Cloth Diapers vs Disposables: Myths and Facts

Myth:  Cloth diapers are difficult to use.

Fact: Cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposable.  There are many different types to fit all shapes of babies.  The easiest types of diapers, pocket diapers and all-in-ones go on exactly like a disposable.  Many of them even have velcro closures.  When you are done with them you take them off and throw them in the diaper pail.  That's it.  

Myth:  Dealing with and washing poopy cloth diapers is really gross.

Fact:  Its actually really easy and not much more gross than dealing with disposable diapers.  The fact is that whether you are using disposable or cloth, you are going to have to deal with poop.  

Here's a quick run down of the life cycle of disposable vs cloth diapers when it comes to poop:

Disposable diapers:
1. You normally use the diaper, or a wipe, to scrape the poo off of your baby's butt 
2.  You do your best to bunch everything up and stuff it into your diaper genie.  Sometimes poo squirts out onto your hand, sometimes some gets on the diaper genie as you're throwing it away and then you have to wash it off.  Sometimes you're lucky and everything gets bundled together and goes right into the bag.  
3.  When its time to change your diaper genie you have to open it up, get hit by a whiff of poop, tie the bag up and hope that there's no poop on it
4.  Take it out to the trash. 

Cloth diaper:
1.  As with a disposable you use the diaper or a wipe the poo off of your baby's tush.  
2.  If your baby is still little and has not yet started solid foods, you throw the whole thing (assuming you are using cloth wipes) into the diaper pail.  
  • The all liquid diet of young infants leads to extremely water soluble poo that your washing machine can easily handle.  
For older babies there is an extra step.  
3.  You set the poopy diaper aside.  Put a clean diaper on your little one.  Then take the diaper to the toilet and drop in the solids. In some cases you may need to use some toilet paper to help it along - no worse than wiping the tush you just finished wiping.  And luckily, by the time your baby is old enough that you need this extra step, you are over any poo squeamishness you may have had.  You then throw the diaper in the diaper pail.  

4. When its time to wash you take the pail liner bag out of the diaper pail and inside-out it into your washing machine.  Then throw the bag in along with it.  You wash it according to the diaper manufacturers instructions, or whatever works best for you and your model of washing machine (I do a cold cylce with 1/4 to 1/2 cup detergent and then a hot cycle with no detergent). 

Myth: There are no health benefits to using cloth diapers.

Fact:  Cloth diapers are made out of natural fibers that do not irritate the very sensitive skin of babies.  They also allow more air circulation, reducing diaper rash.  Disposable diapers, on the other hand, contain the following chemicals:
  • Dioxin
    • Toxic by-product of paper-bleaching process
    • Listed by EPA as highly carcinogenic
They also contain irritants that have been linked with asthma!

Myth:  Cloth diapers are actually worse for the environment than disposables.

Fact: Cloth diapers are sustainable diapers and disposable diapers are not. 

Myth: Cloth diapers are expensive.

Fact:  Assuming that disposable diapers cost about $ 0.28 a piece, and most babies go through an average of 8 diapers a day, that's about $67.20/month or $806.40/year.  This puts the cost of using disposable diapers for 2 years at over $1600.  You can easily buy enough cloth diapers for your child's entire life for $300.  You can then reuse them for future babies.  That's a savings of $2,900 for two kids.