January 31, 2015
Part 1 on the How Feasible Are Those ‘Save Money!’ Ideas? Series was about how we have been saving money for the last two years eating less meat and more plants.
Part 2 is about Cloth Diapering
I never understood the hype about cloth diapering. I reasoned, if you buy the cheap brands of disposable diapers & potty train your kids early, you end up spending about the same amount of money as you would if you cloth diapered. After all, cloth diapers can be upwards of $20/diaper!
A couple of years ago, when baby #5 was 6mo, I heard a podcast about cloth diapering. They made it sound very doable and suggested ways to buy used. I decided to go the insert and button route and bought my first set of diapers off of craigslist for $6/diaper. I reasoned, all I had to do was cloth diaper him for 4mo to break even so it was not much of a gamble.
I ended up cloth diapering him (except at night) for the next 19 months (until he was potty trained). Those cloth diapers MORE than paid for themselves. Talk about savings! We saved, what, roughly $400?
By the end of the 19 months, a few of the diapers were stretching so I bought 9 more diapers with inserts off of Amazon for about the same for baby #6. I did not start cloth diapering her until her older brother was potty-trained. For some reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around cloth diapering two at the same time. We have about a month more of cloth diapering her before we break even.
(I have never cloth diapered at night. There are plenty of reasons babies wake up in the middle of the night. I do not want a leaky diaper to be one of them so I don’t even take the chance!)
So, how does cloth diapering work, realistically?
There is definitely a learning curve.
- how frequently do you need to change them? (typically every 2-3 hrs for my babies)
- how do I wash them?
- how/why do I need to strip them?
- what is the best way to dry them?
Thankfully, I knew some wonderful moms who had been cloth diapering for awhile and they helped tremendously.
Washing (As with everything, everyone is different. This is just what I do.)
- Take the diapers & inserts apart, put them in the washing machine on a soak cycle (cold).
- Put them on a regular cycle (hot) with soap nuts and vinegar (supposed to break up everything that soaks into the inserts so it will wash well).
- Take the soap nuts out & put it on a regular cycle again.
- Put it on a rinse (cold) cycle.
I used to not do step 3 (the extra wash) but I found when I did that, I did not have to strip them as often. To strip them, you do Step 3, 5-7x, until all of the soap is out (when the machine is filled with water and is washing, check for soap bubbles).
Strip them when they are new (more soaking than washing) and when they get stinky.
I try to dry them outside if at all possible. The sun bleaches out the stains and they end up smelling great 🙂 In the winter, I will dry just the stained ones outside and the rest are hung up inside.
After a year of cloth diapering, I would never flippantly suggest to someone that they should ‘just cloth diaper’ to save money. However, if anyone was interested, I would be more than happy to help in any way I could because, if you can navigate what type of diaper you want and how to wash and strip them, it is relatively simple, and it saves a bunch of money!
Did you notice my laundry soap? Next post will be about Soap Nuts. What are they? How do they work? Do they really work? and, of course, How much do they cost?
I am linking up with Simple Saturdays Blog Hop to see what others think about cloth diapering.