Cloth diapering has a new look and it's functional and easier than ever!
If you’ve been curious about cloth diapers for your baby, it’s never been a better time to
consider taking action. Before you do, it’s time to erase the image of parents from a
previous generation hunched over the toilet scrubbing those cloth diapers clean!
Today’s parent has the advantage of better, more powerful washing machines that
really take care of business. Convenience is just one reason to consider cloth diapers.
There are even more profound reasons to avoid disposable diapers at all costs. Here
are some of those reasons:
• The average disposable diaper-wearing baby will create approximately two tons
of bio-hazardous waste that will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.
• Disposable diapers add artificial chemical absorbents such as acrylic acid
polymer salts to their all-wood-pulp padding in order to increase absorbency.
These granules turn into gel when they come in contact with moisture. This gel,
which is suspected for exacerbating – even causing – asthma, ends up on your
• Cloth diapered babies potty train on average one year earlier than the disposable
• The production of disposable diapers consumes an inordinate amount of
resources and energy, adding 2.8 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper to
landfills annually. Besides filling dwindling landfill space, disposable diapers
endanger health and the environment, and especially the health of sanitation
workers. The potential for disease to spread via ground water is also a real
• Disposable diapers are the third largest source of solid waste.
• With disposables, experts estimate you spend an average of $2000 per child.
Cloth compares at only an average of $150-$350 per child (with the added but
minimal cost of electricity and water to launder them).
• According to studies, 78% of disposable-diapered babies have diaper rash,
compared to 7% of cloth-diapered babies. Cloth diapers are better for your baby
because cotton and hemp "naturally breathe", while disposables (made of paper
and plastic) do not have the breathability that cloth does. Thus, diaper rash
occurs more in disposable-diapered babies.
• It takes a billion trees every year to produce disposable diapers for the Earth’s
These are certainly some cold, startling facts to consider. But on the warm and fuzzy
side of the cloth diapering debate, there is no greater comfort to any parent than to
know you are providing your child with the greatest comfort and healthiest possible start
And as an added bonus, cloth diapering will automatically put any new parent in the
“cool leader” category. New parents are always very curious about what other parents
are doing – particularly if they perceive something to be “better” than what they’re
currently doing. When asked, you can proudly boast that using cloth diapers will leave a
cleaner world behind for your baby, and your grandchildren.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Diapering
How many do I need?
A newborn will need about 10-12 changes a day for the first few months. After that you
will probably change your baby seven to nine times a day. To get started, you will need
at least three dozen diapers as well as at least six covers for night-time use. Using
natural wipes or organic cotton cloths ensures a clean, chemical-free diaper change.
You won’t need to use a wipe every time, just when you have a poopy diaper. That’s it.
Try to think about how often you want to do laundry, considering a newborn will need
about a dozen diapers a day. Older babies will need less.
How do I wash them?
It’s so simple. Just put the diapers, covers, and wipes together in a pail, preferably in
the bathroom. When you get a very poopy diaper, shake it over the toilet. What doesn’t
fall off will come out in the wash. You don’t even need to do this as long as your baby is
primarily breastfed, because breastfed poopies are pretty soluble and they will just wash
A diaper pail with a swinging lid is quite popular. You can use a kitchen garbage can -
no need to buy a fancy pail for this. Just make sure the lid is fairly air tight. No need to
There are two excellent methods for washing:
#1 - Your Own Washing Machine
Put everything in the washer. Run a cold rinse cycle without using any soap. You may
want to do a soak after the first rinse. After the spin cycle finishes, run a regular load
with hot water. Add ½ cup of cleaning-strength vinegar (25% concentration) during the
final rinse. And that’s it. Pop them in the dryer or better yet hang them in the sun. Line
drying your diaper covers is ideal for a longer lifespan.
# 2 - Laundromat or Laundry Room
If you don’t own your own washer, you can still use cloth diapers. Just run them through
the washer twice. On the second run, add a ½ cup of cleaning-strength vinegar. The
vinegar acts as a fabric softener, removing all traces of soap and urine and corrects the
ph level. After they are washed, hang them to dry - a shower curtain rod works great for
What kind of soap works best?
A phosphate-free detergent, like Nature Clean, is best. Stay away from commercial
chemical-based detergents that claim to be safe on baby’s delicate skin, yet are full of
irritating fragrances and synthetic chemicals.
What does the vinegar do?
Vinegar works wonders on cloth diapers. It makes them soft, removes all detergent
residues, restores the ph level, and removes any odours. Your diapers emerge from the
washer smelling, feeling and looking great!
Aren’t you supposed to soak them first? Or dunk them in the toilet? Or rinse them
Nope! A generation or two ago, people did these things, but washing machines (and
diapers!) have improved a lot!
Do I have to pin them?
No. Diaper covers hold the diaper securely and comfortably in place.
How long will they last?
Your baby will probably out-grow them before they wear out. Old diapers make great
cleaning rags, too!
Grassroots sells cloth diapers at: www.grassrootsstore.com