Because They're Easy to Care For
Worried about washing? Don't be, says Linda Pruitt, founder and owner of Vermont Diaper Company, a manufacturer of organic cloth diapering supplies. "Any mother will tell you that you are going to be doing laundry—breast milk leaks, babies spit up on sheets," says Pruitt. "Caring for cloth today is no harder than doing any other load of laundry."
"Today, we do not recommend that you use a wet pail filled with bleach like they used to," says Byerline. (The 'wet pail' method was common in the days before modern washing machines. It's not necessary anymore, and it's also messy, hard to carry, and can even be a health hazard if not properly covered.) "We suggest just using a dry pail, and then you just put the dirty diapers in the wash, wash like you would wash every other load of clothes, put them in the dryer, and take them out."
But what about those especially dirty diapers? Not a big deal, says Byerline. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you won't need to do anything extra. After your baby starts solids (or if he or she is formula-fed), you'll need to hold the diaper over the toilet to remove excess waste—most of the time, the bowel movement will fall right off the diaper. There's no need to 'swish' a dirty diaper in the toilet bowl. (Actually, adds Byerline, even disposable diapers are supposed to be 'dumped' over the toilet before they are thrown away—this helps to keep feces in the sewage system, where it belongs.)
Finally, know that some cloth diapering families don't have to worry about laundry at all. That's because they have access to a diaper service, says Taylor. A diaper service is a professional laundry that rents cloth diapers. If you use a diaper service, they will deliver clean diapers to your home and pick up used diapers on a weekly basis. The diapers are then laundered using professional equipment—some going through as many as 14 washes before being dried.
"Diaper services are a great way to go for people who need to have something that doesn't add any extra workload," says Taylor. (Check the website of the National Association of Diaper Services, an organization that promotes high standards of diaper services across the country, to find one near you.)