02 Dec Cloth Diaper: A Year 7 Update
I just got rid of my last cloth diaper. Crusoe will likely be in diapers for the next 12ish months, but our diapers were SHOT and I couldn’t deal with the leaking anymore. Though we would still save money by buying another set of cloth diapers, I’m just not sure I want to. I mean, throwing disposables away is JUST SO EASY. But I haven’t fully decided. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you how our diapers look now after 7 years of use (with one 6ish-month break), pros and cons, how we cared for them, and if I would do it again.
If you’d like to see some of my original posts on this topic, click here. (I even created a spreadsheet with cost of washing each diaper versus buying disposables.)
First of all, we exclusively used Smartipants diapers. I love that there are openings on both sides to make it easier to stuff the diaper (put the insert in after washing) and that it will agitate out in the washer without my having to pull it out and touch a wet insert. These diapers did us good, and I will be a loyal advertiser (pro bono, rats) for them to you’ins, my mama friends!
• no trash (or for us, less trash, and we do use one disposable at night)
• no poop explosions! (the elastic around the diapers keeps it all IN)
• no stinky trash can (our zippered dirty diaper bag keeps the smell out of the air)
• it’s really just as easy as using disposables but you reuse them
• cheaper! (Today, you’re looking at $500-$700 per year for disposables, depending on the deals you can find and how frequently you change diapers.)
• need to be changed sooner (or a rash will ensue)
• extra load of laundry every 2-3 days
• need to strip the diapers once or twice a year (to clean out any soap build-up)
(Click here to learn more about stripping. The use of bleach is controversial, and we chose to mostly avoid it.)
• dumping poop in the toilet (though finally installing a diaper sprayer radically changed our attitudes about this!)
• some would include that you still have to use disposables anyway when you go out or have a babysitter, but we’ve been able to easily educate our childcare providers on how these diapers work (which is literally the same as disposables, since they’re pre-stuffed, just placed in a bag instead of a can)
We used BioKleen laundry detergent for about six of the seven years and will continue to use it, likely for as long as we do laundry. (<—That will end at some point, right?) We started out faithfully line drying for the first two years, but once we moved into our new house, I didn’t have as easy of access to the yard (5 doorways and stairs) and, with two in diapers, I needed them faster than they were drying inside. So after a year of trying, I just succumbed and tumble dried them on low. Our dryer only has a 20-minute low-heat tumble, which meant I had to go back and forth restarting the dryer, so by the time Baby #3 was born, I was completely surrendered to our new life and blasted them with high heat. Even with all that beating, these diapers stuck it out with me for another three years!
I quit on these ones because they were leaking after the first second of pee. I was changing outfits with every diaper change. Yeah, um, no. But I feel pretty confident that specifically our drying routine hurt their longevity and that these diapers were heroes. I would do it again. In fact, drat, extroverted processor that I am, now that I’ve written all this down, I’m kinda thinking that I’ll look into some used cloth diapers. Because really, I could spend $100 or less on used cloth that only needs to last us one more year and be done with it, instead of 5-7x that. So there you have it. Questions? Comment below!
Again, if you’d like to read more about my beginnings of cloth diapering, here’s a good handful of posts (back when I was writing a good handful of posts, aaah the good ol’ days).