Why Cloth

Benefits of Cloth Diapers

The great diaper debate has gone on for ages. Here we present the benefits of cloth diapers, which I am sure you will agree far outweigh any possible advantage of disposable diapers. Not only are cloth diapers better for baby and the environment, they also can be cheaper, they support our economy, and best of all they are just as easy to use as disposables.

aby skin is very delicate, so cloth diapering really is better for baby. Would you like wearing paper underwear? One study reports that only 7% of cloth diapered babies experience diaper rash compared with 78% of disposable diapered babies.

(1)  Why is this? Disposable diapers use chemicals to help absorb wetness. Because of these chemicals, it often becomes difficult to tell when your baby needs to be changed resulting in fewer diaper changes - leaving your babe sitting in a damp chemical stew. Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S. or Canada.

(2) Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.

(3) Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

(4) Scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.
Due to the very construction of disposable diapers they do not allow the skin to breathe; this causes the temperature next to the babies skin to rise.
In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis. 

Cloth diapers solve all of these problems by allowing mom to know when baby is wet which leads to more frequent diaper changes, air circulates to babies bottom, allowing it to breathe; resulting in clean, healthy and chemical free containment.

Bear Bottoms washing proccess is intense, so much so that our diapers are cleaner than new after washing. See our Washing Process in Services and Pricing for more info. In fact, they are so clean and residue free that even the most sensitive skin (our daughter can attest to this) should not have any adverse reaction. The environmental debate for disposables has always been that cloth diapering uses more energy for washing and drying so cloth has the same environmental impact. The may have been an argument before the advent of energy saving washers and dryers and flushing a toilet every time. Plus, I still can't believe that at 500+ years for trillions of diapers to decompose can even be a debate. At Bear Bottoms we use high-efficiency washers and dryers. Our washers are front-loading extractors, which mean very little water is actually used. The cleaning process essentially extracts the “bad stuff” through g-force, then the cleaners are dispensed and the drop and spin cleans 400 diapers per load with the same amount of water used through 1 conventional load in a top-loading washer in your home. In fact, we use less water and energy than home washing since we dump all the solid matter at once, rather than dump, rinse and flush done with diapers at home. The dryer also uses the same amount of energy for one of our huge loads compared to 1 of your regular home loads. We also recycle our “used” diapers – they make fabulous rags for cleaning your car, dusting, burp cloths – shall I go on?

With all the frequent diaper changing you may get the added benefit of your little one potty training early, and at least easier. Studies show cloth diapered babies’ average age potty trained: 18 months, versus disposables: 40 months. Reasoning - your child can feel when they have gone to the bathroom; they are not artificially removed from the consequence (wet diaper) which helps immensely in the potty training arena. Don't our babies deserve the best we have to offer them? Why subject their little bodies to any more contamination than we have to? Believe me, it will come soon enough.

In the society we live in, we must all do our part and try to be environmentally responsible. You should feel good about your decision to cloth diaper. Disposable diapers contribute 1% of all solid waste in our landfills, (fast food wrappers only contribute 0.1%) that is a lot of trash. One report estimated that the U.S. alone spends almost 300 million dollars annually removing disposable diapers. Using disposables increases the cost of solid waste management for everyone. Not to mention that no long-term studies have been done to evaluate the potential effects that leachate from disposables has on our ecosystem. Cloth diapers use less renewable and non-renewable resources at all levels of production and use than disposables.

Click here to see our service and pricing for more benefits.


(1)Real Diaper Association
(2)Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace. http://archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/azd/azd.html 
(3) Greenpeace. New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble's Pampers: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products. 15 May 2000.
(4) Armstrong, Liz and Adrienne Scott Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women's Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers, What You Can Do About It. 1993. HarperCollins.
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