Can’t Belive How Easy Cloth Diapers Are

Before our baby was born, I made a commitment to cloth diapers. I couldn’t bear the thought of several thousand disposable diapers sitting around in landfills for thousands of years; I didn’t want to spend $15/week on diapers; and I hated the thought of whatever chemicals are in ‘sposies that make them so absorbent (how do they still feel dry with two hours worth of pee in them?!). So cloth diapers it was. My mom and I made the diapers before the baby arrived, and we’ve been using them ever since. I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers, but I honestly expected it to be a bit of a pain in the butt. I’m thrilled to say that they’re so much easier than I had expected.

After some trial and error – and reading lots of websites – I’ve come up with a laundry method that works for me. We store the dirty/wet diapers and washcloths that we use as wipes in a trash can with a lid. It’s a dry pail, and I’ve sprinkled baking soda in the bottom (at first we used a wet pail, but switched a few weeks ago). Every other day, I dump the diapers and wipes into the washing machine with a half cup of baking soda (I buy it in bulk because I use it to clean just about everything) and run a cold wash. When that’s done I run a hot wash with a tiny bit of all-natural detergent and a downey ball with about half a cup of vinegar in it. Then I hang the diapers to dry on a drying rack. Done and done. It’s easy, I don’t have to worry about chemicals on my baby, and it takes very little extra time (washing machines are amazing inventions – hats off to our grandmothers who used cloth diapers and washed them by hand!).

If you don’t sew, you can always buy cloth diapers. You can go all out and get the pricey ones for $20 apiece, or find them used on Craigs List for a little less. Or you can just get basic prefold diapers for a couple dollars each. and I’ve heard that snappi fasteners are great.

So if you’re a parent – or soon to be one – with a baby in diapers, I strongly encourage you to consider cloth diapers. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, and much better for your bank account, Mother Earth, and your baby’s bum.

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  1. says

    I totally concur. :)

    Have you given thought to cloth menstrual pads? :) They’re just as easy as cloth diapers, and just as nice.

  2. says

    I’m really glad it’s working for you!

    I’m really not sure if I’ll be able to do cloth or not. I totally want to–but we don’t have a washing machine in our apt :(.

    Most people have told me that lugging them downstairs to wash in the coin-op machines would be too hard on a new mommy. :( Frustrating.

  3. Rachel says

    Firstly, bravo on choosing cloth! I’ve read that it should also make toilet training easier, since junior will KNOW when he’s wet.

    Secondly, if you don’t have an in-home washer, there are diaper services that drop off cloth diapers every week and clean the used ones. The one in my area, while obviously more expensive than DIY is still cheaper than disposables.

    Finally, as a follow-up to Alissa, I switched to cloth pads a year ago and would never go back. They breathe sooooooo much better than the plastic ones. And their much easier to make. I bought 15 wash cloths at Dollar Tree for $5. Each one works as a single pad when folded in thirds and pinned to my undies (and I only use one pin). They are also more absorbant than store bought. Anyhoo, when one is dirty, I rinse it in the sink and stick it in a bag. When it’s time to do laundry, they just go in with the whites. So worth while.

  4. FrugalBabe says

    Kacie – I remember my laundromat days… I would go until just about everything I owned was dirty before I did laundry. And if it didn’t smell it was still clean :) But now that we’ve switched to a dry pail, the diaper bucket is super light, even when it’s full. Since you wash them every couple days, you only ever have 15 – 20 diapers and wipes at a time. And hauling them up and down stairs will be a great way to get back in shape. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes great!!

  5. FrugalBabe says

    I’m thinking about it. I’ve been a tampon girl since I was about 16… but I may be changing that too. It would fit in with my baking soda, vinegar, and cocoa butter hygiene routine :) Hopefully exclusive breastfeeing will put off the decision for me for several more months!

  6. says

    I was a tampon girl too, until I learned about what was in those tampons. :) It’s kind of neat that since I’ve been so focussed on taking care of my kids, I’m also learning to take care of me – after all, I am my childrens’ mother! I started by switching to the Diva Cup, but now have moved completely to cloth pads. I must say, I love them. I no longer dread my time of the month. Weird, I know. And as for the breastfeeding thing, I still got my period even though I was nursing – guess I was one of the unlucky ones. :)

  7. says

    @Frugalbabe–That’s definitely a positive way of looking at things!

    I’m sure going up and down stairs would actually be a pretty good burst of exercise.

    I still have some time yet to decide, but I do think I want to give cloth a try. Like at least 95% certain.

    Also, I’ve been a tampon gal forever, but I really want to give a DivaCup a try whenever I’ll need it some time down the road.

    Seems like a pretty nifty device!

  8. says

    I love my cloth diapers, too! I’m diapering my fourth child and only had to spend a little extra over the past 4 years when things wore out.

    I use dry pails with large bag liners. The bags are a piece of cake to carry up and down two flights of stairs. Even with two kids in diapers at the same time, the bags are not heavy at all.

  9. says

    I checked out your post on making your own diapers, and I was wondering- did you make all-in-one diapers? Or do you have to put a cover on over the ones you made?

  10. FrugalBabe says

    Risha – thanks for stopping by! We do have to use a cover – I have some plastic ones that I bought from a lady selling them on Craigslist, and my mom and I have been making wool covers from old sweaters – works great!

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