Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

One major topic when discussing parenting styles is diapering – cloth diapers vs disposable diapers?

Deciding which diapers are best for both you and your baby can be intimidating.

After a massive amount of research, chats with other moms, and much trial and error I have learned quite a bit about different diapers. Here’s what I’ve learned so far. 



  • 2-4 fewer loads of laundry.
  • Easy. Convenient. Did I mention easy?
  • Traveling is easy. Just toss and go. No carting them around.
  • Fewer changes a day because they’re ultra-absorbent.
  • Fewer leaks when they’re extremely full.


  • It is easy to run out of them without realizing it, thus demanding a quick run to the store. But who runs to the store “quickly” with a baby? Let alone a diaperless baby.
  • Your trash can becomes the home of 80+ pounds of non-biodegradable waste.
  • You’re constantly buying more.
  • Most have chemicals, dyes, and gels in their make up.
  • Some babies have allergic reactions to them.
  • Pull too hard and the tab may rip!
  • “..disposables account for 3.4 million tons of landfill waste per year and don’t decompose (since very little breaks down in a landfill, biodegradable or not).” //
  • Oddly enough, they can make potty training harder because your baby/toddler doesn’t feel uncomfortable or wet.



  • Available in cotton, terry cloth, or flannel.
  • Lots of style options: all-in-ones, all-in-twos (hybrid, pre-fold, flat, fitted), or pockets.
  • You can use a diaper service at first (or forever) to try them out first.
  • You’ll spend about $300-$500 during your baby’s diaper years rather than $2,000+.
  • You will be prepared with a diapering system if you add babies to your family (thus saving even more money).
  • Why not also use cloth wipes? Less chemicals and less money.
  • It *may* be easier to potty train because sitting around in a wet diaper is uncomfortable!



  • They can be messier & less convenient to change (although all-in-ones are mega simple).
  • You’ll add another 2-4 loads of laundry per week.
  • You have to cart around dirty diapers while out (unless you use disposable while traveling).
  • There might be more night wake-ups due to less-absorbent material (unless you use disposables at night and Baby sleeps through).
  • It takes a bit more effort to set up.

If you’ve decided that cloth diapering is for you, awesome! Read 4 Reasons You Should Use Cloth Diapers to feel affirmed. Here is a bit more information to get you started:

“The “All-in-Two” diapers are really the classic kind of cloth diaper system, the kind that was the standard in the US in the 1950s. These are composed of two separate pieces: a waterproof cover and an absorbent cloth insert. Often, the waterproof cover and the diaper insert are sold separately. As a rule of thumb, each cover can be paired with any insert of your choice to create a diaper combination that works best for you. There are endless possibilities here for those who want to experiment.” //

All-in-two brands we like: Kushies Taffeta Diaper Wrap and Kushies Washable Pre-fold, Gerber Pre-fold Birdseye 3-Ply, gDiapers (hybrid).

The all-in-one diapers are just as easy as a disposable. They’re a great cloth option if you’re baby is in daycare or being babysat frequently with people who may fear cloth. You do not have to sort, stuff, or fold; you simply put the diaper on and go. The con to the all-in-ones is an increase in laundry since you don’t have to replace inserts (keeping the cover clean) like all-in-twos.

My favorite all-in-one cloth diaper is bumGenius Freetime.

The “pocket diapers are nice because there is a barrier between baby and the absorbent insert, so theoretically the pocket material can act like a wicking layer and moisture isn’t sitting against the baby’s skin for long. Also, the absorbency of the insert can be customized to suit baby’s needs by choosing different inserts for different times of day. For example, adding two inserts into the pocket is a good strategy for nighttime when extra wetting may occur.” //

Suggested pocket diaper: FuzziBunz Elite.

Where can I buy these? You can purchase cloth diapers in all sorts of places! To be honest, I found a VAST amount at garage sales – brand new or barely used cloth diapers! Buying them gently used or used but new enabled me to try various kinds and discover which brands I loved. Amazon often has great sales as well.

What are your thoughts on cloth diapers vs disposable diapers? What are your favorite diapers? Is there anything you fear regarding cloth diapering that was not mentioned?

Comparison Chart cloth diapers vs disposable diapers

Comparison Chart cloth diapers vs disposable diapers


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