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Diapers are another form of plastic, they’re just slightly comfortable, but they’re still plastic (as well as a ton of other chemicals that are dangerous when they come into contact with children).
There’s nearly 28 billion plastic diapers being used every single year, and it’s a massive toll on the environment.
There’s a maximum of 10% of the population that actually commits to cloth diapering, and they’re the only reason that those numbers haven’t peaked 30 billion.
Cloth diapers save you money, aren’t even a fraction as taxing on the environment, and help to rid us all of the disposable nation mindset that we’re all in.
These are the very best reusable diapers on the market to get you started.
Our Reviews Of The Best Cloth Diapers
AlvaBaby Adjustable Cloth Diapers
The aim of the game is to reduce your carbon footprint, but that doesn’t mean your baby has to use less-than-comfortable products.
Cloth diapering is more comfortable than ever with AlvaBaby’s six-pack of polyester and suede diapers.
These aren’t machine washable, which is a bit of a bummer, but they do clean extremely easily.
For a low cost, these will get your baby from infancy all the way up to about the beginning of their second year, thanks to the durable and flexible material.
One pack of this costs less than one month of disposable diapers, and lasts for far longer.
In fact, the manufacturer extends the idea of this being an investment by offering a one-year guarantee on all the diapers that you buy.
You can even bring these on vacation, because they’re built with a durable TPU inner that’s fully water resistant, while the suede interior keeps your baby comfortable the entire time.
LBB Reusable Antileak Diapers
LBB kept it as eco-friendly as possible.
Aside from the fact that you’re not adding diapers to landfills anymore, these are also made of organic cotton, which isn’t extracted with chemicals like other strands of cotton.
From the ground up, this supports a cleaner, healthier earth. They’re similarly priced to our first pick, and include six diapers plus inserts.
While these are listed on the sales page as being machine washable, one quick look at the community who uses LBB diapers states that they machine wash and dry all the time with no worry.
This pack should last you for about six months to a year before they deteriorate.
For adjusting the size between 1 and 5 throughout the years, you can simply pop open the side snaps and adjust everything as you see fit.
TPU makes it waterproof, while bamboo fiber on the exterior makes these ultra durable for the long haul.
Even if you bulk up and get a few packs here, you’ll only be spending about 5-8% of what disposable diaper parents spend in a year.
Mama Koala Washable Diapers
Hand wash, machine wash, whatever you want to do—Mama Koala made one of the most durable cloth diapers available.
Built out of polyester and TPU, these remain fully waterproof inside and out: no leaks are going to get through either side, so your little one can wear these in the pool if need be.
They are a bit harder to care for. You can’t use fabric softener or any bleach, though the material is very unlikely to stain (no matter how messy things get).
Mama Koala is a little more premium-priced, but still stays at a fraction of what you’d spend on disposable diapers on an annual basis.
With three layers of adjustable snaps, these scale as your baby grows, so one pack of these will be able to last you up to two years before your child will likely size out of them.
Mama Koala’s diapers stand the test of time, and can help to keep over 18,000 diapers (from your baby alone) out of the landfills.
Anmababy Pocket Cloth Diapers
Some children are super sensitive to the chemicals in disposable diapers, which is why Anmababy uses the fewest amount of chemicals during productions to ensure comfort for your child.
Built out of durable polyester, these super compact diapers come with a cloth carrying bag, and store in your diaper bag extremely easily.
They shouldn’t be put into the washing machine, nor the dryer. The best method of cleaning is hand washing and air drying to retain the diaper’s shape.
While Anmababy offers a full money-back guarantee, we doubt you’ll ever need to call on it. These diapers work well up until size four, where your child will begin to outgrow them.
Everything is fully waterproof, allowing your baby to have some summer splashing fun without leaking chemicals in the pool from disposable swim diapers.
Because of the soft lining, you’ll also reduce their chance of diaper rash when they exit the pool.
Nora’s Nursery Unisex Cloth Diapers
Nora’s Nursery isn’t the cheapest option, but it is by far the most eco-friendly that we could ever hope to find.
With bamboo inserts (which are also washable), these unisex diapers grow with your baby as they age, ranging up to 33 lbs, or size four in most charts.
You get a wet bag to either store wet diapers in on-the-go, or to machine wash everything together.
Pop the diapers and inserts in the bag before putting it in the washing machine to ensure nothing gets lost, and everything comes out of the dryer like it’s brand new.
Nora’s Nursery offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied, though it would be hard not to love these cloth diapers.
Built out of polyester and bamboo, there are four waterproof layers that prevent stains.
Reusable Diapers FAQHow Many Times Can a Cloth Diaper Be Used?
Until they deteriorate, which can take a very long time.
Cloth diapers are generally made out of more eco-friendly materials, so while they’re not going to look 100% out-of-the-package after six months of use, they will still function perfectly okay.
Disposable diapers contain something called SAP, which stands for super absorbent polymer. That’s the gel that beads up and swells when liquid is introduced.
If you’ve ever accidentally popped a disposable diaper in the wash or stepped on one when it was full (hey, parenthood is tricky), you’ve seen SAP beads firsthand.
Since cloth diapers don’t contain this, they don’t swell in the same way that disposable diapers do.
Instead, they commonly use suede, which is super absorbent, or bamboo which is far more eco-friendly.
Bamboo is easy to pass water through, so there’s usually a TPU exterior to keep the water in, and bamboo to retain liquid in the meantime.
All of this is to say that while disposable diapers usually won’t last for more than two or three years, they will last at least one year minimum before you may see signs of deterioration.
The most common area to undergo damage first is the adjustable snap section that makes them adjustable, or the elasticity in the leg rungs.
It’s very rare that the diaper itself will tear or lose its ability to retain liquid and waste. If you’re talking about aesthetics, even the best reusable diapers can stain over time.
It depends on the acidity levels in your baby’s waste, plus the amount of times that one specific diaper/liner is used.
If you go with a diaper that includes liners (which are usually washable/reusable as well) then you’re not going to have as many stains.
Even the best hybrid diapers—diapers that include the absorbent feature in a built-in lining—are more likely to stain early than two-stage diapers.
Do Cloth Diapers Save Money?
In every sense, yes they do.
Let’s look at some cost averages to see just how much you’ll be saving by switching to cloth diapers, and talk about every angle that expenses can be examined.
First and foremost, the average infant will use about six hundred diapers in their first month.
Even if you look at online prices and use coupon comparison tools, you’ll spend about $161.90 on infant pampers in the first month of your baby’s life.
If you went with the top pick of diapers on this list, you’d be spending $89.97 to get three packs (infants use about 18-20 in their first month).
The difference is, you’ll still have those disposable diapers. Infants use this number of diapers for the first three to six months.
That means your cost for cloth diapers will remain at $89.97, whereas you would have spent $971.40 on Pampers in the first six months.
If you go with the cheapest off-brand diapers we can find (the chemical-ridden ones), you might only have to spend about $597.38 for the first six months.
What sounds better?
But there are a few other things to consider.
For one, that’s about 3,600 diapers in that first six months that you will have to wash, and it’s not like you can wash all of them at the same time.
Accounting for washing machine costs, assuming that you will be using the quickest, most streamlined way to clean these diapers, you can expect to make about two-hundred cold washes throughout those six months.
Using detergent and cold water washes, you’ll average about $280.00 for those cold washes.
Even when compared to those off-brand diapers, you’re still saving more than 50% by cloth diapering.
Yes, they take more time, but it’s a substantial amount of money, especially if you were to find out your child was sensitive to cheap diapers.
How do I Wash the Diapers?
Non disposable diapers come with two different ways to wash them: washing machine, or hand wash.
Some diapers can’t handle washing machines, and it does make the process of cleaning a bit longer and involved.
To wash non disposable diapers by hand, you’ll need to get a designated basin.
You should be washing six to ten diapers at a time so that your baby still has diapers to use while these dry, but so that you’re also not doing a ton of loads of wash at once.
Empty any bodily waste from the diapers prior to washing. Use the basin to clean pee diapers first.
Fill the basin with warm water and mild detergent, and mix it up. Let the pee diapers soak for about ten minutes prior to cleaning.
Use something to mix/stir them in the basin to run water through the lining and exterior material.
After this point, drain the water. Refill the basin with warm water, and use gloved hands to drain any retained water from the diapers. Hang to air dry in a well ventilated area.
Now, the most ideal way to clean these is with machine washing, which is as easy as cleaning your clothes.
The only issue here is that you need to remove waste in an efficient manner prior to putting them in the wash.
You should also exclusively wash these diapers in their own load without other clothing included.
This will preserve the physical integrity of your diapers, and prevent stains from transferring to other clothes in the wash.
Pop it on cold/delicate, and put in an appropriate amount of detergent.
You want to run your washer on the highest water fill setting so that it really runs that water through the diapers and ensures full cleanliness at the end.
Remove them when the cycle is done, and delicate dry them in their own load.
How do You Sanitize Cloth Diapers?
The best all in one cloth diapers come with an added difficulty: they need to be sanitized after they’ve been cleaned.
Since you’re dealing with two or more layers that don’t come apart, you have to ensure there’s no bacteria being harbored in the fabric.
If you look up cloth diapers reviews, there’s a lot of folks who don’t understand that sanitization doesn’t require bleach.
Bleach is the fastest option, but will break down the natural and eco-friendly fibers that make up the reusable diaper.
The secret alternative is hydrogen peroxide. We trust it to clean our wounds and keep us free from infection, and it works just as well on cloth diapers.
You’ll also need borax, which is inexpensive as well. The only other option is white distilled vinegar, but it leaves a sour smell in the air.
Get a 13-gallon plastic trash bucket that you’ll exclusively use for sanitizing cloth diapers. Fill it up halfway with warm water.
Drop in two full cups of hydrogen peroxide, and a half-cup of borax. Mix it all up, and soak the diapers for about five minutes in this solution before drying.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that this can also fade the aesthetic appeal of designer diapers just as quickly as bleach does, but without degrading the fibers and reducing the lifespan on your cloth diapers.
Read manufacturer warranties before using this method as it may void the warranty.
Can I Put Cloth Diapers in the Dryer?
We’ve briefly discussed tossing these in the dryer after a machine wash, but now it’s time to dig deep.
Most of the best cloth diapers (including all in one cloth diapers) can go in the dryer, but you have to be careful.
The manufacturer will have instructions included in your packaging that discuss temperature ranges.
Most modern day dryers, even non-HE models, will come with some level of customization. Match the temperature settings to the instructions on the cloth diapers.
If your cloth diapers didn’t come with an instruction for drying, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered.
Some non disposable diapers don’t state anything regarding machine washing and drying.
Often times, it’s left up to the community or reviewers of a product to tell you if a specific brand and model of reusable diaper can be put in a dryer.
You’re going to approach this by assuming that the diapers cannot handle high heats. Go for the lowest possible settings on your dryer, as well as the shortest amount of time per run.
This might mean you have to run it a second time to ensure complete dryness, but it’s better than smelling the elastic leg rungs melting in the dryer.
Because most reusable diapers contain TPU to keep the exterior waterproof, if you can avoid using the dryer, then it’s best to do so.
TPU can degrade with time, even if you get a premium diaper. It’s not the fault of the manufacturer or the quality of the diaper; general wear and tear is the culprit.
Air drying is the preferred method of drying cloth diapers. The only trick is to either use a clothes line, or fine a well ventilated area to hang them up and let them dry.
Check the diapers by pressing the heel of your palm into the center of the absorbent area to ensure no water is left.
How Many Diapers do I Need?
Infants make a big mess in everything they do.
Even as their developmental stages progress, you’ll be going through a lot of diapers (provided that you’re going to stick to a strict regimen with cloth diapering).
There are three main stages where your diaper needs are going to focus on.
Infancy (1st 6 Months)
You’ll need anywhere from 16 to 20 diapers per day.
This is accounting for babies with sensitive stomachs, the seedy diapers that you usually get for the first month or so, and just mishaps/accidents from overfeeding.
If you don’t use a full 20 in one day, that’s great—less laundry for you to do, and you’re overprepared.
This also gives you enough that you car stores some in the car bag for when you’re lightly travelling.
Second Stage (6-12 Months)
At this point, you’ll have a good understanding of what foods set off their stomachs, and how many diapers they are averaging in a day.
For this point, you should have between 7 and 10 diapers for them to change into on a daily basis.
This number accounts for sick days, frequent changing in hot weather to prevent rashes, and any variables in between.
Toddler Days (1 year+)
At most, you’ll need about 6 diapers per day at this stage. Around the two-year mark is where most parents introduce the idea of potty training.
Their digestive systems have regulated a fair bit by this point, so you shouldn’t run into issues when it comes to sick days.
Say Goodbye to Diaper Pollution
Diapers have an insane impact on the environment: billions of gallons of fuel in production every single year, chemicals poisoning the earth from landfills, and the detrimental health effects that happen to us humans from the associated chemicals as well.
Everyone should be cloth diapering: it’s an awful lot of pollution for a short stage in your child’s life, wouldn’t you say?
Switching to reusable products, cloth diapers in this case, is beneficial for you, and the rest of the environment.
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