Why I Chose to Cloth Diaper

There are plenty of blogs out there that tell you all the pros and cons of cloth diapering. Some families choose to do so for financial reasons, or environmental concerns, or a combination of both.
My friends might describe me as a bit “earthy crunchy” (which is really only a little true), and a lot frugal. I am always looking for the best steals and deals, even if it means a bit more work.

Infant crawling wearing just a cloth diaper, green with octopus pattern on it.

Frugal Facts

Yes, cloth diapering does have a good start up cost. Depending on what type you buy, and how many you get (or how often you want to do diaper laundry), you can spend as little as $250 for your stash, but most people are probably looking at closer to $1000ish. You also need to factor in the cost of laundering the diapers.

So, in the first 2 years of diapering are you really saving money? The answer is yes, but not a ton. Usually you see savings of about $200-300. However, if you are using your stash for more than one kid (and you care for them properly), you can save a couple thousand dollars per additional kid!

Another thing to keep in mind, after you are done using the diapers, they can be donated or resold! Though you won’t get all your money back, you will get some, or at least a tax write off.

Crunchy Facts

Produce Less Waste

Did you know that it takes 500 years for a (non-compostable) disposable diaper to decompose? And for families who use them, disposable diapers make up just about half of their trash!

The absorbent parts of the cloth diaper are made from natural materials (like cotton, hemp, or bamboo) and are reused over and over, until they lose their absorbency or become too damaged for use.

When it is time to dispose of the diaper itself (if you don’t find another use for it), they will decompose in less time, because they are made of natural fibers.

Unfortunately the PUL (water proof fabric used to make covers, or the outer layer of a pocket or all-in-one) is not biodegradable and contains petroleum based products. While this seems to make them non-eco-friendly, they will still take up less space in a landfill (compared to disposables) when they are no longer able to be reused.

The use of water can be an issue, when you consider water used in production and used in washing the diapers.

Free of chemicals

Disposable diapers can contain chemicals like chlorine, dyes, fragrance, and phthalates. While the amounts are small in the finished product, there are no studies on their safety. It can give some parents peace of mind to have diapers void of anything potentially harmful. (I’m not saying disposable diapers are harmful, there are just no studies on it!)

Why I Chose to Cloth Diaper

The biggest reasons for us were truly financial. We knew that having a baby meant that I was going to be drastically cutting back the amount of hours I worked, despite me bringing in the larger paycheck.

Yes, laundering costs money, but once you invest in your initial stash, laundering is now your only regular cost. That cost (typically) is much less than a package of disposable diapers.

I do appreciate that I am keeping diapers out of landfills. Did you know you aren’t supposed to even dispose of human waste in the trash?

Lastly, have you seen cloth diapers lately? They are freaking adorable, my favorites are my special edition Care Bears and Alice in Wonderland diapers. Okay, this isn’t a reason to use cloth per se, but heck it’s a cute bonus.

Cloth diapering is definitely not for the faint of heart, but is definitely doable for any family if they want to do it. That said, it’s still not for everyone.


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