Hopeful Thoughts

Why Cloth Diapers?

As most of my dearest friends already know, we are choosing cloth diapers for Baby Inselmann.  It’s been amazing to me to hear all of the opinions that people seem to have about cloth.  My goal here is to help people understand my reasons.  Feel free to make your own opinions, but here are mine!

Reason #1) The Environment

Cloth diapers reduce the amount of waste that I will be adding to the landfills.  I’m choosing organic cotton, so their production is even more friendly to the environment, and since they are cotton, they should degrade more easily when the few dozen diapers that I have do wind up too worn for use.

I’ve also taken the contamination of the water by detergent into account.  By the time I begin cloth diapering, I will have switched to a natural detergent that is low in cost, safe for sensitive babies, AND BIODEGRADABLE.  It’s even certified safe for SMALL bodies of water.  Too cool!  Check out Charlie’s Soap for yourself!  It’s amazing!  (A clean rinsing detergent is really important, as most detergents cause build up in fabrics over time, which can decrease absorbency of your diapers).

Reason #2) COST

My needs for cloth diapering will include the following (which I will be ordering from this site):  4 newborn covers at $11 each; 1 dozen newborn size organic cotton pre-folds for $25; 1 Dozen small covers and 3 dozen pre-folds,  FREE from my awesome sister;  8-12 Bummis Medium covers at $12.25 each, $98-$147; 3 dozen Medium size organic cotton pre-folds at $35 per dozen, $105; and flannel cloth wipes that I made, cost is for materials, about $8.   The newborn size diapers will also serve as doublers to increase absorbency for night time use, so that will be one less thing to buy.   The cost per load to run my washer and dryer is about $0.75, plus a bit for detergent, so we’ll say $0.90 per load.  This means I’ll spend about $94 on the extra two loads of laundry I’ll do each week for a full year.  That gives a total cost for diapering of about $423 for a whole year.  Assuming I diaper for the second year, too, I’m only adding the cost of another year of laundry, so we’re talking just over $500 for two full years of diapering.  If we have another kid, we only add the cost of the laundry since the diapers can be used again and again.

Disposable diapers seem to sell for about $0.40 each, depending on the size.  I did an average cost of the smallest and largest per diaper cost to get this number.  I got my information from a bulk package that was on sale at diapers.com, just to be fair to those who shop cheap.  Estimating a use of about 8 diapers a day, this would cost $1168 per year.  Not to mention what will be paid for the wipes, which run about $0.03 each.  Using 1-3 per diaper change would work out to about 16 per day, adding another $175 to your diapering total for the year.  We’re at $1343 by now.  Over the course of  two years, we’ve spent close to $2700 on diapers!

Looks to me like I’m saving over $2000 by choosing to cloth diaper my one kiddo!  If we have a second, it’s even more!  What could I do with $2000????

Reason #3) Better for Baby

There are always exceptions to this sort of reason.  I know plenty of kids who’ve worn disposable diapers and haven’t had any diaper rash problems.  However, overall, babies in cloth diapers experience less skin irritation than those in disposables.  In addition, many sources show that kids in cloth tend to potty train sooner than those in disposables.

Reason #4)  They are EASY to use

Cloth diapers have come a long way since my mom used them on me.  You can still use pins and plastic pants if you like, but I’m not!  I will have an extra step when compared with disposables in actually putting on the diapers, but it’s really not that big of a deal to lay a cotton pre-fold into a cover before closing up the diaper.  We’re getting covers with hook and loop tabs, so they will be just as easy as disposables to put on.

As for washing, that’s easy, too!  Since I’m choosing to nurse, we’ll be able to throw all of our diapers right into the pail without any rinsing.  Nursing poop washes out just like yogurt!  We’ll be lining our pail with a waterproof, washable PUL bag.  On washing day, I’ll simply turn the bag inside out into the washer, leave it in the washer, too, and I never have to touch the dirty diapers.  I’ll run a cold pre-rinse, a hot wash, and an extra rinse at the end, then toss them all in the dryer.  You really don’t have to fold them, either.

Once Baby starts on solids, we will have to swish the solid waste out in the toilet.  Provided you do this ASAP after taking the diaper off the munchkin and BEFORE tossing it in the pail, this is really not a big deal.  It’s waiting that causes the big stink!  Personally, It’s worth it to me to swish poop if I get to keep my $2000!!

I hope that this blog has been helpful.  I’m excited about our decision and can’t wait for the little guy to get here!

Posted March 16th, 2010 in Baby Inselmann, Cloth Diapers, Saving.


  1. Pam:

    Ha ha, I so love your blog, keep it up!!!

  2. Sarah:

    Hope, that’s really great math (from a math teacher, I trust it). Lucky for you being a stay-at-home mom. Very few daycares allow use of cloth diapers, so for working moms we have to buy disposables (or hire a nanny instead of private daycare) – so the cost probably would balance out or maybe even tip in favor of disposables after that payroll! It takes great amounts of discipline to do what you will be doing. Be sure to have some ready before bed, so at 3 in the morning when you’re already SO exhausted you aren’t trying to “make” a diaper ready!

  3. Erin:

    As a Mom who cloth diapers, I agree with all of your reasoning. I’m lucky that my day care is happy to use cloth. In terms of the solids poo that comes later, we got a diaper sprayer on sale for Christmas, and it was the best thing EVER! We use it at least once a day, but it allows us not to have to get to up close and personal with dirty diapers…

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