Infants and children in diapers have very different needs from adults who just wear diapers for fun.  I was at a relatives house recently who have 2 children in diapers, they use all in one cloth diapers at home and usually disposables when they travel.  Their diaper pail was a big hamper full of smelly cloth diapers.  The all in ones are comically thick and bulky.  They have raised several children and talked about how they used to use disposables and change them the moment they noticed they were wet, and went through way more diapers then they needed to.  They said the cloth diapers were so thick that they didn’t need to be changed as often  and they were sure they were saving money.

Adult babies who aren’t dependent on diapers should look at some of the advantages of cloth for their diaper needs.

Lets compare

Cost:  I’m just going to generalize that a decent adult disposable diaper like an Abena costs about 2 dollars each.  If you were only able to wear a few times a month then a case of these might last you all year.  Who knows what the average adult baby does, but I typically wear 3 days a week and could probably get away with 3 Abenas.  Which means about a 300 dollar cost for the year.

Now lets say instead I buy some cloth diapers and plastic pants.  Cloth prefolds are going to run you about 25 bucks, a good all-in-one is about 40. Plastic pants can be had for as little as 5 bucks.  I’m only wearing 3 times a week but maybe I might want some back up.  I could get a super thick all-in-one, and 4 prefolds, with 4 plastic pants for around 150 dollars.  These diapers will last far longer then a year, if they were worn once a week they may last a life time.  The plastic pants will need to be replaced but that’s the cheapest part.

How about the cost of washing?  Well that does add up, according to an online calculator it would cost me about 50 dollars a year to do an extra load of laundry a week.  With just a few diapers per week though I often just throw them in with a load of towels or clothes after I handwash them and get the smell out.

The cost savings is huge and the more you wear the more you save.  If you have access to a sewing machine you can sew your own prefolds for about half what you could buy them and save even more money.

Cloth 1 Disposable 0

Dry Feel:  A dry disposable diaper feels nice, but a dry cloth diaper feels much nicer.  A good cloth diaper is so bulky that it forces you to waddle more like a baby and I personally love the tightness and pressure of the bulk between my legs.

Cloth 1 Disposable 0

Wet Feel:   I really enjoy the feeling of a quality disposable when they get wet and swollen. The feeling of a big squishy soft diaper is amazing. A cloth diaper doesn’t provide that same kind of feeling that a good soaked disposable diaper does.  A good cloth diaper will soak up a lot of pee and not feel uncomfortable for awhile but when they are saturated I find them uncomfortable.

Cloth 0 Disposable 1

Look:  This is another personal question, what looks better?  Of course there are new adult disposables with baby print that look adorable, and big puffy plastic Abena looks really cute too.  A super bulky all-in-one is also super cute and babyish.  Plastic pants are available in all kinds of cute prints and colors.  It’s a toss up for me.

Cloth 1 Disposable 1

Leaks:  Cheap disposables leak like crazy, good ones don’t.  Same for good cloth diapers.  I don’t really feel like one does a better job then the other when you’re dealing with good diapers.

Cloth 1 Disposable 1

Convience:  This is a big one against cloth, especially if you poop your diapers.  Cloth are going to take some extra work, washing, folding, they even take longer to put on.  A wet or messy disposable is just folded up and thrown away.

Discreetness:  Now this one really only matters if you need or want to wear your diapers outside of the home.  I have worn disposables to work, school, and really just about anywhere.  Mind you these were not the super thick variety usually, though I have worn them out too.  I’m certain it would be impossible to tell.  I have worn some thin cloth diapers out a few times, but was really to scared to use them since I was sure they would leak.  Cloth diapers have so much thickness that they are almost impossible to hide under clothes, except maybe in winter and even then you’re going to have to try to hide that cloth diaper waddle.

Cloth 0 Disposable 1

Final score

Cloth 4 Disposable 4   A tie.

I considered adding an environmental category which cloth would win, but decided against it.  A person with a great deal of environmental concern may be swayed by that, but I don’t feel like I wear enough diapers to make much of a difference one way or the other.  I’m sure a years with of used disposable diapers for someone who wore more would really add up, but my few diapers a week isn’t going to make much difference.

To me the real answer isn’t should I use cloth or disposable, it’s why not use both?  You an build a cloth diaper stash easily,

 

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