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Myth Busters: Cloth Diaper Edition

This post is contributed by Smart Bottoms' guest blogger, Rachel Barry

As I was doing diaper laundry a couple days ago I was having a conversation with my husband about the differences between disposable diapers and cloth diapers. While my husband is not 100% on the cloth diaper band wagon he is slowly converting, and realizing it’s not just a passing phase decision I made.  I have had conversations with him where he has made some comments that I am sure many of you who cloth diaper have heard before: “It’s gross.” “Why use cloth when you can just throw away a disposable.”, “Cloth diapers are so expensive!”, etc. Our conversation got me thinking about my choice to cloth diaper, and if it was really saving my family money. After I crunched my numbers I thought I would put together a little myth busting post to help others about the common misconceptions/myths surrounding cloth diapering. After reading I would love to hear your thoughts, and whether you think my conclusions are correct. 😉

It’s too hard: This depends on your outlook on the situation. Most modern cloth diapers are just as easy to put on a child as a disposable diaper. If you have an AI1, already stuffed cloth diaper, or hybrid diaper all ready to go they will take the same amount of time to put on a child as a disposable diaper. (Heck Hook and Loop on a cloth diaper is almost the same as Velcro on a disposable.) If you have an unstuffed pocket you want to stuff first, or are using flats it may take a smidgen more amount of time to put the diaper on your child, but I feel its negligible. Then when you need to change your child’s diaper the cloth goes into a wet bag or pail till wash day. The disposable goes into a container as well. It just happens to be the trash can. The only thing extra you do with cloth diapers is wash them. Is that hard? I don’t think so. I am calling this BUSTED

It’s too time consuming: I am assuming, when individuals make this statement, they are referencing the time it takes to wash, dry, and put away cloth diapers. Look, as a mom I already do a load of laundry every day or every other day. Adding 2 extra loads of laundry a week is not a biggie for me since I am already doing laundry. If your diaper stash is big enough, where you do not need to do a load of diaper laundry every day, then the extra time spent doing 2 extra loads of laundry a week I feel is negligible. (I personally like doing diaper laundry and find it therapeutic. Haha!) If you do find it time consuming or difficult, due to working full time or maybe a health condition, but you still want to cloth diaper I would suggest looking for a natural parenting store that offers a cloth diaper service. (Cloth diaper services may be more expensive so make sure you research all of your options.) BUSTED.

It’s inconvenient: When someone makes this statement the first thing I ask them is, “For who, and how?”. If the individual mentions they tried to cloth diaper, but it didn’t really work out for them I usually try to find out more information. Sometimes fluff stuff happens. Sometimes you try and save your family money by purchasing cloth diapers from amazon and you purchase the wrong cloth diapers for your needs, or you find out they were poorly made. Issues like these happen. This is why I always suggest individuals interested in switching to cloth diapering do their research and talk with a couple of families who have experience cloth diapering. While a lot of cloth diapers are one size not all cloth diapers are made the same. You will need to find the fit, fabric, and community that fits your family’s needs. If you do this you will hopefully avoid getting frustrated since you will have found the cloth diapers that work for you. So, as you can see it is really up to you to decide if you believe cloth diapering is inconvenient. 😊 I going to call this one BUSTED.

What do I do with the poop? Uh? What do you do with your poop now? It goes in the toilet. Haha! Same for cloth diapers. All poop should go in the toilet. Usually the follow up statement is “How does it get in the toilet from the diaper?” or “You want me to do what?! I would rather just use a disposable and throw it away”. The process of removing poop from cloth diapers is not a long one, and cloth diaper companies have made it easier with the invention of diaper liners. While I don’t use diaper liners, it usually only takes me 15 minutes from start to finish to spray my whole 24 cloth diaper stash. (That is if I am not interrupted. Haha!) Here is also where people have asked me why I just don’t bypass the poop process and just use disposables. Well I’ll tell you. Disposable diaper companies do not openly discuss the fact that the process for a disposable diaper to break down in a landfill can take up to 500 years. Let me say it again. UP TO 500 YEARS. Our children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s may still be dealing with our waste plus theirs. Or…I could spray poop for 15 minutes. Haha! I choose poop spraying. BUSTED.

It’s expensive: Whenever I recommend someone switch to cloth I always tell them to crunch the numbers for themselves. I can pass around a pamphlet all I want showing them how much they will save, but sometimes individuals need to do the math themselves to realize the truth. Here’s my math.

Disposables:                                                                 Cloth:

$50 a month x 36 months = $1,800                              24 cloth diapers at $20 a piece = $480

I personally spent $500 on disposables before I started cloth diapering my daughter at 10 months. My daughter is now 20 months. If I had continued using disposable diapers I would have spent another $500 on diapers. I am now at the breakeven point. Say my daughter doesn’t potty train till she is 3 years old, and I do not purchase any more cloth diapers. (Laugh with me here! Haha!) If my daughter doesn’t potty train till around 3 years old I will have saved my family $800. To sweeten the numbers, if I have another child I can use my current diaper stash, or if I don’t have any other children and want to sell my diaper stash I can probably recoup at least 50% of what I spent. (Less if they are in bad condition.)

What about the cost for water and the extra detergent? For me personally my water bill has not gone up. (This will not be the case for everyone, and I encourage individuals again to crunch their own numbers.) As for spending extra money on detergent this is up to you. A lot of detergents can be used to clean cloth diapers. I wash my daughter’s cloth diapers in the same detergent I wash our regular laundry. I know some may disagree with this but I am going to call this one PLAUSIBLE and BUSTED at the same time. Haha! Sometimes cloth diapering can be more expensive than using disposables, but that again is up to you and how many cloth diapers you purchase. 😊

Now I am going to share some FACT comments with you. 😊

Cloth diapers are cute. FACT

Cloth diapering communities bring families and individuals together, and can create lasting friendships. FACT

Cloth diapering keeps thousands to millions of disposable diapers from our landfills. FACT

Cloth diapers can be a gate way product to other eco-friendly products such as wet bags, reusable lunch pouches, organic body care products, baby carriers, etc. FACT



Rachel is mom to one beautiful and rambunctious toddler, and 4 dogs. Her hobbies include dreaming of long walks on the beach while drinking her cold coffee during the day, writing while her daughter naps, and cruising. Her dislikes in life are doing the dishes, cleaning, and laundry. (Except diaper laundry. That’s her favorite. 😊

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