The Basics of Cloth Diapers

How to Find and Use Baby Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering is an age-old tradition and has worked very well for centuries. Not only is it a proven way to reduce how much trash you produce in the cloth diapers vs disposables debate, using washable diapers is also healthier for your baby. That said, how your choose, buy and use cloth diapers will determine just how green your choice really is. If you’re interested in further shrinking the impact of your baby’s diaper days, then check out these Ecolife tips for using cloth diapers.

 

Tips to buying cloth diapers

True, any washable diaper choice is better in terms of resource use and garbage production than disposable diapers, but are there some eco baby diaper options that are better than others? Yes! Look for these characteristics to buy more eco friendly cloth diapers when you’re in the market:

  • Organic cotton diapers: Conventionally grown cotton is considered the most pesticide-intense crop in the world, so organic cotton is a much greener diaper choice. There are many organic cotton diaper brands to choose from, including: Tiny Tush, Blue Penguin, bumGeniusImseVimse, Mother-ease, FuzBaby, Green Mountain Diapers, Heavenly Organic, Bummis, and Firefly Diapers.
  • Bamboo diapers and hemp diapers: Fibers like bamboo and hemp offer amazing benefits for natural baby diaper options. They are both super absorbent and help to prevent odors. Plus, they’re much more sustainable than conventional and even organic cotton. Many of the retailers above carry bamboo and hemp diapers, but you can also find options from these brands: The Diaper HyenaSimple Wonders, BabyByNature, BambooLite, Bumkins, and BetterForBabies.
  • Chlorine-free: Whatever brand you choose, be sure to look for diapers that are made without the use of chlorine bleach to whiten the fibers. Chlorine, when it enters our water systems and combines with organic material, create dioxins—highly toxic substances that have been linked to all kinds of human health problems, including cancer.[1] Also be sure to keep chlorine bleach out of your laundry cycle to further cut the toxins from your baby’s diapers. Check out our natural whitening article to learn how you can create natural bleach alternatives
  • Secondhand diapers: If you can get secondhand diapers from a friend or a secondhand baby shop, then do! Secondhand is a great way to save virgin resources from being used and is highly cost-effective as well. You can try out an online secondhand retailer such as MyUsedDiapers.com, TheBabyChain.com, Gently-Used.com, or DiaperSwappers.com, or even Craigslist or Ebay. Or look into buying from a local secondhand baby store, like Once Upon a Child.

If you take all of these factors into consideration with buying new cloth diapers, it’s our Ecolife belief that reusable diapers are much better for the environment (and your baby!) in the long run than disposables, especially if they are laundered and cared for using eco-friendly techniques and habits.

 

Homemade cloth diapers

Of course, you can also make your cloth diapers using whatever fabrics and fibers you most prefer! You can do a quick search online for diaper patterns, but here are a few good ones you can use:

When you make your own cloth diapers, you may need some specialty diaper notions which you can find at PM Organics, Very Baby, Celtic Clothes, and Sew Shoppe.

 

How to use cloth diapers

If you’re a first time parent, or a virgin cloth diaper user, then you may be looking for help troubleshooting your latest cloth diaper dilemma. Thankfully, there are loads of support groups and advice sites out there to give you the helping hand that you need. Try out an online forum or chat group for support, such as DiaperSwappers.com, The Real Diaper Association, or Granola Chicks.

To learn more about your options in the world of cloth diapers, check out ecolife's article on the types of cloth diapers






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References

1 Allsopp, M. (1994, September). Achieving Zero Dioxin. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from Greenpeace: http://archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/azd/azd.html

An updated lifecycle assessment study for disposable and reusable nappies - Conclusions. (2008, October). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from UK Environment Agency: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=WR0705_7589_FRP.pdf

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