When we started using cloth diapers several months ago, I knew I wanted to try several different brands. One of the main pieces of advice that I heard was not to put all my cloth diapering eggs in one basket, so I’ve tried several brands, and we’ve developed some favorites! This is a post on my opinion of the brands we’ve tried.
First, a few terms (note, this isn’t a comprehensive list, I’m just covering the terms that I use in this post):
Inserts - The absorbent part of a cloth diaper.
Pocket diaper – This type of diaper consists of a cover that has a “pocket” that you slide the inserts into. The insert itself doesn’t touch your baby, the inner lining of the cover is against your baby’s bum. You can use one or two inserts to adjust the absorbency.
Snap-in Inserts – This type of diaper has a cover and inserts that snap into the cover – so the inserts are right against your baby’s bottom. One plus to this type is that you don’t have to separate the inserts from the cover before you wash them like you do with pocket diapers.
One-size – Diapers with multiple rows of snaps so you can adjust the diaper to fit your baby as he/she grows.
Fitted diapers – Diapers that are made for a specific size, similar to the different sizes of disposables. You have to buy the next size up as your baby grows.
Bamboo and Microfiber – Different materials that inserts are made of.
Minky – Material sometimes used for cloth diaper covers, has a protective coating on the inside to make it waterproof.
PUL – Polyurethane Laminate – A waterproof material used to make cloth diaper covers.
Alright, on with the reviews, shall we?
gDiapers Fitted – $37-40 for a 2-pack on Amazon, not including inserts
Inserts with Plastic Liner and Cloth Cover (inserts not shown here)
I was not a fan. I tried these because we had a gift card we needed to use and the store sold gDiapers. These diapers are a little pricey since they don’t come with the inserts – you have to buy inserts separately to lay inside the plastic liner. When I did use them I got leaks because there is nothing to secure the inserts to the liners, so they just slide around. I like the fact that in theory you can use the cover and plastic liner over again if it’s just a wet diaper, but I didn’t get to try because of the leaks.
Maybe I’m using them wrong and need to give them another try? I don’t know. As of right now I’m not a fan.
Oh Katy One Size - $17.95 on Amazon
I really, really liked this cloth diaper when we first got it. I liked the way it fit Wyatt, and I hardly ever got a leak with it. Wyatt grew quite a bit though after we got it, and I feel like we went through an awkward stage where it didn’t quite fit him right, and we got a few leaks. We’re over the hump again now, I think, because I haven’t had any problems the last few times I’ve used it. I think this diaper would especially be good for smaller babies – it’s pretty trim, and it buttons up pretty small. I’m thinking I’ll probably get a few more of these before our next baby, since I’ll probably start cloth diapering the next baby at a younger age (we started around 7-8 months with Wyatt).
I don’t have a good comparison picture since I only have one Oh Katy diaper right now, but this is the diaper snapped all the way down. It’s pretty small when you see it in person. I think it would fit a new baby just fine. I’ll let you know for sure when I have a new baby to try it out on.
Fuzzibunz One Size – $19.95 from Sweet Bottoms
I heard so many good things about Fuzzibunz, but I feel like it didn’t really live up to my expectations. This is the diaper that we get the most leaks with, and I’m really not sure why. I think certain brands just fit the shape of certain babies better, and this one did not work for Wyatt. I’ll try it on the next kid, but I feel like my Fuzzibunz experience is a good example of why it’s a good idea to try a few different brands when you first start.
Kawaii One Size – $10.25-10.75 from Sweet Bottoms
I love this diaper! We have had very few leaks with Kawaii diapers. They also make a heavy-duty nighttime diaper (the polka dot one in this picture), and with both inserts Wyatt has gone 12+ hours in that diaper without a leak at night. I’m planning on buying another of the nighttime diapers so we can use cloth more at night – right now we use mostly use disposables overnight. These diapers are also a much better price than the majority of the brands out there, and they work better than the other brands I’ve tried.
Kawaii One Size Minky/Bamboo - $12.95 from Sweet Bottoms
I did buy the minky, bamboo-insert Kawaii diaper, and I didn’t like that diaper as much. Bamboo inserts are very soft, but the fabric is also not as firm as microfiber inserts, and when I used the bamboo inserts with the minky cover (which was also not as stiff as the PUL diapers), the insert tended to slide around inside the diaper, and when it wasn’t laying flat we had leaks.
I started using microfiber inserts with the minky cover, and the bamboo inserts in PUL covers, and we haven’t had any problems with it this way. I do like the bamboo inserts in theory – they are slimmer and just as absorbent as microfiber, plus they are supposed to have less of a tendency to develop odor, but I do not like the bamboo inserts with the minky cover.
These are my favorite diapers. We use these most because I have more of them, and they leak less than the other brands I’ve tried (they are about the same as our Kawaii diapers as far as leaking goes). They fit Wyatt really well. I’m not sure how they would work on smaller babies (as in less than 6 months old), because they run a little bigger than the other brands I’ve tried, but I’ll be trying them on our next baby in the first six months so I’ll let you know. These diapers are still going to fit Wyatt for a while, and they work really well with his shape.
Plus they are really cute. They have a bunch of fun patterns and colors. A lot of brands charge more for patterned diapers, but Sunbaby had a lot of options and they were all the same price (Kawaii also has a lot of patterns for no more expense).
Plus they are cheap! They are made in China (I’m not sure what I think about that), but the company was started by a mom in China. They are half to a fifth of the price of other brands.
A few drawbacks are that (1) you have to order them directly from her, so they take a little while to get all the way from China to the US, (2) they are not sold in the US anywhere, so you can’t check them out before you buy, and (3) you have to buy twelve or twenty-four diapers at a time.
But at $5 a diaper, twelve of them only cost me $60 (and when I bought them shipping to the US was free). I’d only get 3-5 of any other diaper for that amount, and so I decided to give them a try. I’m glad I did, because they are my favorites. When we get pregnant with our next baby I’ll be ordering more of these.
Note: I did check out the website again and it looks like they are selling two sizes now – but they are still adjustable in size, they just have a slightly bigger and smaller option. The bigger size just looks a little longer. Technically they would still be “One Size” diapers since you can adjust them as your baby grows. It also looks like they have more buying options now – you can buy just six instead of twelve or twenty-four.
I could go on about Sunbaby diapers, but instead I’ll just say that if you have any more questions about that brand to send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Itti Bitti Tutto One Size - $24-27 on Amazon
I was really interested to try an Itti Bitti diaper because they have a reputation of being one of the slimmest diapers on the market. So when the opportunity presented itself to buy one used from a friend, I had to give it a try.
I was disappointed. They don’t seem any slimmer than any of my other diapers. I’m sure the fitted Itti Bitti’s are slimmer than the one-size diapers, but I’m not spending $20/diaper on fitteds when my baby will just outgrow them in a couple months and I’ll have to buy more (who has money to spend that much on a full stash of fitted Itti Bitti’s anyway?). I don’t think they are worth the money. Not even close. But I’m glad I bought one to try or I would have always wondered.
My cloth-diapered cutie.
My favorite diapers are by far the Sunbaby and Kawaii diapers. I think Oh Katy diapers could be my favorite for younger babies, but I’ll have to wait and see. I really don’t even have to try any others besides those three brands at this point, unless it’s for fun.
The only other brand that I’m curious to try would be Rumparooz, because I like the idea of the double layer of elastic around the legs – I think it might be handy for the first few months before solids, if you know what I mean. But at $23-25 a diaper, I’ll have to think long and hard about it.
If you are thinking of trying cloth diapers, keep in mind that Sweet Bottoms Baby Boutique has free shipping within the US on any order. Also, I am an affiliate of Sweet Bottomes Baby Boutique, so if I linked to Sweet Bottoms in this post it was an affiliate link, and I do get store credit when someone buys something through the link. Just to be up-front about it. But I did order cloth diapers (and our diaper sprayer) from them before I ever became an affiliate. I mean, who doesn’t love free shipping? Anyway . . .
If anyone has any questions about any of the brands that I listed, let me know!
Then I had a little panic attack about how much money we were wasting on disposables, and I decided to give it a go. I was glad I had all those posts starred, because they were great to refer back to.
So this is a list of the posts that I read way back then and some that I’ve found since that I have found helpful. There are probably more that I’m forgetting, but these were the ones that I starred.
Ashley wrote a great series on cloth diapers:
- How And Why We Chose Cloth
- Brands And Styles
- Accessories And Wipes
- Caring For Our Diapers
- Out And About
Leanna wrote a post on cloth diapering which is what got me to thinking about it in the first place.
Jenene wrote a two-part series, and I bought some of our diapers based on recommendations from her.
Bridget wrote a very informative post, and her post made the washing process sound really simple.
Rachel wrote a post on the products and routine she uses as well.
Chloe wrote a post on cloth diapering, and she uses some diapers that I haven’t heard of before. I might give them a try after reading her post.
Lauren wrote a post that included a lot of great resources (if you’re interested in further reading) and she wrote a post with her thoughts on how cloth diapering has worked for her family.
And finally, Brittany wrote a post recently that I thought was helpful as well.
And that’s it, so if you are considering cloth diapering, definitely check these posts out!
I’ve got more cloth diapering tips from fellow bloggers this week, and they have some really helpful advice if you are thinking about cloth diapering! Read on.
“I used Josiah's Nest blog to help me get started. Moriah was so helpful in giving me pointers and answering all my questions. And I just kept asking others who were doing cloth what they thought. I believe all of us ended up using a different brand *lol* Like I said, it's like disposable. Some styles work and some don't =)
I say, use disposable for the first month or two. You will go through so many diapers and I found that it was too expensive to invest in the extra small sizes for my baby since she would only be in them a short amount of time. Also, like most, everyone gives diapers at showers (even if we told everyone we were using cloth). So, use up all the newborn diapers first then make the transition after the baby stops going through 100 diapers a day. We made the big switch around 3 months. Again, my baby is super small (about 10% percentile for weight and height at the time) so any diaper was huge on her. Once we made the switch it worked out perfectly and I loved it!!!
As for supplies and such, you want at least 12-15 diapers to start with. The baby will go through about 8 a day depending on amount of poops, etc so you want to have enough for an entire day plus a good start the next so you have time to wash and let them air dry.
As for washing: I use charlie's soap and do a hot wash with a cold rinse with an extra rinse. Then I do 2 extra rinses with warm/cold water. My washer is HE so I can set it up so it doesn't seem so bad - haha. Takes about an hour and 30 minutes with our washer. I then let them hang dry. You CANNOT use regular soap or detergent, diaper rash cream, etc with these diapers. I also hang them outside when it's warm to let the sun bleach them if there are any stains. Charlie's soap does great with getting them super clean =)
Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions =)
Or if you want to buy the fitted size small Fuzzibunz off me to try. Its a good way to get them used initially so you aren't paying full price to see what brands you end up liking!”
“So far we've only used one brand of cloth diapers, BumGenius Organic Elemental All-in-On One-Size. I don't have many complaints about them but I would say if you have the opportunity to try a few different kinds, go for it and don't jump in with 2 feet and commit to one brand right away. I wish I'd gone the way of sample packs to start with (just so I had something to compare to)! To get started I would suggest a 6-10 diapers that way you get a feel for them before you have to go wash again. Add in a wet bag and some detergent and you're all set! We use the BumGenius detergent since we could buy it in bulk. We also have several Planet Wise wet bags (for daycare and home). I don't really find laundry to be too much of a burden, I would say on average, abut 5 extra loads over 2 weeks (though we do have way more diapers than necessary!). The best way we've found for doing laundry is starting the load after he goes to bed (for maximum number of diapers clean at a time). Throw a (big/dry) towel in and it cuts down on drying time. We are just starting solids so the wash part has been pretty simple so far. Also, if you go to a daycare center, don't let that discourage you, you can do cloth diapers at daycare (just might take some extra effort)! Just don't get discouraged/overwhelmed by it all!
I wrote 2 posts about cloth diapers.
The after (part 1-before solids): http://meetthechapmans.blogspot.com/2011/11/cloth-diaper-update-part-1-before.html”
“First of all, I've only been cloth diapering two kids for about 3 years, so I'm far from an expert. However, I have been able to try many different cloth diapering systems and have finally decided what works well for us. Which brings me to the first point of cloth diapering; different things work for different families. Keep this in mind when you're purchasing cloth diapers. It's far better to buy one or two of a style, see if it works for your baby, and then later decide if you want to purchase more. The wonderful thing about cloth diapering is that if you purchase a diaper, use it a few times and find that it's not quite working for your baby, you can easily resell it on Ebay, or Craigslist. I purchased a lot of our cloth diapers through the popular Mom and baby deal-a-day sites (such as Baby Steals, Hippo Baby Bargains, Baby Half Off, etc) and in that case, it was very helpful for me to visit diaperpin.com and read their product review pages. On their website, Mom's have given unbiased reviews on nearly every cloth diaper out there. So helpful, considering many of them go into detail about the build and weights of their babies.
Our favorite cloth diapers have been GroVia, Thirsties, and BumGenius (in that order). After a few years of cloth diapering, I now prefer 100% cotton against babies bum. The sun bleaches cotton so much nicer and they do not hold odor like the synthetics do. We do a combination of all in ones, pocket diapers, and fitted diapers with covers. I really don't have a preference over one or the other, after a while it's all easy. Even my husband doesn't complain, he just grabs the nearest diaper and puts in on the nearest kid. :)
If you're finding yourself intimidated by cloth diapering, you're not alone. At first it is overwhelming. So many choices, and you want to make the right ones the first time. But, you have to remember this is not the biggest parenting choice you'll make. Try it, if it works great, if not you can sell your "stash" and no harm is done. But, I will say that if you are wanting to try it at all, go for it! Some people insist that it will take time away from their family to cloth diaper their child(ren), but it absolutely does not. It's just as quick to change a cloth diaper as it is a disposable, and when it comes to the laundry - it's really nothing. One or two extra loads a week, depending on how many diapers you have. It might take a longer wash cycle, and a good cloth diapering detergent, but unless you don't have an automatic washing machine, you do very little of the work. I do hang my cloth diapers on the line to try in permittable weather, but I'm also one of those crazy people that like to don my clothes pin apron and feel the sunshine on my bare head.
It's absolutely impossible for me to write about cloth diapering in short form, but I'll pass on a few links that I've found helpful through this cloth diapering adventure. Much is by trial and error, but I can assure you that when you find the right cloth diapers, you will enjoy the ease and huge, huge money savings.
http://ameliathompson.blogspot.com/search/label/Cloth%20Diapers (My friend Amelia has an excellent 5 part series on cloth diapering, including how to sew your own!)
http://thoughtsnwhatnots.blogspot.com/2011/04/cloth-diapering-101.html (A blog post I wrote back in April, with a little more detail about what works for our family.)”
“If you are thinking of giving cloth diapering a go, just do it! It is not as complicated as some might think. In fact, for me, it is truly easier than dealing with disposables. Perhaps it's just because that's what I'm used to now. You can find many gently used cloth diapers for cheap (try online, garage sales, consignment sales, craigslist) if you are just wanting to try it out before you invest a lot in it! Of course there are a ton of products that are involved in cloth diapering, but many of these are not necessities. All you really need to start is some diapers, wipes if you are planning on using cloth wipes as well, detergent and a wet bag or pail to put the dirty diapers in! My favorite thing about cloth diapering is that while many of my friends are dealing with blow outs and stains on their babies cute outfits, I have not had to deal with it once because the cloth diaper keeps it all contained. That, and the fact that it's better for my baby's bum and I'm saving lots of cash this way!”
Thank you ladies for all your fabulous advice!
I'm going to take a break on the cloth diapering posts until after the New Year, but when January comes keep an eye out for a cloth diapering resource post, and my story/final thoughts on cloth diapering!
I think cloth diapering can be awfully intimidating to start out. I am committed to this now, and I still have days where it intimidates me! But I have found a lot of encouragement from ladies in the blog world who also use cloth diapers. I asked some of my cloth-diapering blog friends (who have been doing this longer than me) for some advice for newbies, and I got a lot of great tips! Here is what some of them had to say.
“Hi, I am Danielle and I am very excited that Callie asked me to give my opinions and tips on cloth diapering! I have been cloth for about 6 months, so I am no expert but I will share the main things that I have learned! First of all, don't be scared to give it a try! I was terrified at first and everyone was against it and now, I love it! I wish I would have started sooner! One thing I learned was that you don't have to have the $30 diapers for them to work. I used Comfyrumps (comfyrumps.com) and Go Green pocket diapers (gogreenpocketdiapers.com) which are reasonably priced but work wonderfully! Two websites that I use for cloth diapering accessories because they have free shipping are sweetbottomsbaby.com and jackbenatural.com- and these both have Facebook pages where you can call out to other mamas when you need help! Such a wonderful resource! I love my diaper sprayer, and we went to Lowe's and got all the stuff we needed to make it ( the guys usually know what exactly you need, or there are videos on Youtube) and it was cheaper! My biggest piece of advice is just try it, If you don;t like it you can at least say you tried :) And don't be afraid to ask for help!”
"Favorite brand of diaper? Bum Genius 4.0
What you need to get started? To start full time: at least 12 diapers, a pail and wetbag, detergent. If you want to do cloth wipes too (and you might as well!) you'll need about 20 wipes and a spray.
Why you decided to use cloth? Cost of disposables, environmental impact, chemicals in disposables. I am so glad I started cloth diapering. I love it. I love that we don't have a ton of garbage. I love that Henry has been rash free since we started (except for the teething rash we have right now). I love that we've spent about $300 on our cloth diapering supplies and not a penny more. That will be all we spend on diapers.
Helpful resources? Blogs! My Life in Transition and Mama at Home were the ones I first read before I was even pregnant. I also have a cousin and a close friend who cloth diaper so they were good resources too.
Is the laundry difficult to keep up with, and any routines/products that make it easier? No. For some reasons Cloth Diaper Laundry is fun! I look forward to doing it. I just wash every other day using Rockin' Green detergent. Sometimes I use a color safe bleach as well.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? No. I think I was pretty well prepared. It really is as simple as it sounds.
I read on a few blogs that it is safe to use vinegar in your rinse to help fight odors. BUT on the bum genius website it says not to, because it can wreck the PUL cover. It IS ok to use bleach once a month and that works great for me. I also came across this chart of detergents and I wanted to pass it on!”
“Favorite brand of diaper? bumGenius. There's a reason they're the #1 cloth diaper brand. They really know how to make great diapers.
What you need to get started? Diapers, a pail liner, a wetbag, and if your baby eats solids, a diaper sprayer.
Why you decided to use cloth? We decided on cloth diapers to save money, and I'm so glad we went that route! Our budget truly cannot support buying disposables.
Helpful resources? AllAboutClothDiapers.com, especially the "My Recommendations" page.
Is the laundry difficult to keep up with, and any routines/products that make it easier? I do diaper laundry every other day, so that dirty diapers aren't sitting around too long. It's not difficult because the machine does all the work. I just switch it from rinse to wash to rinse, and add some detergent.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? I wish I knew about those snap-on onesie extenders! I think Sophia could have worn a lot of clothes a lot longer if I could have closed them around her bulky butt! :) “
“When you get past all the pee and the poop and the initial sticker-shock of cloth-diapering, it all comes down to one thing: The laundry.
If I had a dollar for every person that's told me, "But I just don't have time to do that much more laundry. It would never get done," I'd be rich.
Ask any cloth-diapering mama, though, and they'll tell you that's simply an excuse.
The laundry, in reality, is not that bad. In fact, my workload has not increased by more than 20 minutes a week, I'd say, when it comes to laundering diapers.
The trick, honestly, is having a routine: Wash on the same days, at the same time, every week.
For me, I do diapers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 11 a.m. I run my four cycles (a cold rinse, a hot wash with soap, another hot rinse, followed by a cold rinse) then I throw all hemp and microfiber inserts, plus my pre-folds and fitted diapers and cloth wipes, in the dryer while laying my diaper covers, wet bags, pail liners, and pockets on a drying rack - outside if it's sunny – to dry. In the evening, right after my daughter goes to bed, I stack everything up and put it in it's respective places in her room.
In addition, every 6 weeks, over the weekend, I strip my diapers - using several hot soaks and rinses and white vinegar - to make sure the diapers don't get any ammonia build-up.
To keep myself accountable, I pencil it all into my planner, and I set timers so I remember to go back and turn on the next rinse cycle on my washing machine.
Honest to goodness, it takes me no time at all. And, truth be told, I do not have a huge stash of diapers. I'd say I have a moderate amount, but most mamas I know run with way more. And, yet, I've never gotten to the point where my child was wearing her absolute last clean diaper on her butt while all the other cloth diapers were racing against the clock in the washer and dryer. With a schedule, you just don't get to that point, no matter how few diapers you have.
The key is to have a routine and stick to it. My child hasn't worn disposable diapers since her first week of life, and if I have my way, she never will. There's really no need. It's cheaper and, thanks to my laundry schedule, easier for me to cloth-diaper.”
Stay tuned for more tips next week!
P.S. I tried to get in contact with every blog friend or follower of mine who I knew used cloth diapers, but if you are a blog friend/follower of mine and I missed you, and you have some tips you are just itching to share, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay, the post for which you've all been waiting with bated breath! (I kid, I kid.) The cost analysis breakdown for cloth diapers vs. disposables!
Now most cost analysis posts assume that you are just paying one flat fee for cloth diapers, and you'll never have to pay another dime. But unless you would buy cloth-diaper friendly diaper cream and cloth-diaper-friendly cleaning supplies even if you were using disposables, that is not the case.
Unfortunately, cloth diapers do require you to buy special products for washing and to treat rashes, and these products do cost more than the type Derek and I would normally buy.
So my cloth vs. disposable cost analysis is not focusing on the amount spent on the diapers themselves, but the amount spent on each option at the end of the year. I haven't really seen another website compare costs in this way, so I did the math myself.
I'm just going to say right now that I did, in fact, skew my numbers a bit. I figured up the absolute least I would spend on disposable diapers, and I factored a very realistic or over-estimate of the amount I would spend on cloth. I'm one of those worst-case-scenario types. I wanted to know the least amount of money I would save. Just know that most likely we'd save more than the amount I listed.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
These are approximate costs only! I am not claiming complete accuracy on prices or ultimate costs - this is just to give me (and you) an idea of how much would be spent on each option.
This is not the amount that Derek and I are paying for cloth right now. Since I have a limited stash at the moment, I'm washing more often and I'm paying more in laundry costs than I normally would. These numbers are based on what I estimate we will spend once we are cloth diapering full-time.
This is based on the assumption that I'll be doing a load of laundry every other day. That may be an over-estimate.
I did factor in the fact that newborns go through more diapers, and that you get more diapers for your money in smaller sizes for disposables. The laundry numbers for cloth diapers didn't change, because I'm still assuming that laundry is done every other day.
The total number of diapers for each year is an under-estimate. I really couldn't remember our average diaper usage in the early days, so I just guessed, and the numbers always vary alot from day to day.
The first-year numbers are a projection of what we would have spent or saved if all factors had been the same from when Wyatt was born. For example, if we had used the same brand of disposables, got the current discounts on disposables, or started cloth with the same detergent for his entire first year. Obviously this is not what really happened, I'm just estimating.
These numbers are based on the estimated average frequency of use and cost of diapers and other products that Derek and I would use. Obviously this will be different for each family, so if you really want to know your own personal costs, you have to do the math yourself.
Note: Derek and I have a well, so we do not pay for our water usage. If you do have to pay for your water, you have to factor that in to your end-of-year costs for cloth diapering.
Also, we will obviously need to spend more in special situations, for example, if Wyatt gets a really bad rash and we need more heavy-duty diaper cream. I'm not taking into account these situations.
And finally, there are a million different products, and a million different ways to do cloth diaper laundry. This cost estimate is just based on one set of products, and couple of many ways to do cloth diaper laundry. My numbers may be way off for your family because you don't do laundry the way I listed. I would appreciate any tips on how you save money further, but keep in mind that I'm just going off of the general recommendations I found, and once again, it's just an estimate.
-CJ's Butter diaper cream - $12.25/12 oz.
-Bac-out - $35.99/gallon
-Rockin' Green Hard Rock formula (we have hard water)- $15/90 loads
-Pampers disposable diapers - prices varied, I took the standard prices on Amazon when buying in bulk for the first set of numbers and the best deal I could find for the second set.
-Petroleum jelly (which is what we use for diaper cream with our disposables) - $2.28/ 13 oz.
-Munchkin/Arm and Hammer diaper pail liners - $6/10 liners
The first three items are not actually what we are using right now to wash our diapers, but these are the products we plan on using in the future. I did research after the fact, and the above products seemed most cost-effective for us.
For example, at the moment I'm using water softeners in addition to detergent since we have hard water, which is costing me more. The Rockin' Green hard water formula will eliminate some of the cost for me in the future.
I did not include the cost of diaper pail deodorizers in this analysis - I'm planning on just using baking soda to start with, and since that's what I use for disposables anyway I didn't add it into the cost.
The Basis For The Numbers
Okay, now for the actual numbers! I calculated how much I thought we would spend per year on each of the above products based on an estimate of our average usage (like I said, this isn't completely accurate, it's just an estimate for our family).
I'm including four sets of numbers.
1. What we would spend on disposables at retail value if buying in bulk (which we actually haven't been until recently, so our actual costs are more than this, but this is just an estimate).
Includes price of diapers, liners, and petroluem jelly for diaper cream.
2. What we spend on disposables at the moment. I discovered an incredible deal for diapers with Amazon Mom and the "Subscribe and Save" option - so we pay 15 cents per diaper for Pampers right now. Which is incredible. Normal retail value for these diapers bought in this quantity is at least 21 cents per diaper, and more if you don't buy in bulk. I wish I had signed up for this sooner, but se la vie.
We have paid much more than this up to this point, but I'm projecting how much it would cost if we were able to get the "subscribe and save" deal throughout the diapering years. The price even with the deal is always changing, but I wanted to see if we would still save money with cloth. This deal is a big reason why I broke all the finances down this way in the first place.
Includes price of diapers, liners, and petroleum jelly for diaper cream.
3. Cost of cleaning cloth diapers when spraying Bac-out on every diaper. Some people recommend using a spray of Bac-out on each diaper after each use, and some people recommend just putting a few squirts in your first rinse when doing laundry. Which method you choose makes a big difference in how much you spend.
Includes cost of Rockin' Green Laundry detergent, Cj's Butter, Bac-out.
4. Cost of cleaning cloth diapers when you use 3 squirts of Bac-out per wash. This is assuming you use it this way every time you wash your cloth diapers, which I hear may not be necessary.
Includes cost of Rockin' Green Laundry detergent, Cj's Butter, Bac-out.
Costs Per Year
1st Year (Estimated 2257 diapers)
1. Disposables at retail value when buying in bulk: $583.56/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $423.07/year
3. Cloth when using Bac-out on each diaper: $228.56/year
4. Cloth when using 3 squirts Bac-out per wash: $89.40/year
2nd Year (Estimated 1825 diapers)
1. Disposables at retail value: $532.18/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $423.72/year
3. Cloth when using Bac-out on each diaper: $194.00/year
4. Cloth when using 3 squirts Bac-out per wash: $89.40/year
Now, you have to add to these numbers the start up costs for diapering. This would be 35-40 bucks added to the disposables for the diaper pail, but I'm not adding that because our diaper pail was a gift.
My estimates as of right now (I'll probably post how much I actually spent when I feel I have enough diapers to go full-time) are to add $300 in start-up costs for cloth diapers to go full-time. This estimate includes 2 large wet bags, 1 small wet bag, diaper sprayer, and 15 cloth diapers averaging at $15 each.
If you are cloth diapering a newborn you'll probably need more diapers, and if you have two in diapers you will obviously need more. I will probably need to add more diapers to this stash in order to cloth diaper my next child.
I'm being optimistic here, it may cost more than $300. If you want to see some good estimates on how much it would cost to go full-time with different types of cloth diapers, you can check out this blog post at Musings Of A Homemaker.
Costs For First Year (Includes Start-Up Costs)
Okay, I'll add $35 dollars to the disposables for the diaper pail, just to be fair.
1. Disposables at retail value: $618.56/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $458.07/year
3. Cloth with Bac-out on every diaper: $528.56/year
4. Cloth with Bac-out only when washing: $389.40/year
The first year is the most expensive when you are doing cloth diapers. You may not be saving anything depending on how much you would spend on disposables, and how often you use Bac-out.
You have to approach cloth diaper laundering with a strategy, or you may not save as much money. Obviously we will be going with the 3 squirts/wash Bac-out method.
The good thing? Even though the first year you may not actually be saving anything, for each subsequent year, and with each subsequent child, you do save significantly with cloth diapers.
I'm estimating that we will save about $1,170.30 (as a minimum) if we were to have two more kids and they were each in diapers for only two years. This is assuming we would continue to buy disposables in bulk with the discount if we weren't cloth diapering. And that is accounting for the money I'm losing in start-up costs the first year, and the approximate cost of another 15-ish diapers should I need that many (about $500 total in cloth diapers).
Are the savings as drastic as some claim? Not when you take into account laundry costs.
Do you still save money? Yes. In our case, we will still save quite a bit.
Is it worth the hassle? That's something each person has to decide themselves. For me, I think it is, because I am saving money in the long run, and I actually am finding the whole cloth diaper thing kind of fun.
There is some value to the cuteness factor too, after all.
P.S. I would just like to say a big thank you to Leanna at Thoughts And Whatnots for talking me down off the edge of the cloth diapering bandwagon. When I thought about all the extra costs I was about ready to jump off, but she was very encouraging and gave me some good information! It helped me stick with it long enough to do the math and realize it wasn't so bad.
First of all, I just want to say that this post is not going to be a “how to” post. I’m not going to do reviews of all the different products we’ve used so far.
We still use cloth diapers very part-time. Mostly because I don’t have a big enough stash built up to do them more than that. My plan is to add a diaper or two to my stash every paycheck. In another month or two I might have enough, but for now, we only use cloth on the days that I’m home. I’m not an expert on this subject, and I don’t feel like I qualify to do any sort of informative post until I’m doing this nearly full-time.
This post is mostly about my first impressions of cloth diapering.
On The Diapers Themselves
They are cute. Cute, Cute, Cute.
Right now, I like pocket diapers best. They’re easy to prepare, you put them on just like disposables. They seem to have about the same absorbency as disposables. They do leak occasionally if I wait too long between changes, but so do disposables, so they are pretty comparable in my opinion.
I haven’t tried any fitted diapers, I’ve just done the one-size-fits-all kind. I haven’t had any trouble with these. I can see how they might not fit a younger baby very well, but they work really well on Wyatt.
On The Laundering Process
The part that is the most hassle is finding a brand of detergent. You can’t use normal detergent on cloth diapers, so you have to buy a special kind. This is slightly annoying, but I suspect it’ll become less annoying as I continue with this.
It’s also annoying that you can’t use normal diaper cream. I like my petroleum jelly, because it’s cheap. The diaper cream that works with cloth diapers is no where near as cheap as good ‘ole Vaseline.
Other than those two annoying factors, doing cloth diaper laundry isn’t too big a deal. I just throw the diapers in there, pre-rinse, then wash a normal cycle with a second rinse using the fancy detergent. Then I hang up the diapers and throw the inserts in the dryer. I haven’t had any problems with them taking a long time to dry or anything. It’s really like any other load of laundry, except for the extra rinse at the beginning.
The detergent I’m using right now has “enzymes” that help break things down and kill bacteria. I really like this detergent because of that, but I’m thinking I might have to switch in the future because we have hard water.
If you have hard water you need to use some sort of water softener when you wash, so I’m using separate water softeners right now, and it just isn’t cost effective. I’ll have to switch to a different detergent that has water softeners but no enzymes, meaning I’ll have to get Bac-out or some such product to get the enzyme benefits.
I think it will still be more cost effective to use the other detergent and a separate enzyme product though than to use this detergent with separate softeners, just because of the price. It’s hard to know how much I’ll save until I can know for sure how long each type will last me, and I won’t know that until I’ve been doing this longer.
Just my thoughts on detergent.
On Dirty Diapers
Wet ones are easy, it’s the dirty ones that are more difficult. I’ve only done a couple dirty diapers using cloth, and I really wish I had a diaper sprayer. I’ve been using a water bottle to “squirt” water on the diapers to clean them off. It works alright for now, but I think a diaper sprayer would make this whole process way easier.
The dreaded dirty diapers are what most people fear most about cloth diapering (me included). It’s easy with disposables – you just take the diaper off, throw it in the trash, and never think about it again. If you have any kind of fear of dealing directly with dirty diapers, I wouldn’t recommend you start cloth diapering without a diaper sprayer.
Thankfully, I’m pretty comfortable with “the dirty work” and I always have been, so it hasn’t been much of an issue for me. After that first diaper it was no big deal.
On The Whole Process
My biggest issue is the “special” brands of detergent and diaper cream you have to buy to use with cloth diapers. I did a whole cost analysis of cloth diapers that takes this into account, and that will be up next week, so keep an eye out for it.
Other than that, I’m finding this whole thing kind of fun! Wyatt looks really cute in the diapers, and I really don’t mind taking care of the washing and such. I’m really looking forward to trying out more brands of diapers as well, and I get kind of excited when my cloth diapers come in the mail.
Will I stick with this? You know, I think I will.
Stay tuned for more on cloth diapers over the next couple weeks!
Today is our official first day of cloth diapering.
Am I crazy? Maybe.
Am I nervous? Very much so.
Am I excited? Strangely, yes.
Does Wyatt look cute with his fluffy cloth-diapered bum? Most definitely.
I’ll let you know how it goes!