Experience with Cloth Diapers

Updated on June 02, 2008
L.D. asks from Bethlehem, PA
24 answers

Hello! My sister is expecting her first baby ( a boy) in September and has been inquiring about the pros and cons of cloth diapers. If any of you have had experience good or bad with cloth diapers I'd love to share this with her. Thanks in advance. Leah

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answers from Philadelphia on

I haven't had much experience with the cloth diapers but if she is looking for a greener option to disposables. Tell her to look at G diapers. They are half disposable and half cloth but the disposable part will decompose in about 150 days. However they are more expensive than regular disposable or cloth diapers. There are lots of websites for cloth diapers online and lots of info on there. My friend uses them and really likes them. I think she uses fuzzi bunz.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We are now using cloth diapers on baby #2 (used them for #1 as well). They work great and we are happy with them. It can be a pain doing the laundry all the time and we have flats instead of pre-folds so thats a bit more work (but less money). I recommend talking to Lisa who runs http://www.greenearthbaby.com/
she does info sessions (in the South Hills)and that way you can see and touch and try out the different options for cloth diapers. I found the biggest problem in the beginning was you can buy them online, but you don't know what you're getting. Hope this helps.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I personally never used cloth diapers, but I have a friend with 11 children and she only uses disposable diapers when she takes the babies out. She has always said that cloth is best, but you have to have three things, a diaper service, good cover-ups & willingness to change a LOT of diapers!



answers from Philadelphia on

I'm planing to use cloth diapers with my new baby due in October. So I have been doing some research and came to this conclusion. Use a diaper service at first to test out different brands of cloth diapers. Plus the babies go so much the first few weeks, its easier on the new mom.
But here is where I still have questions...Do you still use Baby wipes? or is there a cloth baby wipe too?



answers from Philadelphia on

Congrats to your sister Leah! I used cloth diapers with two babies and frankly I was so pleased using them. She'll have to set up a system of her own, just to make it easier. The best diapers to buy are the one diaper with the thick middle,that way she won't have to fold them. She could also add these disposable liners (to help protect bottoms).Keep your diaper pail with clorox water to place them in ,before washing them , using mild detergent or(baby detergent),clorox, & fabric softener.Use a corn starch based powder or Ammens medicated powder, no talcom powder for that's nothing but fine,ground fiber glass(yeah..I was surprised too). She will find that it's much healthier for the baby and MUCH LESS expensive than disposable diapers.I used disposable diapers only on short occasions like trips to day care or a baby sitter. Hope she does well..it's a good investment.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We used fitted cloth diapers with my son until he potty trained himself. The fitted ones are shaped like a disposable with velcro tabs at the sides , they are very easy to use, no pins. I found cleaning easy once I got the hang of it, and there really wasn't much more washing than the regular baby wash stuff. I have heard that potty training is easier when a baby wears cloth... our training was a breeze, but I don't really know it that's why



answers from Allentown on

Hi, Leah! Congrats to your sister!
I LOVE my cloth diapers!!!!!! I really can't say enough good things about them! I wish I had known how fun, cheap & EASY they are w/ my first! To think of all the money we'd have saved (not to mention diaper rash!)!!!

There are lots of different types of diapers & we use a combination. I started out using prefolds w/ PUL covers & I personally, think those are the best to start out w/ b/c they are so cheap & w/ a very young baby, not only do you constantly change their diaper but they grow so quickly!

Once my son hit the "medium" size (around 3-4 mos or so?) we started using all-in-ones/AIO's (which I LOVE for traveling, the diaper bag, babysitters, etc... since they're just like re-usable disposable diapers, basically) & we use "pocket" diapers (aka AI2's) for night since they do a fantastic job of keeping him dry all night & you can adjust the absorbancy. Pockets are very similar to AIOs & some people just use them instead of having some of each. They can be pre-stuffed (they just need to be un-stuffed prior to washing). They also make one-size pockets which adjust from around 8 or 10 lbs to potty training which, needless to say, saves TONS of $$$!

I use Allen's Natural detergent to wash our diapers & we use a dry pail method. I wash them about 1.5 times a week, on average. I do a cold water wash followed by a hot/cold cycle & I use white viniger & tea tree oil (TTO) in the rinse cycle to make them softer & fresher-smelling. Anything w/ PUL needs to be line dried, but most everything else can be put in the dryer (AIO's often take 1.5-2 dryer cycles though).

I also had a diaper party through a company called Everything Birth which not only allowed me to earn some of my stash for free but gave me & my friends a great way to experiment & see all the types of diapers. You can look @ the site at: www.DiaperParties.com or www.EverythingBirth.com The owner's name is Crystal & she is very nice! If either of you think of it, you can tell her that A. told you about the parties.

Well, that's it in a nutshell! Great fun, great for the planet, great for baby & great for the pocketbook!!!

Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I LOVE my cloth diapers!!!! I use prefolds with a snappi (instead of pins) and I use Bummis super whisper wrap covers during the day. When my son woke up multiple times during the night we used prefolds with a wool cover. We are now trying to get him to sleep longer at night so we use a disposable overnight diaper (with this he still feels dry, so he's less likely to wake up). We have never had leaks with our diapers (as long as the diaper is completely stuffed into the cover. If some of it is hanging out, then your child's clothes will wick the moisture from the diaper. My son is a heavy wetter & often had leaks with the disposable brands we tried. (We use them occassionally when we go out or when others are babysitting). Though my parents and in-laws both offered to change the cloth diapers now, so we really don't have much use for the disposables. I love my diaper covers, I think they are so cute. You can get them with all sorts of different designs. Also, i think that poop is less smelly with the cloth. Clean up is also easier. In disposables the poop always gets mashed to my son's butt & now that he wiggles around, it makes an aweful mess. With cloth the mosture from the poop gets absorbed & its more solid & sticks more to the diaper. So cleaning my son is easier. Also he hasn't had any diaper rash. Usually the poop rolls right off the diaper into the toilet, but when it doesn't I use a spray hose that attaches to the toilet. It was well worth every penny. I don't ever have to touch the poop. Also, i usually use cloth when we go out & when we travel. Its easy, they sell really cute wet bags to put the dirty diapers into. Though you will need a larger diaper bag. I use LL Bean's airport carry on bag. It's perfect. I recommend cloth to everyone having a baby. I wash my own diapers. I usually was 3 times a week. If I bought more diapers i could wash less often, but I don't mind doing laundry. I buy my diapers from www.greenmountaindiapers.com, they are great & will answer any questions you have. I use a kitchen trash bag with a diaper bag liner (all the diaper sites sell them). I put one to two drops of tea tree oil into the bag (you can buy from GNC) and you never smell the diapers. My changing station is right next to my recliner in the living room & i never smell it. Neither do any of our guests.
I couldn't imagine having to buy diapers every week! This is such a better option. (As for the fancy (expensive) cloth diapers, I tried a few of them Bum Genius, Fuzzy Bunz, etc & I had leaks with them.
Good luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

Leah, I have 8 children and we did cloth with all 8. So we did regular, old fashioned cloth diapers for 17 years. You become a pro after a bit and they are easy. We never stuck a child and they do potty train a whole lot easier. Now, they will fuss when wet, so you do have to change them more frequently. Pampers claim you change less with disposibles. This may be true, but it is not because the baby urinates less, but because the diapers are so absorbant that you can be lazy. We did diapers once to twice a week depending on the age of the baby. I used rubber pants on top. Never used diaper liners. If you put a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the final rinse cycle it acts like a natural fabric softner and also makes sure that no urine remains in the diapers. You do NOT want to use liquid fabric softner as it will make the diapers less absorbant. Liquid fabric softner puts an oily type coating on our clothing so do not use it on diapers. If you want to use dryer sheets, those are okay, but I still just did the vinegar in the rinse water and it did wonders. If your sister goes with the old fashioned diapers you have to pin and needs advice and tips on how to put them on and tight, let me know! My 8th grader just did a report on cloth diapers and a demonstration speech on how to put them on using a doll. They are a great way to save money!
Best of Luck,



answers from Philadelphia on

We used cloth diapers "back in the day", which was only 20 years ago. I was one of the only moms I knew who used cloth, but we had no choice. I was trying to save every penny I could so that I could stay home with my kids (which I have done for 20 years). My grandmother, who raised all of her children during the depression, taught me how to do everything on the cheap... cloth diapers, home-made baby food, never a scrap of anything wasted.

Today, I see that more and more new moms are using cloth diapers, and I am amazed to see all the options for cloth diapering. I used plain old diapers and plastic pants. I washed diapers myself, and it wasn't such a big deal, even when I had two in diapers. In fact, it was the easiest load to do as everything was quickly folded and went to the same place. Diapers actually became my favorite wash load to do!

And toilet training was incredibly easy. Both of my boys were totally out of diapers just after their 2nd birthdays and were day-time trained a few months before that.

Twenty years ago, all of my friends thought I was crazy to use cloth. But they never gave it a try. I did try disposables, and on occasion for long car trips or visits I'd use disposables. The money and the impact on the environment was much greater with the disposables. As far as disposables being easier, I didn't find that to be the truth. Cloth and disposables require different techniques, but the cloth routine was just as easy as the disposable routine once I knew what I was doing. I hope your sister gives it a try. I'm sure she'll find that it's the way to go.



answers from Philadelphia on

As much as I want to say it's easy, it isn't. Not only is there a pot of stinky diapers hanging around until you have used enough to warrant a wash, but every cloth diaper and cover I used leaked. I have spent literally hundreds of dollars on diapers and covers all different varieties and I had no luck. I love the planet so I had to weigh the difference between diapers in a landfill or a half empty load of wash everyday. I am having my third now and I will use disposables again.

good luck



answers from Philadelphia on


This is possibly the best option for your sister and just like the last reader - there are no cons. We use bumgenius 2.0 & 3.0 as well and they are great for the dad's, babysisters and more importantly daycare. It was the best investment i've made.

Some people will say (articles in magazines) that having cloth diapers will take away from time spent with the baby but that is not true. My DS and i have fun playing with the clean diapers while i put them together. I also have not seen any increase in my water bill or electric bill. In order to save some money i purchased 1/2 of my 24 diapers on craigslist. I'm now in the process of purchasing more as we are expecting our second.

Best of Luck!



answers from Sharon on

I bought chinese prefolds from nikkisdiapers.com I too used a snappi. I used mine on older children but I have been told with newborn babies especially breastfed ones you dont have to rinse the poo off cos its so runny anyway you just throw them in the wash. I've made my own baby wipes by buying face cloths and filling a spray bottle with water and a little bit of baby oil. I also put microfiber towels inside as an extra absorber insert. You can buy these in big packs.
Good luck



answers from Scranton on

I love cloth diapering. It is truly the best option for the environment, for baby, and for your wallet! I keep dispoisables on hand for babysitters and I use them when we are out and about for the day. But when I think of the money we've saved ad how totally CUTE they are, I would enourage anyone to give it a try. As others have posted, there are many different ways to cloth diaper, you do not need a diapering sevice, you can wash them easily at home, and you no longer need dangerous pins. Please feel free to email me, [email protected]____.com I would love to share my experience with you. Good luck to your sister, she is lucky to have you to help her!



answers from Lancaster on

We used disposable with our first son and with our daughter we are using cloth and are very happy we wish we had used them on our son. We use fitted diapers with snaps and then a Velcro cover. The only time our daughter is in disposable is at church and overnight.



answers from Philadelphia on

Cloth diapers are nice but I would worry about the germs when it comes to cloth vs disposables. I dont know if there are any more diaper services around anywhere Like then had when I was a baby. After she has her baby she may not have the energy to do cloth diapers. If it is the expense she is concerned about that is different she wont have a choice but if it is just cloth over disposable then she should go with the convenience. Her choice totally but tell her to think long and hard......Good Luck



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have to echo Jessica M... we use the BumGenius (1.0, 2.0, & I just ordered the 3.0) and LOVE them. I also like my Happy Heineys and Fuzy Buns, but the Bum Genius are by far the best value because one size goes from 8-30 pounds. I wash at home every other or 3rd day and line dry, and honestly it isn't any trouble at all. You are doing so much laundry with a baby... what is one more load?!?! We do use G-Diapers or disposables on occasion. If she uses a diaper service she will be be using the traditional "DSQ" diapers, which are rectangles of cloth that you either pin or "Snappi" (great invention, they are about 3 bucks and eliminate the need for pins) on and then cover with somekind of cover (the modern day equivalent of rubber pants). I personally like the pocket diapers (like the BumGenius) better, but you have to wash at home. Again, I don't think that is a problem as long as you have a washer.

A couple more things: I would do 'sposies for the first month or so. They go through so many diapers at first, and the first month is so tough, that I'd give myself a break and use them. Besides, usually people give you diapers-- so go ahead and use them. Once things settle down a little, move to the cloth. Also, it is totally worth getting the flushable paper liners that go in the diapers to help reduce the amount of dunking you have to do in the toilet. Now that my son is eating some solids the poop almost never gets on the cloth diaper, which is REALLY nice. Also, a great source for used CD (hey, they are going to be used after the first time, and they are expensive to get started) is www.diaperswappers.com I bought almost all my diapers there and it was great!

Good luck to your friend, and happy CDing!



answers from Erie on

Hi there! We have used cloth diapers since my son was born and have had very few problems! The cheapest route is getting two dozen chinese prefolds and a handful of covers (fleece, PUL, or wool) and using dollar-store-quality cloth washcloths for wipes. Get a little fancier and there are cute and convenient options such as pocket diapers or all-in-ones. We started off mixing pockets with prefold/covers, and right now just use pockets, though for the next one i will probably mix the two again. There is also a resale market, which helps set back the cost.

It's not unsanitary. I cold soak mine in baking soda and a bit of Biokleen, then hot wash in some more Biokleen and vinegar, and they usually come out smelling like nothing, which indicates they are bacteria-free. If they still smell a little, i just wash them once again; it's usually because i forgot to add something.

There's more info in this post:
(Mamasource needs a better means of categorizing, or at least a search function.)

Good luck to your sister! Cloth diapers are cheaper and healthier, even if people contest the environmental benefit.



answers from York on

Hi Leah,

We used cloth diapers and it was great. We got the good ones, not the ones in the department store! I loved the terry cloth ones best.

I started with a service, and then bought similar diapers and went solo. It wasn't that much laundry, and I had two in diapers. I just tried the service first to make sure that was the route I wanted.

We used diaper wraps called Kangawraps. Don't know if they, or something similar, is still around. You stuff the diaper into the wrap and just snap it on. It's as convenient as disposable, easy to clean, etc. It also kept moisture away, which was nice.

My guys never had diaper rash and we are still using those diapers for cleaning, etc.

Speaking of diaper rash, we used great cream Country Comfort Baby Cream...also both kinds of C Comfort Herbal Savvy. I just used soap and water on wash cloths for most cleansing. For real icky messes I used wipes. I took wipes with me travelling. Often took a washcloth too.

Someone mentioned hygiene and germs, etc. Honestly, I get rashes using menstrual pads. I think the chemicals in them are iffy at best. I used disposables once on them, after an emergency at the hospital, and they both got a bit red. Using cream and back to cloth, they were fine again. Just my experience.

We loved cloth and it was just as easy as disposable. Never had to run out in the middle of the night for some. lol




answers from Harrisburg on

I used disposibles with my 2 other children, but always wanted to try cloth. My new son is almost 6 weeks old. With him we use cloth diapers.

Some pro's for CD'ing include: better for the enviroment, no chemicals are against the babys skin, less chance of diaper rash as they need to be changed more frequently, the cost of cloth diapers is less then disposibles, they aren't your Mommas cloth diapers- they are much easier to use then when we were little, same amount of prep work goes into your diaper bag when getting ready, they are very cute on a tushie,

I use a diaper service. It would cost less to wash the cloth diapers myself and do it all myself, but I like the ease of use with the service. They drop the diapers off once a week and pick up at the same time. I don't have to soak them or anything! They don't smell (I was worried about it). I still pay less then disposibles and I don't have to do the hard work!!!



answers from Philadelphia on


When my daughter was born I started with disposables too and then my friend told me about a diaper service in the area, so I decided to try cloth diaper. I really think they are great. They are less messy than disposables and my daughter has much less diaper rash now.
Plus with the diaper service you don't have to wash them yourself and the cost is very similar to disposable diapers.


Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I personally used bleach in my first set of diapers 18 years ago and some with my second child -- by my third I changed my tune as my collection of information mounded.
NEVER do you use fabric softner with any cloth diapers. The residual on the fibers coat them and prevent them from absorbing properly. Not only that the chemicals and the perfumes are not good for the delicate skin or the adult skin for that matter.

As far as germs on cloth vs. disposables. The germs of a diaper in hot water wash along with sending soiling to the waste treatment facilities where it is intended to go are far less harmful than the disposables the house the fecal matter and the diseases and the heavy metal accumulations in our eliminations and thus ending up in our landfills, our ground water and eventually in our source waters.

The rest of my post is a copy/paste from a previous diaper discussion.
Not a fan of G diapers so if you are -- may want to stop reading my post now.

From: M. M Date: Tue. Apr. 29, 2008

Not sure if FB, BG are made still in the USA. Swaddlebee's has another line called Blueberry Something and I do believe they are made in China. Kinda thinking Margarite is also having her Swaddlebee's line made there too but not certain at this point.
Happy Heiny's are made in CA in the USA. I do know this for sure. Linda Byerline is a friend.

Pockets are great for many. I chose natural fibers since my youngest son had big issues with microfleece.

Cloth diapers in no way cost more than disposable if you are using them for more than one child, buying used, keeping it simple instead of wearing only Elbee's or Fussybutt's. The Washing Water Claim vs. Disposables is no longer an arguement that can be made by the big disposable diaper companies. Energy Star Product sealed that arguement -- they need a new angle.

G-diapers -- G = Greenwashing IMO. The Gels in the insert are the gels in the disposables = the same health hazards in dispoable diapers. Please don't let a huge marketing campaigns confuse you that these are eco friendly. Do the research of the product and have an understanding about what your putting on your baby before using G's would be my suggestion. I personally feel G's have been a bad blow to the developing Cloth Diapering movement.

Diapering info resources that I like to point to:
I have feelings pro and con about www.diaperswappers.com and being the best source for your info. I have been a member of diaperswappers since the previous board and if you want solid information and experience the the resources I have posted are my picks for the best info.

If you want to do some prefold's to keep your budget in check, you will definately want DSQ quality -- Gerbers work but are not your best investment choice. I personally loved prefold's and pins, with pullups. Pullups are bulletproof but they ran a second fav spot to my Nikky covers.

Wipes -- you need to do wipes if your cding. Easiest budget friendly item around.

Routine is your key imo to a successful diapering experience. Once you get past the frustration and set backs and learn how to best work your diapers you will be surprised that you did not try sooner. Today's diapers are so easy, cute and even art - http://www.flufffactory.com/index.php?option=com_content&....

Good luck! I hope you find bits and pieces of several systems that work for you. Don't put all your $$/eggs in one basket. Need to save some $$ for the diaper addiction that could develope. :)



answers from Allentown on

We cloth diaper and in my opinion there are no cons!! It is an earth friendly choice as well as much better for baby's bum!!
We love the bum genius 3.0 pockets (one size) they are worth every penny!!!

www.diaperpin.com is a great informative site!

Best wishes, it's great that your sister is considering cloth!!!!!!!!!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I used clothe diapers with a service for my first and am using disopable with my second. I loved the clothe with my first! I chose not to use them for my second because we were on the go much more and clothe you can't throw away, you need to carry ziplocs or whatever to keep them. I don't know if they were cheaper either. I buy the cheapest diapers from the store and they work as good as the expensive ones. I also read an article saying clothe and disposables weren't anymore environmental then clothe when you look at the whole equation. I will say as a new mom, the clothe were easy to tell if he was peeing enough when he was a newborn and diaper rashes were much less. I did like the diaper service too! And believe it or not, they never smelled!

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