Cloth diapering: Update

Cloth diapering: Update

Remember back when I did a little mini-series on cloth diapering?
Well, we’ve past the one-year mark of using our cloth diapers, so I thought I’d post a little update.

We’re on the largest diaper setting now, which should last until he’s potty trained!

Back when we started, we had the diaper snapped all the way down.
It’s exciting to know that he’s growing!

We have some staining on the inserts.

The one on the left looks perfectly new.
Middle a little more stained.
Right is the most stained one we have.
Really not bad when you consider a year’s worth of poo!

We stuff the diaper with two inserts.

This has been a bit unpredictable.
Some mornings he wakes up damp around the leg openings,
some soaked at the top of his diaper, and some completely dry.

I’m trying to limit drinks right before bedtime,
but I haven’t quite figured out what the “trigger” is.
Thankfully, we have something like TWELVE pjs, so the extra pj laundry hasn’t been frustrating.

Speaking of laundry, this is the #1 difference between disposables and cloth (duh??). I’m currently doing diaper laundry every 3-4 days. There have been times when we’ve run out of diapers, particularly right now while I’m preggers…and tired! But the money it has saved us is incredible! Think of it this way: We can wash 18 diapers in our compact stackable washer (it’s tiny!). We don’t pay for water here, but even if we did, it couldn’t be more than $.50/load.

18 diapers. $.50. That’s not even $.03 per diaper. Even the best of couponers couldn’t get a deal like that!
(Or could you? I do know some pretty amazing couponers!)

**EDIT: So I thought I’d dig around to see what we’re paying for laundry. Here’s the breakdown I came up with:

Our compact washer has an 11 gallon capacity or 1.5cu. ft. (yeah, tiny!). We don’t pay for water, but I looked around and around the internet, and it looks like water ranges from $.0006/gal to $.008/gal. Okay, I’m no expert, and I didn’t exhaust the internet’s resources, but that’s what I gathered. Either way, that’s waaaay less than one PENNY per gallon. If I used the high end of those ranges, water would cost us $.09/load. I took the detergent we use and multiplied its number of loads by two, since cloth diapering uses 1/2 the amount of detergent. For electricity, you do have to use hot water for cloth diapers, which is where an expense will be seen. I’ve seen a range from $.09/load to $.20/load. Let’s use the high end again.

WATER: $.09/load
DETERGENT: $.09/load
ELECTRIC:  $.20/load
TOTAL:  $.38/load
COST PER DIAPER: $.02/diaper (which means Amazing Amy wins with her coupons for price!)
But since our water’s free (for now), we pay $.29/load or $.01/diaper.

In the summer, I line dry everything. In the winter, I line dry the outers and use the dryer for the inserts (they just take too long to dry inside!). But they dry quickly (20-30 minutes) in the dryer on low heat. My brain’s dead on the calculations, so add a couple more pennies yourself.

We’re still happy with the decision–the pros outweigh the cons. It does take a bit more work, but I find it worth it…especially now while we’re saving for a house!

  • Alisha Miller
    Posted at 08:53h, 09 January Reply

    You don’t have to do them individually (my word, that would take forever!)… you can do them all at once. Just throw them in the washer and do the following:

    Stripping is what you do when you start having leaking issues (or smelling issues) after months of use:
    One cold wash no soap
    One hot wash with blue dawn dish detergent OR tea tree oil
    One hot wash with baking soda
    One hot wash with vinegar
    Then a bunch of rinses.

    I don’t have amounts because it depends on the type of washer you have. I use a HE one so I use 1 T of dawn, around 1/4 cup of baking soda, and I fill up the softener like (around 2 T?) of vinegar. The dawn goes in the detergent section, the baking soda right in with the diapers, and the vinegar in the softener. The dawn is the only necessary part of stripping, but you have to rinse a bunch after dawn (until there are no more bubbles), so the baking soda and vinegar are basically just additives to the rinses (baking soda = whitener, vinegar = softener). Hope that helps!

    With hemp, we just have 4 hemp inserts and only use them at night.

    • The Redheads
      Posted at 12:00h, 09 January Reply

      Wow, thanks for the info! So much easier than the Smartipants video that I watched…where you scrub them all individually with Dawn; yikes! I’ve actually got some Dawn I plan to use next time I wash a load. Thanks again!

  • connie farmer
    Posted at 06:25h, 09 January Reply

    we use homemade laundry detergent, cheaper than $.09/load, and there is no need to “strip” the dipes. takes the stink out if you have any and no more leaking. hemp helps. congrats on baby #2, btw. :)

    • The Redheads
      Posted at 12:04h, 09 January Reply

      I read so much about making my own detergent. We can’t use powder in this washer, but I’d read about liquid homemade products. But. Even though it only takes 3 products to make your own detergent, each product contains lots of things within it. There’s this battle in my soul–I love to be cheap, and I love to be green! That’s why we chose this detergent–a little greener yet not a budget-buster. But still, the frugality in me got all excited when you said “homemade” and “cheaper!” Haha!

    • ehornaday
      Posted at 13:01h, 01 March Reply

      What is in your homemade detergent? I also make my own detergent. I am just starting to use cloth diapers and am curious if I can use my detergent! Thanks :)

  • Alisha Miller
    Posted at 18:15h, 08 January Reply

    For nighttime, have you ever tried hemp? It’s supposed to be more absorbent. Or maybe your diapers just need stripped. Have you ever stripped them?

    I’ve heard of people getting really good deals on pampers with coupons, but you have to get them at the right time, and I’m not much of a coupon-er either. Plus, now that I’m so far into cloth, I just can’t imagine putting that many diapers into a land mine :p.

    • The Redheads
      Posted at 05:44h, 09 January Reply

      Alisha, I have heard/read of hemp but never actually tried it. That’s actually a great suggestion; thanks! We’ve also been using them for over a year and have never stripped them, so that is definitely a valid suggestion as well. Now, the video I watched of “stripping” did it individually on each diaper; is that what you’re familiar with? And I agree with you on the landfill stuff. I started because of saving money, but it also feels good to know that the diapers (and all that poop!) is being filtered through our sewers on not on our land as well!

  • Amy E
    Posted at 16:41h, 08 January Reply

    I did cloth diapering with Mackenzie for the savings of it too. When I was pregnant with Drew Amazon had some incredible coupons out for the huge boxes of Pampers. I ended up getting some of the boxes for $2.25/250 diapers and some of the boxes of the same size for $0.25! I figured that I got all the diapers he will ever need for about $35 total. I actually (so far) have had about four boxes of each size that were “leftovers” because he grew out of them before I could use them. I ended up selling them on Craigslist for $25-$30/box…so in reality all of Drews diapers were money-makers for us. :)

    • The Redheads
      Posted at 05:42h, 09 January Reply

      That’s incredible; thanks, Amy! Do you find couponing to take lots of time, or do you have down to such a science that it’s really quite worthwhile? When I started couponing for groceries, I found us saving money but “spending” loads of time. :( Never tried it for diapers, though!

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