Cloth Diaper Comparison
Smart Moms Rediscover Cloth Diapers
by Joseph Struck
At a time in America when both saving money and improving our environment are major concerns, today’s “cloth” diapers are an ideal and increasingly popular alternative to the financial and environmental pressures of disposable diapers.
Entrepreneur and graphic designer Ada Vaughan made this realization with her own daughter after becoming fed up with disposable diapers. A friend was using new cloth diapers, so after getting a little advice on what to try, Ada switched to an all-in-one cloth diaper (no covers needed) and never looked back. Her experience led her to create CuteyBaby LLC in Spring 2009, a business that designs and manufactures Modern Cloth Diapers and Removable Wall Decals for decorating children’s rooms.
CuteyBaby recently unveiled its own Modern Cloth Diaper with innovative, patent-pending technology that separates it from other cloth diapers. Design and function are light years away from the cloth diapers our mothers and grandmothers used. CuteyBaby provides mothers with Modern Cloth Diapers that require no cover, are easy to launder, and look fashionable. Ada says, “It’s time to make cloth diapering something Moms want to do, rather than feel they should do.”
Modern Cloth Diapers can be washed in any standard washer and take up little space compared to the dozens of disposable diapers the average baby goes through each week. Unlike disposable diapers that can contain harmful chemicals such as dioxin, which has been linked to cancer, cloth diapers are made from familiar fabrics like cotton, polyester, microfiber, and more. Each year, over 2 Billion diapers fill up landfills each year in the U.S. alone. In contrast, Modern Cloth Diapers provide years of use to smart families worldwide. Wash-at-home cloth diapers are used more extensively in eco-conscious countries such as Canada, Australia, and throughout Western Europe. Awareness in the U.S. still remains somewhat low.
It also makes great economic sense to buy Modern Cloth Diapers. According to the Real Diaper Association, the cost of cloth diapering is roughly one-tenth the cost of using disposable diapers for the average child. For a single infant, parents could spend about $250 to $400 on their stash of Modern Cloth Diapers, or around $2,500 to $4,000 on disposables – depending on when they potty train. Quality cloth diapers may last for multiple children, thus extending the already dramatic savings.
With so many cloth diaper lines available, we wanted to give parents and retailers a simple way to compare. CuteyBaby staff recently went to our local cloth diaper shop – Comfy Bummy diapers in Naperville – and bought one each of five different diapers to compare against our own. We focused on all-in-one or pocket diaper styles, which are the easiest to assemble and use. Then we tested them based on fit, absorbency, elasticity, and dry time.
|Diaper Brand||Type||Materials||Price||Range of Fit||Elastic Test||Absorbency Test||Washing instructions||Dry Time|
|Gro Baby One Size Cloth Diaper||Snap in soaker||100 % Polyester Shell, polyurethane coating, Organic Cotton Soaker and Padding||24.95||Largest Setting: waist-22 in leg-10.5 in Smallest Setting: waist-12 in leg-6 in||At rest: 14 in Stretched:
|6oz with snap-in soaker (booster strip adds 2 oz)||machine wash warm, no bleach, tumble dry low||Long – estimated 40 mins outer, 120+ for soaker|
|Happy Heiny Medium Sized Pocket Diaper||100% polyester outer shell, Aplix brand velcro, inner fleece layer, microterry insert||17.95||Largest Setting: waist- 19 in leg-9.5in Smallest Setting: waist- 12.5in leg- 6in||At rest:
14.25 in Stretched: 18.5 in
|6 oz - one soaker (add’l soaker doubles absorbency)||machine wash at any temp. tumble dry||Short – estimated 40 mins for outer, 60 mins for soaker|
|FuzziBunz Perfect Size, Pocket Diaper, medium size||100% polyester, polyurethane coating, microfiber insert, fleece inside layer, snaps||17.95||Largest Setting: waist-17in leg-8.5in Smallest Setting: waist-13in leg-8in||At rest:
13 in Stretched:
|12 oz with one soaker||cold machine soak, hot wash, cold rinse, tumble dry low||Medium – estimated 30 mins for outer, 60-90 mins for soaker|
|Bum Genius All in One Cloth medium Sized Diaper||All-in-One||100% polyester outer shell, microfiber core, 5% spandex, Velcro closure, microfiber insert||15.95||Largest Setting: waist-20in leg-10in Smallest Setting: waist-12in leg-5in||At rest:
13.5 in Stretched
|6 oz||1/4 of detergent, wash cold, wash hot, double rinse, dry warm||Long – estimated 120+ mins to dry|
|Bum Genius One-Size Pocket Diaper||100% polyester outer shell, 5% spandex, Microterry Insert, microfiber inner layer, Velcro closure||17.95||Largest Setting: waist-20in leg 9.5in Smallest Setting: waist 10.5in leg-4in||At rest:
13 in Stretched:
|12 oz with one soaker||1/4 of detergent, wash cold, wash hot, double rinse, line dry||Medium – estimated 30 mins for outer, 60-90 mins for soaker|
|CuteyBaby Modern Cloth Diaper||All-in-One||100% polyester, outer shell, 100% microfiber insert, removable Velcro closure tabs||24.95||Largest Setting: waist- 20in leg-11in Smallest Setting: waist- 11in leg- 6in||At rest:
14 in Stretched: 20 in
|12 oz||1/3 of detergent, wash hot, tumble dry||Short – estimated 45-60 minutes|
– Pricing was what we paid at Comfy Bummy in September 2009 – actual prices may vary depending on where you shop, sales, etc.
– To test size range, we adjusted the diaper to its largest and smallest settings and measured waist and leg openings without stretching. Note: we tested one-size and fitted diaper styles. In cases where different sizes are available, we tested size Medium.
– To test elasticity, we measured across the back of the diaper at rest, and at full stretch.
– To test absorbency, we assembled the diaper with whatever soaker came with it, poured water into the center of the diaper, then measured how much liquid it would hold in the soaker without pooling or flowing out. Note: we washed all the diapers and soakers once in hot water before testing.
– To test dry time, we put all of the diapers in the dryer on high heat at once and checked every 15-20 minutes for dryness by feeling each one.
You can estimate absorbency by about 3-4 oz of liquid per layer of microfiber on any diaper that uses that for soaker layers. Pinch apart the layers and roll them in your fingers to determine how many layers are in a soaker. Any soaker with three or more layers of microfiber will probably do the trick for an average baby – if you only feel 2 layers, you’ll likely need to add a booster/doubler (more soaking layers) after 6-8 months of age. Cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers take much longer to dry than synthetics. Cotton absorbs about 1/2 or 1/3 as much as microfiber for the same bulk.
Velcro® or Aplix closures are the easiest to use (just like a disposable), but will wear out from washing before snaps. CuteyBaby’s diaper has a closure that gets removed before washing to help prevent wear. Snap closures are reportedly more secure for children that try to remove their own diaper. Several diapers are available with your choice of snaps or Velcro®/Aplix.
FuzziBunz and BumGenius pocket diapers had great absorbency with the included soaker. Bum Genius all-in-one looks like a good value, but then you have to add a soaker to get good absorbency – so that increases cost. GroBaby had the best stretch and range of fit for a one-size diaper.
Consumers can expect to spend $18-25 on a wash-at-home diaper and will likely need 8-10 diapers if they wash nightly. For Moms that want to try out cloth, 4-6 is a good starter quantity. They can see if they like it, and in the meantime eliminate 1/2 or more of their use of disposables.
For more information about cloth diapering, or to receive a press kit for the CuteyBaby Modern Cloth Diaper, contact Ada Vaughan at email@example.com.