The Advantages and Disadvantages of Reusable Cloth Diapers

When it comes to deciding whether to use disposable or reusable diapers, it's about more than just practicalities. You also have to consider your little one's skin. 
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Reusable Cloth Diapers

Last update: 12 March, 2019

A boom in reusable diapers, also known as reusable cloth diapers, is trending worldwide. While they may seem costly when you first purchase them, they constitute major savings over time. This is one of the main reasons why some parents decide to at least give them a try.

The advantages of reusable cloth diapers have to do with more than just monetary savings. However, they also have their disadvantages.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of these diapers so that you can judge for yourself.

The characteristics of cloth diapers

Cloth diapers are made of a combination of biodegradable materials. Unlike common disposable diapers, reusable diapers completely exclude the use of synthetic fragrances and chemical products. They not only reduce the impact on the environment, but are also more gentle on your baby’s skin.

So, just what biodegradable materials can we find in reusable cloth diapers? Bamboo pulp, micro-fleece (a type of soft polyester), polyurethane, cotton, etc.

In general, the fabric that goes against a baby’s skin is micro-fleece while the exterior layer consists of waterproof polyurethane. Between these two layers go absorbent fabrics like cotton, bamboo, hemp or microfiber.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Reusable Cloth Diapers

More characteristics of cloth diapers:

  • Cloth diapers are adjustable and open and close in a way similar to disposable diapers: With velcro or snaps.
  • They’re softer than common disposable diapers thanks to the soft fabrics used, especially bamboo.
  • They absorb moisture very well and don’t hold in odors thanks to the fact that bamboo contains antibacterial agents.
  • Reusable diapers allow a baby’s skin to breathe. That way, they let babies feel fresh and comfortable both in summer and winter.
  • They’re hypoallergenic, meaning they’re perfect for sensitive skin.
  • They’re easy to use, and no boiling is necessary. You simply wash them in the washing machine. Once clean, you can dry them in the dryer or on the clothes line.
  • Cloth diapers come in a variety of colors and designs.

So, what makes modern cloth diapers different from those rags our grandmothers used to wrap their little ones years ago? First, let’s start with what they have in common.

Like those old-fashioned cloth diapers, today’s reusable diapers are also washable. However, in the era of washing machines, they take much less time and effort to maintain.

What’s more, you can even opt for cloth diapers with disposable, biodegradable inserts. In this case, you simply take the soiled insert and flush it, or add to compost, according to each brand’s indications.

The rising popularity of cloth diapers is occurring simultaneously with that of reusable feminine menstrual pads. Women around the globe are abandoning commercial pads and tampons and choosing a more sustainable option.

Reusable cloth pads allow women to take control of their menstrual cycles, care for the environment and save money.

The advantages of reusable cloth diapers

Ecological diapers and feminine products are part of a growing awareness of the importance of each individual and daily act. Mothers and fathers have begun to evaluate the number of disposable diapers they throw away on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.

As for design, there are several cloth diapers “systems” to choose from. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the needs and preferences of each family.

Cloth diapers are adjustable, meaning they’re practically one-size-fits-all. In other words, cloth diapers grow with your baby and accompany him or her until potty training.

The smooth fabrics give babies more freedom to move around, as they gently adjust to your little one’s skin. And if you’re concerned about constant washing, find relief in the fact that the inner layers of cloth diapers are very absorbent. In fact, they’re even more absorbent than disposables.

The high level of absorbency of cloth diapers combined with their softness protects your baby’s skin. This means your little one will be much less likely to develop diaper rashThe fact that cloth diapers are also free of harsh chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin is also a major advantage.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Reusable Cloth Diapers

The disadvantages of reusable cloth diapers

Many mothers and fathers recoil at the thought of washing their child’s diapers. While the washing of today’s cloth diapers require much less time and effort than in the past, it can still be an unpleasant daily task.

While washing cloth diapers does take some time, if you really analyze the situation, you’ll likely see that they’re worth it. If nothing else, you’ll be caring for your precious baby’s skin.

From an economic perspective, reusable cloth diapers aren’t exactly cheap. However, in the long run, the investment will always come out to your favor.

If you have any doubts, take out a calculator and compare the costs of one type with the other. You’ll realize just how much you really save with cloth diapers.

Remember that you can also choose to use a combination of disposable and cloth diapers. For example, you can use cloth diapers while at home, and use disposables while you’re out. Also, if you use daycare or a babysitter, they may prefer to use disposables.

Cloth diapers may seem daunting at first. However, over time, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s better not to depend on commercial products full of harmful chemicals.

And last but not least, reusable diapers are available in an endless array of colors and designs. You and your children will be sure to fall in love with the options.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.