Why I Switched to Cloth Diapers, and Why You Should Too

Choosing to switch to cloth was one of the best decisions I almost didn't make. Cloth diapers are SCARY. It is incredibly intimidating to go from what you know to needing to rinse poop off of diapers. It is a daunting task and not everyone wants or is willing to do it. However, I think that there are many benefits that go beyond just your bank account. There are many harmful chemicals in diapers such as dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, VOCs, TBT. Diapers are not only toxic but they are expensive and the costs can add up over time. Cloth diapers can save you from unintentionally exposing your children to harmful chemicals, further polluting the environment, and wasting money.


Dioxins are what are used to make the diapers absorbent. It is made when the wood pulp is bleached with chlorine. The World Health Organization labels dioxins as part of "the dirty dozen." The Who says that high exposure to dioxins can cause skin lesions, impaired immune system, altered liver function, impaired reproductive functions, and more. (1) Although the amount of dioxins absorbed into the body through diapers is not significant. It is still a dangerous chemical we are putting on our babies. In addition to that now all of these diapers with dioxins are being thrown out and contaminating our earth. There are already dioxins in our food and now we are putting them on our baby and throwing them out to add more into the environment. '

Sodium Polyacrylate

Sodium Polyacrylate is another thing added to diapers to boost absorbency. It is considered non-toxic, however, when handling the powder it is known to cause lung irritation, eye damage, and skin burns. It was removed from tampons in 1985 because of the irritation it caused women (2)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

When people are exposed to VOCs it can increase the chances of birth defects, cancer, asthma, and endocrine disruption. There is concerning data to suggest this chemical in sanitary pads could be causing intensified cramping, cycle irregularities, rashes, and infections. (3)

Tributyl-tin (TBT)

TBT is considered an obesogen. (4) This chemical can promote fat cell growth and be a factor in obesity. It is also extremely harmful to marine life and because it is used in paint for boats is poisoning marine life.

There are also many other chemicals that are put in diapers life fragrances, dyes, etc. While diapers are not our main source of any of these chemicals, using them still adds to exposure both on your baby and after they are thrown into the landfill. It takes about five hundred and fifty years for diapers to decompose. (5) This means that the first disposable diaper made is still not decomposed and we are consistently adding to the pollution.

The chemicals are not the only reason to switch. Cloth diapers also save you a lot of money. On average a box of diapers is $25-$30. There are 180 diapers in a size 4 parents' choice diaper box. (6) A baby goes through about 6 diaper changes a day. So one box of diapers will last you about thirty days. That is $300 a year. It does not seem like a lot but when compared to cloth diapers. You can purchase $300 in cloth diapers and they will last you not only for one baby but for many more after. If someone has more than one baby they are saving $900 per kid. That begins to add up, especially when you have more than one baby in diapers.

I knew that cloth diapers were right for my family not only because I did not want the additional chemicals being absorbed through my baby's skin, or to add to the pollution, but also because they are a way for us to save money. The only thing I regret about cloth diapers is not starting sooner and listening to those around me who discouraged me.

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