Friday, February 13, 2009

How Long Will My Diapers Last?

While many parents choose to cloth diaper for environmental reasons, saving money is another top priority. Some are disappointed when diapers don't last as long as they expected, or don't seem that they'll last for more than one child. Others find that their stash last through two or more children. Why is there so much variation? There are lots of factors that affect how long your diapers will last:

  • diaper quality-Purchasing quality diapers will go a long way in ensuring they will last as long as possible. This doesn't mean buying expensive diapers, but it does mean finding a diaper made with quality materials. Cheaply made diapers will not work as well or as long. You'll end up spending more money to find something that works and may wind up so frustrated that you quit.

  • the number of diapers in your stash-If you only have enough diapers to last one day, your diapers will be washed 6-7 times a week and at least 300 times over the course of a year. You may own clothes for years before they are worn/washed that many times.

  • your wash routine-Some washers are harder on clothes than others. So are some cycles-if you are washing your diapers on a very hot sanitary cycle or leave them on a hot setting in the dryer for a long time every time, you may find that after a while your diapers begin to show some wear.

There's no foolproof way to guaranteeing your diapers will last from birth to potty training for multiple children. Here are some things I've found to be helpful. Maybe they will help you as well.

  • Use bleach sparingly. Using it occasionally (and not too much) will not harm your diapers, but bleach in every load will wear away on your PUL and elastic.
  • Hang dry when possible. I haven't found the dryer on low settings to be especially harmful to PUL, but it's not the best for elastic. If you do dry your diapers in the dryer use a low heat and take covers and pockets out after about 15-20 minutes. This is all they need to dry. Don't stretch the elastic until the diaper is thoroughly dry.
  • Opt for prefolds and covers. Without elastic, snaps, PUL, aplix to worry about, prefolds are ideal for a long life. Covers will also last longer as you can get several changes out of them before needing to wash.
  • Use your laundry tabs. Those hooks like to grab onto fabrics, causing pulling and stretching.
  • When storing your diapers, choose a cool dry place. Some people use vacuum sealed bags or Space bags. I like to make sure the diapers get air and won't be subjected to moisture. Others have found that regularly washing diapers in storage can help keep them in good condition.
  • Snap diapers are a good option for longer diaper life, as there is no worry about the closure becoming less sticky.
  • If you do run into elastic issues, it can often be replaced for a lower cost than buying new diapers. If you're able to do this yourself, you can give new life to your diapers whenever necessary.

If you treat your diapers well, good quality diapers will last you a while!