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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Cloth Diapering

The Ultimate Cloth Diaper Buying and Care Guide
Are you considering making the switch to cloth diapers but feeling a little overwhelmed? You are not alone. Many parents have been thinking of switching to cloth diapers.
This is a series that began with Intro To Cloth Diapering and How To Cloth Diaper a Baby.

Reasons For Cloth Diapering

Environmental Impact

Some parents choose cloth diapers based on wanting to reduce the impact that diaper waste has on the environment. According to a 2011 report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item to wind up in landfills. They may take up to 500 years to decompose. In a 2003 study by the Women’s Environmental Network, it was found that disposable diapers make up roughly 50% of total household waste in homes where there was just one diaper-aged child.


As more and more parents are feeling the pinch of the economy, cloth diapers seem to make sense, from a frugal perspective. According to Consumer Reports, parents are likely to save up to $2,000 by simply using cloth, and this factors in things like water and power use to wash them. Put them away when done with one child for use with a subsequent child and the savings grow even more. If you want to see how much you can actually save by switching to cloth, check out The Diaper Pin’s Cloth Calculator.


Are you surprised to see that one listed? Don’t be. While many people do still use and love the old standard pre-folds most imagine, cloth diapers have evolved. Not only can you use flushable liners or sprayers rather than having to soak or dunk them, but, there are also newer styles, such as All In Ones or AIOs. These designs making cloth diaper changes pretty much the same as changing a disposable.

One thing many parents are concerned about is the “gross” factor. When looking at cloth diapers as opposed to disposables in respect to that: while you might have a pile, bucket, or bag of soiled disposables- waiting to be taken out, you need never have that issue with cloth. When traveling, you may want to use disposables or you can simply place the soiled diapers in a wet bag until you get to a place where they can be washed.

Getting Started With Cloth: What do you really need?

You may want to consider where you stand with cloth diapering before you buy. If you’re just wanting to give it a try, you should know that two covers and six inserts will easily replace about 6 disposable diapers per day. In trying it out this way, you’d need to wash a load of diapers a night.

If you wanted to try sort of part time cloth diapering, having twelve diapers or diaper systems should do. You can diaper one baby for an entire day with that set up, typically, with one load of laundry per night. With twelve diapers you might need to sometimes use disposables, but sometimes, you might be able to stretch that amount for two days. This just depends on how many wet or soiled diapers the baby has. That can vary depending on developmental stage, growth spurts and other issues individual to the child.

Most parents who attempt to cloth diaper part time make the switch to full on cloth diapering. To do this, around 25 diapers is usually ideal, with 8 covers and two diaper pail liners. You will also need to have a wet and dry bag for your diaper bag. They key to keeping at it, is making sure you have plenty of diapers. This also slows down the amount of laundry you may have to do, depending on your preferences.

Usually, unless you are using strictly AOIs, pockets or similar, you will also need pins or Snappis. It’s recommended you have plenty of these on hand.

In the next post, we will go into exactly what you will need by age and stage to make the switch to cloth diapers, address some more common concerns, and tell you all about how to take care of your cloth diapers. Stay tuned!

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