We summarized the general knowledge about our cloth diapers also in English. If you have questions, or if you need help using the webshop, write to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why to use cloth diapers?
Here are some reasons
Disposable diapers are a mix of different materials built together, so they are not recyclable. In Finland they get into mixed waste, and they get burnt for energy or dissolve in 2-300 years. Burning for energy is clearly the better case, but there are much cleaner ways available for producing energy. Finland is one of the best in separating household waste to decrease that amount which does not get recycled or reused. However, during one babies diapering period, if only disposables are used, about one ton of non-recyclable waste is produced. This is about the amount of waste a Finnish one person household produces during the same time, including all types of waste, glass, paper, etc., out of what most are recycled.
There are also more environment friendly diapers on the market, which uses less plastic and more of the same kind of materials as in cloth diapers, for example bamboo. Those are a bit better alternative, but still, why to throw away the nice bamboo after one use?
By changing to cloth diapers, your households non-recyclable waste production can decrease to a fraction.
Important to note, that cloth diapers are not yet as widespread that large scale studies regarding health benefits were conducted, so proven health benefits of using cloth diapers don't exist yet. We just summarize here what is already known.
Disposable diapers contain large amount of plastics, like polyethylene film and polypropylene. The core of most disposable diapers is superabsorbent polymer (SAP), which can absorb many times its own mass. The problem is, that these materials make disposable diapers very bad at breathing compared to cloth diapers. Initial studies show that overly high temperatures and high humidity levels inside disposable diapers are more common than in cloth diapers, which makes a potential bacteria infection spread much faster, and makes the skin under the diaper more vulnerable to damages.
While with disposable diapers the costs of diapering is distributed through the diapering period, with cloth diapers an initial investment is needed and then the running costs are very small. Although every child and their diapering needs are different, we have compiled a cost analysis which applies to show the scale of amounts an each side.
Cost of disposable diapering consist of the price of the diaper, and the cost of extra trash produced. If you live in a housing complex one child's disposable diapers will most likely not affect the scale of rubbish and the price the community will pay, so we can ignore this factor as it only affects family houses.
One disposable diaper of the popular brands cost about 20 cents in shops in Finland. We will count with this price. Babies need different amount of diapers per day at different ages, but we can count with an average of 7 diapers per day, for the first two years, that means about (7 x 365 x 2 =) 5110 diapers, about 1022 euros in total.
Let's see now the other side.
Cost of cloth diapering consist of the price of the diapers and the cost of washing them (water, electricity and the washing powder or liquid).
In Finland in the recent years, the average price of electricity was 17 cents / kWh (source: Tilastokeskus), including transfer cost and tax. The price of one m3 of water was about 5 euros. A relatively modern, A+ energy class washing machine consumes about 50 liters of water (costing 25 cents) and 1kWh of electricity (EU regulations). Washing powders and liquids vary a lot in price, but with some popular brands featuring Nordic Swan ecolabel (we recommend using such), one washing costs about 15 cents.
So the cost of one washing cycle is: 0.17e (electricity) + 0.25e (water) + 0.15e (detergent) = 0.57e in total.
If you wash every second day for two years, that makes 0.57 x 365 = 208e in total cost of washing for one baby.
So you have an over 800 euros budget to buy cloth diapers to be break even, surely you will not need that much if you buy them from Ecokid, you can choose between different solutions for different budget, and in any case you will save hundreds of euros.
Plus: Although some cloth diapers can tear or damage during a child's diapering cycle, in general a significant value is left at the end of cloth diapering, you can use the diapers for a sibling, give them to a friend or sell them. All diapers we have are of European quality designed to be used by at least 2-3 babies. On the other hand, at the end of disposable diapering cycle, no value is left.
Cloth diapers are prettier than disposable ones. Babies like intensive colors and contrasts, with cloth diapers the diaper change can be lots of fun, if you show the diaper to your baby before putting it on. We recommend that you buy different diapers, or different covers, to better entertain your baby during the diaper change.
Different diaper systems
In disposable diapers, the three main components, the absorbing insert, the waterproof layer and the pant itself which holds the diaper, are built together, and after use the whole diaper is disposed.
With cloth diapers, the situation is a bit different, there are various approaches. In our webshop, you can find three different diaper systems.
The idea is that the waterproof cover is separate, so firstly you put on the cloth diaper, which is not waterproof (for example made of cotton, bamboo or fleece or a combination of these), and then on the top of that the cover (made of breathable waterproof PUL polyester). This allows smaller size for the cloth diaper, and the cover rarely gets dirty so you need just a couple of it, not one for each cloth diaper.
Classic cloth diapers also have night version, with extra absorbing capacity enough for the whole night.
In this system, quite like in disposable diapers, everything is together, and everything gets washed after each use. This makes using it the same convenient as disposable diapers, only backside - besides the price - is longer drying times as drying happens only on the non-waterproof side. However, the inserts of AllInOne diapers we sell, are removable for better washing performance and faster drying.
AI2 system by Bamboolik
A modern cloth diaper system where the absorbing part is an insert, which is placed into the waterproof cover before putting on. Similarly to classic cloth diapers, here as well the cover usually stays clean, so along with as many inserts as how many cloth diapers you would buy, 3-4 covers will do the job.
Watch this video to get an idea how it works:
In each type, the absorbing capacity can be increased by adding extra inserts, which we recommend for bigger babies who pee more.
Naturally you can also combine different systems, and use them in different situations. Or you can buy 2-3 of each, to try them out and buy more of the one you like the most, after a few use.
If you plan to use both AI2 and classic cloth diapers, we recommend to only buy Bamboolik covers, as they work perfectly with classic cloth diapers and all night diapers, but BambiRoxy covers are not compatible with the AI2 system.
Buying a few All-in-One diapers gives you the opportunity for a very easy change when you are in a hurry or when the baby has little patience.
If you ask in your order comment, we can check that diapers and covers in your order are compatible with each other, and before delivery get back to you if we notice some mistake :)
Also, feel free to email us and we will be more than happy to answer your questions about the different products and manufacturers.
How many diapers do I need?
If you have never used cloth diapers, a critical question is how many diapers do you need? This depends on the following factors:
A baby uses diapers for about the first two years of life, and during this time grows a lot. The so-called One size diapers we sell in Ecokid are from approximately 4kg till the end of diapering period. For less than 4kg baby, we recommend to use disposable diapers or special newborn diapers, which we plan to introduce later to our offering.
Your target use of cloth diapers
You might want to go fully for cloth diapers, but many parents choose to use them like 80% of the time, meaning that for visits to doctor, or day trips to the nature, they still use disposables for convenience. We recommend that you at least go for 50%, otherwise either the storage of dirty diapers will be too long or the washing machine running almost empty.
If you line dry, you need more diapers because of the longer drying time. However, the lifetime of the diapers can be longer.
How often you change
This is hard to estimate in advance, and during the life of the baby it often changes. However you might have some idea if you use disposables, whether you change more, less, or about the same often as the average.
Using night diapers
One night diaper makes up for 2 normal diapers, as it is designed to last the whole night. However, things happen, and then you need to change again possibly after just 10 minutes ... but in average, it lasts longer.
This calculation assumes that you wash the diapers every second day, what we recommend. And line drying is assumed, and that you wash every second day.
You can find the base number of the calculation in this table:
|Your target usage|
(Scroll to the right if not seen in full)
And then make the following adjustments:
- Tumble drying: jump one column to the left
- Two night diapers: -1, three night diapers (every night): -2
- You feel you need more flexibility when to wash: +2
So for example line drying, 75% target usage and 25% use of disposable diapers, 8 changes per day, you need either 18 normal diapers or 13 normal diapers and 3 night diapers. If you decide to use tumble drying, you need only 12 normal diapers or 7 normal and 3 night diapers.
Note also that night diapers are not that efficient in the first 2-3 months, you can use them but they will not be any better than normal diapers, because newborns need change during the night anyway.
The target usage of cloth diapers should be measured as a maximum per day. If you plan to use it 100% for the weekdays and then 0% in the weekend trips, then use the 100% column, of course :)
This calculation is approximate and is meant only to give an idea how many diapers you might need. Every baby and every family life is different.
Before first use
Wash all Ecokid products before first use, at the temperature indicated. Remember to remove inserts from the diapers and close all velcros before washing. Inserts reach their optimal absorbing capacity after 2-3 washing, you can either wash them 2-3 times before first use, or just wash them once, and remember to change a bit more often the first 1-2 times you use them.
What to do with dirty diaper after change
If the diaper has solid poop, shake it off to the toilet. Then, rinse the diaper to remove liquid poop and pee, and put it in a plastic bin or wet bag where it is waiting for washing. Optionally, you can use bile soap also before placing the diaper into the bin.
We recommend that you wash dirty diapers within 48 hours, as mold might appear otherwise. Our suppliers recommend a maximum storage time of 3 days. Do not fill the bin up with water, that decreases the safe storage time.
Hand wash of diapers is not recommended. Because of the absorbing capacity of diapers, it is nearly impossible to properly wash every dirt out of them by hand, however it is fairly easy to damage the diaper. Especially the PUL waterproof layer damages easily during hand wash.
Diaper covers can be rinsed between use, but rubbing them is unnecessary and harmful to the waterproof layer.
WashingAs a general rule, cloth diapers should be washed at 60 degrees. Occasionally you can wash them on 90 degrees, but doing that regularly decreases the lifetime of the diapers.
Diaper covers do not need frequent washing, and lower temperature is enough to wash them, as they don't directly contact with poop.
As diapers are designed to absorb water well, washing cloth diapers need a good amount of water, so if your machine has some water saving mode, avoid using that. Fill in the machine maximum to 2/3 of the capacity, to make sure enough water goes to each diaper.
Remember to close all velcros before washing, open velcros can damage other diapers and the lifetime of the velcro also decreases.
Washing powder or liquid
The same recommendation stands for diapers as for baby clothes: Use perfume-free, anti-allergy washing power or liquid to wash the diapers, and do not use softener, conditioner. Some find washing liquid more efficient.
Disinfection of the diapers on a regular basis is unnecessary, washing following the instructions is enough to kill bacteria. However, after an intestinal infection occurred, or when passing on the diaper to the next baby, it makes sense to use a laundry disinfectant in the normal washing cycle.
Line drying is the best for cloth diapers. However, especially in winter, line drying can take long, meaning that you need to buy more cloth diapers to cover the full cycle. Some products can be tumble dried as well, however note that line drying will mean longer lifetime. This is a kind of tradeoff: buy more diapers, line dry, and they will live very long, or buy less, tumble dry, and they might not serve two or three babies.
Do not dry diapers on a heater, or on anything that is hot (e.g. a metal bar on the sun). The waterproof layer can damage.
If you dry on the sun, try that diapers face the sun with the inside. It's beneficial for removing stains, and at the same time saves the colorful side from fading.
Do not iron cloth diapers. If you wash them according to the instructions and your washing machine is not from the technical museum, killing of bacteria will happen already in the machine.
Storage of clean diapers
Store the diapers uncompressed, with some air between them. As diapers absorb a huge amount of water during washing, you cannot be sure that they are completely dry inside, so better not to store them air tight (like in plastic bag). Do not use vacuum bags, as after that it would take long time that the absorbing capacity restores.
Stains on the inside of cloth diapers are fairly common, and they don't mean the diaper is dirty. To reduce the likelihood of stains, make sure you remove all poop from the diaper. Also, using bile soap reduces the chance of getting stains. Once the stain is there, sunshine, bile soap or time can help getting rid of it. It is also an option to reconsider your level of tolerance towards stains on the diapers :)