When people discover I use cloth diapers, I’m usually met with looks of surprise, interest, and even disgust! The reactions I get varies, but I’ve never been afraid to talk about cloth diapers and promote their use! When I hear of families who are struggling financially, or dealing with uncontrollable diaper rash, I’m the first one to suggest using cloth! The more I talk to people about cloth, the more I realize that there are a lot of misconceptions about cloth diapering! Let’s clear some of those misconceptions up!
“Cloth diapers are expensive!”
Sure, it might look that way. Most commercial cloth diapers, and even handmade diapers by stay-at-home-moms range anywhere from $10-30 per diaper. It can seem quite expensive in comparison to a single disposable diaper that’s only cost about $0.25. The difference between the diapers though, is that cloth can be reused over and over. Many families even use the same diapers with multiple children! Cloth diapers might seem like a big upfront investment, and with an average start up cost of $100-500 dependent upon diaper selection, it can be, but even if you factor in the cost of laundering, detergents, and other expenses, cloth diapering your child is still, by far, less expensive than using disposable diapers. The cost of disposable diapers can be thousands per child, per year!
“Cloth diapers aren’t sanitary.”
Unless the cloth diapers are being shared between multiple, unrelated children, or children known to have certain diseases, conditions or infections, sanitization isn’t necessary. Think about it, you probably don’t sanitize your underwear in between every use, do you? A simple washing is good enough, and if you’re truly worried about sanitation, many washers have a sanitize cycle, or you can throw your diapers in the dryer on high to kill any germs that may be lingering.
“I don’t want to touch poop!”
Many people mistakenly believe that cloth diapering involves lots of elbow grease and hand scrubbing of poopy diapers. This couldn’t be further from the truth! I commonly tell people, “If you’re touching the poop, you’re doing something wrong!” Cleaning the poopy diapers is really simple and can be done using a specially designed diaper sprayer, or simply by swishing the contents of the diaper out into the toilet before putting it into a diaper pail or the washer. There is absolutely no touching of poop, unless of course, you’re doing something wrong… or you don’t mind touching the poop.
“Cloth diapers are ugly!”
Modern-day cloth diapers are much different than the plastic pants, prefolds and pins that our parents and grandparents think of when they think of cloth diapering. Although those routes are an option (and can be an incredibly economical one), they aren’t the only option out there! There’s plenty of other diapers out there, waterproof, non-waterproof, all-in-ones, all-in-two’s, fitteds, pockets, prefolds, flats and more! There’s hundreds upon thousands of cute designs, patterns and prints! Modern cloth diapers are by far, cuter than the cloth diapers of yesteryear, and a million times cuter than disposables!
“By the time you’re done washing and drying your diapers, they’re just as bad for the planet as disposables.”
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth! Although some detergents are bad for the environment, there are plenty of laundry detergents that are eco-friendly and biodegradable, making them easier on the planet. Even taking into account the energy and water consumed to wash the diapers, the impact is by far less than that of disposables. Disposables account for a large percentage of solid waste in our landfills, and take centuries to decade, while cloth diapers are continually used, before being turned into rags! In addition, if you’re concerned about the impact of electric and gas use, diapers can be safely line dried. The extra sun from line drying may help life stains as well!
“I don’t want my washer to get gross.”
A washing machine is meant to wash and clean things! Throwing a dirty diaper in the washer is no different than throwing your dirty work clothes in the washer or your six-year-old’s jeans when she wets her pants. A washing machine is meant to clean! Your washer won’t smell or stink at all (except before you start a load, obviously). Cloth diapers won’t affect your washer at all.
“I have enough laundry to do. I don’t need any extra!”
Cloth diapers, depending on how many you have, only make an extra load or two of laundry per week. Some people throw their diapers in with their normal laundry, and it doesn’t seem like extra at all at that point. Some people who cloth diaper report having been horrible at keeping up with laundry prior to using cloth, but getting better keeping up with it once they started using cloth because they had to. You can’t fall behind on laundry because you have to have diapers! Who knows! If you take on cloth diapering, you might get better at keeping up with that mountain of laundry!
“Cloth diapers are confusing and difficult.”
In the beginning, cloth diapers can be confusing and difficult to use; there is a learning curve. But, just as when you get a new cell phone, or video game, it takes time to figure out how to work it and get used to it! Read the instructions, and keep practicing until you’ve got it down! Pretty soon, it becomes a second nature to use a pocket diaper, flat, or prefold and cover system.