Cloth Diaper vs Disposable Diaper: Which is the Best?

First-time mothers always look forward to a better diapering system. The choices always involve cloth and disposable diapers. As both have equal pros and cons, it makes choosing a lot harder. Since this has been a long-running argument among parents, we have provided you a concise difference between both types of diapers.

So, we ask: should we go for cloth diapers or disposable diapers?

So long as you use both types responsibly, I recommend both cloth and disposable diapers for your baby’s use. This is because both provide the comfort and support that the baby needs in his poop and pee.

But, if you are up for convenience and you do not mind to spend quite a lot of money, disposable diapers will be the best for you. On the other hand, if you are inclined to purchase more practical and economic diapers for your baby, then you should just go with the cloth ones.

Cloth Diaper or Disposable Diaper
Cloth Diaper or Disposable Diaper

If you are still having a hard time to choose between the two. We have provided you with this article the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing cloth and disposable diapers.

Cloth Diaper

A cloth diaper or nappy is a reusable, washable diaper which is made of natural fibers, man-made materials or a combination of both. Commonly, the types of natural fibers being used are wool, hemp, and bamboo. On the other hand, the industrial cotton is the most commonly used man-made material.

Some manufacturers prefer to bleach the diaper to provide different colorings and style, while some just leave the material’s natural color. Similar to other diapers, this type is comprised of two functions: absorbency and waterproofing.

  • Absorbency: The absorbency function of the diaper aids in holding liquids intact even after the baby urinates or defecates. The diaper absorbs the liquid through its fibers, while some hard solids are left in the surface of the diaper. Hence, the solids are being scooped off and flushed through the toilet instead.
  • Waterproofing: Cloth diapers are usually stuffed inside a pocket or a wearable cover that contains a waterproof or water-resistant outer layer. The prime reason for this waterproofing is to prevent leaks from urination and defecation while your baby wears the cloth diapers. Further, these wearable covers are reusable and washable as well.

Types Of A Cloth Diaper

  • Unfolded diapers: The unfolded diapers also is a flat rectangular shape diaper that is accompanied by pins or fasteners in order to fit the baby well. However, there are instances that a Velcro or diaper cover is used instead to ensure that it fits well on your baby.
  • Pull-ups diapers: The pull-ups diapers are commonly used when your baby starts to potty train as these feel less of a diaper and more of underwear. The moment your baby pees a little, the pull-ups diaper will now feel cold to signal your baby that it is now time to go to the bathroom. In the present time, pull-ups diapers from different brands also design this kind depending on the gender of your baby.
  • All-in-one diapers: are known as one diapering system which has an absorbent pad inside, a waterproof cover, and adjustable fasteners. If you buy AIO diapers for you baby, you have options to wash and reuse it or just dispose it. However, it is more common that mothers used AIO diapers for several times.
  • Pre-folded diapers: Similar to an unfolded diaper, a pre-folded diaper is a flat rectangular shape that is usually used with pins or fasteners to be fastened well. In order to ensure its right fit, some also use it with pocket or wearable covers.
  • Fitted or contour diapers: A fitted or contour diaper is the modern version of a pre-folded diaper. It comes in an hourglass shape with elastic material in the legs and waist to give a better fit to your baby. As this mostly comes with a cloth, you can also choose from different fabrics like cotton fleece, bamboo or flannel.
  • Pocket diapers: A pocket diaper can be used by inserting an absorbent pad inside of the pocket. After which, the adhesive tapes are fastened on the sides to hold the pad better. As the pocket diaper can be used several times, the only accessory that you need to buy is the absorbent pads or cloth.

Types Of A Cloth Diaper

Pros Of Using A Cloth Diaper

PRICE

All cloth diapers and its accessories are reusable. Meaning, there is no need for you to buy another set of cloth diapers after your baby used them all. You just have to wash it well, and you are now good to go. Given this case, it will only cost you an approximate of $800 to $1000 for two years in contrast with the amount of $2000 to $3000 in disposable diapers. However, if you plan to proceed with laundering services in keeping the cloth diapers clean, then you might spend an approximate of $2500 to $2800 for two years as well.

However, this price will live long as you can still pass the cloth diapers on to his siblings or you can just give it to others so they can use it as well. Given this case, it is indeed noted that using cloth diapers is way cheaper and lighter in our budget.

HEALTH

Cloth diapers are gentler on your baby’s skin as it does not contain harmful chemicals which disposable diapers have. The harmful chemicals that I was talking about are the scented lotion that primarily aims to apply fragrance and moisturizer to your baby’s bum. As these chemicals can be a cause of skin rashes and irritation, cloth diapers are the most prescribed type for newborn babies who have the most sensitive skin.

COMFORT

Aside from the absence of harmful chemicals, cloth diapers are also suitable for babies as these contain softness like a hug of a cloth. Meaning, the soft fabric will enable your baby to move freely and comfortably as they sleep and play.

At the same time, cloth diapers have an incredible adjustable feature. You can control how tight and loose the diaper fits your baby based on your application of pins, wearable covers, and straps. You just have to choose the right balance of the three in order to give your baby the full comfort. At the same time, in case you bought a cloth bigger than your baby’s size, you do not have to worry as this can be solved through the pins, straps, and wearable covers. Just tight it a little bit and you are good to go.

CONVENIENCE

If you fear the use of pins and you already feel tired of doing complicated folds, a new way to solve this was invented. Modern cloth diapers now contain Velcro or snap closures to make changing cloth diapers as easy as the disposable ones. You just have to strap it on with the right fit for your baby and you are good to go.

Aside from that, you have an option to use wearable covers instead. These waterproof covers will support the baby’s cloth or pad from falling off and prevent diapers from possible leaks. What’s the best thing? These covers are also washable and reusable. Hence, you just have to wash it well and dry it up for the next use.

This modernization of cloth diapers defeats the idea of inconvenience. As for now, the same has been developed to be as convenient as disposable diapers – only more environment-friendly!

ENVIRONMENT

Since cloth diapers are reusable, you will not anymore contribute to a pile of diaper waste in landfill areas. Instead, you can just rewash it for the next use.

A regular diaper takes 200 years to decompose, thus as soon as we are alive, the diaper trashes remain in a landfill. Not only that. A disposable diaper requires another plastic bag to be wrapped around it. Because if not, its foul odor will spread and the liquid from the diaper might leak anytime. This only means that aside from the disposable diapers, tons of plastic bags will likewise be added in the waste landfill.

Cons Of Using A Cloth Diaper

CLEANING​​​​​

Deep cleaning and washing cloth diapers are the hardest part of using this type of diaper. It requires scooping every time your baby excretes solid poops. Since you cannot just throw the diapers away, you are forced to scoop off the poop to enable you to start washing. If you think disposing of the solids in bins will cause you hassles, you can just flush it in your toilet bowl – easier and less disgusting. After which, you can now proceed to wash the diapers.

But the hardship does not end there. Since cloth diapers require deep cleaning, you have to brush off the stains in the cloth. You also have to ensure that no stains were left or your baby might develop possible infections from it.

As you do not want your house to get stinky around, you might as well do this process every day of the week. Your baby uses six to ten (6-10) diapers to be exact. Hence, unlike disposable diapers that you can just throw away after use, cloth diapers require a lot of efforts to sustain.

WATER AND ELECTRICITY USE

Since cloth diapers require to be washed every day, they use lots of water and electricity. Therefore, expect a little increase in your water and electricity bill if you are using cloth diapers for your baby. If you want to skip the hassles of laundry, then you can go for laundering services nearby. The only downside of this is that you will be required to spend another penny.

At the same time, using this amount of water and electricity is not energy efficient. So despite the intent to lessen the trash, the cloth diapers still negatively affect the environment.

ABSORBENT FEATURES

Disposable diapers are manufactured and tested for its high absorbent features. The substance used is water crystals or absorbent pads. Besides, a single disposable diaper can hold and absorb liquid eight times more of its weight.

On the other hand, cloth diapers are a little less absorbent than the former. So, if your baby defecates and urinates, leaking is possible to happen as the cloth cannot handle or absorb much liquid. However, so long as you keep it tight and properly placed, you can always get rid of leaks.

TIME

In the case that a cloth diaper cannot absorb liquid well, constant replacement of diapers is needed. This is to avoid leaks from the diapers as well as discomfort to your baby. Unlike a disposable diaper that lasts for hours, the cloth diaper requires to be changed as soon as your baby urinates or defecates. Hence, its downside: it consumes most of your time.

Further, the time you will be spending on washing the cloth diapers every day is time-consuming as well. Instead of lending your time and effort to other things such as bonding with your baby, much of it goes to washing the diapers. If you will just let someone do the laundry instead, just make sure that there were no stains left and the diapers are sanitized.

HEALTH

The most common type of rashes found in our babies is the irritant diaper dermatitis. This is caused by the moisture from the urine and feces that were trapped in a baby’s bum. According to studies, babies who use cloth diapers are more prone to this condition than those who use disposable diapers. The reason for this is the incapabilities of cloth diapers to absorb too much liquid. Thus, in effect, moist remains in your baby’s bum and causes irritation.

Nevertheless, the harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers still create a different type of allergic reactions and irritation.

What Is A Disposable Diaper?

A disposable diaper is the most commonly used type in the market. This contains absorbent made of water crystals that absorb liquid from your baby’s urine and feces. In fact, these water crystals are said to absorb liquid eight more times than its size.

What Is A Disposable Diaper

Pros Of Using A Cloth Diaper

CONVENIENCE

Using disposable diapers is definitely convenient. After you take it off from your baby, you can just wrap it around an old paper or plastic, and throw it away. Contrary to the cloth diapers, disposable diapers do not require washing and cleaning. Hence, every after use is changed with a new and fresh diaper.

Further, disposable diapers come in a complete package. Meaning, there is no need for you to buy accessories like pins and wearable covers as they already have built-in adhesives. These adhesives also work great when you already need to throw it. It seals the diaper tight and well. There are still lots of conveniences that disposable diapers provide. The above listed are just some.

ABSORBENT FEATURES

Disposable diapers have a higher absorption capability. It contains special water crystals or pads which absorb the liquid from the urine and feces of the baby. These high absorbent features of disposable diapers help your baby in many ways. Aside from keeping the nappy dry for your baby’s comfort, this also prevents him from having nappy rash.

Further, the crystals inside disposable diapers help a lot in keeping the diaper last long for hours. Meaning, you do not have to worry if your baby pees multiple times as the crystals still keep his bum dry and comfortable. Besides, it can even hold eight times more of its weight.

COMFORT

The disposable diapers that are being manufactured today imitate the softness that a cloth provides. Although most are successful in this goal, some are still not. At the same time, the disposable diapers contain fragrance and moisturizer content that serves as a lubricant in your baby’s bum.

Unlike cloth diapers, this type has multiple sizing options. Therefore, you can choose the right fit for your baby to give him comfort. Furthermore, disposable nappies are easy to use. You do not have to apply a double layering of wearable cover as it goes as full package on its own. As you will not be needing other accessories to add, disposable nappies lessen the risk of pin accidents.

SIZING OPTIONS

As the disposable diapers come in different sizes, you also have a wide variety of sizes to choose from – the one that fits your baby the best. Hence, you do not have to worry about making a lot of adjustments whether in a pin, strap, or wearable cover. Every size also fits well in the legs, waist and bum of the baby. Therefore, you will not worry about leaks anymore.

Cons Of A Disposable Diaper

PRICE

In an average, you can spend approximately $2000 to $3000 for disposable diapers in two years. This is almost twice to thrice of your spending with cloth diapers. The prime reason for this is that every diaper that was used was brought straight to the garbage. There are even times when mothers are still uncertain of their baby’s size that they sometimes do trial and error by buying different sizes. Imagine how much it would cost you.

HEALTH

The disposable diapers contain harmful chemicals that can cause irritation to your baby’s bum. It can be a cause of rashes and allergic reactions as well. The mentioned harmful chemicals are the moisturizers and scented lotion in the diapers.

In that case, most doctors recommend the use of cloth diapers especially for newborn babies. Aside from it is way cheaper than the disposable diapers, it also frees your newborn’s sensitive skin from allergies and irritation.

ENVIRONMENT

Using disposable diapers add up to landfill wastes a lot. At an average, your baby uses six to ten diapers a day. Imagine the pile that it can create! Each diaper is estimated to decompose after 200 years. Given this scenario, all the diaper that your baby used along with the other diapers from other babies causes a lot of chaos in the landfill waste. There is no place to go as it stays there for long!

​There are also instances that mothers allow the feces to stay in the diaper and just throw it away. As the feces does carbon emission after some time, it contributes in the depletion of ozone layer. In connection with this, it is more advisable that you go for more eco-friendly materials such as cloth diapers. Besides, taking care of the environment is also part of shaping our baby’s future.

Final Verdict

If you are up for something convenient then you should go with disposable diapers. On the other hand, if you are inclined to purchase more practical and economic diapers, then cloth diapers will work best for you. If by this time you are still undecided, it will not be a harm for you to try both. After which, observe how your baby reacts and then you choose.

If the two worked well, you can just mix both options! Use cloth diapers at home and use disposable ones when you are outside or traveling. You just have to take necessary precautions in disposing of your baby’s diapers. At the same time, be alert when the time finally comes that he needs to be changed.

What matters the most is that you remain practical and smart with your choices. Most importantly, always choose the best for your little one.

Related Questions

Are baby diapers bad?

All kinds of diapers have benefits as well as drawbacks. However, all diapers do a good job in their function as long as you change your baby as soon as the diaper is dirty. So, to answer that claim, baby diapers are not bad.

How often do you change disposable diapers a day?

Six to ten diaper changes a day. Disposable diapers contain super absorbent gel that helps in absorbing liquid from your baby’s feces and urine. Due to this, it only requires you six to ten diaper changes a day unlike the cloth diapers that require you for more than ten times each day.

Do cloth diapers cause more rashes?

Yes, experts say that cloth diapers cause more rashes to babies. The reason for this is the incapabilities of cloth diapers to absorb too much liquid. Thus, in effect, moist remains in your baby’s bum which then turns into rashes.

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