Pros and cons: Disposable vs. cloth diapers

Cloth diapers were the norm when your parents were babies, but for the last 20 years or so, the convenience of disposable diapers has been the order of the day. However, there has been a gradual but steady movement back towards modern cloth diapers, with moms praising these innovative diaper designs for its comfort, low costs and eco-friendliness. So which is better for you? We compare the pros and cons of disposable and cloth diapers.


Cloth diapers can work out to be much cheaper than disposables in the long run. A set of 24 modern cloth diapers and bamboo/cotton liners will set you back several hundred dollars in the beginning, but you can wash and reuse them all the way until your baby is potty-trained. Compare that with buying two years’ worth of disposable diapers. You could save thousands!

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When it comes to convenience, nothing beats the ease of disposable diapers. When the diaper gets soiled, just take it off and throw it away. While you can use disposable liners, cloth diapers require scraping and thorough washing at least every other day. You’ll also need to get used to dealing with poop and leaks.

Comfort for your baby

When it comes to your baby’s comfort, there’s no question that cloth diapers are much more comfortable, as they allow your baby’s sensitive skin to breathe. Disposable diapers are made with synthetic material and chemicals, which isn’t the best for babies. They also frequently cause nappy rash and allergic reactions, which can make your baby even more irritable.

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If you’re constantly on the move, disposable diapers give you the most flexibility. If you plan to put your baby in infant care, you probably have to go with disposables as the practical solution. Cloth diapers require time and effort, which you just might not have.

Green footprint

Cloth diapers are the clear winner here as disposable diapers are terrible for the environment. Just think about the number of diapers you are contributing to a landfill each year. Cloth diapers, however, are incredibly ecological. If you are diligent in washing your diapers and drying them in the sun, you can have a clean collection to use for your next baby or even sell second-hand.

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Transitioning to cloth diapers in your life

If you are won over by the advantages of cloth diapers but can’t imagine working them into your busy lifestyle, there are some options to consider. Try, for example:

  • Part-time cloth diapering, in combination with disposables. Some parents only use cloth diapers at night and on weekends.
  • Using a cloth diapering service, which can pick up dirty diapers and wash them for you, although this is still uncommon in Singapore.
  • Paying someone to wash your diapers. Consider paying a neighbour or babysitter to wash the diapers for you. If you have a domestic helper, you can also train her to do so.
Do you use disposable or cloth diapers? Let us know in the comments!

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