There are two main reasons why you may be interested (or someone tried to interest you) for cloth diapers: your budget or your desire to live a more eco-responsible life. The truth is that in both areas the impact of cloth diapers is interesting. But before immersing myself in the details, I want to tell you that with Astor we have been using them since their first month and we are very happy with this decision. And we have tricks and anecdotes to share with you. But we go in parts.
Are cloth diapers cheaper than disposable diapers?
On this point there are entire sites dedicated to doing mathematical accounts that come to cover in detail how many liters of water and detergent are needed to wash a diaper. Google and they will want to excise their brains against so much “engineering vocation” to defend or defenestrate the use of cloth diapers (oh yes, there are advocates on each side). The most widespread calculation is that disposable diapers are up to 5 times more expensive than cloth diapers if we consider a use of 2 years. It is that of course, there are many “depends”. It depends on which disposable diapers you use in the comparison, how many cloth diapers you buy, what detergent, you’re washing and drying routine, what clothes you have, etc. In my experience, the use of cloth diapers is not more expensive than that of disposable diapers and the benefits for the planet and for Astor they finish tipping the scales. And I think that to really be more expensive to use cloth diapers, you have to have a high compulsion for the use of the washing machine.
Are cloth diapers more environmentally friendly than disposable diapers?
Here the defenders of the disposable diaper say that the amount of water needed to wash the diapers is very many (?) And that therefore it is more expensive for the planet than having a shit diaper that will not biodegrade NEVER. Sorry, not “one”, but MILLIONS. Mountains and mountains of little squares filled with pee and poop that are not going anywhere but water that can be reclaimed because we are talking about pee and poop and not mercury, of course.
What other benefits do you have to use cloth diapers?
There are studies (again: Google and entertain themselves) that are looking to determine if the heat generated by the diaper in the testicular area can affect the fertility of men in the future. Interesting. It is also true that disposable diapers use chemicals (bleaches and absorbent) that are in permanent contact with the sensitive skin of the baby and can cause allergies. But beyond this information, I will speak to you from my experience: Astor NEVER gets stuck. And in part this is because we can give ourselves the “luxury” of changing the diaper every 2 hours without crying over the wallet: using a cloth diaper no more has an extra cost than washing it. And about washing, I want to talk to you. But first let me add that cloth diapers are actually fresher and, above all, more beautiful than disposable ones!
Am I going to wash it?
Of course. Babies increase the use of the washing machine by 500%. But you will not wash much more than if you used disposables: my diaper wash rate is 1 wash every 2-3 days. And I wash diapers and clothes, all together. It is clear to every woman with mother’s experience that less than 2-3 weekly washings of baby clothes are impossible. Well, in a drum of washing machine of 5-7 kg comes EVERYTHING you need to wash. And think that the time you are washing in your house, it is time that you are NOT in the diaper or the supermarket supplying you.
But do not you have to use special detergents?
No. The same detergent that I use to wash my clothes, sheets and towels, etc., is the one I use for Astor’s diapers. (Start with S.) In fact you have to use the recommended dose for washing (and never less) and a washing program of at least 2 hours that includes a pre-wash and 3-4 rinses. And NEVER but never use softening products because they “wax” the fibers and nullify the absorption power of the fabrics. The rule with washing diapers is keep it simple: simple. Without additives. And regular. It is not hygienic to leave a diaper unwashed for more than 3 days (even after pre-washing).
Do cloth diapers do not get stained?
If they are washed properly and left to dry in the sun, no. You will not see a spot. Not even when the baby takes iron supplements. The sun is the true ally, so keep in mind that if you do not have access to hang diapers in the sun, this system may not be the right one. Obvious, if some day it is cloudy nothing happens, but it is necessary that in a regular way the fabrics have contact with the super bleach UV rays.
But then you should never do any special washing?
In my washing routine there are 2 regular steps and 1 extraordinary step. The first regular step is the first pre-wash of the diaper to quickly eliminate the waste of pee or poop. If it is pee it is easy: it is enough to submerge in water and rinse 2-3 times. If it is poop I use a plastic bristle brush to help me with the task and a little white soap so that the diaper that is “in the queue” for later washing in the washing machine will not be smelly, of course.
The extraordinary step is optional but some recommend it to extend the useful life of the overnight diaper (which is supposed to be equivalent to the time you will need to use them with a child). It is awash with a special product created by the manufacturer of the diapers and used to remove the mineral deposits that accumulate in the fibers. It is a mixture of sodium carbonate, borax and other chemicals that can be used without risk while respecting the indications provided.
Let’s talk about what nobody wants to talk about. KK
The main fear of any beginner to face the cloth diaper issue is “what about the poop”. The first thing to say is that you will see and manipulate the same amount of poop with a disposable diaper or a cloth diaper. What changes is the routine, but the poop will be present in your life. So let’s get together. One of the ways to become friends with the idea is to adopt the use of liners: think of a roll of kitchen paper, but made of bamboo fibers. A sheet is cut and placed on the absorbent fabric layer. Voilà: we already have net catches poop. At the time of diaper change, the sheet is simply discarded and the diaper is prewashed in the laundry room with total ease. It is totally biodegradable yeah!