Cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, as Babble’s hilarious article from one mom who tried going cloth shows. It is work, and it’s work that involves handling your kids poop in a way disposable diapers let you largely avoid. Perhaps not for the easily disgusted.
Cloth diapers are best for the planet though, and arguably better for your baby. There’s a popular myth that the resources used to clean cloth diapers balance the scales of resource consumption, but it’s just not true. It’s a claim that was made 20 years ago in a faulty study. Not only was it never true, it’s less true now than ever. Washing machines have come a long way, as have diaper manufacturing processes. Both cloth and the disposables have gotten greener in recent years. But cloth is still better.
One reason is that you can just keep using them, and using them, and using them. I got my diapers as hand-me-downs from a friend. After my two kids had each worn them for about two years each, I passed most of them on to another friend whose baby is wearing them still. These diapers have now diapered five kids. That’s four kids worth of resource consumption that just never had to happen on the manufacturing end.
Even when I ran out of kids to put diapers on, I kept using my cloth diapers. Here are a few of the many uses they’ve been put to in my house (after being very thoroughly laundered upon retirement):
- Dust cloths. Growing up, my mother had a stash of old prefolds she used for dusting. I’m reminded of her every time I break out my well-worn ones and use them as dust rags.
- Menstrual pads. I especially like the hemp liners from some of our old pocket diapers for these. They’re about the right size, very soft and very absorbent.
- Mopping up spills. Cloth diapers are super absorbent. They make a great replacement for paper towels.
- Rag stuffing. I’ve cut up old diapers and used them to make doll pillows and cat cushions.
- Handkerchief. I know, gross. But once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your organic cotton baby wipes, it almost seems a shame not to use them when a runny nose sets in. They’re so soft.
What do you use your diapers for after the baby is done with them?