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Modern-day cloth diapers have many benefits comparing to their disposable counterparts. With all things good, usually comes a ‘bad’, right? You won’t want to skip this list because today we’re talking about the Five DISADVANTAGES of cloth diapers.
Before we jump into ‘bad’ things, let’s highlight some of the awesome things cloth diapers can offer, this includes:
- A wide selection of cute designs
- Enormous savings
- Environmentally friendly
- No chemicals added
- No diaper rash
- An earlier potty-trained baby
- One of the most recommended cloth diapers (and cute ones) are these ones by ALVABABY.
However, after using them religiously for the past six months, I also discovered the smelly side of cloth diapers.
The Cons of Cloth Diapers
1. Cloth diapers sure are stinky
With no chemicals added for absorbency, soiled cloth diapers also mean ultra wet and stinky diapers.
Just imagine having all this stank accumulated in a basket full of other equally stinky-stank diapers. The end result is you just can’t wait to throw them in the washer.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to eat before you wash that load. It’s a guarantee to be a nose full.
2. They require washing, lots of it!
Sure, with a modern-day washing machine, gone are the days when moms had to wash them by hand. (Which my mama did by the way! Love you, mom!)
It may be easy to imagine accumulating the dirty diapers in a basket, and then just tossing them into the washing machine. But the reality isn’t so simple. (More on this in tip # 5 below)
Using cloth diapers means that moms have to be diligent in washing them routinely. Accumulating dirty diapers can lead to unmentionable germs and ain’t nobody got time for that.
It is recommended to accumulate dirty diapers for no more than two days. This adds about 3-4 extra loads of laundry per week.
Depending on your washing machine and the kind of detergent you use, this could add an extra expense to your monthly budget. One many often tend to overlook.
In fact, according to a post by The Washington Post, they shared, “Thirty cloth diapers draw an estimated 1,221 cubic meters of water in crop irrigation, processing, weaving, manufacturing and 2 1 / 2 years of washings. Meanwhile, the water used to manufacture those 4,000 disposables comes in at a comparatively modest 141 cubic meters.”
3. How often do you have to change cloth diapers? A LOT!
Because cloth diapers get wet quicker, babies can feel the wetness just as quickly. As a result, they require changing much more often.
For every one disposable diaper used, I estimate usage of about two cloth diapers. This translates into more changing and a big load of dirty diapers (not to mention extra laundry!).
More change means more work. And moms already have plenty to do.
4. Cloth diapers are inconvenient when going out
Another downside to cloth diaper is the inconvenience.
Since babies feel the wetness quicker, they would require changing twice as much as disposable diapers.
This makes going out very challenging as you would constantly need to look out for a diaper changing room – twice as much!
On top of that, you would need to bag those cloth diapers and carry them around until you get home.
Hopefully, you can contain the smell from spreading all over your car or worst, within the radius of other people’s smell radar!
5. You CAN’T avoid not touching poop
Just like disposable diapers, you will encounter a day where you’ll unintentionally touch, *gasp*, poop! Except with cloth diapers. You see, with cloth diapers, you have to scoop out the poop and dump it into the toilet. YIKES! Let’s just hope it’s not diarrhea.
In fact, one trick I learned & recommend is using a biodegradable sheet in every cloth diaper.
This way you can just fold it and toss it directly into the toilet. Then, the paper will be dissolved. No poop on hands. Life is good!
These usually cost ~$3-4 per box of 100 sheets which are way cheaper than the disposable counterparts.
Oh, and let’s not forget the pee, too! You will touch pee and poop – there, you have been warned.
To get a little overview of some of these cons of using cloth diapers, check out this youtube video made by Motherhood Vlogger, Laina!
Benefits of cloth diapers
Despite the cons having some pretty stinky negatives, it’s also important we break down the benefits of cloth diapers before totally tossing them aside.
1. Newborn cloth diapers can save you money
That’s right, using reusable cloth diapers as early as baby being a newborn can save you lots over the long run!
Many moms spend anywhere from $100-$300 on a FULL SET of reusable cloth diapers to get them through to potty training.
2. Less likely to irritate baby’s sensitive skin
According to one article on The Wired, a mom states that disposable diapers, even the most “organically made” ones have still caused a harmful reaction after her baby wore them [SOURCE].
At the end of the day, it up to us as parents to decide what we are and aren’t ok with when it comes to chemicals & products we use for our little ones.
However, knowing there COULD be a small chance…ask yourself, is it worth the risk to you?
3. They’re environmentally friendly
Using cloth diapers significantly reduces the amount of waste going out into the planet.
Approximately 27.4 billion disposable diapers…yes, BILLION — are used each year in the US. This results in roughly 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year…yikes!
If you’re looking for a way to do your part and reduce the waste our planet faces every single day, consider the use of cloth diapers being your first step!
4. Cloth diapers come in WAY cuter designs than disposable
Ok…I know this is more of a vanity benefit. But when you have parents dishing out over $50-$60 JUST on a small box of diapers for their print options, wouldn’t you rather spend way less and get way more?
I know I mentioned my favorite cloth diapers above. Here they are again in case you forgot.
But these cloth diapers below are pretty darn cute if I do say so myself, take a look:
- Donuts, pineapples, and flowers design by Anmababy
- Dinosaurs, cars, and airplanes designs by Wegreeco
- Adorable Halloween designs by Simple Being
Tips for Using Cloth Nappies aka Cloth Diapers
Look, cloth diapers may still have some room for improvement, but they are a great alternative (or complement) to disposable diapers.
Although these five dark sides I share may sound discouraging (don’t be!), I would still highly recommend using them.
And if you’re that brave, selfless soul, here are some tips to help you get through it:
1. Hygiene is extra important when using cloth diapers
You want to keep your hygiene tip-top because you will (yes, will, not might) come into contact with pee and poop (but it’s your baby’s so it’s still precious).
So, tip #1 is to always clean your hands after changing the diaper. This may sound like common sense, but oftentimes, we may get so caught up with everything that’s going on that we might forget to wash our hands, don’t. Please don’t.
2. Know how to store cloth diapers
Find a designated washable bag to store all of the cloth diapers. It would also be great if you have a designated basket as well, but not in lieu of the bag.
When you throw the cloth diapers into the washer, you can throw in the washable bag and changing pad covers altogether.
3. Choose a good-quality cloth diaper
Depending on the brand of cloth diapers you have, the wash instructions may be slightly different.
For the brand I use, which is Popolini, it is recommended to wash in warm water, regular cycle, after no more than two days of storage.
I normally wash mine every day because I have a very small washing machine which is very common in European apartments.
For American households that typically have a large washing machine, it’s okay to save up to two days of wash so that you can use the cycle to its full capacity.
If you use detergent with your cloth diapers, you’ll also want to make sure you use a good quality such as BioKleen Laundry Detergent.
4. Cloth diapering on the go
I personally don’t recommend taking these bad boys out and about because it gets complicated.
ESPECIALLY, after a disastrous poop session (a rare, but likely occurrence).
Therefore, I have only been mainly using cloth diapers at home.
However, if you do want to take them with you then I would recommend taking extra bags to store these dirty diapers.
In addition, I would bring some hand sanitizers and wet wipes so that you can stay hygienic (see tip #1).
Best Cloth Diapers for Newborns
I understand finding the BEST cloth diapers for babies can be tricky.
Will it be the best fabric? How much will they cost? How long will they last?
So, I rounded up my TOP 3 cloth diapers for newborns and babies to help you out!
Wegreeco is such a wonderful cloth diaper because it has a variety of snapping points — making it adjustable to fit most babies 0 most to 2 years old.
Benefits of Wegreeco Cloth Diapers:
- Super absorbent microfiber + bamboo inserts.
- 1 diaper adjustable up to 2 years of age.
- Easy to wash.
- Maintains its soft, flexible form even after multiple washes (per reviews).
- Very affordable.
Cons of Wegreeco Cloth Diapers:
- Sometimes may leak out the sides.
- Pretty bulky under clothing, may need to size up onesies.
Thirsties newborn cloth diapers are one of the best out there. That’s because they’re specifically made for those small delicate little babies!
Say peace out to annoying leaks due to diapers too big and snag a few Thirsties newborn diapers to fit your little one better.
Benefits of Thirsties Newborn Cloth Diapers:
- Fits newborn babies from 5 to 14 lbs.
- Maximum leak protection via “2 layers of organic cotton in the body and 6 layers of hemp/organic cotton in the soaker pads”.
- Snap Closure featuring fold-down fabric for umbilical stumps.
- Soft stretchy elastic to prevent digging into baby’s delicate skin.
- Comes in a variety of adorable patterns.
Cons of Wegreeco Cloth Diapers:
- Your baby may outgrow them quickly.
- They’re more expensive compared to other brands (sold individually).
- Many reviewers on Amazon state the diaper “wasn’t as absorbent as expected”.
ALVABABY cloth diapers are an affordable and best-bet buy when it comes to cloth diapers.
Aside from the raving reviews on Amazon, here’s why they stand apart from many of their competitors:
Benefits of ALVABABY Cloth Diapers:
- Multiple adjustable snaps to fit baby comfortably as they grow.
- 1-year guarantee & incredible customer service for parents.
- Extra-secure stuffing pocket to ensure absorbent pads don’t slip out.
- Wet-proof interior layer to keep your baby dry.
Cons of ALVABABY Cloth Diapers:
- Aside from normal wear and tear, I couldn’t find any major cons to these cloth diapers!
A Happy Medium between Cloth Diapers and Disposable Diapers
Despite the many benefits of cloth diapers, they are not always practical or as convenient as disposable diapers.
To me, a happy medium would be to use both interchangeably.
Obviously, if you’re a mom on the go and/or a working mom, cloth diapers may not even be an option unless you choose to use them during the weekends.
However, it can still be inconvenient if you plan to go out during those weekends.
If you’re a stay-at-home mama, I definitely recommend giving it a try if you also value the benefits that cloth diapers can bring.
At the end of the day, a clean baby is a happy baby. I’m sure you will find the best method that is best for you and your precious little angel.
Do you prefer cloth diapers or disposable ones? If you have used cloth diapers, can you think of other pros and cons of cloth diapers worth mentioning?
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About Mama Bear FinanceA personal finance and lifestyle blog.
Mama Bear works in Finance and is specialized in financial planning and analysis. Her mission is to deliver educational, yet entertaining content that will inspire other moms to improve their financial situations and achieve financial independence. Visit her blog at Mama Bear Finance.