Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diaper Pails and Dollar Signs

I realize this is a highly controversial topic and I know I could potentially out myself as a card carrying crazy lady, but we live in a day and age where I just can’t hide who I am anymore.

I’m a cloth diaper addict and I love it.

I spent a lot of time researching different kinds of diapers, how to care for them and parents’ experiences, good, bad and poopy. When we had our second baby, I’d made up my mind that I would attempt to cloth diaper. I just had to convince Sam.

I decided an ambush would be the best approach.

By the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth you would have thought I’d asked him to cut off his arms. But, he finally agreed to try a few out.

So, the diapers were purchased and the big day arrived. Immediate reaction? Love from everyone. Even Sam was sold. It’s been over a year and a half and we are loving cloth.

Now that you have a first hand account of cloth diapering, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.


This is important. The average baby goes through 10 diapers a day (unless you are waiting to change them when the diaper actually sags to their knees… but you wouldn’t do that, right?) Even with coupons and buying in bulk, you are probably spending about $.17 per diaper, so $1.70 per day. Let’s say you buy 18 cloth diapers. To buy the style of diapers that granny used, you would be buying prefolds. You would spend about $100 for the cloth, the covers and the other little odds and ends you need to buy. Within 1.75 months you would break even from what you would have spent on disposables. In one year you would have saved $586.55. I can think of a lot of things I could do with $586.55, how ‘bout you?

Now, let’s use the same equation but buy fancy diapers like what I use. I’m lazy and I wanted easy cloth, so I buy pocket diapers. Each diaper costs around $17 and I own 18 right now. I broke even in 5.35 months and saved $380.55 my first year. I plan to use these diapers with the next baby too (and any others that follow, so by the time I am done with diapers (let’s say in 4 years) I will have saved $3432.75 since I began cloth diapering.


This is where everyone gets freaked out. Let me say this once: Kids poop. It will get on you at some point. Soap is your friend.

Here is how my diapering goes. I change the diaper and carry the dirty one to my bucket in the bathroom. I use a garbage bag liner and a boring old laundry detergent bucket. I shake any waste off the diaper if it’s solid and I don’t sweat the rest. I toss it in the bucket and I’m done. I wash every 1-3 days. The wash routine is simple: 1 cold rinse. 1 cold wash, 1 hot wash and 1-3 rinses depending on my mood. Then I either line dry or use the dryer, again depending on my mood. That’s it. And before you get all grossed out about poop in your washing machine, think off the dirty gross clothes you wash and then wear in there all the time. Surely grosser things have gone in there and by the magic of modern technology, they come out clean. Hence the title washing machine.


Okay, take a large Ziploc bag and put it in your diaper bag. If you need to change a diaper when you are out and about, put it in the bag, then dump it where it belongs when you get home. That was rough, eh? Seriously, it’s the same as “regular” diapers except you aren’t adding to a landfill. Oh and you’ll never have to make a midnight run for dipes again.

Sometimes the rantings of a crazy lady make sense.

More facts for you:

Cloth Diapering Facts


- 27.4 billion diapers are used yearly in the US

- Disposable diapers are the third largest consumer item in landfills and in households with small children, make up 50% of waste.

- It is estimated that a disposable diaper takes 250-500 years to decompose


- Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical that is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer related chemicals.

-Other toxins in disposable diapers include: Tributyl-tin (known to cause hormonal problems) and sodium polyacrylate (linked to toxic shock syndrome)

-Diaper rash was nearly nonexistent before the use of plastic pants in the 1940s.

For more information:



Sandi said...

I took the plunge! I'm now cloth diapering, thanks to you! I blogged about it and provided a link to your article.

The Vineyards said...

Kimber, do you pull out the liners before you put them in the washing machine?