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Cloth Diapers Exposed - The Facts and the Fiction

Cloth Diapers ExposedWhen parents considers using cloth diapers, they inevitably must wade through the mass of misinformation that abounds wherever cloth diaper discussions occur. No doubt these inexperienced parents hear that cloth diapers are unsanitary, that they perpetuate unpleasant odors, leak profusely, and require a lot of back breaking work. But these parents can take comfort in the fact that these are all cloth diaper myths. You can get the facts here ...

Myth #1 - Cloth Diapers Are Expensive
It is estimated that using disposable diapers can cost you between two and three thousand dollars per child, from birth to potty training. That is an astounding amount of money to spend on what is essentially garbage. Cloth diapers, however, are much cheaper in the long run, even if the initial investment is more. Assuming that you will not be sewing your own diapers, it is entirely possible to cloth diaper a child for 3 years for $100-300 dollars. These diapers will likely last for one or more subsequent children as well. Do the maththe numbers don't lie.

Myth #2 - Cloth Diapers Smell
Cloth diapers do not smell any more then a disposable diaper does. The smell that emanates from a cloth diaper thrown in a diaper pail can not be more offensive then a soiled disposable diaper thrown in a garbage can. Innovative new diaper pails and odor controlling accoutrements in a variety of sweet smelling fragrances have eliminated this problem entirely. Odors are also held at bay by using a dry pail method for storing soiled diapers so that the diapers are not left to sit in stagnant and possibly malodorous water. With these new advances, there are no reasons why cloth diapers need to "smell".

Myth #3 - Cloth Diapers Are Hard to Care For
Many cloth diapering parents have adopted a dry pail method of storage. This means that they simply remove a soiled diaper, dispose of any solid waste by dumping it in the toilet, and then toss the diaper in a diaper pail until laundry day. While some cloth diaper users may still rinse diapers in a toilet or sink before putting them in the pail, or even soak them in a wet pail before laundering, these methods are not necessary. A no rinse, dry pail method has been proven to be just as effective.

Using cloth diapers will usually only mean another 1-3 loads of laundry a week. This should not represent a significant difference in workload on laundry days. Putting cloth diapers outside on a line to dry will not only alleviate some of this work, but it will also help conserve energy and sun out any stains that washing did not get rid of. All things considered, it is no more difficult to clean cloth diapers then it is to clean any other clothing types.

Myth #4 - Cloth Diapers Are Not Sanitary
Cloth diapers need to be clean, plain and simple. They do not need to be absolutely sterile. Most adults probably do not find it necessary to sterilize their underpants, so laundering cloth diapers should be sufficient to ensure that they are clean and ready for use. Diapers should be washed with hot water and then dried in a dryer or on the line outside. Both of these drying mechanisms, providing either heat from the dryer or heat from the sun, will actually help to sterilize the diapers and kill any lingering bacteria that may be present. They should be sufficiently clean and acceptable to diaper your baby with.

Myth #5 - Washing Cloth Diapers Wastes Electricity and Water
This argument is truly baffling. Washing cloth diapers does require water and energy usage. However, advancing technology in washing machines and dryers has helped tremendously to keep the energy and water usage to a minimum. Even if you are washing cloth diapers with the oldest and most archaic washing and drying machines, the water and energy output in washing a few loads of diapers a week is infinitesimal compared to the energy wasted on disposable diapers.

Just consider the energy and fossil fuels used to cut down and transport thousands of trees to make the paper pulp used in a disposable diaper, not to mention the devastation this causes to our national forests. Water and energy are then used to create this paper pulp and bleach it. Even more energy is used to make the outer plastic shells and then assemble the diaper. These diapers are then packaged in plastic wrappings and put in cardboard boxes, which also had to be specially made for transporting these diapers. It doesn't end there, however; these diapers are then transported from the factory all over the country and all over the world using trains, trucks, and cargo planes, so that they can be delivered to the stores that sell them to the public. No doubt, more energy is wasted by the consumer who must drive to and from these stores to make their purchase. To make matters worse, these consumers use these diapers and throw them away, essentially throwing their money in the garbage as well. The garbage must then be transported to a landfill using even more energy and fuel. This energy consumption is never ending. Cloth diaper users reduce, reuse, and recycle. Can any disposable diaper users claim that?

Myth #6 - Cloth Diapers Leak
Cloth diapers today come in many different styles, and are made with a wondrous array of fabric and absorbency levels. Even parents of children who are very heavy wetters are sure to find a diaper that works for them if they search hard enough. Parents must consider though, that disposable diapers are made with chemicals that allow them to be super absorbent and act as a high-volume portable toilet. Yes, disposable diapers may hold in more urine, but is that really a good thing? The holding capacity of disposable diapers seems to be breeding laziness and unrealistic expectations in many parents. We should not be lulled into the thinking that a diaper should last through several urinations before it is changed, simply because it is inconvenient to change diapers every 2-3 hours or less. When a diaper is soiled or wet it needs to be changed ... end of story. If diapers are changed immediately after they become soiled or wet, then leaks are rarely a problem.