There are a variety of reasons why people choose to cloth diaper. Some use cloth diapers to save money, to protect the environment, and some for health benefits.
Cost: Disposable diapers cost approximately $1500-$2500 per child from birth until they are potty trained. These figures don't include the cost of disposable wipes either. Cloth diapering initially can seem expensive due to all of the items such as diapers and accessories needed to begin the cloth journey. The overall cost depends on the type of diapers you choose and can cost as little as $300 to as high as $700 (these are average estimates). If considering cloth diapering you need to look at it as an investment because initially you have to spend some money but within a few months you break even with what you would have spent on disposable diapers. Another financial benefit of cloth diapering is that they can be used for other children that you may have in the future. Not only can they be used for multiple children they have a resale value. Many people resell their diapers once their child no longer needs them.
Environment: Approximately 50 million disposable diapers enter landfills every day and take approximately 250-500 years to decompose. Many have stated it has become a solid waste nightmare. To give you an idea each child uses approximately 6,000-9,000 diapers from birth to until potty trained. That is a lot of diapers!! Many people try to argue that the usage of washing cloth diapers defeats the purpose of using them to save the environment. The manufacturing of disposable diapers uses more water than the cleansing of cloth diapers over two years.
Health: There are many health benefits to cloth diapering. Toxic chemicals such as dioxin and tributyl-tin have been shown to have negative effects on health. These toxins are found in many disposable diapers. Dioxin has been linked to causing cancer and tributyl-tin has been found to cause hormonal disturbances. Studies have also shown disposable diapers cause increased temperature in the scrotal area for boys which has a negative physiological effect on spermogenesis, decreasing sperm production.
Cloth Wipes: When I started cloth diapering my son I continued to use disposable wipes and it got tiresome to have to pick out the wipes from each diaper and throw in the garbage before I threw the diapers in the wash. I chose to use cloth wipes for this reason alone. After first using cloth wipes I was impressed how clean and easy they were to use. I literally could use 1 cloth wipe for a messy diaper and his skin would be clean. With disposable wipes I always used a handful because it just seemed to smear the mess around unless I used a large handful of wipes. Not only was I surprised at how efficient the cloth wipes were at cleaning they didn't leave a film on his skin like wipes did...It actually felt clean.