Okay, I know what you're thinking... "Why on earth would you mess with cloth diapers when disposables are so easy?" Cloth diapers immediately conjure up imagines of 1950's housewives safety pinning rectangles of cloth around their babies' chunky little thighs. It doesn't work like that anymore. Really, it is so easy it is a crime. I think people just don't know about it, so I am sharing the secret. Here are some myths about cloth diapers:
1. "Cloth diapers are difficult"
No, they are easy. They require little more work than disposables (I'm not lying). There are a variety of styles, but many close with snaps or velcro and look like a cloth version of a disposable diaper. Wet diapers just go into the bag until laundry time and the dirty diapers get a quick spray down. Washing is easy... it is just one extra load of laundry per day... that is not a big deal. Most brands recommend line drying the diapers but they do ok in the dryer.
2. "Cloth diapers are messy to clean"
Changing dirty diapers is messy business- disposable or cloth. The messiest part of a diaper change is the squirmy, poopy baby that kicks, grabs, and tries to crawl away. As long as you have a diaper sprayer (a handheld spray nozzle that attaches to the plumbing of your toilet), clean up is a breeze. You just spray the poop off into the toilet and flush.
3. "You get a bunch of poop in your washing machine"
No, once you spray the diaper off into the toilet, there is really only a stain left. This is much less poop than the amount on your baby's clothes after a big poopy diaper blow out (which are much more frequent with disposable diapers). I have heard of some people throwing the diaper into the wash without cleaning it first, and I wouldn't recommend it. That's like throwing a saucepan full of refried beans into the dishwasher without emptying it...if you have a great dishwasher it may work but it's just a lot easier for everyone if you rinse it out first.
4. "They give your baby diaper rash"
They shouldn't. In fact, most babies with sensitive skin do much better with cloth because they aren't full of chemicals. That being said, if the diapers are not cared for properly you can have ammonia build up that stinks and can cause diaper rash. There are ways to fix this but the best cure is prevention so you just need to be sure to use cloth diaper detergent (or a natural detergent), no fabric softeners or dryer sheets and line drying (at least a couple times a month) will help. You also don't want your baby sitting in a wet cloth diaper all day. You don't want to do this with a disposable either.
There is so much more I would like to say about cloth diapers but I will save the rest for later. All I would encourage you to do is consider using cloth diapers.... and if you don't have babies, spread the word to people that do. They really are a win-win for babies, parents, and the environment.