Taking Steps To Save Mother Earth on Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Forty two years of earth days!  And for me today is also my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  So a great big happy Earth Day Birthday to us both!
I don’t think I’m super environmentally conscientious.  We cloth diaper, we recycle, but that’s about the extent of our earth saving efforts.  Everyone has to start somewhere right.  And if everyone does just one small thing to help save the earth then we’ll all be doing better for earth.
There are many things that can be done.  Planting a tree, picking up trash, recycling, switching to reusable water bottles, put in energy efficient light bulbs and appliances in your home.  The list could go on and also could include cloth diapering.
So I would like to help some of my readers understand how easy cloth diapering is.  Please know that I completely understand that cloth isn’t for everyone, but I think there are a lot of myths out there about cloth that hopefully I can debunk. 

Cloth Diaper Myths

There is a lot of information about cloth diapers and not all of it is true.
  1. Cloth diapers smell
  2. Cloth diapers leak
  3. Cloth diapers cause a rash
  4. Cloth diapers are hard to use
  5. Cloth diapers are extra work
  6. Cloth diapers don’t save any money
  7. Poop gets all over your washing machine
  8. Diaper pins are a reality and they are dangerous
  9. Cloth diapers are inconvenient
  10. Cloth diapers are unsanitary

These are just ten of the most common myths I have heard in reference to cloth diapers.

The Truth About Cloth Diapers

Let me take each of these myths one by one and tell you how it really is.

Cloth diapers smell: It is believed because you have poop and pee sitting around in diapers that it must stink.  Well, unless you are actually walking outside to throw your disposable diapers out you probably have them in a diaper pail sitting around until the bag is full or it’s garbage day.  So a weeks worth of diapers sitting around doesn’t smell worse than a few days worth of cloth sitting in a diaper pail?

Cloth diapers leak: I am not going to lie, nothing is perfect at containing blow outs, but everyone I have talked to about cloth agrees there are much less blow outs with cloth.  And they just aren’t as bad.  The key is a proper fitting cover.  Making sure the cover fits snug around the legs and waist helps contain the blow outs.  And this is something you can’t adjust on disposable diapers which is why the blow outs that do occur with cloth aren’t as severe as disposable.

Cloth diapers cause a rash: Rashes with cloth do occur, but not more so in many cases than with disposable.  Chances are if it is occurring it’s because there is detergent build up in your diapers.  You might need to experiment with detergents to solve this problem.  Also make sure you are not using a full cup.  Half of what you would use for the particular load size is plenty and NO FABRIC SOFTENERS.   Most people switch to cloth because of consistent problems with rashes in all of the disposables on the market.  And this occurs because of the unnatural materials that are inside of diapers to create more absorbancy.

Cloth diapers are hard to use: There are so many styles of cloth out there which make it so simple to use cloth.  There are ones called AIO (All In One) which go on just like a disposable diaper.  Even pockets go on like a disposable.  The only extra step is stuffing the pocket, but that can be done as part of your wash routine.

Cloth diapers are extra work: I do a load of cloth about twice a week.  It’s one load and I have to go do laundry anyways.  So two extra loads of laundry a week, but here’s the thing, since I’m already going down there because I have to wash the diapers I am washing my other laundry more frequently therefore saving me the overwhelmingly large loads of laundry I would have to do once a week.  And of course there’s also no late night runs to get diapers because I didn’t realize there was just one left in the package.  That’s a time saver!

Cloth diapers don’t save any money: Okay lets break this down.  A large package of disposable diapers has about 80 diapers in it and costs $20 a box or so.  Lets say that one package gets you 10 days worth of diapering and your child doesn’t potty train until he’s 3.  That’s approximately $2190 worth of disposable diapers.  The start up cost of cloth is between $100-$300.  There might be an occasional extra diaper you’ll have to purchase along the way, but you can sell your cloth diapers to help defray the cost.  You can also save them for use on other children if you plan on having more.  The amount of water used to wash two small loads of diapers a week is miniscule and the energy usage is small too.  So adding it all up it would probably cost you less than half to cloth diaper numerous children as it would to use disposable on one child.  

Poop gets all over your washing machine: This couldn’t be further from the truth.  With exclusively breastfed poop it washes away easily right in the wash.  Just like any other dirt does.  It doesn’t stay behind.  Now once you start adding solids and the poop gets more solid you will need to flush the poop.  You can either use a diaper sprayer or dunk and swish in the toilet.  It doesn’t have to be completely gone, just the large hard pieces flushed away in the toilet.  And before you say, ewww that’s gross go read your package of disposable diapers.  It tells you to flush the poop and not throw it away.  And it prepares you nicely for the joys of potty training.

Diaper pins are a reality and they are dangerous: Diaper pins are mostly a thing of the past.  You can use them with flats or prefolds, but pockets, AIOs, and hybrids don’t need to be pinned.  Even flats and prefolds can be held on with a snappi (a Y shaped piece of rubber with teeth that grab the fabric and hold it).  No more need to get stuck with pins no matter which style of diaper you find that works best.

Cloth diapers are inconvenient: It seems like disposable would be more convenient especially with traveling.  You don’t have to worry about carrying around dirty diapers with you.  There are eco friendly options for using outside of the house which are convenient and take up less room in the diaper bag than disposable diapers do.  And as I said above what’s more inconvenient than having to run to the store in the middle of the night to get diapers?

Cloth diapers are unsanitary: Reusing pants that are constantly being peed in or pooped in sure does sound unsanitary doesn’t it?  But then again reusing clothing that you’ve sweat in or maybe even bleed on that’s not unsanitary.  If your clothes come clean in the washing machine and you reuse them why would cloth diapers be any different?

So now that you know that cloth isn’t as scary as it sounds how do you get started?

Must Haves With Cloth 

You could go crazy trying to figure out what you absolutely must buy with cloth.  There are so many things that seem like you have to have.  Really there are only a few things you need to start cloth.

  1. The diapers of course.  You need to decide what is best for you.  For convenience AIO’s and Pockets are probably the best, but start up can easily cost you upwards of $300 with those.  If you need to go cheap then flats or prefolds are the way to go.  Of course you’ll have to learn how to fold, but there are a lot of videos online to show you how to do it and it’s really not hard at all.  I use flats and start up cost me less than $70.  I got 24 flats and two covers and two snappis for that.
  2. A detergent.  It doesn’t have to be a cloth diaper detergent.  I use Tide Free and Clear on my diapers.  Do your research, take into consideration your washing machine, and ask for samples if you want to try a cloth diaper detergent.
  3. Wash cloths.  I use wash cloths as wipes.  You could buy wipes, but why spend the extra money?  Also, there’s no need to get a cloth wipe detergent.  Water works just fine and for really messy diapers a little of your favorite baby soap on the wash cloth works just fine.  Then the wash cloths get tossed into the diaper pail/bag with the diaper.
  4. Diaper pail/bag.  This is very important.  A place to put your soiled diapers until wash day.   I use a bag hanging on the back of my bathroom door because I don’t have the space for a pail.  A diaper pail and then a pail liner that can be tossed in the wash is great if you have the space for a diaper pail. 
  5. A drying rack.  Or you might already have a clothes line.  But some place to dry the diaper covers.  They will last longer if not dried in the dryer so you’ll need someplace to hang them.  A clothes line is perfect on sunny days for sunning out stains, but if it’s raining and you need to wash diapers you’ll need an alternative place to dry the diapers indoors.

These five things are really my must haves with cloth.  Some might have a few other things, but I am golden with these five things.  Maybe some others who cloth diaper will share in comments their must haves for cloth.

Enter A Cloth Giveaway

My Honor The Earth Giveaway ends tonight at midnight.  Enter to win a chance to start your cloth diaper obsession!
So are you ready to save the earth and start cloth diapering?  Do you already cloth diaper and have something to add that I might have missed here?


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  1. Teresa Peschke says:

    I cloth diaper my daughter. I wash daily because we don't have enough diapers to only wash once a week. I love my cloth diapers and will never go back to disposables.

  2. Do you find the daily washes to be that much more work or are you already washing laundry anyways?

  3. TheABCkidZ says:

    I've cloth diapered all 3 of my kids (two are mostly potty trained now) and I'm so glad that we made the investment. It is an investment up front to purchase the diapers, but you save money in the long run. If someone is scared to ditch disposable all together & switch to cloth, then they can make a slow transition like use cloth at home & disposable out n about.

  4. Healthy Working Mom says:

    I wish I had cloth diapered my kids.  I really became more eco-friendly after I survived the terrible two's!!! 

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