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Benefits of cloth diapers: Why studies support using cloth

Lana Bandoim's picture
Cloth diapers

The debate about cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers is ongoing. However, several studies point to the benefits of using cloth and support parents who make this choice.


Parents can change 10 or more dirty diapers a day for one baby. Although disposable diapers are often more convenient, they may not be the best choice for the baby or for the environment. If you are wondering if you should switch to cloth diapers, then consider the following studies that support the change and highlight the benefits of cloth diapers.

Eliminating environmental concerns

Several studies have pointed out that environmental concerns often motivate parents to choose cloth diapers. It is estimated that the average child may use 4000 to 6000 diapers in the early years. Parents use more than 27 billion disposable diapers per year in the United States. All of these disposable diapers require resources and raw materials to create them, and they fill up landfills once they are used.

From the chemicals used to make a disposable diaper to the plastic packaging used to store them, diapers are an expensive problem. One study found that reusable diapers, such as cloth ones, use 72 percent fewer raw materials than disposable diapers. In addition, it may take several hundred years for a disposable diaper to decompose.

Lower cost of cloth diapers

From the cost of food to the cost of toys, parents frequently worry about money. One of the top benefits of cloth diapers is the lower cost. It is estimated that parents spend $2000 to $3000 on disposable diapers for one baby during the early years. However, cloth diapers are much cheaper and may only cost $200 to $400 during the early years. One study points out that the difference in cost can be significant for families and should not be ignored.

“The initial cost of using reusable cloth diapers can prove to be high, but this is only in the beginning. When you adopt a long-term perspective, you will realize that it is going to be cheaper. Compared to disposable diapers, you only have to purchase cloth diapers once and it can already be useful for a long time,” explains BabyInform.

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Fewer chemicals

Whether you are concerned about early childhood education or are worried about television exposure, anxiety about your child’s wellbeing is common. Unfortunately, disposable diapers are made with multiple chemicals that may have an impact on your baby’s health. Switching to cloth diapers can reduce the amount of chemicals your baby interacts with on a daily basis. It is important to keep in mind that disposable diaper chemicals are coming in direct contact with the baby’s skin.

One of the main issues with disposable diapers is that they are usually bleached with dioxin. Dioxin is a chemical that is considered toxic and may have a negative impact on health. It has been linked to possible nerve damage, skin rashes, birth defects, higher risk of cancer and other problems.

“In animal studies, dioxins have caused nerve damage, birth defects, increased rates of miscarriages and changes to the immune system. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing chemical), there is not sufficient evidence to prove that dioxins cause cancer from exposure to the low levels normally found in the environment. One dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), is listed as a known human carcinogen and all the others as probable human carcinogens,” explains the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Less diaper rash

One of the top benefits of cloth diapers is less diaper rash. This type of rash is usually caused by too much moisture on the skin. One study found that diaper rash increased dramatically in infants once disposable or plastic diapers were introduced and worn frequently.

Although some parents still report that diaper rash can occur with cloth diapers, it is often less frequent and less severe. The key is to change wet diapers immediately and not allow moisture to linger on the baby’s skin. Due to the cost of disposable diapers, some parents do not change them often enough and increase the risk of diaper rash.

Consider the benefits of cloth diapers

There are multiple benefits to using cloth diapers. From reducing environmental concerns to lower cost, cloth diapers are an option that many parents prefer. If you are thinking about switching to cloth from disposable diapers, then consider the benefits.