Disposable vs Cloth Diapers

One of the most common misperceptions about cloth diapers is that they are difficult to use and laborious to maintain.  Modern cloth diapers are just as easy to change as a disposable and as easy to maintain as washing a load of laundry. With hook and loop or snap closures, adjustable sizing, and one or two piece designs, modern cloth diapers are convenient and versatile.  They are arguably better at containing messes than disposable diapers, as they are designed with a more adjustable fit and stronger, thicker elastic at the legs and back.

Washing diapers at home adds two to three loads of laundry per week, and you never have to worry about running out of diapers – and running out to the store to restock in the middle of the night!

As one cloth diapering mother, Kate, explains in a 2011 blog post, “My husband will vouch for the convenience factor—he’s never, ever, had to run out and buy more diapers. We’ve never watched for sales at Costco on enormous boxes of diapers. We’ve never had a trash can overflowing with non-biodegradable waste. He’s never had to drag an 80 lb bag of poop to the curb. When diapers are getting low, we throw them (along with our cloth wipes and our washable diaper pail liner) into the cold rinse cycle and walk away. It’s that simple. No getting in the car, no putting baby into the car seat, no opening up the wallet. Just rinse, wash, dry, and voila! Fresh, clean diapers ready and waiting.”  Read full post here.

Cloth Diapers Are Better For Baby’s Skin?

toxicThe health concerns that many cloth diapering parents associate with disposable diapers have to do with exposure to chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of disposable diapers and skin sensitivities. The chemical dioxin is used in the production of disposable diapers, and is a known carcinogen. Though no research has shown a connection between wearing disposable diapers and effects on the skin, there are some concerns that the gases from disposable diapers might be associated with an increase in Asthmatic symptoms in children.  Families who look to reduce overall exposure to chemicals in their families’ environment choose cloth diapers for this peace of mind.

Ultimately, A Baby’s Skin Is Healthiest When It Is Clean and Dry.

Disposable diapers do an incredible job of keeping skin dry because they are super absorbent.  However, with this absorbency and their high cost, they tend to be changed less frequently than every 2-3 hours, which is what is recommended by doctors.  Soaring sales of diaper rash creams coinciding with dropping sales in disposable diapers recently brought attention to this disposable diapering dilemma.  With cloth diapers, the cost per change is less of a factor because each cloth diaper can be reused hundreds of time, allowing for more frequent changes and a way to keep skin truly dry and rash free.

Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers vs Cloth Diapers

Every year enough disposable diapers are thrown away to circle the globe 90 times!

Every year enough disposable diapers are thrown away to circle the globe 90 times!

20 billion diapers are thrown away every year in the United States.  The production, distribution, and disposal of these diapers leaves a staggering footprint on our planet.  The average disposable diaper can take 500 years to decompose and contains petroleum, plastics, perfumes, wood pulp, and dioxins.

These components of disposable diapers are not materials that most ecologically conscious people want to throw in the trash. When a family chooses to use cloth diapers they choose the peace of mind that comes from eliminating over 6,000 diapers per child from our landfills. They also eliminate the greenhouse gases associated with the production, transportation and distribution of disposable products, which happens over and over again.

Cost of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

costThe cost of cloth diapers is significantly lower than the cost of disposables.  Diapering a child in generic disposables costs over $1,400 over 2.5 years.  With some premium earth-friendly options, this cost can go to almost $2,500.  A full time cloth diapering system can cost as little as $300.  The cost of cloth diapers comes upfront, when building up supply, but it relieves the recurrent stress over budgeting for disposable products on a regular basis. Choosing cloth diapers is cheaper overall, as well as easier on the recurring budget.