Best Cloth Diapers
Interested in cloth diapering but overwhelmed by all the options? We’re rounded up some of the best reusable diapers, from brands like bumGenius, FuzziBunz, Kissaluvs, GroVia, and more
New parents may be shocked to discover how much brainpower they devote to thinking about their baby’s poop, especially how to contain and dispose of it. Thinking about using cloth diapers? Here are some things to consider:
- Cost: Did you know you can save thousands of dollars cloth diapering just one child—even when factoring in water and energy costs—let alone if you use the diapers on more than one child? For example, Consumer Reports estimates that parents can save $1,500 to $2,000 by using cloth diapers instead of disposables—and cloth diaper retailer Jillian’s Drawers estimates that parents can save approximately $4,000 by using the same cloth diapers for two kids (see the cost comparison on page 6 of their “New to Cloth” guide). If you’d like to work out the savings for your particular situation, try checking out this cloth diaper savings calculator from Diaper Pin.
- Environmental impact: Disposable diapers are estimated to take 250-500 years to decompose—and they’re the third largest single consumer item in landfills and represent about 4% of solid waste. In households with just one diaper-age child, disposables make up as much as 50% of total household waste, according to a 2003 study by the Women’s Environmental Network (via the Real Diaper Association).
- Convenience and efficacy: Cloth diapers have come a long way. Using and caring for the diapers is surprisingly easy (especially with inventions like diaper sprayers and flushable liners, you don’t have to dunk diapers in the toilet or leave them soaking in a wet pail), and many of the styles have elastic around the legs and waist to prevent spillage. However, you will be doing laundry more often, and they can be harder to use when you’re on the go (you’ll need to tote any soiled cloth diapers back home in a waterproof bag, or do laundry if you’re away for an extended period of time). And finally, even if you are gung-ho about using cloth diapers, convincing your partner and other caregivers to use them may be an uphill battle, at least initially.
To help figure out if cloth diapers are right got for you, we turned to Mandi Meidlinger, President of Jillian’s Drawers in Ithaca, NY and a member of the Board of Directors of the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA), and Salina Gonzales Frazier, owner of Diaper Lab in Boston, Mass. and Spokane, Wash., and a charter member of RDIA as well as a member of the Real Diaper Association and the non-profit Cloth Diaper Foundation, which aims to help qualifying families get a jump start on cloth diapering.
Read on for the basics of cloth diapering, along with some of our favorite cloth and hybrid diapering systems. We’d also love to hear about your fave brands—please leave a comment below!