Cloth Diapers vs. Regular Diapers

Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.

Cloth diapers have been a subject I have started thinking about since I was first introduced to them about a year or two ago. I babysat for a lady in Florida who used them for her son, and she had to teach me how to use them. To me, cloth diapers were the old fashioned pieces of white fabric that mothers kept together on their infants with pins! I think you know the kind I am talking about…

Cloth diapers

Was I ever wrong when she showed me her son’s diapers for the first time. They were thick, had color, and were put together by velcro and snaps! They even had little pads inside them that helped with leaking. I was amazed! After babysitting for her for over a year and seeing the benefits of using cloth diapers, I knew that when it came my turn to have a baby this was something I was definitely going to look into more!

Now that I am pregnant, I have been thinking about this matter a lot. Should I use cloth diapers or regular diapers, or even both kinds of diapers? So far I have thought of a list of pros and cons for using both. Feel free to add your own too!

Cloth Diapers:
1. They are expensive.
I know that people say that it is cheaper in the end, but it is hard when you are first starting out and just may not have that extra money to spend on 10 cloth diapers. So far I have seen the prices range from $15.-$40. for one diaper! That is a lot to spend if you don’t have that much at first.
2. You have to wash them.
This will take more of your time, and provide more laundry. Plus, if they are being washed you have to have enough clean ones to use until the washed ones are done.
3. You can’t just throw them away.
So what do you do with them if you are out and about? I guess maybe keep a trash bag handy in your car, and throw them in the wash when you get home!
1. They save you money in the long run.
Even though they are expensive in the beginning, they do save you a lot of money.
2. You can use them over and over.
Not only can you use them over and over, but you can keep using them for all your children, as you have more.
3. You can never run out.
You will always have diapers there, even if you do have to wash them. You don’t have to worry about having to run out to the store to get more!
4. There are so many different kinds you can get, and so many colors and patterns.
I was in shock when I saw all the websites that sold cloth diapers. There were so many out there. There are also so many varieties, so many colors and patterns, it is just crazy! There is a diaper for every baby out there, no matter what they may need, it’s there!
Cloth Diapers
Regular Diapers:
1. They are smelly and stinky!
Granted, all diapers smell, but when you throw away regular diapers they can really stink up your house!
2. They can leak.
They do not have extra padding like cloth diapers, so they can leak more.
1. They are easy.
They are easy to use and get rid of, no washing required, no extra work.
2. They cost less money up front.
Yes, they save money in the long run, but if all you have at the time is a small amount then regular diapers are best.
Can you think of any more pros and cons for either? Let me know what you think!
Visit here to see a little more about cloth diapers, and where I got some of my info from:
My friend Briana has started making cloth diapers. She is trying them out on her son to see how they work. If they work, I may pay her to make them for me. They are pretty cheap she said!

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  1. Hey Kathryn, I have a few friends who are really into the cloth diapering thing. You are right they are much more expensive at first. My friend who is really into it is now complaining about having to wash them all the time and that she needs more. IMO, if you get a few at first use them and try them out but have a pack of disposable diapers as back up in case you don't have time to wash them.

  2. I'm leaning towards cloth myself. However, the way that I'd rather do it is use a diaper service here in town. I've found a few already, and I think I've made my choice as to which one I'd like to use. When it comes to the diaper service, it's easy and convenient because I don't have to deal with cleaning them (I'd be provided with a minimum of 70 diapers a week, being the average newborn goes 10-12 times a day). This way, I'll be paying approximately what we would if we were to use disposibles anyway. So I'm not necessarily saving any money, but I won't be providing a landfill with more smelly diapers.

    My primary concern was that when we're out what to do with the dirty ones. I was thinking that we may incorporate using a few disposibles just to avoid the hassle of carrying around poopy diapers.

    Of course, we still have a bit to discuss and figure out before we make our decision as to which route we'll end up going.

  3. Hi, dear friend !

    When my daughter was a baby she only used regular diapers 🙂
    and she had no problem about them. For me, there are only advantages on using them 🙂

    God bless you and your baby 🙂


  4. We haven't jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon but a good friend of mine uses them all the time. She says to use the newborn disposable diapers since you can go through 8-10 poops a day!! When her baby got to pooping twice a day she broke out the cloth diapers. Kind of a medium between the two. Also, keep those plastic bags in your car and diaper bag no matter what diapers you choose!

  5. I love the disposible diapers! I am not great with laundry. I don't know that could do cloth.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Well I have 2 babies and know that although it may be pricey up front, just think of the money spent on disposable after a few weeks!

    At baby showers you know how people ask for boxes of diapers to be entered in drawing for gift…have people bring cloth diapers! Just a thought to take some of the $$ off of you. Imagine if you got a whole bunch, cloth diapers would cost you nothing but time!

  7. Disposables are so not cheap! The cheap ones are disgusting, hard, and have an awful smell to them…the pricier ones have a softer middles, but I still do not like the smell of the perfumes they add, and the chemicals that used in them. Most people do know that WOOD CHIPS are used in disposables and disposables are proven links to testicaluar cancer in boys (because of the heat they generate).
    By buying CD's a few at a time before the baby is born, you'd be shocked at how many you can have by the time the baby is here.

    Many make cd's that grow with the baby, so they can last the whole time they're in diapers.

    As for storage, they make bags to keep the diaper in when out and about, that keep the smells in. As for home, get a diaper pale, you can wash them once a day or every couple of days. They're seriously just as easy as disposables.

    My favorite website is:
    If you sign up for her yahoo group you will get to know when things are on sale and specials!

    BTW..I LOVE Cloth Diapers!! 🙂 Oh and if we travel and I'm not sure washing will be available, I will use disposables.

  8. We love cloth diapers….with three kids three and under, it REALLY does save us a lot over the course of a year!!!

  9. I have used cloth diapers on two kids now, and I'm quite a fan of them. I do have a stash of disposable diapers too, because when using diaper rash cream, it's better to not get that stuff on cloth diapers. You asked if we could think of any other pros or cons. Another big con to disposable diapers is that we are putting raw sewage into landfills, which then leaks into the ground water and can cause illness. Sewage is supposed to go through the sewage system (toilets) to be treated. Anyway, when you are out an about you can put used cloth diapers into a "wet bag" which is waterproof, washable and has a drawstring. Also, you can find diapers for closer to $3 each, but those are the "prefold" kind our mothers (mine, anyway) used on us. My favorite cloth diaper Web site is It has great articles and ways of explaining all the options. I know it can be overwhelming. This Web site also has a baby shower registry system, which really helps you get your stash going! 🙂 Just remember, even if you can just buy a few cloth diapers a month until you get all you need, you will still be saving money. The average baby uses about $2000 on disposable diapers and wipes from birth to potty training. So even if I spent $500 on cloth diapers to begin with, I saved $3500 because I could use them on both kids! The laundry is a chore, that's true- but to me, it's worth it. I know not every mom is as enthusiastic about cloth diapers as I am, though, and that's totally fine. for our family, it's been a good fit.

  10. Stopping by from SITS. I LOVE cloth diapers. Make sure to get a wetbag. Helps cut down on the smell. So does the right detergent.

    Have you been to
    Love that site. You can buy,trade, and sell new and used cloth diapers, among other things. Also check out your local craigslist.

  11. i knew i didnt want cloth because my autn used them on my little cousin when we were small and boy was it a hassle and super ultra mega stinky lol i'm ok paying the extra cash… when i was preggo with little man i considered these cool disposable diapers that were great for the earth called g diapers but never ordered them and by the time baby came it was too late. they were cool tho a lil pricey but cool lol

  12. I'm Mary Anne, one of Courtney's friends. My baby girl is currently 9 months old (and the love of my life!). We used cloth diapers (bum genious 3.0 one size) for 3 months, and then switched to disposable. The problem? The whole reason we tried then in the first place…sensitive skin. With cloth diapers you CANNOT use baby powder OR diaper rash cream unless you buy disposable paper liners (that are usually pretty scratchy). Even though we bought really nice diapers for her with moisture wicking cloth, the moisture still sticks to their skin more than disposable diapers.This led to ALOT of rashing for Cayleighs sensitive skin, so we were always having to do a week of disposables with diaper rash cream before we could switch back to cloth. Another thing to think about is poo. Breastfed babies poop just about everytime they pee. Newborns need their diaper changed about every 2 hours, if not more b/c of all the mustardy poo. This poop needs to be scraped or sprayed off into the toilet before put into dry storage for washing. Needless to say, it can be real stinky mess at the house, let alone when it's been sitting in a plastic baggie for a couple hours before you can get home to scrape it off!
    If you do go cloth, spend the money to get the different sizes. The one size king we got were too big around the legs and always caused leaking with each pee (imagine 8 outfits in a day for your newborn plus the diapers) The velcro tends to wither after about 6 months, so get ones with snaps. They'll last you through all the kids you have. Fuzzi buns have been my mommy friends favorites who do the cloth. Oh, and to avoid having to buy super special detergent for your diapers (most detergents cause build up in the fabric with leads to leaking) make your own with borax and baking soda. Don't forget to always do a hot water rinse with bleach after you wash the diapers. E.Coli can survive the wash cycle and become imbedded in your and your little loves clothing if you don't.
    On the plus, you can get cloth diapers for cheap. They have tons of coupons out there, and babies r us does reward points for diapers. From a mommy that had done both, there's my LONG input!

  13. Interesting topic! I never even considered using cloth diapers for my son because I just can't stand the thought of washing soiled diapers and reusing them.

    It may be worth looking into for my next child, whenever that happens…but for now, I'm all about disposable and I'm trying to get him out of those! See my most recent post and you'll get what I'm saying. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!

  14. Just read through all the comments, Mary Anne talked about diaper rashes, that would have been because she wasn't changing the diapers enough. If the diaper is changed immediately after wetting or a bowel movement, very little chance for any sort of rash, and it's actually shown that babies in disposables have a lot more diaper rashes, because parents are far more likely to leave their child in their own urine and feces. Gross, but true.

  15. My mom NEVER used regular diapers on me. She only used cloth and she cannot recommend it enough. The ones you've looked into are expensive. I'll ask my mom where she got hers (though, keep in mind, this was 25 years ago so we don't know if the company/price is the same.)

  16. Hi Kathryn!

    There is a book we have at the store called "Raising Baby Green," and there is a section about diapers in the chapter The Nursery.

    The author points out that there is conflicting information about whether or not conventional diapers are linked with toxic shock, male infertility, asthma, and simple diaper rash, and she doesn't really focus on those.

    She does mention that the average parent uses up to 8,000 diapers from birth to toilet training! She also talks about how it is a marketing technique to call conventional diapers "disposable," because while they are easy to remove from your house, they will fill up a landfill with waste as they are not biodegradeable!

    The author recommends a hybrid– "Flushable Diapers," which are disposable inserts that fit inside a cloth diaper. The wet inserts can be composted, and the soiled ones can be flushed, where they will biodegrade.

    Some helpful links–

    Cloth Diapers


    Flushable Diapers- Hybrids or True Disposables

  17. Very interesting indeed. I hope you discover your answer before June!! =) My mom had me in cloth diapers because I was allergic to the regular ones. Of course I was a child of the 70's & regular diapers I'm sure were much different back then & not made for 'sensitive skin'. She ended up using and loving cloth diapers, which I'm certain were much different back then b/c there is no way my parents could have afford the prices you mentioned.

    My biggest thing would be – are regular diapers biodegradable? I don't think I spelled that right. But do they make regular diapers that are recyclable? I mean I wouldn't throw a diaper in the recycle bin or anything, lOL, but do they dissinegrate? Hmm…

    I don't know if that answer was covered up above as I focused more on the cloth diaper section than the regular.

    Best wishes in making your decision!!!

    On today's post (Monday, 2/1/10), I told you I'm a military wife. Then I read your About You & saw you are an AF wife. I am too. My hubs has been in about 12 years. We've been married about 6 years. You guys are SO cute!! We're about to make our first REAL pcs to Nebraska. Should prove interesting. Are you guys at Robbins or Warner Robbins or whatever?

  18. I think you maybe posted this awhile ago, but I saw the label "diaper" & was interested.

    I will be a new mom in 2.5 weeks & am planning on using gdiapers. The biggest problem is finding them locally (which I haven't, but if you live in a big city, you maybe would be able to find some). But if you order a certain amount then shipping is free.

    For me, it was mostly because it takes 500 years for a "disposable" diaper to break down in a landfill. Poor earth!

    Honestly, I will probably use gdiapers at home & disposable for going out. But, we'll see soon!

    I'll have to let you know how it all turns out since I'll have my baby girl 2 months before your baby boy arrives 🙂

  19. Hi! Still just browsing through your posts. We cloth diaper our babies, and I do agree that it can be expensive to start out (and we were definitely dirt poor at first LOL). It makes a HUGE difference if you're comfortable buying used diapers. There's really no reason NOT to buy used, especially since most experienced CD'ing mom's are good about selling them. But they can be so much cheaper and allow you to buy more quantity and variety for the cost of just a few brand new diapers! And it's definitely more cost effective if you're unsure of what kind you want to use and want to try out a few different kinds.

  20. I know you posted this over a year ago, but obviously people are still finding it!

    I use cloth diapers with my son, and I love them. I won't go into all the details of the extra pros and cons here, because I blogged about them, but the main reasons I chose cloth were 1) price ($200-$500 up front to diaper each child for 3 years vs. over $1600 of disposables for each child), 2) environment, and 3) health.

    "MA" said she had to switch back to disposables due to her child's sensitive skin. That is unfortunate, but I did notice that she recommended borax, baking soda, and bleach for cleaning the diapers. The Bum Genius company instructs you to NOT use baking soda, vinegar, or bleach. If you use 1/4 of the recommended detergent and use free & clear detergent, you shouldn't have a problem with build up or leaks. I started using more than 1/4 for especially dirty diapers, but that caused build up on the diapers.

    Also, you do not have to spray down or dry the diapers, even poopy ones. It sounds gross, but you just throw in all the diapers, do a cold/cold rinse & spin with an additional rinse, followed by a hot/cold heavy duty (or equivalent) wash. Use detergent on the second wash.

    I completely hate doing laundry, but doing the diapers is super easy. And you don't have to fold them!

    Here is my post on what diapers I decided to purchase.

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