The Diaper Debate: Cloth vs. Disposable


Babies poop, and they poop a lot. So recently, some Baby Mamas, a Baby-Mama-To-Be, and I were talking about a really important subject: diapers. The To-Be is trying to decide if she should use cloth or disposable and we all had different answers even though our concern was the same: the environment (after what was best for our babies, of course).

The cloth argument went something like this: "Disposable diapers (the thousands you use in the baby's first few years) end up in a landfill. Cloth is better because you re-use the diapers and that's ultimately better for the planet. Many disposable diapers have chemicals from the bleach and moisturizers in the linings that are bad for your baby."

The disposable argument went something like this: "The amount of water you use to clean cloth diapers, the energy needed to run the washing machine and dryer, the gas if you use a diaper service, the detergent you need to clean them—all add up and harm the environment more than disposables. The detergents used to clean the diapers can irritate your baby's skin and cloth diapers result in more diaper rash."

One thing none of us considered was cost (and it's not like we're rich or anything). Apparently there is also a great debate about whether cloth or disposable is cheaper.

There's a good article that just appeared in the Boston Globe addressing all of theses very important cloth vs disposable diaper issues.

So how about you—do you use cloth or disposable diapers?


What was the most important factor for you in choosing a diaper?

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clothes, poop & diapers


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nonmember avatar

The cloth vs. disposable debate has been an ongoing one for parents, initially because of the impact both have on the environment. Which is worse? I think it depends on how you use both. If parents do their research, they can make a decision they can be happy with. Also, some parents may decide that using both works well for them. Don't assume that cloth is better for the environment either. There have been studies suggesting that it has a larger carbon footprint if laundered on a high energy regimen.

mamaz... mamazfave3

I used disposable diapers on my first two children, but with my third I decided to try something "different" and to find out I love cloth diapers! I wish I would of known more about them before! They are great!

nonmember avatar Natasha

We used disposables for the first 4 months of our son's life. finally, I had enough asthma attacks because of the perfumes in them to last a lifetime. My son also was miserable in every brand of disposable on the market. He had constant bad rashes and overly dry skin on his diaper area despite my very frequent changes. For the last 9 months we have been doing cloth diapers. No more asthma attacks for me, and no more rashes for my son. They are so much easier as well. No mor long trips to the store if I run out of diapers. For our next child, a disposable will never ever touch his/her bottom or be welcome in our lives again.

mynat... mynaturalbaby

I've been a cloth diapering Mama for about 8 months now and wouldn't think about going back to disposables. Not only are they super cute, they're easier on the environment and your bank balance. Gone are the cloth diapering days of our Moms where they would have to fold and pin huge squares of fabric, next generation cloth diapers are slim and absorbent and super easy to use. There are a ton of great brands out there so take a look around before you make the decision. I bought a bundled box of prefolds and covers by Real Nappies ( and love them!

Fruit... FruityPebbles

We have cloth diapered DS since he was a month old. During that first month he had so many rashes regardless of how we changed him. Since then no rashes. I bought "pricey" diapers for the convenience and by the time he's 18 months old we'll have paid for the costs involved - the diapers themselves and all the laundry and energy used during that time and will still have something to show for it after 18 months! We're planning to cloth diaper our second baby (due in Aug.) and will use the same diapers for him (which makes them virtually free). No way I'm going back to disposables now! I'm convinced cloth is best for our babies!

nonmember avatar cloth diaper

disposable diapers cause much greater impact to the environment. The name disposable doesn’t translate to biodegradable, though you can spend a lot more than average to get diapers made of recycled plastics. cloth diapers are better for a baby because they allow the bottom to breathe. They suggest that using cloth encourages more changes, meaning the baby is more protected against wet diapers by frequent changes, and that cloth also reduces diaper you can also use <a href=""> one size diapers  </a>....thanks.....................

pixie... pixiefunk

All I have to say is CLOTH, Fantastic!

nonmember avatar Margie Wright

Mw mom used cloth diapers on me, and rubber pants to protect from leaks. To rinse the diapers she dangled them in the toilet then flushed toilet. She held on to the diaper and let the pressure of the toilet flushing rinse the diaper. Then she washed it in the washer.

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