Not Your Mother’s Diapers

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When looking at my budget, I was noticing a great outflow to Proctor & Gamble – namely Pampers. Which, I will add, goes right into the landfill for generations to come. I hate that I have to pay for something that will just hold — well — some pretty smelly stuff (to say the least) and that is not really that great for the environment.

So, about 8 months ago, I started to do some reading. And then I did more reading. And more research. Then, I did some cost analysis. Come to find out, if I transitioned to cloth diapers, I could actually save money! Crazy idea – huh? Yes – it did cost us some money to get started, but for us, it was a no brainer. Here is why:

We determined that we were buying about 60 diapers per box when we went to the store. These cost around $19.99 — and I usually had a coupon for about $1.00 off — so really about $18.99 (plus tax, of course). Our son was going through around 5 – 6 diapers a day. So that meant the box would last us around 10 – 14 days (max). This figured out to around two boxes of diapers per month at a cost of around $40.00.

We looked at the cost of cloth diapers. They were around $12 – $14 each. We actually had a friend make them and it was an outlay of around $200.00 when all was said and done — which may sound like a lot – but it really wasn’t.

We figured that over a period of 5 months, based upon our current diaper usage, we’d be out that same $200.00. So, when month 6 hit – we’d start to — dare I say it — MAKE MONEY ON DIAPERS!! Crazy sounding – isn’t it?

Now that you are thinking about saving money for YOUR family, here are some things to consider:

How much longer will our child be in diapers? If you are getting ready to begin potty training, switching to cloth may not be cost effective for you. However, if you purchase gender neutral diapers (or a color based upon your children’s genders), and have a younger child, you could easily recoup your investment.

You will want your child to be in the diapers for a period longer than it would take to make your money back. For us, we knew it would be at least 6 months – therefore, it was a savings for us.

What kind of diapers do I need to get? As my title says, these are NOT your mother’s diapers. The cloth diapers of today are so easy to use. There are so many styles and types. You will want to do some reading on the style and will probably want to try a couple. I am by NO MEANS an expert at all, but I am happy to answer questions!

We use pockets. These are a diaper with, well, a pocket where you can slide in liners. Liners are what actually will absorb the waste. You can stuff them with single or double liners – depending on the amount of absorbency you may need. I prefer these as I can do just that – control how absorbent I need them to be.

For example, I use an extra liner overnight as it will be a longer period of time that my son will be in his diaper. However, during the day, I can use a thinner liner or singles as I change him about every 3 – 4 hours.

These diapers also close like regular diapers with hook and loop closures (a/k/a Velcro) or snaps. So, that means NO PINS. Now daddy will have no excuse to not be able to use these at all.

The only down side I have discovered with this type of diaper is that I have to pull the liners out to wash them and then restuff them once they are dry. This is not hard to do, just takes me a little extra time to get it done.

Another style we have tried that I also personally like is called the All In One. This is just as the name suggests — a diaper with the liners already in the center. There is not any stuffing. The only downside to these is that they CAN take a little longer to dry – but if you set your dryer before you go to bed at night for a tad longer than usual, they’ll be ready for you in the morning.

How do you handle waste and launder them? Some parents have a sprayer that is attached to the tub so they can spray them down after they dispose of the waste in the toilet. I actually use the old school “dump and swish” method. I figure if I can handle cleaning up the mess and other motherly duties, this isn’t that bad….and it really isn’t.

Once that is done, many parents will place the diapers in a wet bag to try to contain the odors. I also do not have one of these. I place them in the hamper in the laundry room to wait to be washed. If they are SUPER bad, I’ll actually run them through a rinse cycle in the wash and then set them aside until I do laundry.

There are special washing steps to follow — but they are not hard. Each manufacturer will advise you as to how to wash them, but basically, you have to wash them on their own (not with any other items), use a dye free, perfume free, chemical free detergent (i.e. Seventh Generation or something like that) and do an extra rinse to get the residual detergent out. Occasionally you will need to “strip” them to get out extra soap, smells, stains, etc. This is done with vinegar in a rinse cycle. Again – your manufacturer will provide you with the laundering instructions when you make your purchase.

I will admit that it took some getting use to cleaning them – but now it routine. I don’t even have to really think about how to launder them — it just is part of laundry day.

How many diapers do I really need? This will depend on how many your child goes during the day. My son is 2 and we have 12 diapers. I do the laundry every other day and we do pretty good with not running out of clean diapers.

Now, I have a 5 1/2 month old and when I get hers, I will probably purchase 18 diapers as she does have a few more dirty ones than he does. So, I will need to have a few more on hand.

Where do I find them? Most of the time, you will not find them in any stores. There are some sites you can go to for research and to make your purchase. The sites I have used include:


If you are considering cloth, I recommend that you do your research. Ask questions. Find other moms who cloth to find out what works for them. You also may want to purchase a sampler pack, which can include different styles as what works for one person may not work for another.

Now, the most incredible thing of all is that when your child is potty trained, or outgrows the diapers, you can turn around and re-sell them. Try doing THAT with your previously used Pampers or Huggies!!!