Cloth Diapers – Massive Money Saver?

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Before I had a baby I never would’ve guessed how much I’d end up talking about bodily fluids and functions. It all begins with the pregnancy, and it just continues on. It’s strange because throughout your whole life, it’s like, “okay, avoid these topics,” and then BOOM! All of a sudden you get to talk about all the gross stuff your 10 year-old self wanted to talk about back in the day.

Once the baby arrives, there are all these stages of poo that you have to be on the lookout for, too. You constantly get asked about the color, frequency, quantity, and consistency of said poo. Strangely enough, I’ve found myself bonding with friends over the messiest details of life. Asking them for advice. Asking if things are “normal.” Finding out what my friends know, then sharing what I know. It’s like this whole messy, beautiful, circle of life, kumbaya bonding experience with us ending every conversation by saying, “I never would’ve guessed we’d be talking so openly about poo.”

Aaron and I made the decision to use cloth diapers with Henry in an effort to save buckets of money. reports that “you need about 8,000 diapers from birth to fully potty trained. That equals approximately $2,500!”

We have 20 diapers and made an initial investment of $400 for all of them. If we were to do it again I would have hunted for these diapers used.

We got a brand that has a high resale value and ones that are the most convenient and the most like disposables that we could find—All In Ones (AIO for short). Aaron insisted on these so we could avoid the “stuffing” part of the process, (“stuffing” diapers is when you put the absorbent padding into a pocket that is built into the diaper [here's a video that shows you how's it's done if you're curious]). I’m so glad we went with the AIO route even though I wasn’t into them in the beginning (because of the higher cost of them). The diapers we went with can be used from when the baby is just a week or so old (after the meconim stage) up to when the baby is ready to be potty-trained, and that’s our plan. (Full disclosure: We do use disposables at night and sometimes when we leave the house, but we use cloth diapers 75% of the time.)

But with diapers comes poo, and as we all know, with poo comes stink. And that stink quickly takes you on a nose-plugging trip to the clothes washer with the full bag of dirty cloth diapers held out at an arms-length, getting quickly stuffed into the washer, all while holding your breath in an effort to not let any of the funk seep into your nose.


How We Wash Our Cloth Diapers:

We don't soak our diapers or use a sprayer. Instead, we use breathable, diaposable diaper liners (we started using these when we introduced solids since that's when the consistency of the poo starts to shift from nice to “Oh Dear, God. What is that!?”). These keep the poo from soaking into the diaper, and we get to avoid the potentionally very messy spraying poo into the toilet with a high-pressure water gun option. We have 2 diaper pails that sit outside on our porch that we can use standard, off-brand garbage bags in. One gets the diaper liner and it's contents and the other gets the cloth diaper. To wash the cloth diapers, we first rinse them in a cold cycle without detergent. Then, I get out my trusty recipe of Homemade Laundry Detergent and bottle of Clorox® Regular-Bleach. We use 1/3 of a cup of the Homemade Detergent and a teaspoon or two of Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Next, we do a hot water, heavy-soil washing cycle. Something you might not know about cloth diapers is that they can develop an ammonia smell. It smells terrible, but luckily there’s an easy fix. The easiest way to get that smell out is with a bit of bleach so I put that in during the heavy-soil wash. The diapers get disinfected, the insides come out sparkling white, smelling fresh, and looking just about brand-new.


The Simple Dollar did some research on the cost efficiency of cloth diapers, and they found that, “If you estimate that you have a water cost of $0.05 a load, a power cost of $0.09 a load, (…) detergent cost of $0.03 a load. (…) Cleaning three dozen diapers costs about $0.50. You’ll pay about $0.20 a diaper for disposables, which equates to a cost of about $7.20 per three dozen diapers. After startup costs, you spend only about $0.50 per three dozen diapers. You’ll repeat this about fifty times before potty training begins, so the total diaper savings is $350 or so with cloth diapers. Of course, your startup costs aren’t included here.”

If you can get the cloth diapers used or if you plan on using them for multiple children then that's really where you'll see the most savings. Also, if you do invest in a high-quality brand that holds up well (btw, we chose snaps over velcro for longevity reasons) then you can potentially re-sell your cloth diapers when you are done with them to help recoup your initial startup costs.

We feel good about being able to keep disposables out of landfills (as much as we can), while also saving money, and keeping extra chemicals off of Baby Henry's precious derriere. While we haven't hit the “massive money saver” zone yet I still feel very glad that we went this route!


I've got so many questions for you: Do you cloth diaper? If so, what has your experience with them been-better, worse, or what you expected? What kind of diapers did you decide to go with and why? Do you find yourself talking about poop with your friends too? 


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This post is sponsored by Clorox—helping you find the joy in making a mess.

As always, my opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this site possible! xo Anna

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