Cloth vs Disposable Diapers

cloth vs disposable diapers

I hear it all the time – “My mother cloth diapered us, and I will not go back to that!” Luckily, cloth diapering has evolved and well surpassed their disposable counterparts, that haven’t changed much over the last several decades. Cloth diapers tout all of the same benefits they used to, but have made huge strides in functionality, comfort and style. Cloth diapering seems to be making a comeback, and for good reason!

BETTER FOR BABY

Let’s be honest – your baby comes first, in your world! We understand! That’s why the following benefits for baby are nothing to sneeze at.

Disposable diapers are made of synthetic materials. To get that nice white color, they are bleached; to achieve those cute patterns, they are dyed; to make them absorbent, they are filled with chemical gels; and to mimic all of the functionality we expect, they are produced using harsh chemicals. There is large concern over the chemicals in disposable diapers. TBT is an endocrine disruptor and doesn’t degrade polluting water supplies, dioxins (a byproduct of the bleaching process) are linked to cancer, VOCs effect the central nervous system, and sodium polyacrulate (the absorbable gel) is a skin irritant.

Another downside of synthetic materials is that they are less breathable than natural fabrics. This traps moisture leading to possible issues like UTIs, yeast infections, and diaper rashes. A 2005 study, out of Germany, also found that disposable diapers trap more heat, which can become problematic for males. Cloth diapers allow better airflow, paired with safer materials.

Simply put, would you rather your precious little one constantly sit in chemically treated paper, toxic plastic, chemicals and gels OR in all natural, soft and breathable fabrics?

BETTER FOR THE EARTH

Cloth diapers reduce waste, and make sure waste ends up where it is supposed to be. It is estimated that it takes one cup of crude oil to make a single disposable diaper. Disposable diapers are dumped in landfills at a rate of 27.4 billion diapers per year! These diapers then take up around 500 years to decompose! On the other hand, cloth diapers are made from natural materials, are used over and over, and only take a small amount of water and energy to clean.

The contents of disposable diapers end up in landfills, where they can create long term issues. However, cloth diaper contents are emptied into the toilet and anything left is then cleaned in the washing machine. Both of these systems are set up to dispose of black or grey water appropriately, in order to be treated safely.

BETTER FOR YOUR WALLET

There are multiple estimations as to what disposable diapering can cost. Many of the variables can fluctuate a large amount based on lifestyle and preferences. Will you seek out more eco-friendly disposable options? Will your child potty train at 2, or 3? Some experts claim disposable diapering can cost as little at $2500, while others go north of $4000 for a total of 7200 diapers used, per child! In contrast, cloth diapering requires an up-front investment of $400-$750 for a couple dozen diapers, and a few dollars monthly to account for detergent and utilities increase. As you can see, this can put cloth diapering at 1/10 of the cost of disposable diapering. Cloth diapers can be used for numerous children and passed on, creating an even more substantial cost savings for families with multiple children.

OTHER BENEFITS OF CLOTH DIAPERS

There are several fringe benefits of cloth diapering. Foremost, many cite the ease of potty training a cloth diapered baby. They will usually train earlier, as they understand the sensation of wetting a diaper. Cloth diapers can also be more convenient as they don’t require trips to the store or the exponential amount of trash to be disposed of. Diapering with cloth is also a more reliable and effective way to reduce blow-outs, thanks to the gathered openings in the back and legs. Cloth diapers are also pretty cute and offer a soft landing with plenty of padding during physically demanding stages of infant-hood.

THE EVOLUTION OF CLOTH

If you have been on our website recently, you may have seen our Organic, all-in-one diapers. These are the cream of the crop of cloth diapering (and we paired them with some pretty amazing products that are eco-friendly and baby-friendly)! They are fully adjustable, and have gathering in the back and legs for a snug fit. They utilize snaps for closure, instead of cumbersome and dangerous pins. Simply pull the absorbable inserts out before washing with the shell, machine or line dry, and replace the inserts to be used again! Some might argue that the most attractive feature of our diapers is that they come in many stylish prints and fun colors!

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Elizabeth Hood