Why Do People Cloth Diaper?
Because it’s super trendy right now and obviously, that’s all that matters.
False. (Remember popcorn shirts? Those were ‘trendy’ too and look how that mess turned out…)
So, why DO people cloth diaper?
Each caregiver has different reasons for cloth diapering, but usually there is one aspect that sticks out for everyone. For some parents, it’s important to live as environmentally friendly as possible. For others, cloth diapering is a simple and easy way to save money. And yes, some parents just love how incredibly cute they are.
In this article, we’re going to break down the top eight reasons caregivers switch to cloth diapers.
- They Lessen the Chance of Diaper Rash
- Cloth Diapering Reduces Waste
- Modern Cloth Diapers are Easy to Use
- They Contain No Chemicals or Toxins
- Cloth Diapers are Significantly Less Expensive than Disposable Diapers
- Cloth Diapers Significantly Limit the Occurrence of ‘Blowouts’
- They Can Be Resold Once Baby is Potty Trained
- They are Ridiculously Cute
Let’s start with diaper rash.
Cloth Diapers Lessen the Chance of Diaper Rash
Almost everyone who has diapered a baby has encountered some form of diaper rash. Some diaper rashes can be minimal and go almost unnoticed, while others can be painful, long lasting and extremely frustrating.
What causes diaper rash?
Diaper rash can be caused by a number of different things. Leaving a diaper on too long, yeast, teething and even a reaction to the chemicals found in disposable diapers can all cause diaper rash.
The most common diaper rash is the result of leaving a diaper on too long and/or a reaction to the chemicals contained inside disposable diapers.
Have you ever considered why disposable diapers are so crisp and white?
The simple answer is bleach. Many disposable diaper companies use chlorine to whiten diaper material, the byproduct of which is dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals in the world, is listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic and, obviously, can cause diaper rash.
Many caregivers have also seen the current advertising that states disposable diapers can go up to twelve hours without leaking. While that may be true, some caregivers misunderstand this to mean that keeping a baby in the same diaper for this period of time is safe, recommended and/or the norm.
To prevent rashes, we recommend changing babies every 1-2 hours, whenever possible. Because cloth diaper systems have either some sort of waterproof material or a lanolized wool cover, they can go several hours without leaking. And because they contain none of the toxins or chemicals seen in disposable diapers, they also protect baby from diaper rash.
Putting cloth against baby’s skin instead of the chemicals found in disposable diapers significantly reduces the chance of diaper rash. Babies who do encounter diaper rash are also much more likely to heal quickly and easily when using cloth diapers.
Learn More About Cloth Diapers: 11 Tips to Make Cloth Diapering Easier
Cloth Diapering Reduces Waste
The number of disposable diapers that end up in landfills each day, week and year in our country is absolutely staggering.
Newborn babies typically go through anywhere from 10-14 diapers a day. And when using disposable diapers, every single one of them ends up in a landfill.
Cloth diapers significantly reduce the amount of waste dumped in our landfills every year and the resulting groundwater pollution that occurs due to this dumping. In fact, the EPA estimates that 20 billion disposable diapers enter the US landfills each year, which contributes to 3.5 million tons of waste.
It’s such an overwhelming fact that it’s hard to imagine exactly how much waste that amounts to. But, this should help.
3.5 million tons of waste is also the same as throwing away:
- 3.5 million Water Buffalos OR
- Half a million adult T-Rexes OR
- 30,434 Blue Whales OR
- 20,348 houses OR
- 6,151,142 Polar Bears
Cloth diapers avoid almost all of this waste simply by being a reusable alternative. Because no one wants to put half a million T-Rexes in the trash.
Modern Cloth Diapers are Easy to Use
After hosting hundreds of cloth diapering classes at our boutique, I can tell you that the perception of the cloth diapering process hasn’t changed much over the last few years, although the diapers and designs themselves have changed dramatically.
Traditional cloth diapers, called flats, were large squares or rectangles of material that were folded origami style to create the modern day prefold. They were often boiled and line dried, meaning the entire cleaning process was lengthy and frustrating.
Many of our clients opt to start with what are now known as All In Ones, which have their absorbent material sewn to their waterproof material. There are no parts or pieces to All In Ones and they are extremely easy to use.
All In Ones can be changed in one simple step and are the closest in concept to a disposable diaper: the entire diaper goes on, the entire diaper comes off and rather than throw it away, you just toss it in the washer.
All In Ones aren’t the only diaper system that’s easy to use. Hybrid cloth diapers allow you all the benefits of the cover and prefold system: easy cleaning, the ability to reuse your covers and an investment that won’t blow your budget. GroVia Hybrid cloth diapers have snap in soaker pads that allow you to reuse your covers without folding and securing prefolds.
While there are several modern cloth diaper styles and systems, they are all fairly easy to use and a far cry from the traditional cloth diaper methods. Many parents are attracted to cloth diapering simply because it’s so easy!
Learn More About Cloth Diapers: 6 Problems With Cloth Diapers: The Issues You Fear and The Easy Fixes
They Contain No Chemicals or Toxins
Responsible cloth diaper manufacturers care deeply about the fibers, sourcing and production of their product. Brands like Thirsties, GroVia and Sloomb take extensive measures to ensure that they use high-quality materials and avoid chemicals at all costs.
Have you ever seen the commercials that promise a disposable diaper can allow your baby to feel dry for twelve hours or longer?
That’s not normal. That’s the result of a chemical called sodium polyacrylate.
Have you ever seen the billions of tiny beads contained in the center of a disposable diaper? The ones that, if ever allowed to escape, stick to every surface of everything you’ve ever owned, loved or touched like a teeny pee filled alien invasion?
That is sodium polyacrylate, and please trust me when I say, if you ever have the misfortune to have this evil unleashed on your house, my thoughts are with you.
Sodium Polyacrylate can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and, if ingested, a host of other possible issues.
The number of chemicals contained inside disposable diapers is large and unnecessary. Cloth diapers allow parents to avoid chemicals completely and easily preventing diaper rash, waste and further exposure to toxins.
Cloth Diapers are Significantly Less Expensive than Disposable Diapers
I use the term ‘significantly less expensive’ here because it sounds much more professional then ‘seriously save you just ridiculous amounts of money’. But let’s look at the cost breakdown of cloth diapering.
A common misconception associated with cloth diapers is that they are expensive. This belief stems mostly from the fact that cloth diapers are a larger investment initially. The cost of disposable diapers can be deceiving in that they are less expensive per diaper; however, you will incur that cost again and again.
If you choose to select a minimal package of covers and prefolds, cloth diapering can cost as little as $275-300. However, 24 months worth of disposable diapers will run you about $2000, assuming your child potty trains at exactly 24 months.
On average, cloth diapering can save you upwards of $3000 total when compared to disposable diapers. If you choose to use the same cloth diaper stash for multiple children? You can save double or triple that easily.
Cost is by far one of the most popular reasons people choose to cloth diaper.
Learn More About Cloth Diapers: How Much Does It Cost to Use Cloth Diapers? (A Detailed Breakdown)
Cloth Diapers Significantly Limit the Occurrence of ‘Blowouts’
The very first time I took my oldest to an event, she wore a disposable diaper. She also decided that her first Fourth of July would be the perfect time to have the world’s most epic (and awful) diaper blowout of all time.
We had to go home.
Cloth diapers significantly limit the occurrence of leaks and blowouts. The adjustable fit allows you to customize your diaper size to your baby and the waist and leg elastic keep liquids and solids safely inside your diaper.
Many styles and brands have added leak protection like Thirsties’ double gussets, Kanga Care’s inner gussets or GroVia’s thicker elastic. Lanolized wool covers can prevent leaks from oversaturation and almost all styles allow caregivers to increase absorbency if needed.
Many parents and caregivers love that they can use cloth diapers while knowing that they are safe from leaks and blowouts.
They Can Be Resold Once Baby Is Potty Trained
That seems like it must be an exaggeration. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Many parents incur the initial cost of cloth diapering because they know that cloth diapers are very durable. Some parents use them for multiple children and even resell them once their cloth diapering days have passed.
At our boutique, our Pre-Loved Program allows parents to submit pre-loved cloth diapers for store credit. With this credit, they can purchase new cloth diaper items or other essentials, knowing that their cloth diapers will continue to reduce waste for years to come.
Online marketplaces like Facebook are also a great way to sell your used cloth diapers. After sanitizing your diapers, you can post them for sale locally or nationally and regain some of your initial cloth diaper investment.
The better you care for your cloth diapers, the better your chance at regaining some of that investment and saving even more money on your diapering journey.
Have you ever been able to sell a used disposable diaper?
They are Ridiculously Cute
And if we are being totally honest, yes, many parents choose to cloth diaper because they are so cute. Diapers can be a fashion accessory just as easily as they can be functional and eco-friendly.
Modern cloth diapers can be gender neutral or have fabulous prints in bright colors. Some parents choose to go with a collection of solid colored diapers or even all white diapers. But there is just no denying that a disposable diaper doesn’t compare to the designs and colors of some of our favorite cloth diaper brands.
When I was a mom of two, my reasons for cloth diapering were different than they are today. Two kids in, it was cut and dry: we needed to save some money.
As a mom of four, the reasons I cloth diaper are endless. I can’t deal with the chemicals in disposable diapers. I can’t bring myself to stuff landfills full of toxic substances, and no mom of four has time for diaper rash. #truth
THE reason you cloth diaper will be different for everyone.
And if we left your favorite reason to cloth diaper off the list, I'd love it if you shared it with us in the comments.