Disposable vs. cloth diapers dilemma

Disposable vs. cloth diapers dilemma

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of disposable diapers in this day and age. Does that mark the end of the humble cloth diaper or is it still the better option?

cloth diapers

Given a choice between, the convenience of disposables vs. washing of cloth diapers, disposables surely wins. But the thought of putting your child’s sensitive skin, through the chemically treated disposables is still a no-no. If you are a parent still caught in the ‘cloth vs disposable diapers’ dilemma, here are a few pros and cons of both kinds of diapers, to help you take a well-informed decision.


Though the upfront cost of cloth diapers can be a big chunk of money, they can work out to be much cheaper than disposables in the long run. Especially, if you use one-size or adjustable diapers that grow with your kiddo. When you try comparing the price of cloth diapers with two years’ worth of disposable ones, you know where the savings lies!


When it comes to convenience, nothing beats the ease of disposable diapers. When the diaper gets soiled, just take it off and throw it away. While you can use disposable liners, cloth diapers require thorough washing and also disinfecting at every wash.

Longer comfort

Cloth does a good job if you can change your baby as soon as the diaper is soiled. Disposables, with their absorbent gels, can handle larger amounts of urine without being saturated. The gel-containing layer of the diaper keeps your baby's skin drier longer. So when you don’t have the convenience to change for longer hours use a disposable.

cloth diapers


Disposable diapers though leave baby dry for longer time, the absorbent gels might get them rashes. If baby develops a skin rash while wearing disposables, it may be a reaction to any of the chemicals. Try a different brand or choose breathable cloth diapers at least till the rashes are treated.

Related: All you want to know about diaper rash

Travel or Daycare

For daycare or travel, disposables are the clear winner. Daycare caters to a group of infants and kids. So using disposables reduces the risk of infection. This is the main reason why many daycares don’t even allow cloth. When traveling, cloth diapers are simply too inconvenient.

Related: Traveling with your little one

Potty Training

It’s a proven fact that kids who grow up in cloth diapers are potty trained earlier because they can actually feel it when they are wet. The idea is that child learns the connection between being wet and using the bathroom. Disposable diapers and training pants, which are very absorbent, may not be able to play the same role because a toddler won't be able to make the connection.


How to stop using diapers

The ultimate guide to potty training


Disposable diapers take years to decompose. On the other hand, with cloth diapers you can have a clean collection to use for your next baby or even sell second-hand, if washed carefully. Cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, not entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags.

Related: Going green for mother earth


There are many brands of disposables in the market readily available. But cloth diapers have also made a comeback in a big way. Stylish cloth diapers are surplus in all types, including ones that have velcro closures, elastic leg openings, and easily washable fabrics. So availability of cloth diapers is definitely not a reason for not using one.

Tips while using cloth diapers for your child

If you want to use cloth diapers but don’t know how use the following tips:

• Ease – Use cloth diapers in combination with disposables. Parents prefer to use cloth at home and disposables only while travelling with kids.

• Put away - Clear the poop off the clothing and dump them in a pail with lid.

• Wash - Cloth diapers are not difficult to wash. At the end of the day, when the diaper pail gets full toss them in the laundry. In the summer line dry them, but the dryer works just as well.

• Help - If you have a domestic helper, you can also train them the same.

• For more help on cloth diapering at home, there are a lot of resources for detailed info on the web.

Sources: Pros and cons: Disposable vs. cloth diaper

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