Going Green: Cloth Diaper Results and Q&A

Our little test over the past three weeks has been pretty fun! I’m not joking when I say that I was pretty excited to change Liv’s diaper – eager to find out how well this version or that fit my criteria (ease of use, trimness and durability). Here’s a look at the initial cd post, review #1 and review #2.

When it came down to it, there were two diapers that I really looked forward to putting Liv in: Happy Heinys minis for day and GroVia for night time. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the brands reviewed were pretty stellar and you really can’t go wrong, but these were the two that we’ve invested in for Liv’s first 16 lbs (or until she’s about 9 months).

I’ll likely revisit the stash I already have (and will continue to use!) to see what our next 16-30 lb purchase will be (I must admit, if I find a cloth diaper that doesn’t require line drying – GroVia hybrid’s only downfall – and is as great as it is overnight, I might switch it up for round 2).

gDiapers came in at a close third. The fit on g’s are terrific – they look just like a normal disposable under clothing and are so easy to use (I love that I don’t have to replace the entire diaper each time I change Olivia). Liv’s a heavy wetter and in the end the cloth outer covering couldn’t always hold up. BUT if your baby is a – how shall I say – ‘normal’ wetter, I’d definitely give em a go. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of picking them up at Babies R Us and Whole Foods.

Now for a little Q&A that I received via email and in the comments.
I’m a novice when it comes to cding, but I’m more than happy to share what has and hasn’t worked so far!

Pricing: Is cloth diapering really cheaper?

I love that an upfront investment will turn into years of monthly savings. Here’s the quick math: the average cost of disposable diapers runs about $60 each month. That times 2.5 years adds up to $1800 per child. I figure that if I invest in two rounds of 18 cloth diapers (roughly 8-16 lbs and 16-30 lbs) at about $15/diaper, I’m looking at a $270 cost today and a $270 cost in 6 months ($540 total) for 2.5 years of use x multiple children (we hope to have 3-4!). And the water use? I calculate that to run us about $.50 a load, meaning we’ll spend roughly $65 more each year and about $500 total if you account for 2.5 years per child and 3-4 kids. That means we’ve saved ourselves somewhere around $6000 over the long haul. Not bad, right?

AND because I bought many of our cloth diapers second hand (I have no issue with purchasing dipes from someone else as long as I’ve done my research and asked important qs like, how long did you use them for? how did you wash them? (affects their absorbency) what shape are they in? I’ve received several hand-me-downs, and my score of 10 Happy Heinys for $60 on eBay came from a mom who dressed her daughter in cds for a mere four months before selling them in pristine condition ($6 a diaper? Can’t beat that). Want to try re-diapering? Check out eBay, Craigslist, ReDiaper.com, DiaperSwappers.com, PamperedBuns.com and a ton of other great sites by Googling ‘Cloth Diaper Consignment’ or the like.

Still nervous? A reader shared this link with me on the cd program ‘Changing Diapers, Changing Minds’ where you can try and return 10 different cloth diapers for the cost of shipping! (Thanks, Lisa!)

Environment: You’re using so much energy to clean the diapers, is it really that much more environmentally friendly?

This is subjective, but my feeling is that while you certainly do use a decent amount of energy and water to get these puppies clean (one hot rinse, one cold wash and a trip to the dryer) the benefits of not wrapping up waste in plastic only to sit and fill a landfill for hundreds of years to come far outweigh the water (a renewable resource) used in washing. You also have to take into account the energy used to make disposables and all of their components.

Cleanliness: Do you actually have to touch the poop?

Ha! I agree, the thought is pretty gross :). Right now we have baby breastmilk poop so while ‘explosions’ can sometimes be an issue, it’s really not stinky, big kid poop (yet). And I promise, there is NO poop touching. The entire cloth dipe drops right into the wet pail (to contain the smell – read more about that in review #1) and the entire wet pail is poured directly into the wash every two-three days. When Liv starts on solids, we’ll give biodegradable liners a try, and perhaps a sprayer too.

Cleanliness, Part 2: Can you explain how you wash them?

Per the instructions on the cloth diapers, each load gets a cold rinse (just a pre-rinse, not a full cycle), a hot full cycle and a trip to the dryer (though I hope to hang them outside in the summer). I use Charlie’s Soap and I hear Rockin’ Green is awesome, too. So far so good!

Cloth Diaper Diapering Tools

Okay, you’re probably so done seeing half naked pictures of Liv. Back to home updates and great entertaining/decorating finds. And to all of you non-cloth diaper readers out there, I still love you! To each his own. Thanks for being patient through these posts.

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  1. says

    Wow! What a great review on cloth diapers :) I really want to switch Arden over to cloth once she’s big enough. She’s only 7lbs right now. I love that you tried all of these different brands out. If you want to sell any of the ones you don’t use let me know ;) I’d like to do a trial of my own. Oh and thanks for the tip on the Wubbanub pacifier, it’s next on my list to buy! xoxo, Reichel

  2. Morgan says

    Lisa, That does indeed sound like a stressful environment to cloth diaper. You might give it a shot again, especially with the different ‘training pant’ options out there (most cloth diaper brands offer a big kid version!).


  3. says

    You know, its funny, I’m thinking of trying cloth diapers again. I tried the Jillian’s Drawers offer right before my youngest was born, and I was 8 months pregnant, had a 1 yr old and 3 yr old, our house was up for sale and my husband had a 2.5 hour commute, so I was essentially a single parent M-F, and every diaper I tried on my 1 yr old leaked. I may not have been in the right frame of mind at the time. :-)

    My daughter is already in a size 6 disposable, and she keeps yelling that it is too small every time I change her. They only go up to a size 7, which I just switched her into, but she’s not even 2 yet. I’m wondering if cloth diapers might give her a roomier feel.

  4. says

    Hi! I read your blog every day but I don’t usually comment. Today, though, I have to comment to say, I think that might be the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. Really, really, adorable, pretty girl!

    • Morgan says

      Laurrenn, thank you! Thanks so much – she is a cutie! Thanks for taking a moment to comment :).

      ~ Morgan

  5. says

    I’ve heard that more water is used in the process of producing disposable diapers than you use to wash cloth ones!

    • Morgan says

      Elle, that’s probably true! And a really great point. I’m going to look into that!

      ~ Morgan

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