it at the grocery store often–a package of full-priced diapers in someone’s cart. I’ll save your helpful post to pass on to my younger friends just starting to have babies. Thanks!

  19. I use pocket diapers and I love them…but I am not opposed to using disposables when things are really busy or I am behind on the laundry. I know that if I didn’t give myself that flexibility I would probably get burnt out and switch to disposables.

    I do think that washing the poop off in the toilet is a little gross, I’m just being honest here, but I think the benefits far outweigh the costs (occasional grossness).

    I got several of my cloth diapers as gifts from my parents and grandparents. I made my own washable liners for my diaper pail out of PUL fabric for about $5 each, and I made my own wipes out of scraps of flannel. So cloth diapering actually costs me much less than what you estimated!

  20. Cloth are WAY cheaper if you end up having more than one child. You don’t have to make the 2000 dollar investment of disposables TWICE (or more if you end up with more than 2 kids).

    Also, if people know you’re doing cloth you can get them as gifts. I received 10 pocket diapers at a baby shower as people went in on a group gift. So far I don’t feel like I am spending much on diapers at all!

    Another savings is that you’ll use less diaper rash cream!

  21. I have to admit that the thought of cloth diapers scared me to death. I used disposable for my first two children. So, I had a lot of questions: How do you clean them properly? Will I have time to do that and everything else that is required of me? After a lot of research, I jumped head-first … it WAS SO EASY! I started with the most inexpensive ones I could find.. to see if I would want to commit long term. I stepped up to the ones that snap for different sizes. We’ve been doing it for 2 years and I am expecting again. I can’t wait to use them on the next baby.

  22. I love this post. I have been using gDiapers for about 10 months now and I absolutely adore them. I have 3 kids, so this is my first cloth diapering experience. I have a few pocket diapers, but I am having a hard time getting behind that idea. I do have a diaper sprayer attached to my toilet though, so that eliminates the sloshing around in the toilet. It is awesome. I found one on EBay for $20 (new) which is half the cost of most name brands. And I also agree that it isn’t anymore disgusting. I am actually more disgusted by disposables. They just look so soggy and gross and I just feel incredibly grossed out by them now. And you were so nice to say as FEW as 4 diapers per day – that is disgusting. I think a lot of parents who have issues with cloth diapering (that I have talked to) are not super excited about changing their child’s diaper every 3 hours, but in reality, for most age groups, during waking hours, that is necessary (until they start learning to hold it). It is just not acceptable to let your child sit in their nasty diaper (pee included). It is disgusting and irritating to their skin. Anyway, sry – a lot of parents don’t do that, but it is a pet peeve of mine. I feel so bad for those little bums. I do LOVE cloth diapering now and have saved A LOT of money by doing so. And I would like to point out that I paid for ALL of my supplies within 6 months (and I was buying Target diapers and wipes which are SUPER DUPER INEXPENSIVE!), so if you’re buying fancier stuff (even from Amazon) it will take you less time. Also, I haven’t been brave enough for cloth wipes yet (mostly just too lazy to make any), so we order flushables from Amazon.com. So, it’s easy to transition into cloth diapering as well. You don’t have to 100% jump into it right away.

  23. Love this post. With DD2 I used prefolds and covers starting at 6 weeks and spent less than $200 since I was fortunate to only need one size for my skinny DD (she used the same size from 6 weeks to 26 months!). I always hated swirling the diaper in the toilet, especially because DD’s poops mostly stuck to the diaper due to her high-fiber diet, but a sprayer or disposable liners would fix that – I just never bothered with them. Probably will for the next baby, though.

    Totally agree about cloth preventing blow-outs!! Blowouts were the bane of my existence with DD1 (who wore disposables). In two years with DD2 I think we maybe had a handful of blowouts, and those were pee only and mainly because I waited too long to change her – NO poop blowouts. Gotta love that!

    My prefolds (from Green Mountain Diapers) are in PERFECT condition for next time – I’ll just buy some new covers to increase my stash and replace the velcro to salvage some of the old ones.

  24. Love this post. With DD2 I used prefolds and covers starting at 6 weeks and spent less than $200 since I was fortunate to only need one size for my skinny DD (she used the same size from 6 weeks to 26 months!). I always hated swirling the diaper in the toilet, especially because DD’s poops mostly stuck to the diaper due to her high-fiber diet, but a sprayer or disposable liners would fix that – I just never bothered with them. Probably will for the next baby, though.

    Totally agree about cloth preventing blow-outs!! Blowouts were the bane of my existence with DD1 (who wore disposables). In two years with DD2 I think we maybe had a handful of blowouts, and those were pee only and mainly because I waited too long to change her – NO poop blowouts. Gotta love that!

    My prefolds (from Green Mountain Diapers) are in PERFECT condition for next time – I’ll just buy some new covers to increase my stash and replace the velcro to salvage some of the old ones.

    ETA: Oh, I should probably mention what I bought with that $200, since it’s a ridiculously low figure:

    2 dozen prefolds
    8 Bummis Super Brite covers, which have a wipe-clean interior – they last through several changes unless pooped on (I got 4 of them on diaper swappers for half price)
    24 cloth wipes
    pail liner
    pail (plastic trash can with flip lid)

    It would be much more convenient to have about twice the number of covers, but we couldn’t afford it. I’ll buy more for this next baby or ask for them as gifts.

    1. @Mary Beth, It really can be incredibly cheap. I was making my numbers more expensive to account for the “nicer” diapers and accessories that many people want to buy, but it absolutely isn’t necessary to spend that much. I went very cheap for my first two kids and it all worked just fine.

  25. OK, I’m going to ask my question. When you say you swirl the diaper in the toilet and then drop it into the pail, do you drag the pail into the bathroom with you, do you have an extra pail in the bathroom, or do you bring it back to the changing area and drop it in the pail (and if so, how do you keep it from dripping all the way back)?

  26. I am SO excited you are doing this series! We are going to be adopting a newborn who will be born soon and I have been getting odd looks and responses from people as the topic of ‘baby supplies’ comes up. It will be nice to point them in a direction and to have some concrete responses.
    Disposables have totally changed the world but I am not so convinced it’s all in a good way. I’m 37 and still remember ‘life before disposables’ AND wipes! I helped change my baby sister’s diapers a lot and we used pre-folds and wet washcloths (she’s 31) so I’m no stranger to it. With my daughter (18yrs old in 2 weeks!) I did both and I actually really enjoyed using cloth more. much less irritation and far fewer skin problems. As a single mother, it was essential to save money wherever and whenever I could and it really helped me financially. It also felt more like I was taking real care of my baby.
    Now that the Lord is blessing us with another wee one, I am so looking forward to using tried and true ‘old school’ ways. Besides, isn’t ‘old school’ cool now? lol πŸ˜€
    p.s. I would really love more info on the items you mentioned here: “Add $21.95 for a hanging, washable dirty-diaper bag, and another $25 for 24 unbleached cotton washable wipes.” Thank you!

  27. We cloth diaper and I love it! Mostly because I have the peace of mind knowing I’m not contributing a ton of waste to landfills, but the cost-savings don’t hurt either! And I’ve heard that kids usually potty-train faster out of cloth because they can feel the wetness more.

  28. I LOVE my cloth diapers! I too have been using them for over six years on four baby bottoms, and the same set of prefolds at that! I’ve only had to replace a few covers because the velcro had worn out, so my savings are incredible!

    As for the diaper swirling, this I do not do. When a baby is exclusively breastfed, you can simply toss the whole contents into the washer and it will wash out. This doesn’t work with formula or once the child is on solid foods, but it’s nice while it lasts. Once my babies are on solids, I use a spatula, kept next to the toilet, to scrape the contents into the toilet. The sunshine removes any stains on the diapers as they dry on the line. Stain-wise, what does it matter anyway, as the diapers are covered both by the covers and clothes?

    I’ll probably be linking to this article from my blog because I have a lot of women ask me about cloth diapers. I love this sharing about this topic because I was one of those moms who initially thought only very eccentric women cloth diapered their children. While pregnant with my first child, I did the research and realized it was something I had to do!

  29. If you buy your cloth diapers used, you can save even more! And use all of those baby wash cloths you got at your shower for wipes! We’ve spent less than $200 overall (not counting water, detergent), for our two kids!!

    1. @Anjanette, Yes, absolutely. For my first two kids, I used all used diapers (fitted ones) and I just bought new covers for them. I don’t think we spent more than about $150 diapering those two kids. Then, with our third, I fell in love with pockets and splurged a little, but hurray for blog product reviews. πŸ™‚

  30. Wonderful post! I just had my first 5 weeks ago and we are using cloth diapers. We used mostly disposables the first 3 weeks due to her many blowouts that the prefolds couldn’t handle. We ran out of all of our covers in a day! lol. That being said, using disposables was not less messy… They are just, well, disposable. πŸ™‚

  31. Great post! A few things though. If you take good care of the diapers, they also have a great resale value which also brings the price down. This is especially true with the pocket diapers. Also, I have found the poopy diapers to be a lot worse than disposables, but the problem was easily solved by a combination of disposable liners (I have old pipes, so I don’t flush them.) and cheap food prep gloves. I simply use a gloved hand to grab the liner wiping as I go and catching any escaped nastiness, turn the glove inside out as I take it off and put a knot in it. Easy peasy.

  32. Another happy side of cloth diapers is that they keep clothes on skinny butts! My first son is really thin with no butt to speak of and cloth was the only thing that kept his pants on. I usually put him in the church nursery with disposables and the workers would often comment that he crawled right out of his pants!

  33. I think the only danger of cloth diapers is that they can become addicting. I could probably have cloth diapered my daughter for much less than I actually spent. But I had a few splurges like fitted diapers for night time diaper changes (when only a good fitted and cover would hold in the breastfed poo), a few all-in-ones for going out and a few bumGenius 4.0 pockets (my 3.0s are still perfectly good). Every time I see a new diaper from a favorite company like Thirsties or bumGenius I’m tempted to buy one. Usually I resist. We will definitely save money, especially over several kids, but I could have done the whole thing for a couple hundred bucks if I had employed better self-control. The problem is that cloth diapers are just so darn cute. I have more fun buying them than clothes.

  34. Great post! I’ve been cloth diapers our daughter (21 months) since she was about 6 weeks old. I too LOVE fuzzibunz, but made the newbie mistake of buying the perfect size small in girl colors. When our boy came along 8 weeks ago, I knew I couldn’t put him in pink diapers…just didn’t feel right! So I sold the fuzzi bunz on craigslist for almost as much as I paid for them! The size small actually fit my daughter until she was about 13 months…and she is in the 95% percentile for both height and weight!

    I’m now using the FLIP diaper on my daughter, but have recently had some trouble with them leaking at night and now even during the day. I just ordered some Thirsties fitted diapers and I’m really excited about them. I use Cricket fitted diapers on my son with a cover. Got these on craigslist for very cheap.

    Although I never thought I would be buying used cloth diapers, it is a really great deal and you can get very well cared for diapers for a fraction of the cost! They also resell very well!

  35. I love cloth diapering. I do struggle though with my toddler. She really pees a lot and I can’t keep hers from leaking. We put a disposable on her for nap time and night time but use cloth the rest of the time. My 6 month old uses cloth all the time. So easy for her! Any tips for diapering a 2 yr old would be appreciated πŸ™‚

    1. @Nikki,

      Nikki, it depends on what inserts you are using. If you have diapers like Bumgenius, then the insert is microfibre. Microfibre doesn’t hold very much moisture. You would be much better off with bamboo & hemp inserts. You can buy hemp boosters to put in with the microfibre inserts to help them last longer.

  36. I have a question about the berkey sport water bottle that you posted about a while ago. Does the berkey sport filter really last for one year? I thought I read somewhere else that the filter needs to be changed every 3 months or so. I’m planning on using the berkey sport water bottle for most, if not all, of my water drinking. Thanks:)

    1. @Jill, My understanding is that it does last a year, but I haven’t looked into it in really great detail. I thought that it functioned very similarly to the large filter, including how long it lasts for. You might want to contact the company who sponsored the giveaway and ask them specifically?

  37. Cloth diapering can be very very addictive especially if you discover all those yummy work at home mom diapers on hyenacart. I have a diaper stash made up of some Bumgenius (although I had to switch out the inserts for bamboo & hemp) & some WAHM diapers. I have also spent some $$$$$ getting night time diapers specially made for my super duper wetting toddler. I still haven’t spent as much as I would have on disposables plus there is a great market for second hand WAHM diapers so I can sell them on & get some $$$$ back.

    I also use fleece liners on my diapers. They act as a waterproof layer between baby’s bottom & also catch all the poop which makes for easy cleaning off. I just hold the liner in the flush & it takes all the poop away. Very easy & saves the diaper staining.

    Also, lots of people don’t realise that if your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to discard of the poop because the washing machine can handle it. Makes for a much easier first few months of cloth diapering & motherhood.

  38. Great post! I cloth diaper, and am on to my second child. I find I need more than 15 diapers to wash only every 2-3 days, but my sons poop many times a day!!! It is certainly not as gross as people think, and is so easy with pockets or all-in-ones! Even my husband (who was against cloth diapering) loves them and is just fine with using them. It has saved us a lot of money over the years, especially since my son just would. not. potty train before 3!

    I do use disposables at night as they are both HEAVY wetters and I can’t keep them dry in cloth. Also, my first would get rashes if he stayed in cloth all night. I am still saving loads even though I use some disposables. πŸ™‚

    Cloth is soooo much cuter on babies too!

  39. How about the myth that cloth diapering is all or nothing! Drives me nuts when I hear oh I couldn’t cloth diaper cause I couldn’t keep up with it and baby would end up in a dish cloth! I have disposables on hand. I use them at night because I haven’t found a way to keep baby from getting smelly and I refuse to wake up and change a sleeping baby. And I use them if we are out of the house for an especially long time, like through 3 changes. But the rest of the time I use cloth. I’ve even had times when I accidentally went through my whole stash before washing and used plastics for a day while washing!

    Doing both is possible! Just think every time you use a cloth you just saved one plastic! It’s a nice feeling.

    And I have gotten most of my stash second hand from buying from friends or craigslist or just from people giving away when their youngest grows. Cloth diapers last forever!

  40. I was pulled out of church yesterday over a diaper issue. She had no idea what to do with cloth diapers. She was confused “by all the snaps” for adjusting sizes. And it was a BM so she was flustered about how to package it to send it home! (uh just dump it in the toilet and flush!) We have used cloth for 2 years and was just shocked that she hadn’t come across other cloth babies in the nursery. At first I thought I should switch to disposable for Sundays but realized that is ridiculous, they need to learn!

  41. I cloth diapered my now 2yr old, however I also did EC’ing (elimination communication). I started EC’ing her at 2.5 mos and she was fully potty trained during the day by 1. I say that to say, if many moms are ambitious, you could spend way less in diapers and cloth by doing both. Another myth is that kids don’t know when to potty until age 2. They know from birth and do give signs/cues, but it takes being patient and learning their cues and u can put them on the potty/sink/toilet (whatever works best for u).
    Also at night, what I have learned and with research, most babies don’t just sleep and pee, they wake up, pee, then go back to sleep. So when my 2yr old was smaller she would wake up, wake me up to let me know she had to go (co-sleeping), I would put her on the potty, put her diaper back on, and then we go back to sleep. It was all a learning experience, very rewarding, and saved ALOT on diapers. Maybe this might be encouraging for other moms to try something new, or maybe this is just my experience to share.

    I love your blog, read your posts daily, and have learned a lot. Keep doing what u r doing to help other families. God Bless

  42. Great post Steph! You are inspiring me to go back to cloth diapering! I did it with my 2 oldest (6 and 4), and I infant potty trained my girl (3), but my last 2 sons I haven’t even tried it yet because I felt like it was a lot of work, although, in reality, it isn’t much more work at all. I have the prefolds and diaper covers, which is a little less convenient than the all-in-ones, but overall it still is saving a lot of money.

    Tip: to clean my poopy diapers, we attached a short hose with a nozzle sprayer to the incoming plumbing line for the toilet. It works much better than swishing the diaper around in the toilet.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  43. Okay, feeling pretty stupid and maybe I’m just tired, but I’m a bit confused over the whole procedure of this. I don’t have kids at this time, and none of my siblings used cloth!

    To recap:
    1. Change diaper.
    2. Sloosh out diaper in toilet.
    3. Put the wet diaper where?
    4. Do the laundry.

    Do you really end up with a pail full of wet cloth waiting for a whole load? Or do you let them sit for a while before washing them out?


      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Got it. Thanks!

        Is there any risk involved with letting yucky diapers just sit for 3 days? I know disposables would sit in the garbage too, but you don’t take them out and handle them.

        This is quite the interesting topic!

  44. Yes, the savings is tremendous. And I do use disposables for nighttime and for leaving the house. But I still calculate that I’ve saved somewhere around $2000 on all three of my kids after 6.5 years of cloth diapering.

    And, no, it is not any more disgusting than changing a poopy disposable diaper. In fact, I’ve had more blowouts in disposables than in cloth diapers (I use flannel fitteds with a nylon cover).

  45. And to add to my previous post, cloth diapering can be much cheaper as she stated depending on your preference. I have had pockets as well, and although I was blessed to have a friend make most (if not all) my diapers, I also bought a diaper cover and receiving blankets (to use as flat diapers) which worked very well. I used disposables with my first child but will not go back. I think this post was great, yet I know it would/could help moms to know how easy it was if moms who did cloth diaper would spread the word. Yet, I have had the crazy looks as well, so I do understand

    Its sad that society has made everything “seem” so convenient that the old way just doesn’t fit our lives

  46. I’ve been cloth diapering for about a year and a half now, and I have 2 in diapers – an 11 month old and a 24 month old. We’ll have a few days every now and again where cloth diapering is gross (usually if someone is sick), but for the most part, it’s not that bad! My husband only agreed to the cloth diapering if I took responsibility for all the dumping and cleaning at first, but now, it seems like he deals with more of them than me! The cost savings are SIGNIFICANT, even with the laundry useage. And they are just so darn cute!!

  47. I’ve been cloth diapering for 3 years (Bum Genius) and will never go back to disposable. I used to cloth diaper my first two (17 years ago!) using the “old” method and eventually quit with horrible memories. Everything has changed since then, and it took a new mom to convince me to try it again with #7. Now I’m doing it with #8 too and plan to continue with #9! ; ) Great post! I also get queer looks when people find out I’m a cloth diaper mama.

  48. Love cloth….I have only used them on baby #4…I do wish I had figured it out with the first…..

  49. I’m seriously considering doing cloth diapering when I have children. I like the idea of putting only organic, unbleached cotton on my babies’ butts, instead of conventional disposables (which I’ve read have all manner of nasties in them.) The “healthier”-style diapers are more expensive than conventional, so cloth, being cheaper and even healthier than that, sounds like a good choice.

    But I have some fears and questions. How does the wet bag hold in the smell? What fabric is it made of that can do that? I’ve heard that even diaper pails with plastic bags can get smelly. My worst fear is having a house that smells like poo and not even knowing it. (I want my friends to love visiting!)

    When I visited family recently, the youngest child, a crawling little girl, had blowouts every day or every other day, so the idea of that not happening so much is refreshing. Also, the diapers that were placed in the trash can would often make the house stink, and once, the little girl had such a bad one that I had to sit by an open door. So I see that disposables can make your house stink. I would just like to know how the problem can be minimized when doing cloth diapers.

    1. @Laura,
      Cloth diaper poo doesnt smell as bad as disposable diaper poo. Something about the disposables magnify the smell. PLus icky poo goes straight into the toilet. We was appx every day and a half. Sometimes the bathroom (where the dirties live) will start to have an aroma. Then I sprinkle some baking soda on top of the pile until I can wash them. Takes care of the smell, especially if I add and essential oil to the baking soda.

      We use a regular plastic laundry basket in the bathtub to hold the dirty diapers πŸ˜‰ Then I can close the shower curtain so no one has to see them.

  50. I thought this was a great post! One thing I wonder though is washing the soiled diapers along with other clothes… how many fecal particles are getting on the other clothes or in the washer? I think I read somewhere to clean your washer once a month by pouring a cup of bleach in and washing an empty load. This will help sanitize it. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. @Ann, I think that it’s very minimal. I dump all poo first, and anything that remains gets a good swish in the toilet, so there isn’t much going in the washer to begin with. Then I do a rinse cycle first (cold) to get rid of anything like that, then sanitize with a full hot cycle using detergent. My machine always looks and smells clean to me, so I am not worried about it. But if you were, you could definitely do some sort of once a month disinfectant treatment, I suppose.

  51. Perfect timing. I am 26 weeks pregnant and am wanting to convince my husband that we should do cloth diapering. Not sure he will go for it but any extra advice and pointers will help. Can’t wait to read more and I am going to have to take time to read the comments too.

    1. @Mary Kathryn, If you need to convince him, then get a diaper sprayer! I don’t have one but I’ve heard that Dads really go for that. Although while the baby is exclusively breastfed you don’t need to rinse the diapers. Dads also seem to like pocket diapers better. I know that my husband prefers to not do the toilet rinse so some couples like us just agree to only have the mom do that part. It doesn’t bother me. He does other things I don’t like doing (like putting on sunscreen on the kids!)

  52. i have been rotating, with disposable, and using fabric aio diapers for the last year with my 2 yr old son. (no signs of potty training in sight πŸ™ ) but thank you for the renewed motivation to keep using these! it takes some extra effort to put the inserts back in, but something else to keep in mind, is these diapers can absorb far more urine than an average disposable diaper making them last longer!

  53. I just recently started cloth diapering. My daughter is potty training and uses cloth training pants and cloth diapers at night and for naps. I wish that I had known about cloth diapering when my daughter was born. I have a dozen prefolds and one homemade cloth diaper and 5 plastic covers. I plan on making more cloth diapers for our next child. I would still like to get a washable wet bag.

  54. Thanks for this great post! I also cloth diaper full time and love it. I do get tired of the negativity and the “Just use a disposable” I get from friends at times. The disgusting factor?? I can’t say it is anymore disgusting then disposables but I haven’t ever used disposables except for the first 2 weeks. Like you said, anytime you deal with poo it isn’t pleasant. I have a diaper sprayer and that makes it so much easier in my opinion to get the poop off the diaper and into the toilet. You might also address the issue of far fewer instances of diaper rashes with cloth vs disposable. Thanks!

  55. I use cloth diapers and *LOVE* it! I know it sounds crazy, but my husband and I actually enjoy diaper changes since we began using cloth. The diapers are so much more vibrant and fun to look at than disposables. I use a sprayer attached to the toilet for my poopy diapers, and that has made dirties a cinch. I will be honest, I hated dirty diapers before we got that. Now I keep a small trash can that opens when you step on the pedal right next to the toilet, spray the poop into the toilet, and plop the diaper into the pail. Keeps all smells in the trashcan, and it’s so simple!

    We use flip covers with pre-fold diapers as the inserts (no pins or snappies; just fold and lay inside the cover). I *LOVE* this system! So easy and inexpensive! I spent less than $100 on my diaper stash and accessories, and this was enough for my toddler and newborn.

  56. I will say honestly, that for me, cloth diapering is not easier. I am committed to it, I agree with the cost savings, environmental-friendliness and they are super-cute. However, I am constantly trying to figure out how to get them to not stink! I have scrubbed with Dawn, boiling water, hours of rinsing/sunning and they still stink. It may be the hard water we have, I’m still not sure. Anyway, it is frustrating and is always a ‘treat’ to use disposables once in a while.

    1. @Anne, My SIL has hard water where she lives and I know that she has had the same frustration, even though she really wants to use cloth. There is a brand of laundry detergent that may be worth trying for you… Rockin’ Green makes a detergent specifically formulated for using on cloth diapers in hard water situations. Maybe that would help?

    2. @Anne, Have you tried vinegar rinse? Put a cup of white vinegar in the final rinse. I don’t know if it will work against really hard water, but it’s worth a try.

    3. @Anne, I’ve also heard good things about Rockin Green and they have a hard water formula. There is also some sort of water softener that I’ve heard some people put in their water too to help the detergent. I think its Calgon? You’d get the most help from asking where you bought your diapers about it. I hope you figure it out. Good for you for your commitment.

    4. @Anne,

      Try RLR to strip them. After you wash them, drop the RLR in with the clean diapers and no detergent then run the load. Keep rinsing, rinsing, rinsing until you see no or just a small amount of soap bubbles (you’ll be amazed how much soap is in the load since you didn’t add any). This should help with getting the stink out before you try the Rockin Green or another detergent. I have hard water too and did this then swithed to Arm and Hammer Sensitive with no perfume or dyes; the bottle says it rinses completely. It really helped. Also, a 1/4 c of bleach in the load before you do the RLR will help a lot too. Be sure you are using enough detergent too to get rid of the bacteria. I used to sell cloth diapers and these are the tidbits I picked up from doing it – good luck!

    5. @Anne, Borax works wonders when my clothes get dingy from my hard water (or if they stink because I forgot they were in the washer). It’s a water softener. You use a half cup of Borax in a regular load. You can find it in the laundry aisle. It’s worth a try.

    6. I feel the same way you do Anne in regards to the “stink”! I’ve tried everything- white vinegar, no-scent detergent, extra water (I have a front loader), washing diapers every day or every other day, line drying, etc. I was stripping my son’s diapers every 3 weeks because they smelled horrible- especially when he woke up in the morning. I used the FuzziBunz brand and I loved the way they look and the fact that I was not throwing disposables away, but sometimes I wondered if the amount of water and electric I was using was counteracting my efforts to be environmentally friendly! My son has been potty trained for 3 weeks now and I’m so excited to be done with diapers! Yay! πŸ™‚ A positive: I think using cloth diapers helped him potty train early -when I compare him to my 5 older children who were raised using disposables.

      1. I have a friend with very hard water and she has had excellent luck soaking her clean inserts in a 50/50 mixture of lemon juice and water, wringing them out, drying them in the sun and then washing as usual. She says this works wonders on stink and hard water staining! Good luck!

  57. I love your break down! I do have one thought/question. I live in an apartment and use a pay-per-use washer and dryer. It costs me $1.25 to wash and $1.00 to dry. I can see the sense in air drying when possible. How often do you wash a load of diapers? If I do a load a day, it would cost me about $36 per month just to wash.

    1. Just want to say that I’ve been in your shoes with the pay washers. Skipping the dryer would certainly save, but if I did an extra wash/rinse, it would still cost me 2.50 per load. Even just 3x/week would cost $7.50/week, washing alone.
      Personally, that’s why I used disposables. Shopping with coupons and sales, I can get jumbo packs for anywhere between $1 and $5. Cost was my main deciding factor….not to mention the neighbors flipping if they saw me washing diapers in the same washer they used! πŸ˜‰
      But having said that, some choose cloth for health and/or enviromental reasons, and if that’s you, then go for it.
      Lots of factors to consider, so we each have to decide what works best for us! πŸ™‚

    2. @Suzanne, I’ve always done once every 3rd day even with a newborn. I found 3 dozen prefolds to work well for this. I could even get by now at this point (2 1/2 years) with 2 dozen and wash every 3rd day.

  58. While I have experience with cloth, as we used them on my youngest siblings, I have only used disposables on my own kids.
    You are right, it’s really not that bad. I remember having a big open pail of diapers in the bathroom and it rarely stank since the diapers were rinsed out.
    I did not start with cloth since we had to use coin washers and it really would have been costly. Now I have my own washer, but my youngest is about to turn 2. Don’t think he’s near ready for potty training, but still not sure I want to make the investment now. Maybe if we have another child, I will.
    Also, my near-2-yr-old’s poops are not solid. Like you said, we’re supposed to dump it in the toilet, but it doesn’t “dump”. Is that fairly common? If I used cloth, that would gross me out, especially since he usually goes several times a day. Or would a diaper sprayer solve that problem? Can anyone relate?

    1. @alyssa, A diaper sprayer should solve that. Dumping poop off a disposable IS hard. I’ve tried. A cloth diaper you can actually dunk in (holding on to the clean corners) and swish around. Then hold the diaper up out of the way, flush, and dunk again until its clean. Its not that bad. Really. But a diaper sprayer would be even easier.

  59. i think it -can- be disgusting, but i think you bring up a valid point in that disposable diapers can be gross too! we’re getting more into the phase of having to either dunk or scrape or spray off diapers before putting them in the bin (his #2s aren’t quite solid yet) to be washed and that’s been interesting to adjust to. but i still prefer it to disposables! πŸ™‚

  60. I LOVE cloth diapering. Our daughter is 5 months, and we started at 2 months. She had diaper rash & nothing helped, until we switched to cloth & it was gone in a day! It cost a lot up front, but I never have to run out and get diapers! I don’t even think about the laundry – it’s hardly any extra work. I hate throwing out disposables; such a feeling of waste. And I love knowing that it’s surely better for her skin than to have whatever magical chemicals are in the disposables to act as absorbents.

    The only thing I don’t like is the stripping issue. I’m not having much success in doing that, and I think I’ve tried every method (dawn dish detergent, hot water washes, vinegar, more detergent, less detergent, new detergent, etc etc). I think the problem may be that we have an HE washer, which is weighted, and only puts enough water in for exactly what’s in there. So not a lot of water goes through the diapers. So the one thing I tried that was somewhat successful took several days! I’m about to order some Rockin Green detergent as a last resort, unless you have suggestions?

    1. @Jessica L, You shouldn’t have to continually be stripping your diapers if you find a detergent that works. I don’t have to do that at all now that I use nature clean’s powder detergent. But everyone’s washer and water is different so you have to find what works. I’ve heard good things about Rockin Green and they do have samples.

    2. @Jessica L, I’ve heard those with HE washers often add additional water through the detergent (window? hole? I’m not sure… don’t have HE) spot once it’s done adding water. Some use a hose from a sink, others use a watering can, others a pot of water.

      Good luck!

    3. @Jessica L, I have an HE washer and I add 5 pitchers of HOT water to the wash cycle through the detergent door/tray. I let it swish it around for a few minutes. Then I hit pause and let it soak for a few hours. Next I hit start and let it finish the wash cycle. I use Rockin’ Green’s Hard Rock detergent. On their website they have directions on how to best use their detergent in various washing machines. I hope this helps.

  61. PS, we NEVER have blowout diapers with cloth! I hated having to change everything every time she pooped with the disposables, so this is awesome!

    1. @Jessica L, YES! This is one of my arguments for cloth too – I hear a lot of “Eww, I don’t want to scrub out poop”… I haven’t had to scrub any poop since I STOPPED using disposables. We had blowouts ALL the time with them and I actually had to grab a brush (I ended up with one devoted to this) and dawn to scrub the poop out, sometimes the only thing that would work was my finger nails to scrub it. Cloth actually contains it and I love that!

  62. I used cloth for all of my six kids (pins and plastic pants back then – my youngest is 14) except for one year when disposables helped with severe diaper rash. Financially and environmentally it seemed like the right thing to do. Yes, it was more disgusting than disposables, but not that much, especially if I had had one of those nifty sprayer things on my toilet. I think it made toilet training much easier since they and I could easily feel the wet. I would definitely do it that way again.

  63. I’m visiting from Organic Homemaking. Great post. I definitely found cloth diapering much easier than I thought it would be, and cheaper even though I started at 5 months and my daughter was toilet trained during the day at 20 months (so I based my own calculations on that). I still use cloth diapers at night, but I am in profit already, so I am not doing the math anymore.

  64. I’ve been using cloth now for the combined total between my two kids for over 5 years. I use prefolds, Bummis super whisper wrap covers, and some wonderful knit terry wipes. I have a couple of wet bags and a couple diaper pails. That’s it. I figured my costs to be much lower than what you said (of course) due to the fact that I am using prefolds and have been able to use them on two kids for 5 years. The infant prefolds will even be used on a 3rd baby and maybe beyond as they only get used to 15 lbs.

    I LOVE cloth diapers and the one thing I find when we travel and don’t use cloth on those trips (we sometime do but usually not now, we use 7th generation diapers and wipes when travelling) is that disposable diapers DON’T WORK AS WELL! I get poop leaking (this is on my 2 1/2 year old, babies are even worse as they get blowouts in disposables) and I have NEVER gotten that with cloth even with a baby. Also, I find that I use tons more wipes and it takes me a long time to get the bum cleaned off using disposable wipes. They just smear it around! My knit terry wipes are like washcloths and are textured on one side and I usually only use 2 or maybe 3 per dirty diaper (I wet them with warm water and diaper safe bar soap).

    I think its a lot more digusting to have to try to wipe up with disposable wipes and get poop on the clothes with disposables vs. the inconvenience of swishing dirty diapers in the toilet. If that REALLY bothers you, buy a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet.

  65. One thing I wanted to add but forgot is that if you’re expecting and have no cloth diapers or need new ones for another baby (we will need to replace some for our 3rd child) is that when people ask what you want or need then you can mention cloth diapers and accessories etc. and this really helps with costs. We basically spent very very little diapering in reality since we just bought or cloth wipes and some extra covers and the newborn prefolds, we did not buy the bigger prefolds or the main cover stash, and we didn’t buy 2 of our 5 bum genius diapers either. We got them as gifts and from a baby shower. At least in my experience, family and friends and our church were more than happy to give us these things as gifts. They asked so we felt comfortable telling them. It also eliminated getting given any disposables which we did not want. So this is an idea for anyone expecting if you get asked what you want. We were also given some money with our first so we used that on cloth diaper accessories like the wet bags etc.

  66. To those that worry about the microbes of little peoples poo . . . My husbands greasy work clothes caked in dust and grime leave a much nastier mess in my washer than my little boys tiny bit of poo.

    Rockin’ Green hard water stuff is a great resource. BTDT.

  67. So many great comments….I wish I knew more about cloth diapering when my kids were in diapers. All I knew about was my grandma’s type – folding the cloth, those huge pins, and the hideous vinyl bloomers that went over the top and made noise at the slightest movement. If had known there were better options available, I’d have used them in a heartbeat.

    1. @Amy, Amy, I use Country Save (powder form) and it is really cheap and great for front loaders, as well. I buy it at our local Coop but you can find it really cheap on Amazon.com and even better if you subscribe to Amazonmom or subscribe and save.

  68. Thanks for this! I am cloth diapering twins right now, so I obviously don’t need to be convinced, but it’s a good piece to read to remind me why we’re doing this. We do use sposies at night and I cringe whenever I see someone going for the paper diapers when they’re changing a baby during the day. I yell things like “No! That’s a quarter you’re giving him/her to poop on!”

  69. We’ve been cloth diapering our first born daughter with Gro-Via hybrids and G-Diapers and LOVE THEM. I also started putting my daughter on the toilet starting at about 4 months when I could tell she was going number 2. This helped so much because cloth allowed her to feel the wet and uncomfortableness and beginning at 10 months, she consistently has gone on the potty for number 2. Now, at 15 months, she is crawl/walking to the bathroom for #1 and 2. Talk about saving money!

  70. I use gdiapers for both my girls. I like them for my 7 month old, but do not *love* them for my bouncing 2 year old. I do love Thirsties with basically any insert for her though. They fit very well around the leg. I can’t wait because I ordered a few fuzzibunz to try until she is potty trained!

  71. I LOVE cloth diapering, but my daughter is only 5 months so I haven’t gotten to the needing to deal with the poop stage. Like others have mentioned (on this post? maybe on another I was reading first…), I was working before our daughter was born, so financially it was much easier for our budget to absorb the start up costs of cloth then, because we certainly would not be able to afford a stash or even disposables every month now.

    Someone gave us some disposables, and I needed to strip our diapers so I used them for a few days, and let me just say that pee and poop smells SO MUCH WORSE in disposable diapers! I was shocked. So for all of you who are using disposables and thinking, “these diapers are so disgusting I would never use cloth”, just tuck that away. Her dirtiest diapers almost never smell, but in the disposables I did have to hold my breath and take them straight to an outside trash can. It was gnarly.

  72. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I find these cloth diapering myths can be somewhat challenging to help new and prospective parents get past. We have been cloth diapering over 2 years, still not potty trained, but I’m proud to say we have never had a blow out. Friends of mine that use disposables cannot say the same.

    1. By chance, what type of cloth diaper have you used for the 2+ years? I’m going to ask this sweet Blog writer as well! I have been trying to ask ladies I have come across who have cloth diapered for over 18 months straight. I’m a newbie momma-to-be, and I can’t spend my money bouncing from one CD maker to another. Times are tight and I’m trying to be smart! Thanks for any CD makers you can suggest. I’m due in August and trying to buy up diapers over the next few months to less-in the upfront financial amount. Thanks again!!!!

  73. Ok – one question on the rinsing the poop diapers – after you rinse them with the sprayer or by dunking, do you have to squeeze out the extra water, or do you put a sopping wet diaper into the bag? Thank you!

  74. Hmmm.
    So does that mean you throw the dirty diaper into the washer machine with some poop attached to the cloth? I mean not all of it is going to come off and go into the toilet. I can’t imagine washing my clothes knowing I threw poop in the washer the load before.. O.o
    I just can’t get over that. It’s a little gross, okay I lied, very very gross. lol

    1. @Janice, Well, hardly any. There are little bits left, but the great majority ends up in the toilet, not the washer. And it doesn’t phase me because I rinse the diapers first, then give them a full hot wash. There’s nothing left in the washer after. I know. I’ve looked and smelled. πŸ™‚

  75. Stephanie, thanks for all your writing on cloth diapering. Your blog is very motivating to me!

    I find that having a garbage can (even with lid) full of dirty disposable diapers is much stinkier than a diaper pail full of dirty cloth diapers, because I always swish the poop in the toilet first. When you use fleece liners, it almost all comes off so easily. I have no problem putting it all through the washer and then washing clothes the next batch. I do a cold rinse first, like Stephanie does, and never notice any thing stinky or gross about my washer or clothes. That’s what soap is for.

  76. I really appreciate this post. I used disposables with my son, but would be willing to try cloth if I ever had another baby. I don’t know whether or not I would stick with it; I honestly couldn’t answer that till I tried it firsthand. But what I love about your post is that it is not judgmental or condascending toward people who use disposables, and it is honest. Some of the cost comparisons I have seen have been ridiculous (totally inflating the cost of using disposables). I appreciate that yours was an accurate portrayal.

  77. Has it not occured to anyone that when you are accustomed to using a certain diaper you are FAR less likely to have leaks than when you use a different diaper? The dreaded “blowouts” that we’ve had would’ve crawled out of ANY diaper, I promise. I’m pretty sure they were still crawling when I was cleaning them up! The only problems with leaks I’ve had in disposables were due to babies growing OR using a diaper I wasn’t used to. I personally don’t care what kind of diapers people use. And with a 1 & 2 year old, one of whom has extra needs; being an “older” mom *who was a cloth diapered baby* with less energy; and already doing at least 2 loads of laundry per day I’m okay with disposables. My house does NOT smell like dirty diapers, we don’t use ANY air fresheners or “scents” in our house due to a family member with asthma. My diaper pail doesn’t have a “gross out” factor as it is emptied about as often as I read cloth users wash their diapers. A mom should never be criticized or shamed for her choice of diapers.

    1. You’re right, no one should be shamed for making any choice, and that’s certainly not the goal of this post. It was simply for those who were unsure of using cloth, to realize that if it’s something that they’re potentially interested in, they might find it easier and more manageable than they thought it was. For those who are content using disposables, there is no intention to criticize at all. I’m sorry if it came across in that manner. Have a good day! πŸ™‚

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