Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diaper Duty

In my preliminary research, I consulted the interwebs to find out what things you need to do cloth diapering.  A quick Amazon search showed me just how many accessories there are.  Different fits, sizes, types, fabrics, fasteners, chlorine-free this, bamboo that... I was overwhelmed!

Still not sure I understand, but from what I can tell, there is the generic cloth part that is next to the baby.  Then a cover goes on top of that (often fun and colorful!).  Then there are the AIO (all-in-one) that are pricey but they are the cloth and cover in one.  I am assuming you would use this when you're out to make the process easier.

Between and a few other sites, and pricing the items on Amazon, I put together a loose list of things I'd need or want and an estimated price (I was generous with myself... if I'm going to do this, it has to be the most convenient that it can be and it STILL has to save us money! do I hear an amen?)

  • Diaper pail $12
  • Washable liner $6.50 (could just do trashbag liners if we don't want to be green)
  • Deodorizing disks $2.35/mo. (they go in the diaper pail)
  • 2-3 dozen cloth baby wipes $15
  • 24-36 cloth diapers $45
  • Toilet Nozzle $50 (for preliminary washes where most of the poo goes in the toilet)
  • Diaper Area Wash $9 (I am assuming this is to spray the bum before the wipeage)
  • All-In-One Diaper $20 (they just recommended one to start out to see if you like it)
  • 4-6 Cloth Diaper Covers $75
  • 12 to 24 Doublers $35 (extend the absorbency of the diaper for nighttime or heavy wetters)
  • Diaper Detergent $12 (do I need it?  I don't know!)
Those items plus an estimated increase of $30 to my utility bill due to the extra laundry each month brings me to $311.85 starting up.  I estimate that I'll have to buy deo-disks and diaper-area wash every month in addition to the utilities.  Every 4 months I'll have to buy more detergent.  About every 6 months, new cloth diaper covers in the next size up.  For fifteen months, this adds up to  $1,076.75.

According to the great wide Internet, disposable diapering cost anywhere from $80 to $130 per month.  At the lowest, for 15 months we'd pay $1,200, at the most, $1,950.

So the cost effectiveness is there.  What about the convenience?


  1. Well if you figure that all your kids will use these diapers-going clothe, then the overall cost will be cheaper. Then you also will be kids like mine who only have about 4 diapers a day so we spend less. For us convenience won out and I didnt' want to be washing diapers-too gross for me

  2. My mom cloth-diapered, and she always said it wasn't that much of a hassle. I remember her saying she just dumped what was in the diaper in to the toilet (never heard of a toilet nozzle... are those really necessary?), then soaked the dirty diapers in a bucket with some kind of soap and washed them at the end of the day or whatever (were you thinking of dumping them in a diaper pail? I thought that was just for disposable diapers). I should ask her for more details...
    I also don't know how necessary the deodorizing disk thingys are. Maybe they're necessary!
    I never really thought much of costs besides the cloths and the plastic covers, though. What are cloth diaper covers for?
    So many things to learn!

  3. So, I just asked my mom about this, and she said all she really needed were the cloth diapers, basic plain plastic covers, pins, a diaper pail with lid (no liner), and Dreft detergent (and baby wipes I assume). To deal with a diaper:
    -Dump what's on it into toilet, or rinse/let soak a little in the toilet if it's really messy (using gloves)
    -Put to soak in water with a little bleach (not too much or too little, and don't let kid get into it) in the covered diaper pail.
    -After a few days or so (once you have enough diapers to wash) take and squeeze diapers out, dump out the bleach solution (into toilet) and dump diapers into the washing machine and pre-rinse on hot.
    -After pre-rinse, wash on hot regular cycle.

    I suppose it could also save money if you were able to air-dry diapers instead of using the dryer, but that would probably be a lot of hassle...
    Anyway, that was what my mom did. I guess if you just used those basics you could eliminate some costs that might be unnecessary... I'm guessing the toilet nozzle, pail liner, deodorizing disks, diaper area wash, all-in-one diaper, and the cloth diaper covers could be done without, saving about $162 for startup costs.

    Wow, that was long. Hope there was some helpful info in there... :P

  4. Yeah, I understand that it could be cheaper still. I just wanted to see if it was cheaper even with all of the gadgets. My point was not only to see if it is more economical, but if it could be more economical even with all the things that help make it more convenient. No doubt we will start with what is needed and go from there.

    Cloth diapering has changed a lot in 20 years. I think you can still do it the old way and get by, but why not take advantage of the progress that has been made to make it easier and safer?

    From what I understand (and experience will only tell me for sure), the cloth diaper covers are better than the plastic covers because they're more comfortable for the baby. From a less practical standpoint, they're prettier, too. Plus, it's probably a lot more fun to cuddle a baby that's wearing a soft cloth rather than a rubber bag (c;

    I have seen that air drying the covers is recommended for its longevity, so that's a given.

    Oh, and about the bleach, be careful who you suggest that to. Most people who use cloth diapering are of the same mind as those who only use all-natural cleaners. Suggesting the use of bleach on something that comes in contact with a baby's skin is taboo!! I saw a lot of cloth diaper inserts that were advertised as "bleach-free." While I am not opposed to the use of bleach, that is yet another thing that has changed in the past two decades.

  5. That's true. I was just curious as to how it was done back then for my own knowledge, too!

    For me I guess it more comes down to necessity. I was always used to seeing my brother running around in plastic diaper pants, and if that's a cheap option that works, I would probably just stick with that. Not that I would turn down cloth diaper coves! But if it comes down to us only being able to afford the necessities, I would just worry about those. I tend to get stressed if I start worrying about a bunch of extra things, but that's just me.

    My mom stressed only using a little bleach, as well as doing the pre-rinse in addition to the full cycle in the wash. Do you use a really strong detergent to get out the poop germs if you don't use bleach? I also saw that they recommend washing the cloth diaper covers with bleach, although those don't come into as much direct contact with skin (but I guess they want you to make sure they're germ free too..?)