9.28.2012

Back to Basics: Diaper Services vs. DIY

Once you decide to cloth diaper, one of the next decisions you must make is whether to use a diaper service or purchase the diapers and launder them yourself. When I told people we had chosen to cloth diaper our son the first question usually asked was, "do you have a diaper service?" Many cloth diapering parents are choosing to do their own laundry, but diaper services are still an option! This post will help you decide between using a diaper service and doing it yourself.



Diaper Services
Prior to disposable diapers, diaper services were very common. Families not wanting to launder their own diapers would hire a service to do the hard work. A diaper service is a company local to you. The service drops off clean diapers on a weekly basis and picks up the soiled diapers on their visit. Typically, a diaper service provides you with prefold diapers. You purchase diaper covers and diaper closures (Snappis or Boingos). The covers are washed at home. For about $25 a week, you can diaper one child with a diaper service.

Pros
Poop: When using a diaper service, there is no need for diaper liners or sprayers. You just wrap the diaper up with the poop enclosed and throw it in the pail.
Laundry: The diaper service takes care of all the dirty diaper laundry!
Sanitary: Diaper services are held to public health standards. You can rest assured that your diapers are clean!
Convenience: No trips to the store for disposable diapers or evenings spent washing diapers yourself.

Cons
Cost: For about $2200 per child, you can diaper your child from birth to potty training. (Source: Baby Bottoms Diaper Service)
Never own: You don't own the diapers yourself and therefore lose the resell value that comes with owning your own diapers.

If cost isn't a factor, using a diaper service is a wonderful way to diaper your baby! In fact, since the cost is in line with using disposable diapers, it would be wonderful if all families choose to diaper their babies using cloth diapers. A diaper service provides the same convenience of using disposable diapers and the benefits of using cloth diapers! By using cloth diapers you can help keep disposable diapers out of our landfills.

DIY
Many parents prefer to do their own diaper laundry. This is how we cloth diaper our son. With the DIY option, you purchase your diapers and launder them at home in your washing machine.

Pros
Cost: For less than $500 you can buy a whole stash of modern cloth diapers that can be used on multiple children!
Resell Value: Once your last child is potty trained, you can sell off your stash and recoup some of the money you spent on your stash.
Modern cloth diaper options: When you choose to DIY, you can purchase more modern diapers, like pockets and AIOs. Of course, prefolds and covers are still an option!

Cons
Laundry: Be prepared to add a couple extra loads or more of laundry each week. Also, it can be a bit trying finding a wash routine that works for you.
Increased utility cost: By washing your diapers 2-3 times a week, you can expect to be using more water and electricity.
Time: You have to find the time to do your own laundry.

Special thanks to Tim of Tiny Tots Diaper Service for his expertise on using a diaper service!



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