Four Surprising Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers

If you’re planning to raise a baby sustainably, you might have considered cloth diapers as an alternative to traditional disposable diapers. Here are four reasons why you should consider them.

Even if you seriously considered cloth diapering, there’s a chance you might have immediately dismissed the idea and moved on. If so, you’re not alone. Many people do this, telling themselves cloth diapers are too hard, too expensive, too gross, and write off the idea altogether.

This article will share all the reasons to give cloth diapers a shot and take a closer look at the benefits of using them.

baby crawling in a cloth diaper

Why you should use cloth diapers

1. They save you money

Cloth diapers are an expensive investment upfront, but over time, they’re more than worth it. Depending on the type of diaper used, a “stash” of cloth diapers can be anywhere from $200 to $800, there’s be a slight cost for laundering the diapers about twice a week. And, if you take good care of your diapers, they can be used for multiple children and/or be resold.  

In comparison, from birth to potty training, you’ll spend from $2000 to $3000 on disposable diapers. There’ll also be a cost for trash bags for the diaper pail. And every cent of that money will go in the trash, literally.

2. They may be better for your baby’s health

Most diaper manufacturers don’t disclose all of the ingredients in their diapers, but many of the ingredients we know about are harmful.

Ingredients like dioxins, fragrances, dyes, and phthalates are toxic. Studies show they disrupt hormones, cause dermatitis, and even increase the risk of cancer. Disposable diapers and the ingredients in modern disposables are still new, so we aren’t sure about their impact on babies and children.

However, to avoid possible toxic chemicals touching your baby’s skin, you can choose a disposable diaper that is unbleached, 100% chlorine-free, dye-free, and perfume-free. Keep in mind; these disposable diaper brands are usually very pricey, so you can save money and avoid these chemicals by choosing cloth diapers.

laundry room with laundry basket

3. They’re better for the environment

The environmental support for choosing cloth over disposables is endless. One main reason is manufacturing. Research shows that the oil needed to make one baby’s disposable diapers is more than their cars will need for their entire lifetime; it also shows that one billion trees are used each year globally to create wood pulp for diapers.

It’s a long and wasteful process to produce the ingredients and make and transport disposable diapers.

Another environmental reason to use cloth is landfills. The US alone throws away almost 20 billion diapers each year, making diapers the third largest consumer item in landfills. We can’t know for sure, but estimates of how long it will take for each diaper to biodegrade range from 300 – 500 years (even the eco-friendly bamboo diapers take a long time in a landfill).

Did you know that you’re supposed to put solid waste from a disposable diaper into the toilet? Unfortunately, most people don’t, so those diapers are leaching hazardous materials, making them harmful to sanitation workers, our sewers, and the earth.

In comparison, cloth diapers, depending on the fabric, can be recycled or repurposed.

Read next: Eco-Friendly Feeding Alternatives for Baby and Beyond

4. They’re more practical

Cloth diapers are worth it for so many reasons. First, you never run out of diapers. If you’re running low, you do some laundry and have more. Secondly, they are so stinking cute.

Once you get the hang of it, they’re easier to use. With disposable diapers, there’s an awkward time when your baby is between sizes, and you have leaks no matter what; with cloth, you change your snaps to make them fit your baby best.

There are fewer leaks and blowouts with cloth diapers once you know how to use them. I did experience leaks with cloth in the early days while I was figuring them out but not anymore. And in my years of cloth diapering, I’ve only had one blowout while my friends whose children are in disposables experience them way more often.

stack of six colorful cloth diapers

Where to buy and cloth diaper brands to try

If you’re convinced to try cloth diapers (yay!), you might be wondering where to buy them or the best brands to get started with. Keep in mind; you’ll likely need eight to ten cloth diapers per day.

As mentioned above, due to their long life, it’s possible to find a previously used cloth diaper stash available for sale on Facebook marketplace, a local or digital mom group, buy/sell trade apps, and local resell stores.

Some of the most popular cloth diaper brands include:

Final thoughts on using cloth diapers

While they might seem intimidating or old-fashioned, modern cloth diapers are so simple to use and great for your baby, your wallet, and the planet. So, are these reasons convincing enough to make you consider cloth diapers?

Gigi Vera Vincent

Postpartum Doula

As a postpartum doula, teacher, and mother, I’m here to streamline the newborn learning curve and help birth parents, partners, and other family members. There isn’t one way to have and raise a little human. I’m here to guide parents to find their way to become confident parents.

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