FAQ ON CLOTH DIAPERS - FACT OR FICTION?
When parents consider using cloth diapers, they inevitably must wade through the mass of misinformation that abounds wherever cloth diaper discussions occur. No doubt these inexperienced parents hear that cloth diapers are unsanitary, that they perpetuate unpleasant odors, leak profusely, and require a lot of back breaking work. But these parents can take comfort in the fact that these are all cloth diaper myths. You can get the facts here ...
Are Cloth Diapers More Expensive? As a general rule, it is almost always cheaper to reuse than to buy new every time. This is no difference with cloth diapers. Most parents go through 6 to 8 thousand diapers per child, from birth to about age three. If we take an average of what those diapers cost, that equates to between 2000 and 3000 dollars per baby. Once those children are potty trained those diapers are gone. They can’t be re-used. So a significant chunk of our hard earned money has gone to buying what is essentially garbage. In comparison, enough cloth diapers to last for three years will usually cost between 3 to 8 hundred dollars. At a minimum that is about a 1200 dollar savings. But wait! Consider, too, that those cloth diapers may last for one or more successive children and your savings doubles and even triples. Of course, it is difficult to make any hard and fast statements in this regard because of the varying costs of diapers, electricity, water, and detergents. Yes, cloth diapers will usually mean an extra one to three loads of laundry a week, but if everyone were to weigh the extra costs of their electricity, water usage, and detergent, I think they would be pleasantly surprised. These costs are infinitesimal compared to the cost of expensive disposable diapers.
Do Cloth Diapers Smell? Cloth diapers do not smell any more than a disposable diaper does. The smell that emanates from a cloth diaper thrown in a diaper pail cannot be more offensive then a soiled disposable diaper thrown in a garbage can. Innovative new diaper pails and odor controlling accoutrements in a variety of sweet smelling fragrances have eliminated this problem entirely. Odors are also held at bay by using a dry pail method for storing soiled diapers so that the diapers are not left to sit in stagnant and possibly malodorous water. With these new advances, there are no reasons why cloth diapers need to "smell".
Are Cloth Diapers Hard To Care For? Many cloth diapering parents have adopted a dry pail method of storage. This means that they simply remove a soiled diaper, dispose of any solid waste by dumping it in the toilet, and then toss the diaper in a diaper pail until laundry day. While some cloth diaper users may still rinse diapers in a toilet or sink before putting them in the pail, or even soak them in a wet pail before laundering, these methods are not necessary. A no rinse, dry pail method has been proven to be just as effective.
Using cloth diapers will usually only mean another 1-3 loads of laundry a week. This should not represent a significant difference in workload on laundry days. Putting cloth diapers outside on a line to dry will not only alleviate some of this work, but it will also help conserve energy and sun out any stains that washing did not get rid of. All things considered, it is no more difficult to clean cloth diapers then it is to clean any other clothing types.
Are Cloth Diapers Un-Sanitary? Cloth diapers need to be clean, plain and simple. They do not need to be absolutely sterile. Most adults probably do not find it necessary to sterilize their underpants, so laundering cloth diapers should be sufficient to ensure that they are clean and ready for use. Diapers should be washed with hot water and then dried in a dryer or on the line outside. Both of these drying mechanisms, providing either heat from the dryer or heat from the sun, will actually help to sterilize the diapers and kill any lingering bacteria that may be present. They should be sufficiently clean and acceptable to diaper your baby with.
Are Cloth Diapers Healthier For Your Baby? What should be of serious concern to all parents are the toxic chemicals present in disposable diapers. Dioxin, which in various forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, skin diseases, and genetic damage, is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers. Trace quantities may even exist in the diapers themselves! Dioxin is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of cancer related chemicals. Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. Disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate. If you have ever seen the gel-like, super absorbent crystals in a disposable, then you have seen this first hand. Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. No studies have been done on the long-term effects of this chemical being in contact with a baby's reproductive organs 24 hours a day for upwards of two years. Studies have also been done to show that the chemical emissions from disposable diapers can cause respiratory problems in children. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers.
Does Washing Cloth Diapers Waste Electricity and Water? This argument is truly baffling. Washing cloth diapers does require water and energy usage. However, advancing technology in washing machines and dryers has helped tremendously to keep the energy and water usage to a minimum. Even if you are washing cloth diapers with the oldest and most archaic washing and drying machines, the water and energy output in washing a few loads of diapers a week is infinitesimal compared to the energy wasted on disposable diapers.
Just consider the energy and fossil fuels used to cut down and transport thousands of trees to make the paper pulp used in a disposable diaper, not to mention the devastation this causes to our national forests. Water and energy are then used to create this paper pulp and bleach it. Even more energy is used to make the outer plastic shells and then assemble the diaper. These diapers are then packaged in plastic wrappings and put in cardboard boxes, which also had to be specially made for transporting these diapers.
It doesn’t end there, however; these diapers are then transported from the factory all over the country and all over the world using trains, trucks, and cargo planes, so that they can be delivered to the stores that sell them to the public. No doubt, more energy is wasted by the consumer who must drive to and from these stores to make their purchase. To make matters worse, these consumers use these diapers and throw them away, essentially throwing their money in the garbage as well. The garbage must then be transported to a landfill using even more energy and fuel. This energy consumption is never ending. Cloth diaper users reduce, reuse, and recycle. Can any disposable diaper users claim that?
According to the Sustainability Institute, eighty percent of the diapering in the United States are done with disposables. That comes to 18 BILLION diapers a year, just in the U.S. alone!
These throw-away diapers require thousands of tons of plastic and hundreds of thousands of trees to manufacture. After a few hours of active service, these used diapers are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit as neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed or mummified, undegraded for several hundred years. The idea of a "disposable" diaper is a myth; the ramifications of which will stay with us for centuries to come. They are the third largest single product in the waste stream behind newspapers and beverage containers. The urine and feces in disposable diapers enter landfills untreated, possibly contaminating the ground water supply. When you consider the unnecessary depletion of our valuable forests, the huge volume of garbage created, the toxic air and water pollution, and the potential health risks to children, it is very difficult to comprehend how washing and reusing cloth diapers could ever be considered an inconvenience. They are a rewarding investment all around - a financial investment, an investment in our children’s health, and an investment in our planet.
Do Cloth Diapers Leak? Cloth diapers today come in many different styles, and are made with a wondrous array of fabric and absorbency levels. Even parents of children who are very heavy wetter’s are sure to find a diaper that works for them if they search hard enough. Parents must consider though, that disposable diapers are made with chemicals that allow them to be super absorbent and act as a high-volume portable toilet. Yes, disposable diapers may hold in more urine, but is that really a good thing? The holding capacity of disposable diapers seems to be breeding laziness and unrealistic expectations in many parents. We should not be lulled into the thinking that a diaper should last through several urinations before it is changed, simply because it is inconvenient to change diapers every 2-3 hours or less. When a diaper is soiled or wet it needs to be changed ... end of story. If diapers are changed immediately after they become soiled or wet, then leaks are rarely a problem.
Are Cloth Diapers Every Bit as Convenient as Disposable Diapers? The options available today prove that cloth diapering doesn't have to be inconvenient. Cloth diapers nowadays are fitted with elastic in the legs and back area and have easy hook and loop closures or snaps. Many different fabric choices and absorbency levels allow parents to choose the best diapering system for the individual needs of their child. It just can't get any easier. There is no time like the present to make a firm commitment to your child, to your pocket book, and to your planet. Start using cloth diapers today!