I came across a great comparison of cloth diapers versus disposable diapers over at Cash Money Life. In the article, Patrick, discusses why they chose to mostly go with cloth diapers. He actually chooses a hybrid approach, using cloth diapers at home and using disposable when away (so he doens’t have to carry soiled diapers around).
For us, we’ve chosen disposable diapers. The cost is greater in the long run but the convenience has won out for us. Although cloth diapers have come a long way in their durability and fit we still can’t get over the “yuck” factor of storing soiled diapers until laundry time.
With cloth diapers you are getting a reusable diaper that can be used over and over. This is awesome both economically and environmentally. What many do, including Patrick, is when the cloth diaper is soiled they rinse it out immediately after (after dumping any “solids”) then letting it dry until it can be laundered. This cuts down on any lingering smells.
The downside of cloth diapers is you still have to hold onto them until you do laundry. If not done with frequency you have cloth diapers piling up. There is also the upfront expense. Each diaper can be expensive. Over the long run the cloth diapers pay for themselves but you have to buy enough diapers to cover for the frequency of your laundry. One or two diapers will not be enough! You also have the expense of your laundry to consider. Depending on your situation you can be paying for electricity, water, or costs for the laundromat.
With disposable diapers you change the baby and toss the diaper. Not so great for the environment but great on convenience. You still get a diaper smell in your garbage can but you can throw out your garbage to get the smell out of the house. You pay more over the long run for disposable diapers. What you are paying for is the convenience of not having to worry about the diaper once it’s used. the drawback is you are always buying diapers and that expense adds up.
We’ve considered the cloth diaper approach. Right now we share our washer/dryer with the other tenants in our building. This makes doing laundry a little tricky at time. If had had our own washer/dryer I think we would be more willing to try out cloth diapers. Still, it seems intriguing and may still be an option we try. I like the idea that after you’ve bought your cloth diapers you really don’t need to buy anymore.