Cloth Diapers are Easy and Inexpensive

Today I'm taking some time to write about something I'm passionate about. This isn't a project, a recipe or a tutorial, it's really a way of life. You see, about 4 years ago, as we were preparing for the birth of our first son, I met someone who turned me on to the world of cloth diapers. Once I started looking around at all the options, I was absolutely astounded by all the different varieties but most of all, by how easy it could be to join the growing community of families who choose to use cloth to diaper their babies.

"Tigger" age 3 weeks, just over 9lbs

Like many people, I thought that cloth diapering meant wrangling a rectangular piece of fabric (a "prefold") onto a squirmy baby then pinning that in place and covering it with an ugly white plastic underwear looking thing. As I researched our options, I learned that there are lots of people who use prefolds although the covers can be downright adorable but it still seemed like a bit too much work for me. Then I discovered the world of "pocket diapers" and "all-in-ones" which truly are as easy to put on a baby as disposables. I don't have a problem with learning a new way to diaper my baby but when I learned about pocket diapers, I got so excited that this was an option I wouldn't hesitate to ask a friend, babysitter or the grandparents to use on my kiddo.

Because we chose pocket diapers, I'm going to mainly focus on the benefits we discovered through using these diapers. Please remember, there are lots of different options out there, many of which can be found in my favorite online cloth diaper store, Cotton Babies. I hope that by reading this post, you too might consider using cloth on your favorite little bum.


  • They're adorable. See photo above if you're not sure about this. That's Tigger modeling a bumGenius 3.0 in Ribbit (color). His big brother wore that very same diaper just a couple of years ago.

  • They save us money. Did you know that the average baby goes through around 3000 diapers in his or her first year? Now, I'm a couponer and I'm very frugal so I'm going to estimate each diaper costs $.19 (that's based on the Costco Kirkland brand size 1-2 diapers). That comes out to be $570 for the first year of diapering on the first child. In our stash, we have 24 bumGenius 3.0s which we bought for $16 each 4 years ago. That comes out to be $384. The laundry detergent I used on the cloth diapers cost $.16 per load. I probably did a load of diaper laundry every other day so the laundry detergent that first year with Snickerdoodle, probably cost me around $30. That means we forked out around $414 for diapers and detergent that first year. The best part though . . . while all my buddies had to continue to buy disposable diapers in year 2, I continued to use those same cloth diapers. And wait, it gets better, we're going to use those same 24 diapers on Tigger. I'd also like to note that we could have bought these same diapers gently used for even less and saved ourselves even more money. I didn't know that at the time that we bought our original stash but will probably be buying some additional diapers from a friend soon (hey, little Tigger deserves something his big brother didn't already use plus I'm hooked on cloth). UPDATE: After reader Amber commented about the wipes, I wanted to add in the cost savings from those too. I'm going to conservatively estimate you'll go through around 40 packs of wipes per year with disposables and at the cheapest I've ever found, that comes out to around $40 per year. With cloth diapers, it's easier to use cloth wipes too. A bunch of those cost me $3.99 at the fabric store for a yard of flannel fabric (which I cut down to squares). 

  • We're not contributing to landfills. I don't think I need to explain this one, it's simple, we're not throwing away thousands of disposable diapers that will sit in some landfill for hundreds of years. Plus, did you know that you're actually not supposed to leave poop in even a disposable diaper? Rain falls on the landfills, runs through those diapers, picks up feces and becomes our groundwater. It's actually not good for the environment . . . would you put human feces in your home compost pile? The treatment plants at the end of our toilets are designed to deal with human waste, the dumps are not. 

  • We rarely see diaper rash. Think about it, would you rather wear soft fabric against your bum or sit around in/on some strange ultra-absorbent gel all day? I'm a fan of the fabric - it breathes, it doesn't contain chemicals, it is soft. The only time we saw diaper rash with Snickerdoodle was when we accidentally used too much detergent or forgot to do a second rinse at the end of the wash cycle. 

  • We rarely have blowouts. Every once in awhile we'd use a disposable diaper and I kid you not, our first son could blow out any disposable. Talk about unwanted laundry!! I found it far easier to throw a load of diapers into the washer all together than to toss in a poop-covered onesie with the rest of his clothing. Ewwww!

  • Potty training is often easier for cloth diapered kids. Yes, you read that right. The thing about cloth diapers is that no matter how absorbent they are, a toddler can still feel when it is wet which helps tremendously when it comes to potty training. This means that many cloth diapered kiddos are potty trained earlier than their disposable diapered buddies. 

  • One size diapers work for multiple children at the same time. Can you imagine how convenient it would be if your 2 1/2 year old could use the exact same diaper her 6 month old sister used just last week? Many of the cloth diapers out there are just that flexible. The diapers we use have a system of snaps that allow us to customize the fit as well as different inserts to dial up or down the absorbency as needed.

Cloth diapering really was easy with Snickerdoodle and will be easy with Tigger too. I didn't find that extra load of laundry every other day to be a huge burden. I'd just toss in the diapers all together (not with clothing, diapers only), wash them using the recommended soap then toss them in the dryer. Pocket diapers contain a washable pad inside a pocket between the layer of fabric closest to the baby and the outer waterproof shell which needs to be positioned inside the diaper and we chose to do that before restocking them by the changing table. That way they were as ready to grab as any disposable diaper. The extra work was minimal but completely worth it to me knowing how much better these diapers were for our son and for the environment. 

I feel like I could go on and on about why we love cloth diapers but I don't want this post to be overwhelming. My hope is that maybe it'll get you thinking about what an easy move this could be for your family. I'm always willing to answer questions about our experience too. If I get lots of questions, I can also do a follow up post to address those. 

Now here's the best part - although I received no compensation for writing this post, I am entering it in a contest and if I win, I'll receive 12 bumGenius diapers to add to our stash PLUS 12 bumGenius diapers for one lucky reader who comments on this post. Do you already use cloth diapers? Do you want to start? Do you know of someone who might want 12 new adorable diapers? Please leave a comment below to be entered into the contest.

The end.

Thank you for reading,


  1. All such good reasons and reasons I'm excited to CD #3!

    Love "the end!"

  2. Love your pictures--adorable!  I'm passing on your post to my friend with a newborn.

  3. Thanks Michelle. I could go on and on and on about cloth diapers and how great they are so if your friend has any questions, please don't hesitate to have her contact me directly. I love converting people.

  4. Krystyn - I just facebook fanned your blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. What a little sweetheart you have!  I use cloth on both my boys right now, ages 24 months and 7 months.  I would love to win and be able to add to my stash.   And I completely agree with your point that cloth can be used on multiple children at the same time.  I love that both my boys can use the same diapers, it makes life so much simpler for me!

  6. Thanks for stopping by Rachel!

  7. I am finally able to use my bumGenius 3.0 diapers now. My son is almost 14 months. His reflux was very severe and couldn't take the pressure from the diapers. However we kept trying and are making the switch. He doesn't mind them and the extra work is minimal, I wash a load before bed and air dry them overnight. I used these diapers with my older son and will use them if we have any other children. They really are very economical and easy to use. We even made our own wipes to use and wash with the diapers.

  8. Felicia @ All Things FeeJanuary 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I had thought about cloth diapers with Wyatt, but was nervous as I am not the best with laundry! Would love for you to win some for Tigger! And Wyatt! 

  9. Great point about the wipes Amber! We figured out really fast that disposable wipes were actually inconvenient to use with the cloth diapers. I kept finding shredded wipes in our laundry so we too used squares of flannel that I cut and finished with my serger. I didn't even factor that into the cost of diapering so that's yet another money saver. 

  10. Felicia - If we win or if you want to take the leap, I'll gladly walk you through the laundry process which isn't nearly as scary as it might seem. If you pick a brand of detergent recommended by the diaper manufacturer, you really can't go wrong. There's a tag on my bumGenius diapers that suggests using 1/4 of the manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent (hello, that means a bottle goes a long way) and that you wash cold, wash hot and double rinse then dry in the dryer. The Cotton Babies website is a fantastic resource, here's the section on washing:

    I never had a problem getting my diapers clean and not once, never, did I find any waste residue in our washer. Our clothing was never affected by the fact that we were using the same machines to wash diapers either. 

  11. When I was first pregnant, I thought for sure I would CD; I saw so many friends do it easily and successfully with their kids when my 4yo was little. However, with twins coming this month, it seems more daunting. If I find some gently used 2nd hand diapers (or win a contest *wink*) that may be the catalyst to get me to try.

  12. Loved cloth diapering our daughter!  You post is so informative and really breaks down all of the benefits of cloth vs. disposables.  I bought some new, but most were secondhand and were in fantastic shape from the beginning to the end. 

  13. I LOVE CLOTH DIAPERS! I have several friends that use CD, and my sister and I are both going to use them.  Another reason why I love CD is that not only do you save money until they get potty trained BUT you can use them for several more children after the first! AWESOME, thanks for writing this I love when people share about passions they have :-)

  14. Wonderful! I love reading stories like this, you must have been so proud. Hope you're all doing well now!

  15. wow! very nice post. Thanks for sharing such an informative and helpful posts. I've a newborn and I can really see how some of your advice really work.


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