Life span of cloth diapers

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2011
Life span of cloth diapers
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 12:36pm

Hey all,

I'm wondering if the moms (or dads) who have used cloth for multiple kids at different times can give me some ideas about life span and replacement. Stuff is wearing out and I'm wondering what to do about replacement and planning a stash that I can keep using while this one potty trains and we possibly have another baby.

My DS is now 20 mos old (so potty training and being done with diapers could easily be another year away, longer for overnight). We've done cloth since the beginning and I have been dutiful about trying to stick with manufacturer instructions when I washed and dried so I could maximize the life of my stash. Stash is a mix of a little bit of everything under the sun: prefolds and fitteds, PUL and wool covers, pockets, AI2, and AIOs. It's also a mix of all sorts of different materials: cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber. We used to wash with cloth safe detergents only. I do use oxyclean free periodically to clean up stubborn stains, but only if it is within manufacturers instructions. We only use cloth safe diaper creams, and only with a liner.  I am very sparing about the dryer too and line dry pretty much everything with PUL.  Bottomline: I am really careful and have taken good care of this stuff with the expectation that we would hopefully have another kiddo and be able to reuse this stuff.

But now I'm looking at it up close. My prefolds are getting thready looking at the edges. My hook and loop covers are not holding well and the elastic at the legs is basically shot. I already threw a couple of snap covers away, but the others seem to be doing alright (these were not original when DS was born). With some of my AIOs, the PUL layer is starting to look stripped down and cracked, the elastic is also not as tight as it once was. Snaps on some of the pocket diaps are also getting loose. All in all, the stuff is just worn. This makes sense since it has been in continuous use for more than a year and a half, some of it anyway...and I tried to only buy just enough of everything, so it has gotten a lot of wear in this time.

So my question, now that I just wrote a whole book, is what do I do? Do I try to stick it out with the old stuff for DS and just plan to toss most of it and replace with a new baby? Or, do I replace stuff sooner with DS and buy new stuff that will hopefully last into another one, if we have one? I should say that DS is a very big kid, so many OS covers and diaps generally don't work for us at this point. I pretty much had to move him up to the sized versions of things in larges and XLs.

Thoughts and suggestions very much appreciated!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-13-2006
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 12:24pm

I am just starting on my second kid with my stash of diapers.  Basically, I think most of my stash is still usable, though I anticipate having to replace a few of my one-size dipes at some point.  I have a newborn stash of fitteds and prefolds and then a one-size stash of BG 3.0 pockets.

IMO, thready prefolds are just as usable as pristine ones!  Some of my hemp inserts have some fraying around the edges, but that doesn't bother me at all.  Also some of the hook and loop parts of my BGs are looking a little fuzzy, but they still hold tightly.  My laundry tabs are all shot on those, though I did replace the laundry tabs on about half of them.  BG sells kits with fresh elastic and tabs if you want to replace them.  If you look around at Etsy, there are also WAHMs who will refresh your diapers with fresh elastic for much cheaper than buying new diapers.  You can also get new snaps put on if the basic shell of the diapers is still good.

Yes, my diapers for the second kid are a litle rattier looking, but as long as they continue to hold in the bad stuff then I don't care.  I will be super impressed if I get 6 years of use out of my BGs, but since they've already lasted 3 years hat might be a bit optimistic!