6 Reasons Why Cloth Diapers Are Better Than Disposables

Cloth diapers are WAY better than disposable diapers IMHO. Here are 6 amazing reasons to consider cloth diapering (plus one reason why they kinda stink).

Cloth diapers are WAY better than disposable diapers IMHO. Here are 6 amazing reasons to consider cloth diapering (plus one reason why they kinda stink).

When most people think of cloth diapers, they think of a huge handkerchief that you put on with safety pins. And maybe a diaper service that comes and picks them up.

Well, some families still go that route, and that’s great. But that ain’t what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the new school of cloth diaper. New fabrics, super absorbent pads, easy to put on and take off, simple to clean in your own washer and dryer.

These diapers are great. And they’re way better than disposables. Here’s why.

1. Cloth Diapers are cheaper

Disposable diapers will set you back at least $2,000 before your child is potty trained. And if you buy premium or biodegradable options, that number will look more like $3,000.

Whereas twenty of the most expensive cloth diapers will set you back less than $400. Factor in detergent and water bills, and you’re still looking at half the cost of disposables.

Cost of Diapering cloth versus disposable diapers meme by Mama Natural

2. Cloth diapers are way better for the environment

An average child will go through anywhere from four to eight thousand diapers in his or her life.

Nationwide, parents in the USA use an estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers each year. That’s around 3.4 million tons of diapers that end up in landfills each year.

Now think about all the trees that are used to make the diapers. And all the plastic, which is made from petroleum. All the chemicals used in the process. And the water. Then all that water and chemicals returning to the environment as waste. Then the plastic packaging, the transportation – airplanes and trucks carting those diapers around the world – not to mention the energy you use driving to the store and back. And then the energy used to produce your garbage bags, the trucks to haul that trash to the landfills, the equipment used to manage the landfill.

The environmental footprint of disposable diapers is staggering.

Compare that to using the same twenty cloth diapers over and over, cleaning them with safe detergent in a high efficiency washer. There’s just no contest. (Source)

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3. Cloth diapers are more absorbent

I speak here from experience. With a cloth diaper, I don’t have to change my baby in the middle of the night. With disposables, I do.

Then there’s the blowout factor. Cloth diapers are generous, and they contain. Disposables, not so much.

4. Disposable diapers contain nasty chemicals

Most disposables are bleached with Dioxin, which, in animal studies, caused nerve damage, birth defects, increased rates of miscarriages and changes to the immune system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen.

Next up is Sodium Polyacrylate, the super absorbent gelling material, or AGM, that allows your baby to go long periods in one diaper. Sodium Polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, as well as allergic reactions, and it’s is potentially lethal to pets.

AGMs are also linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys.

Now, big diaper manufacturers point out that these chemicals exist in very small doses in the diapers, and so don’t post a risk. And, sure, more studies need to be done. But Mama Natural says, why risk it? Also, some moms find disposables cause more diaper rash. (Source)

5. Cloth diapers may help protect your baby boy’s jewels

German scientists found that the skin temperature around baby boy’s genitals was significantly higher when they wore disposable diapers as opposed to cloth. While the scientists called for more research, they suggested that prolonged use of disposable diapers in infants could be an important factor contributing to the decline of sperm production in adult males. (Source)

6. Cloth diapers are cuter than disposables 🙂

Colors, patterns, textures. Especially when your baby is dressed in a diaper only. Cloth are way cuter.

1 Reason Why Cloth Diapers Aren’t Better? Blowouts!

Occasionally, your baby will produce a humongous and, frankly, baffling poop. The last thing you’ll want to do is get all hands-on with that diaper, rinse it, wash it, etc. What you want to do is this:

When your baby has a blowout diaper and you leave it in the trash can at a gas station bathroom

BUT, blowouts are an infrequent and short-term hassle. In the long term, and by just about every single measure, cloth diapers are better for you, your baby, and the world.

Tip: Stash an extra wet bag in your diaper bag for blowouts when you’re out and about.

Want to get started with cloth diapering?

I’ve got a handy dandy post here that goes through everything you need to know to get started cloth diapering. Enjoy!

What do you think?

Do you use cloth diapers? Why do you prefer them over disposables? Share with us in the comments below!

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. The perception of cloth diapers has undergone a remarkable transformation, departing from the traditional bulky handkerchief-like cloths pinned together with safety pins. Today’s cloth diapers epitomize a new era in diapering, characterized by innovative fabrics, highly absorbent inserts, and user-friendly designs, making them a pragmatic choice for contemporary families. With advancements in materials and construction, modern cloth diapers boast superior absorbency, ease of use, and convenience, enabling parents to launder them effortlessly in their own machines. This transition towards more user-friendly cloth diaper options reflects a burgeoning awareness of environmental sustainability and a burgeoning desire for eco-friendly alternatives in parenting practices. Additionally, initiatives like diaper recycling (https://diaperrecycling.technology/) complement these efforts, offering sustainable solutions for managing diaper waste and contributing to a more eco-friendly upbringing for our children.

  2. https://diaperrecycling.technology/ is a technology company solely focused on advanced diaper recycling solutions. Our technology is used within hygiene plants (Adult-Baby-Fem) to reclaim pulp & SAP from rejected products.

  3. I have a silly question-
    Do cloth diapers get in the way, or delay a baby being able to sit up on their own?
    My 4 month old is in cloth diapers, and her bum looks bigger because of the cloth diaper and I’m wondering if all that extra fabric and fluff messes up her balance when sitting?

  4. I used disposables with my first 2, then tried cloth for the 3rd. I made it 6 weeks and had major issues with rashes and the diapers not getting clean enough. I attempted to remedy my wash routine but it was a nightmare. That’s the sole reason I stopped. That baby is now 18 months and in disposables which I don’t love, but geez is it really rocket science?! My fourth is due in December and I’d love to use them again but it’s scary. 😬

    • Check out fluffloveuniversity.com
      You can do it! It’s definitely not rocket science. Wishing you success on your second journey with cloth diapers.

  5. Cloths diapers are better for baby, It does not cause any allergy reactions. For more, you can visit the Parenthoodbliss website.

  6. While I love cloth diapers for all the other reasons you stated, I have to disagree on point number 1. While there are certainly some cheaper cloth diapers out there, the claim that 20 of the most expensive cloth diapers will set you back $400 is just wrong. We splurged with my first kid and got the cotton organic all-in-ones, and it cost a small fortune. Around 20 of the all-in-ones for a whopping $35 apiece, plus at least 10 each of the newborn, small, and medium sized just cotton ones that we got before we discovered the all-in-ones, plus several diaper covers to go with them. While we probably bought more than we needed for the smaller sizes, the all-in-ones alone cost around $700 for 20, and those would still have been too big for the first 6 months or so of his life, and he was a bigger-sized baby. All told we spend over a thousand dollars on diapers JUST for the first kid.

    At the time I consoled myself that this was still cheaper than disposables, and besides, we could reuse the diapers for future kids. Unfortunately, at least half of the more expensive all-in-ones, which my son wore from maybe 6 months old until his 2nd birthday, completely wore out after all the washings. I’m talking giant holes in the sides, so that they no longer contained anything. By the time my daughter was born, I’d had to trash half of them and buy a bunch of new ones to replace them. And for the record, I don’t use harsh detergent – just diluted Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap.

    Finally, after dropping another couple hundred dollars on more all-in-ones while the older ones continued a regular rate of attrition, I gave up and switched to organic pre-folds. I think they were like, $40 for 10, and I got 10 each in 2 sizes, plus a few covers and clips. Maybe $100 all together. They’ve shown no signs of wear, and I’m hoping for baby number 3 we won’t need to buy any more diapers at all. All-in-ones are fun and easy but they are NOT as cheap as people say, especially if you’re going organic. I say go for the pre-folds, especially if you plan to have more kids.

    One other way to make your diapers last longer: potty train early. Most of the non-western world (and the western world prior to around 1960) has their kids potty trained by 18 months, and about half of them do it by 12 months. My daughter was done by 18 months and we weren’t even doing EC. Toddlers have the ability, and are much easier to teach than wayward 2- and 3-year-olds. The whole wait-for-readiness thing is a myth invented by a doctor who was hired by the diaper companies. Check out Andrea Olsen’s books or her website godiaperfree.com for more information on how to do it.

  7. I’m trying to get into cloth diapers full time, but I definitely haven’t found them as absorbent as disposables – we are constantly having leaks and it’s causing a lot of frustration. We’re currently in pocket diapers. Any recommendations?

    • Make sure to have them nice and tight! You’ll have some tight marks on the skin but as long as you can get 2 fingers in under the front and legs, you should be fine.

    • A lot of pocket diapers come with microfiber inserts. For heavy pee it’s often not enough. We bought bamboo inserts and a few hemp ones for overnight and the leaks suddenly became a rare occurrence.

    • I don’t know what year this comment is from but I wanted to respond in case it can help others too. I had this problem with my oldest. I would ask FB groups/blogs about it and was always told to make sure i wasn’t using fabric softener or that I had enough absorbency (I knew I had enough because the inserts were often dry in areas) and the right fit. Eventually someone mentioned that pocket diapers have a ‘stay dry’ layer which wicks moisture so if my baby was peeing really fast, it didn’t allow the pee to go through that layer fast enough. I bought flats to try them with the pocket diapers as covers and it fixed the issue. Now I love flats/prefolds and covers 🙂 (I’m pregnant with baby #4 and am replacing my last few pocket diapers for them)

  8. You’re one disadvantage to cloth is baffling to me. Blowouts only happen when the poop isn’t solid, obviously. In a breastfed baby, these poops don’t need to be rinsed before washing. You just throw the whole thing in the washer. When you are out, you put it in a wet bag, then throw that whole thing in the washer. No big deal.

    Also the “old fashioned” (more like time tested) prefolds and flats hold in watery poop Better than any modern diaper, so don’t knock them until you try them 🙂 Just don’t buy Gerber brand thinking that’s a legit cloth prefold. It’s a good cleaning rag or burp cloth and that’s it. Buy them from a reputable cloth diaper store like green mountain diapers.

  9. My favorite part about cloth is that they work really well with EC. We have practiced elimination communication with our three kiddos and plan to do it with our fourth as well. EC is what parents did for millennia -think about it cloth diapers themselves are a very new phenomena. In many cultures and places it does not have a name; it’s just what you do with babies. I highly encourage parents who are more interested in natural/ancestral health practices to do some research! Andrea Olson has some lovely EC resources at go diaper free, but there are other great diaper free/elimination communication websites and books out there too!

  10. Thank you so much for your info on cloth diapering. We have been in cloth since about 4 months old, our little man just turned a year old this week. I’m trying to find side snap fitted diapers or fitted diapers that don’t cost $28 a piece!My son has a chubby belly so side snap and pull on covers keep him comfy. I have also been looking for wool interlock diaper covers. I really like wcw wool but they are so hard to get. I would appreciate any help if any other fellow Mammas have any idea where I can find these things! Thank you!

    • SnapEZ
      Quality and cost savings.
      5$ to 10$
      Check them out!

      • We found all of our cloth diapers on Facebook market place! No need to spend a fortune, just get them used. You can find high quality brand name ones that are in great condition for super cheap.

  11. Great blog Post. I’ve spent minutes reading all of the great content about baby diapers and have found it tremendously valuable in learning as much as I can. Please keep up the great work sharing knowledge!

    • I used cloth diapers on my kids and they were out of diapers between 13 to 18 months. My grandkids had paper diapers that they advertise as they feel dry. DUH kids get out of them at 4 years. OMG

      • This is so true, my cloth diapered babies are potty trained around 15-20 months. I know so many disposable diapered kids who aren’t potty trained until they are 4!! ?
        Empowering your child to eliminate in a toilet instead of their pants is a huge confidence booster for them, and gives your child dignity they don’t have when sitting in their own waste.

  12. Wonderful blog. I love how you crunch the numbers precisely. I was wondering if I can create a link from my store site to this blog? Let me know if that is ok. Thanks.

  13. And ps, my son slept through the night in cloth diapers with no leaks at all. Never had to wake him up for a change unless I used disposable. And also for disposable diapers, in fine writing and or the websites, they say to put the poop in the toilet (just like cloth users do) because meconium and just poop are very bad for the environment.

  14. I absolutely love cloth diapers! I don’t have to buy diapers for my second child because I have perfect condition ones from my first. As for the rash debate going on below, my son’s Dr commended me on cloth because they are breathable and help prevent rashes compared to disposable. My sister disposable diapered her first 2 boys, and while pregnant with her 3rd son, saw me cloth diaper. She was an instant lover and cloth diapered her last 2. I only have 26 diapers that will last me 2 boys, wash diapers once a week, never striped them and have never had a smell or stain issue. They are to die for. I have used disposables in the beginning because no one believed I’d cloth, and I couldn’t wait to get rid of them. Some I returned, regifted, etc. And again for a vacation after my son was one “for convenience” and it was a nightmare and I just wanted to go home to my cloth. No joke I hate disposable that much. As for the cost, everything to do with cloth cost me maybe $350 to diaper til 2 yrs old, and now completely cost free for my 2nd child which is amazing! That cost includes a diaper sprayer, extra wet bags of different sizes, extra liners, cloth wipes, diapers themselves, etc. $100 of that was a 6 pack of bum genius which I do not prefer, still good, but for me Alva baby is best and comes with free items such as cloth wipes, extra liners, etc off of amazon. I bought country save detergent and still have half of it left but my sister of 4 boys uses regular detergent with no issues. I could rave about cloth but it’d become a book. I showed my neighbor a diaper and she went out and bought some for her 2nd baby, I’ve given out my number to people who were amazed and interested etc, they didn’t know how up to date cloth is and we’re fascinated. Lots of people thought I sold them by how much I love them haha. Oh, and as for the blowouts, no such thing if you cloth, not a single one in my experience. Disposable however ruined a brand new outfit in seconds. I’ve touched far more waist in disposable than cloth, far more. There’s just too much to say and compare.

    • I really want to try to use washing’s ddiapera for my 4 month old son. What’s the best brand? There are so many different brands on Amazon and it’s very hard to choose.

    • Good for you. Your kids will be out of them way faster

  15. Something you failed to mention in your rush to “save the environment!”.

    Cloth diapers use up large amounts of electricity and water for washing and drying. Plus, commercial diaper service delivery trucks consume fuel and create air pollution.

    • @Sue Guess there’s always gotta be a Debbie Downer in every comment section. Congrats for being it.

    • We aren’t talking delivery service here Sue… these diapers are purchased and washed at home. I suppose then you use paper plates and utensils because of that pesky washing and drying of reusables? And why stop there… paper towels after you shower because it is clearly the more environmental choice to single use then to wash and dry. How about your undies? They make those fancy tear away disposable ones. For some reason reusable is ALWAYS the more eco-friendly option until it comes to cloth diapers… then people get all “what about the washing and drying!?!?!”

    • Not really, my mom hand washed my baby sibling diapers and sun dried them. No we didn’t waste too much water nor energy

    • Of course cloth diapers also involve water, (not necessarily electricity), and gas costs, that is obvious. But even then, the costs for the parents are way definitely lower.
      A little bit more work cleaning cloth diapers is worth it for the money and the cleanliness. Disposables are disgusting overall, and most of the times for lazy people.

    • I actually washed nappies & cleaned my baby, (no detergent needed) in a river – just had to watch out for the crocs! Other times, I used very precious tank water & lemon peel – in New Zealand & in Australia; Tea Tree leaves. Eucalyptus is also a good choice. Cloth nappies were cotton squares & simple, but simply the best! Free & environmentally friendly too!
      My daughter got out of nappies @ 8 month old too!

      • Correction: I washed them in a bucket & fertilised the coconut tree, but rinsed them in the river… 8

  16. Dear Mama Natural,
    I am a student in high school . I’m currently taking the parenting course. I read your blog post on 6 reasons why cloth diapers are better than disposables. I believe you have very valid reasons as to why you believe they are better. But I have disagree on some of your points based on my knowledge from this topic as discussed in my parenting class. These points are cloth diapers are cheaper, more absorbent, and (only) disposables contain chemicals. I also disagree with the statement disposables cause more diaper rash. To start off, I believe that you can pay the same amount for disposables as cloth diapers if you budget well. (Others have too). For example buying in bulk, buying diapers on sale, using coupons and getting samples are great cost effective ways to save money on diapers. Next, cloth and disposable diapers are both absorbant. Not just cloth. Even parents who use cloth diapers still have to change their baby’s diapers at night. Although I understand you were speaking from experience.

    Although it is shown that disposables have some degree of chemicals in them, there is very little and is tested to be safe and non harmful to babies. But, it was also found that pesticides have been found in cloth diapers. So this means cloth diapers aren’t fully chemical free. Finally, you have said that “some moms found disposables cause diaper rash”. This is proven to be untrue. Diaper rashes are caused by an infant being in a diaper for too long. Not by a certain type of diaper. Even if the moms you mentioned found that they cause diaper rash, it’s most likely because they are not changing their child’s diaper as often as they should.There are special disposable diapers made to help with this. To end off, I would like to ask you two questions. 1.)What was the biggest factor in you deciding cloth diapers were better? 2.) Did you start with disposable or cloth diapers for your child?

    • Both my children have been Cloth diapered, with disposables used infrequently, only when on vacation. Last time we used disposables on my son still in diapers, by the time we came home his poor little butt was red and somewhat rashy. Back in his cloth diapers, his rash cleared up in a day and a half and his skin was back to a normal color. We changed the disposable diapers are frequently as we change his cloth diapers. Disposables definitely cause more rashes, and my kids don’t even have sensitive skin

    • I cloth diaper my LO and do NOT have to change his diaper at night at all in a cloth diaper. I use hemp and cotton doublers. He doesn’t leak and sleeps 9 hours. I disagree with your statements on disposable diapers. I can sell my cloth diapers after my toddler is potty trained. With a disposable diaper I would be wrecking the environment for 500 yrs plus. Please read up more on environmental impacts on disposable diapers

    • What makes it a lot cheaper is that they will feel the wet diaper and want to get out of it. They will be out of diapers between 13 months to 18 months. Paper diapers, they can’t feel that they are we,t and will be in them for 3-4 years.

    • The reason cloth diapers cause less diaper rash is because babies can feel the wetness against their skin after they soil themselves, and will fuss or ask to have their diaper changed. So they’re not sitting in their waste for as long. Disposables are made to be more comfortable so that babies can sit in their poop for hours and not feel it, but that does in fact irritate their skin and cause a rash to develop over time. At least that’s the explanation I’ve heard. All I know for sure is that I’ve diapered 2 kids with cloth only and they’ve never had a single diaper rash.

  17. Thank you for this very nice tips you just shared. It really helps especially that I’m new at this mom thing.its very useful tips….nice one is here.. http://www.momcuddle.com

  18. Hi, I am one going to be a first time mother and doing some research into cloth diapers. I find your blog and videos really helpful. I would like to try to be eco friendly, but I am wondering what you do with cloth diapers if you are out and about. We live in London so I will be out in the city eventually. Just wondering is that’s when you would use eco friendly diapers or if you have some tricks with the cloth ones?

    • I’d bring along a little diaper bag on outings and put dirty diapers in there. But when we were traveling for a weekend or so, we’d just use green disposables.

    • wetbags!
      For travel I buy biodegradable grovia biosoakers and use a cover. super easy

  19. Tyranopoops ???. Isn’t that the truth! I loved reading your post and even learned a few things. The temperature part really threw me off guard. I had no idea!!! I’ve written a similar post-though less focused on the reasons, here https://thekitchensinkk.com/2017/02/10/why-all-the-cloth/ if you or anyone is interested in checking it out.

    • About which nappy covers to use – I found that wool is very good. Give it a go!

  20. We have a new adopted 14 year old daughter whom we are using the cloth diapers and rubberpants on 24/7.We are using the Gerber brand flat cloth diapers in the 24×27 inch size that we get from Target and Walmart and they are pinned on her with regular diaper pins.We got her rubberpants in adult size medium from Babypants .com in both pastels and nursery prints.I use the Dreft laundry detergent as it is made for washing diapers in.She does her BM’s in the toilet,but wets in the diapers frequently and i change her just like a baby.

    • To Clarice a.-Yes i agree with you.When our 15 year old daughter started wetting the bed,we put her in cloth pin on diapers and rubberpants and they work for her.We got her adult size rubberpants in pastels and babyprints that fit blousy over her diapers and she likes the way they fit.The only draw backs are the rubberpants crinkle under her nightgown and she feels like a baby wearing them,but they keep her bed dry!

  21. Cloth is best. It’s just true. It’s what your grandmother used, and it’s what her grandmother used, and people used to wash them in the bathtub, before they had access to washing machines. It’s way cheaper, you’re not ever going to run out of them, you can hang them to dry them, which cuts out the cost of drying them, and they hold it all in. Also, in a swimming situation, the cloth diaper doesn’t expand, it stays the same size under the swimsuit. Anyone who denies the benefits of cloth is probably trying to sell Huggies, or doesn’t want to deal with the minute amount of work this takes. My kid’s always been in cloth, with very few exceptions, and has never had a diaper rash. I volunteer at a nursery, so I know the score. Kids in disposables always have more diaper rashes, more frequently.

  22. Hiii
    I got some new diapers to my baby recently. When I place diaper on my baby, for a snap I will find diaper is loose on baby and for the other its too tight :(. I am so confused what to do.

    Also my inserts are way big to fit into diaper covers. Please help me how to get good fit.

  23. My son must be a crazy pee-er (boy loves his milkies) or I’m doing something wrong with our cloth diapers. He soaks through a diaper (enough to also soak through a onesie and pants) in about 2-3 hours. While its no biggie to change him frequently during the day, this makes them impossible for us with outings, naps, or bedtime. He’s 10 mo, so they’ve been used and washed plenty, but it seems to be getting worse.

    • Actually, that sounds about right. What worked for me during naptimes and night time as my LO was getting older was using fitted diapers with a cover or adding a hemp insert for extra absorbency to my pocket diapers. Hope this helps!

  24. I’ve had an issue with our cloth diapers. They end up with a foul smell and burn my sons bottom after only a day or two of use. Not sure if I’m doing something wrong?

    • Hi Julie- sounds like ammonia burns! I had the same problem, but it is easily fixed by stripping your diapers and then adjusting your wash routine!

  25. I’ve been told to get twice that number of diapers for cloth, and our cost per child for using disposables was about half what you list. Our cost for energy to wash and dry diapers every day (we had three in diapers at once) was about twice per child what you suggest. Energy in many areas of the US is pretty high. We did the math, and it came out quite a bit less to use disposables, and so much less work.

    We didn’t change our kids in the middle of the night, either. If they got to where they were wetting through in the night, we bumped to the next diaper size and that fixed it (tried doublers, but that was too expensive). We had a method of folding them down in the front so it shortened them without rolling the front out.

    It is what we could do, and what we could afford. If we have another, we’ll get a few cloth diapers for backup, but motherhood is wearing enough with lots of littles running around, I don’t volunteer for extra work unless it makes a noticeable difference to my budget or the health of my family. Diapers did neither.

    • The health of your children’s future is also dependent on the amount of trash we send to the landfill. I don’t understand why more people don’t care about what the planet will look like when their children are our age. People just keep on reproducing and living unsustainable lives. Makes me super sad for my own child.

  26. I use cloth because my daughter kept horrible rashes no matter how frequently I changed disposables. I switched to cloth and problem was solved.

    I also like that I don’t have to make mid-night runs to the store because I ran out of diapers.

    As for the humongo poops, its not any different than having to deal with a poo-splosion in a disposable. You know the ones that go all the way up their backs and ruin whatever outfit they have on….

    • I originally started cloth diapering for the same reason, my son had a bloody diaper rash that wouldn’t go away. Tried different brand disposables and different creams…. nothing helped.within 3 days of using cloth diapers the rash (that had lasted weeks) was gone!
      At this point because I have it is more economical, I still use disposables on occasion.
      The big poop are disgusting either way, I change my kids in the bathroom and wash them under water, rarely use wipes. The poop I drop into the toilet and flush. The diaper I throw into the hanging diaper bag which I just dump into the washer and unzip the bottom one is in no touching dirty stuff involved!
      Nightime is sometimes tricky as I don’t like changing diapers in middle of the night. I use doubleres but it’s not always enough.
      However the cloth are so cute and convenient I am happy to have them.

  27. I cloth diaper because I don’t want to have to go to the store all the time and buy bulk to try and stash everywhere. And my best reason for cloth diapering and why I HATE disposables?? They contain poo-splosions!! No ruined clothes in my cloth but every time we have used disposable, something is stained. I absolutely love cloth!

  28. LOVE cloth diapers. We are currently CD’ing with our second child after CD’ing with our oldest too. We love pocket diapers like Fuzzibunz and Charlie Banana but also use prefolds with covers. We also use Rockin’ Green soap to wash. Here is a good page to buy: https://www.clothdiapersinc.com

    • The website u listed it’s taking me to a whole different page ….where
      Do I best cloth diapers any suggestions as my baby girl is getting bad rashes and I don’t Wana spend a lot
      Of money on disposable diapers

  29. I switched to cloth diapers for my third because of reading this article a while ago. I must be doing something wrong. My daughter gets horrible diaper rash so I end up using disposables for a bit until it clears. I feel they are moisture wicking. I feel the disposable is better for nighttime as well. Also, the metal thingamajig to tighten/loosen has a build up on it that looks whitish and it’s so weak now that the metal snaps and breaks. I rinse twice to avoid the possibility of leftover detergent. I really wanted to love cloth but I find that I turn to the Pampers more often than not. help?

    • What detergent are you using?

    • I was having the same prob (rash etc) and it turned out my high efficiency washing machine wasn’t using enough water to rinse the diapers. The ammonia built up in the diapers and was causing an ammonia burn rash. No cream could cure it! I had to strip my diapers. This happened after only a 3 months of use! Check out the link they suggested, I’m sure it has some ideas for you!

    • I had a similar problem and had to strip my diapers and now my son never gets a rash. I strip my diapers about once a month now to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore.

  30. I was hesitant about cloth diapers at first, until I found cloth diapers that I really loved, that were natural and soft. I love Wonderful Bambino (www.wonderfulbambino.com) and I love mother-ease. Both Great natural fabrics.

  31. I wanted to use cloth diapers. In fact, I was all set to purchase them. We live in an apartment building with on-site laundry facilities–unfortunately our apartment uses the community one since this apartment does not have the hookups. I spoke of my intent to use cloth diapers freely in the building and then I got a phone call from management. No one wanted us using the community washers for “baby poop diapers” as it freaked out the neighbors. The building management instated a law that this was illegal on building property unless we had the hookups inside of our apartment. We asked to pay to have the hookups installed in our storage and we were refused because there was no place for a dryer vent and they would not allow us to install and washing machine only. So, I next tried the local laundromats–all of which had the same issue. No one would allow me to wash cloth diapers because of the same issue–it would scare away customers. I would of had to pay more than disposable, to hire a company over an hour away from town to come and handle the laundry. I was deeply disappointed. I thought about washing them in the tub, but I knew we wouldn’t have help once our daughter was born and that I probably wouldn’t have the time. We ended up going with disposable and found she was allergic to all of the natural diapers (they also fell apart and leaked a lot). Luvs and parent’s choice night time seem to be the only ones she can use without getting irritation. Supposedly harsher, but so far they are the only ones that work well for my daughter. It’s crazy how some things happen and what society deems as acceptable. I hope things change in the future because of people like Genevieve and places like this.

    • Hi there,

      I too use a community washer (line dry) for my son’s cloth diapers. I dump solid poop in the toilet right away and rinse any leftover poopy stains out by rubbing the fabric together in cool water. I launder diapers every other day and also soak in baking soda and vinegar and rinse before I take them to the laundromat. I’ve never had a complaint. I spend about 18.50 on laundromat fees vs 38.50 for a huge monthly supply of disposables at Costco. The best part is that my son is rash free. I hope you give cloth a chance. Your nosy neighbors or management don’t need to know.

    • Get a small portable washer. They hook up to a faucet and drain into the sink. I have one in my master bathroom. It is the perfect size for CD loads! Love it!!!

  32. i am planning on having a baby whats the best option for me

  33. I am actually thinking about switching to cloth diapers. I am currently pregnant with my fourth and all my others used disposables and quite frankly, the cost is too much. So if anyone could or would give me more info I would greatly appreciate it. Anything such as websites, where to buy cloth diapers and roughly how much they cost as well as how to clean them and put them on baby, all these would be a great help. My husband is even on board with this as long as I want to. Thanks In advance.

    • How come no one here mentions disposable liners for cloth nappies. They were a huge help to me. I’m talking before disposables were invented. The liners went in the toilet and the nappies were picked up and clean ones delivered. That was with my first child born in the U.S. With my second born in Ausralia, I was proud to have the whitest nappies in the neighborhood hanging on the line.

  34. Hi there, its pleasant piece of writing on the topic of media print, we all understand media is a great
    source of facts.

  35. The point of cloth diapering being better for the environment, thinkin g about all the trees, planes & trucks is rediculous. I’m really supposed to be persuaded to use them so that there will be less planes & trucks emitting pollution? If so, I certainly hope that those using cloth diapers aren’t using the money saved by doing so to take trips around the world using planes to travel & thus hurting our environment!

    • True! It is also not accurate. Many studies have shown that cloth diapers also have a negative effect on the environment and the carbon footprint is basically equivalent to disposables when you consider waste water created, increased water and energy use from the extra washing and drying, and fuel consumption and pollution caused by diaper service trucks. Also I know a lot of people who cloth diaper and none of them have a stah of only 20 diapers. You’d be washing constantly, especially with a new baby (further increasing your carbon footprint). Someone just asked for advice and was told to start with 30 and go from there. I think people should chose what works for them, whether it’s cloth or disposables and not be misled about how great all that extra work is going to be for the environment.

      • I have about 20 diapers for my newborn and wash 3 a week
        For my older babies I have about 15-20 diapers and wash only 2x a week.
        And never had a problem with that. Some people like more diapers and wash less some have less diapers and wash more money wise it all evens out.
        In my case disposables are still way more expensive!

      • Could you provide a link to just two of those “many studies”? Considering that the wood pulp that goes into disposable diapers also has to be washed (multiple times) prior to manufacturing the diapers, I am highly suspicious of claims that disposables are the same as cloth, environmentally speaking. To be more clear: on the issue of water use related to washing of components, they may be roughly the same, but on every other metric, disposables are worse for the environment.

      • What your stating is NOT true. Disposables take 500yrs to decompose, to make a disposable actually uses trees and the foot print going to the store. Then consumer goes to the store spends money, unpackages them= more waste. Sadly disposable diapers will be more in our landfill in 2020 then fish in water. A cloth diaper reduce,reuse, parents don’t run out no stores for buying them saving money. Cloth parents can sell! Disposables are trashy!

  36. Another thing about cloth that kind of stinks is when out. Nothing like having to carry a poopy diaper around the zoo in the summer. We have found that getting some g diapers (not sure if there are other brands out there) with the disposable liners is the solution for us. The liners can be composted and flushed! We only use them when we are out for the day (and with older kids in sports we are ALWAYS out for the day it seems)

    • Grovia makes biodegrable biosoakers. Flip makes biodegrable ones too. softbums makes biodegrable ones. If at the zoo I like the biodegrade options!

  37. Using cloth diapers is not superior, it is just different. You are entitled to your opinions and decisions, but if you take the time to research the topic you’ll find that there is not that big of a difference to get this upset about it. When you factor in the initial costs, detergent, energy costs and environmental externalities cloth diapers aren’t necessarily a better financial or environmental decision.
    Form my thorough research, they don’t save money if you only use them for one child; if you use them for 2+ kids they may save money, but only if you figure in your time as worthless. If you figure that you spend an additional 10 minutes per day CDing than you would using disposables that adds up to a little under 60 hours per year; which is a conservative figure considering that moms and dads spend lots of time a) researching, buying, selling, trading and trying out different types of cloth diapers, b) removing stains, and, c) folding, stuffing and restocking cloth diapers. So, going with that conservative number, if you spend 10 minutes per day (.16 of an hour), and multiply that by 365 days in a year you get 58.4 hours less that you could have spent with your child or doing something else. If we use the 2010 median household income from the U.S Census Bureau, $50,000, and assume that there are two parents in the home that works out to your time being worth roughly $12/ hour. At $12/hour, 58.4 hours is pennies over $700.
    Now, given that 50k is the median household income there are obviously many parents who’s time is worth more. Let’s consider a dual income family, such as mine, with each parent earning in excess of $60,000 per year. To keep this simple I’m using the Learn Vest “what’s my time worth calculator” (google it, you’ll find it) and not going into opportunity costs (lost income because I was doing something other than working or monitoring investments), or other calculations that would convolute the discussion. Learn Vest says that my time is worth about $23 per hour. If we use the figure above, 58.4 hours, that works out to over $1300/ year! Enough to buy disposables for TWO kids! Or, enough to justify buying the more expensive “natural” disposables (which we usually do).
    With the possible exception of the fact that cloth diapered babies potty train earlier and the link between potty training after 32 months and urge incontinence, NO long term studies have concluded that cloth diapering is going to have any detectable benefit on the development of your child (before you go off on the scrotal temp thing make a note that I’ll get to it). However, many valid scientific studies have concluded that an increase in quality time with mommy and daddy benefits self esteem, confidence, intelligence, and emotional intelligence. Personally, I’d rather be spending time developing my child’s brain than worrying about what’s on their derrière.
    Ok, now on to the scrotal temp thing. The original study (W G Sippel et al) compared pre-fold cloth diapers without covers to the non breathable PLASTIC BACKED disposable diapers that were available over 12 years ago when the study was conducted. Since that time disposable diapers have become breathable. Additionally, most CDing parents use covers. PUL is not breathable, was not tested in the study, and does raise the temperature inside the diaper. Additional studies that are rarely cited in the pro cloth diapering arena have “clearly shown that scrotal temperatures are the same whether the child is wearing disposable or reusable cloth diapers with a protective cover. The only situation in which scrotal temperatures were found to be lower is when the cloth diaper is used alone without a protective cover but this is not representative of how these products are actually used” (Grove GL, Grove MJ, Bates NT, Wagman LM, Leyden JJ (2002). Scrotal temperatures do not differ among young boys wearing disposable or reusable diapers, Skin Research and Technology, Volume 8, Issue 4, pages 260–270, November 2002). Many cloth diaper sites promote layering with several layers of inserts and soakers, or layers of wool over pul covers. Surely that can’t be good for scrotal temperatures.
    Many people claim to cloth diaper for environmental reasons, but they are not necessarily better for the environment. Living in the American West, where water conservation is one of the biggest environmental concerns, I am 100% convinced that, for my family and those that live in this region, disposables are better for the environment. In fact, Green America agrees: “After looking carefully at the available research and considering both the environmental and health impacts, Real Green has come to the following conclusion: Organic cotton cloth diapers are still the best option, unless water conservation is a big concern in your area.” Even if you aren’t in an area where water conservation is a concern there is still a lot of evidence that the difference in the environmental impact is minimal.
    A study co-ordinated by the UK Environment Agency shows that disposable diapers have no greater impact on the environment than cloth diapers (visit: http://www.nappyinformationservice.co.uk/environment.htm). Specifically, the study confirms that neither disposable or cloth diapers can claim overall environmental superiority. The differences in the impacts between the diapers are not significant enough to voice support for one diaper type over the other on the basis of environmental factors alone. The study is updated regularly and shows that “the average 2006 disposable nappy would result in a global warming impact of approximately 550kg of carbon dioxide equivalents used over the two and a half years a child is typically in nappies” (diapers). “For reusable cloth nappies the study states ‘The baseline scenario based on average washer and drier use produced a global warming impact of approximately 570kg of carbon dioxide equivalents.’ The study showed that ‘the impacts for reusable nappies are highly dependent on the way they are laundered.”
    The study goes on to state “There have been significant improvements to disposable nappies in recent years, for example a 40% reduction in weight and volume, compact shrink wrapping in single film packaging and increased energy efficiency. All of these modifications and improvements result in lowered environmental impacts.” I do have to give credit to the cloth diaper users out there for this change, because I do feel that they have a big hand in driving the market towards more environmentally friendly disposable diapers.
    As far as chemicals in the diapers, yes there are chemicals in disposable diapers. There are also chemicals in just about every other commercially available consumer product, especially health and beauty products. In 2010, Unwirklich Vin Zant wrote an article (Are Disposable Diapers Safe? The Real Unbiased Facts) that is posted on Yahoo Voices. She makes many good points, but one of the best points she makes is “The biggest myth in parenting is that there is a right or wrong way to do it”. Millions of people have been diapered in disposable diapers and grew up healthy (myself included). Though the chemical concerns may have validity, they need to be viewed as part of the big picture; what else is harming your baby’s health and what steps are you taking to improve your baby’s health. Removing shoes before entering you home has a huge impact on a baby’s health, though it is rarely mentioned. According to a report called “The Door Mat Study”, lead-contaminated soil from the outside causes almost all the lead dust inside homes. According to the study, wiping shoes on a mat and removing them at the door cuts indoor lead dust by 60 percent. Other contaminates are brought in as well including fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and other xenobiotics. Additionally, your carpeting releases VOC’s, do you let your baby play on the carpet? Do you have pets? They bring in contaminants as well. Indoor air quality is typically much lower than outside air quality, do you wet dust (much better for indoor air quality), replace hvac filters monthly, have air ducts cleaned annually, own and run air purifiers, keep a variety of houseplants, have natural (voc free) furniture and mattresses, and use a HEPA filter vacuum? My point is that there are TONS of things in our homes that cause asthma and other health issues, many of which you may not have been aware of. Singling out diapers is a very one sided way to approach your child health.
    Personally, I feel that many parents cloth diaper because it makes them happy. It makes them feel that they are doing something good for their child and makes them feel that they are better parents because they use cloth diapers; and that is a good thing, it shows they care about their children. But to point fingers and say that people using disposables don’t care about their kids is ignorant. The evidence is open for debate, and in my opinion, for my family, the debate points towards disposable diapers being the better option because they allow us to spend more time together, are better for the environmental preservation of the arid West and they are a better financial decision. If you decide that cloth diapers are better for your family that’s great, use ‘em. Just keep in mind that, at least here in America, everyone has a right to make their own decision and having a strong opinion does not give you the right to criticize others for their opinions and decisions.

    • That’s an awfully long diatribe there. How much did Learn Vest say you lost on that?

      • LOL! Good one. 😉

    • Pot. Kettle. Black. Plus it took you forever to get there.

    • ‘Murica! XD

    • Great points. Well thought out and I appreciate the actual addition of time costs. Some people turn cloth diapering almost into a religion- I was like that philosophically till I had twins and learned all about time costs with regard to no sleep. Now I find people who have “holier than thou” attitudes abhorrent. Thanks for bringing facts, logic, and calculations into the equation. Btw I also live in an arid place, in Texas, that had drought for 7 years until recently. At one point we had to take showers only once a week because of our well and the local lake drying up. Water conditions are important.

    • I didn’t see anything about “parents who use disposables don’t care about their kids.” It’s clearly an opinion piece, you can take it or leave it. Lots of people prefer disposables. It’s a matter of personal preference. But since most people in this country use disposables, and cloth diapering is still somewhat counter-culture, it’s very alien to a lot of new parents who have never seen anything but disposables. The article is clearly aimed at people who are looking for more information about cloth diapering so they can make a good decision for themselves.

      While you make some good points – although I admit I skimmed – I tend to think that keeping trash (especially the kind that never decomposes) out of landfills trumps water conservation, at least in this country, especially given that something like 80% of water use in the west is agricultural. There’s a lot of messaging trying to make people feel guilty for watering their lawns and having swimming pools, and it’s just a bit of a red herring when there’s a massively unsustainable industrial agriculture system sucking up more water than the entire human population in the region. But hey, it’s a personal decision, and I’m not judging anyone over something as trivial as diaper preference. Just pointing out that it’s not as cut-and-dry as you suggest.

      Also, as far as time spent cleaning diapers, you forgot to compare the amount of time spent rushing out to the store to buy more disposables every time you run out. If you live in a rural area like I do, where it’s a half hour minimum each way to get to the store, that also adds up. Plus the anxiety of realizing too late that you’re out of diapers and have to drop what you’re doing to run out and get more right now, especially if you have other kids at home. Not that everyone ends up in that situation, but it’s certainly one I hear about regularly from parents who use disposables. Just saying, you pick your poison.

    • This has some very similar points to what my husband has brought up about cloth diapers especially since having our 4th baby over a year ago.

      Money saved is minimal because of water consumption, energy usage, and detergent costs. Even at our new house with well water, there is wear and tear on the well, water filter, and softener that makes up for the lack of a water bill even though it is not an immediate, obvious cost of water usage.

      The opportunity cost was a huge one too. Assuming my time is worth $20 an hour, that adds up to a lot of cost if you want to put a monetary amount to it, but also just the time that adds up that I put into cloth diapering. At the old house (laundry was in the basement), i once timed how long it took to do a load of diapers including stair climbs and folding once they were dry. 20 minutes. Not a huge deal, but when you’re already sleep deprived and busy with 4 kids, that adds up. I did not time how much extra time it took to put on a 2 piece cloth diaper vs a quick 1 piece disposable, nor did i consider that cloth diapers are changed more often.

      That being said, our current little one does have sensitive skin and easily gets rashes in disposables in any brand other than Parasol… *properly cleaned* organic cotton prefolds are giving her the most comfort as far as lack of rashes. We had a washing machine for a while that did such a poor job of washing diapers, that she was almost constantly in pain from rashes from both the cloth diapers and disposables ( Parasol did not rash her did not fit right and we had constant leaking even in the “proper” size just from the way they are designed- I think they fit chunkier babies better).

      I also yes, personally, feel good about using cloth because I just don’t feel good about making extra trash and buying a product designed to become trash even though I do understand we are paying for the convenience and it is saving me time and effort.
      Also, as my kids get older, i have always asked them out of curiosity which diaper was more comfortable- cloth or throw-away… they have always chosen the cloth diaper.

      Overall, i think both methods definitely have pros and cons and it is ultimately up to the parents to decide what is best for *their baby and their family*. I do think it is good that more parents are being shown that disposables are not the only option- especially when a family needs to save money (flats and covers are so cost effective) or when a baby has particularly sensitive skin. There are options and that is a good thing!

    • 1. The author is free to express her opinions on her blog, and she was not in any way rude about it.
      2. Some, like me, don’t CD for environmental reasons.
      3. Adding in the cost/time factor would make more sense if I was not a SAHM. My family and home are not competing with a job for my time. My kids and home are my job. For our family, any savings is as precious as income. We did the math. Even with having to replace a few worn out diapers for our second child, it is a huge cost savings for us to CD. Not to mention, diapers are a common gift. If you tell people what you want, then that’s less that you’ll have to spend.
      4. And some of us also CD because some children are so sensitive that even the expensive, clean diapers result in a rash.
      5. Most of us could not care less about how other people choose to diaper their child as long as there’s something on their butt to help keep the kid from peeing on our couch when they come over.

  38. I must admit that I have used sposies…my dog had a bladder stone and whilst we were waiting for it to be removed my mother bought a package of newborn sposies because her bladder control went out the window during this time. My sister and I had to cut holes in it for the tail (how many teenagers spend their evenings cutting holes in diapers and then diapering their dog?) and I know first hand all the nasty stuff that’s in a disposable diaper. Not to mention that we only used them for a week or so, but our trashcan seemed to be FULL OF DIAPERS and NOTHING ELSE. So all in all, I am a cloth diaper convert at the ripe old age of fifteen.

    • Nice! My mom put our dog in a diaper when I was growing up too (cut the hole for tail too. :). Poor dog!

  39. Thanks so much for the info! We don’t have children at the moment but they are definitely in the plan for the not to distant future and this is one debate I’ve been struggling with. I’m a big fan of the cloth diapering I just need to know that its actually feasible with a busy lifestyle. Seems that its worth the potential extra work it involves.

  40. Thanks for this post! I was on the fence but you officially converted me. My stash comes in the mail tomorrow… Can’t wait to see the look on my husbands face! 🙂

    Thanks again!


  41. Great post and video Genevieve. We love to see others promoting the eco friendly diaper cause. Loved your light hearted video. We have have posted a reference to your video on our blog and also did a test on just how absorbant modern cloth nappies are at http://www.oznappies.com/modern-cloth-nappies/video/insert-absorbancy-test . A night nappy for a heavy wetter is 2 microfiber and a bamboo (less than 1/2 inch thick) and this holds 3 cups of liquid! Is there any disposible that can do that? So, we totally back up your number 3 point as well as all the others.

  42. these look great, I will have a look at the possibility of getting some of these for my new born baby.

    • Kewl. Start em on cloth while they’re young to get the biggest financial return.

  43. Yeay, I started my collection of cloth diapers, I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and was wondering how many I need… Genevieve mentioned 20, so I will go with that number! Also, it’s so nice to get this, – every time I mention that I am planing on using cloth diapers, people look at me funny. Thank you for reinforcing this message :0)

    • My pleasure! You won’t regret going cloth.

      We’ve got 24 bumGenius, and that number works well for us. 20 will be fine for your basic kit, and you can always pick up a few more if you find you’re doing diapers all the time 🙂

      Better yet, maybe you’ll win 9 cloth diapers in our giveaway that’s going on right now!

      • Winning more would be great! I got Thirsties, but will also try bumGenius 4.0! 🙂

    • Awesome Kirsten! Love how you are so aware and ahead of the game :). I think disposables will be obsolete in the next decade.

  44. I’m so glad i learned about cloth diapering while i was pregnant. My son is currently 6 months old and we’re in love with cloth diapering. I love the many pros it has versus using disposables. Is there a certain cloth dipe you use during bedtime? We’re still on the fence with cloth diapering at night, afraid of the leakage situation. Anything you recommend?

    • Shaina, nightime is a challenge for us too right now since Griffin is eating 1/3 of his daily breatmilk at night! UGH! BUT, we do use double thick inserts at night and this works pretty well. We don’t have to change him and in the morning he may be wet but it isn’t to the point of having to change the sheets or even his sleep sack. I’ve noticed the nights he only wakes up once to feed, it’s no problem and no wetting through. Hope that helps!

      • UPDATE: Last night we used TWO of the thicker BumGenius inserts and they worked like a charm! No wetness at all. Yay!

        • I’m thinking of ordering the BumGenius FreeTime All-In-One…do I need to buy extra inserts (a thicker than normal size) for night time? Or are the varying sized inserts included in each diaper?

  45. We used cloth diapers for our baby girl and we LOVED them. It was so easy and convenient and so gentle on our little ones skin. No diaper rash!! Plus is was more economical and of course the environment was also a huge consideration. We were really lucky because our daycare also supported the use too. Most states do not have a law against using them in daycare settings. I highly recommend using cloth to everyone I come across. No regrets here!!!

    • Dawn, that’s awesome that your daycare is onbaord! Yay!

  46. i love this! what cloth diapering situation do you use at night? huxley is a crazy pee-er, so i’ve found that cloth won’t get him through from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. (his sleeping hours, roughly). that’s the only time i use the 7th generation.
    thanks, genevieve!!!

    • Hi Ashley!

      Recently, Griff is a major pee-er at night too. He drinks 1/3 of his daily food at night so it makes sense… LOL! He doesn’t want to eat in the day because he wants to go.. go… go… (he’s crawling now). So what we’ve been doing is doubling up on inserts for the evening which can work if he doesn’t drink too much. But often we end up with some wetness on his pants in the morning. We just throw in laundry basket and wash in the next load. This seems to work without diaper rash.

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