Q: Aren't cloth diapers more difficult to use than disposables?
A: Nope! These days, you can buy cloth diapers that go on and off your baby just like disposables. Then, instead of throwing your disposable into your Diaper Genie, you simply place it into a lined diaper pail. And instead of running out to the store to buy more disposables, all you have to do is walk into your laundry room and place your diapers, liner and all, straight into your washing machine. No need to touch any dirty diapers!
Q: We live in Toronto and they compost our disposable diapers. Why should I bother with cloth diapers?
A: Unfortunately, according to a recent Toronto Star article, disposables are being separated out and tossed with the rest of your household garbage, and not being composted at all.
Q: Do I have to use safety pins?
A: These aren’t your parents’ cloth diapers! Don’t worry; you won’t need any safety pins for any of these products, even with pre-folds. Most cloth diapers secure to your baby with velcro or snaps.
Q: What is the most cost-effective cloth diapering system?
A: Prefolds and covers are the least expensive way of diapering your baby, especially if you want to use them for more than one child. However, if folding doesn't appeal to you, the next option we recommend would be the one-size diapers. The only downside to the one-size cloth diapers is that they tend to be quite bulky on small newborns, so you may have to invest in some sized cloth diapers for the first month or two.
Q: How do I clean my cloth diapers?
A: You don’t need any special equipment to clean cloth diapers. For newborns and infants, you can throw the entire bag of soiled diapers into the wash, bag and all. Just turn the bag inside out into your machine and wash as usual. When your child’s stool becomes more solid you will need to dispose of as much as you can in a toilet before you put the soiled diaper in the diaper bag.
Q: Do I have to pre-soak soiled diapers?
A: For infants this isn’t a concern, as their poop is water-soluble. If you wash your diapers within two days, they will come out perfectly clean. When your baby starts solids, you should try to remove as much poop from the diaper as possible before putting it into the diaper pail. Remember, you must do this with disposables as well!
Q: What about day trips? Do I have to use disposables?
A: Not at all. You just need a wet bag in which to put your soiled diapers.
Q: Do I have to use a special detergent for washing diapers?
A: You should use a fragrance-free detergent in order to avoid any potential skin reactions. We offer some environmentally responsible alternatives that you may find interesting.
Q: Is it unhygienic to wash soiled diapers in the washing machine?
A: Nope. Your washing machine was designed to keep itself clean. And the drain water goes into the sewers with all the rest of the dirty water.
Q: Doesn’t a bag of soiled diapers smell really bad?
A: Not necessarily, as long as you don't keep it air-tight. You can also minimize odours by putting a couple of drops of tea tree oil onto a small cloth wipe or washcloth, and dropping it in with your diapers.
Q: Do cloth diapers leak a lot?
A: All diapers leak occasionally. This may be due to your baby moving around, or an over-tired parent who puts a diaper on backwards! In our experience, cloth diapers leak less often than disposables when used properly.
Q: What about “green” disposable diapers?
A: There are a few disposable products on the market that use bio-degradable materials and are made without bleaches or chemicals. These products still contribute greatly to landfill and fossil fuel usage, but we think they are some occasions where they provide a good alternative.
Q: I've decided to use cloth diapers. Should I choose snaps or Aplix (i.e.velcro) versions?
A: In general, snaps last longer than velcro. However, you may at times not get as perfect a fit if your child is "between" snaps. The other disadvantage to snaps is that the diaper change takes slightly longer, since velcro is much easier to fasten and unfasten. However, this is also a disadvantage since older babies love to pull velcro tabs off!
Q: Don’t you think this is all a bit preachy?
A: We certainly hope not! Ultimately, using cloth or disposables is a personal decision. But we want everyone to know that cloth, in our opinion, is a great choice from all perspectives. We can all do a lot more to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and this is just one way we can all help.
Q: Am I doing enough to reduce my impact?
A: Remember that all diapers have an environmental impact, but the way you use cloth diapers can make a big difference. Use an Energy Star washing machine, reduce your washing temperature to about 60 degrees, Celsius, and line dry your diapers when appropriate. Always remember to avoid small loads of laundry which waste water and energy.
Q: What can I do with my used diapers?
A: There are lots of options. First of all, if you or anyone you know are planning on having more children, your diapers can be safely re-used. Alternatively, you can sell your diapers or donate them to someone in need. Some cloth diapers make great rags as well.
Q: Aren’t cloth diapers really bulky?
A: Yes, cloth diapers tend to be a bit bulkier than many disposables. Consider this a bonus when your child starts walking!