Saturday, April 11, 2009

To Cloth or Not to Cloth That is the Question

When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about diapers; how extraordinarily expensive they are, how I barely had money to clothe myself let alone waste money on a perpetually disposable item that unfortunately was a necessity.

I thought about cloth diapers. I really did. I considered the option. But then I thought about the prospect of washing excess poop in the bath tub. Yuck. So I vetoed the cloth option.

Now that I have nearly a one year old son, I am thinking about diapers, again. I spend $34/month on them. That's $408/year. Considering my household income, that is a lot of money.

So now I am thinking about cloth diapers again. My best friend recently told me that her parents used cloth diapers on her. This was nearly 30 years ago. They, like my boyfriend and I, had very little money. So they never touched disposable diapers.

This brings to the forefront an interesting issue; if disposable diapers are so expensive, why do the majority of the parental population use them? Convenience? Less mess? What did people do before disposable diapers? They used what was available to them; cloth diapers.

I've decided that I cannot live in ignorance of the cloth diaper any longer. I need to sample this animal and see what it is all about. Perhaps I will even save myself a little money in the process.


  1. Can't wait to see what you find out!
    Post some links as soon as you figure out the best free/low-cost options.

  2. i think it's about convenience. but it's terrible for the environment.

  3. Hmmm I was cloth diapered (hippies!) and I also thought about it. I think the disposable are about convenience and friends of mine who are thinking about going cloth will also probably use them for trips out of the house. But the reason I didn't use cloth was because we have to sort of squeeze ourselves in to get to use the washer as it is. Maybe once a week? I don't know how often you have to wash cloth ones, because you can get a bin that seals them quite well, but I'm not into the idea of them stinking for so long. Problem. Also I looked at a service and we did have one up here! Then I don't have to wash them, or buy them (I think? Maybe you do, I forget!). But it was about $20 a week, which is quite a lot. :\ Now I used to get Pampers and Huggies but I get Stop and Shop brand a lot and have even stopped hating Luvs. I also get Costco diapers and wipes when I can which is about $40 a box (almost a thousand wipes and diapers vary, because the larger they are the more they cost, so the box has less. But you also change them less.) Its a shame its bad for the environment. :( I would do cloth if it was more practical, but now with two it seems even more impossible. I wonder how much we spend on diapers a month?!

  4. What I've realized, when it boils down to it, is that no matter how you diaper (cloth or disposable) it is nearly impossible to save money. There are certain environmental advantages to cloth diapering i.e. not providing massive amounts of non-biodegradable disposable diapers to our landfills. But, in terms of the money issue, you are not really saving all that much by going cloth.

  5. @Phayder....sorry I'm reading old posts here, but I've saved a ton of money doing cloth diapers. I have spent about $250, got a few hand-me-downs as well (maybe $50 worth). I have more diapers than I need and I think most of them will last through another child or two (mine or someone else's). That said, I can understand not choosing them if the washing was not going to work out well or some other reasons.

    Here is a calculator that helps people determine how much they could save:

  6. Thanks Hannah! Great link! I'm no longer Phayder, by the way. It's either Sarah or Old School/New School Mom. Either way...

    My main concern is the storage of the dirty cloth diapers and the accessibility to laundry. We have laundry in the basement (my parent's apt) so it's not exactly super close, but not too far either. Anyway, I'm considering clothing for the new baby.

  7. I made the switch when my son was 8 mo old. We spent $300.00 total including diapers, wash cloths to use as wipes, wipe warmer, 2 hanging wet bags (I don't have the room for a diaper pail), 2 small wet bags for my diaper bag and a diaper sprayer (eBay). I buy diapers from and


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