Here’s the thing no one tells you about disposal diapers, they stink! Yeah, I know, dirty diapers smell, but that’s the thing. In two months of using Bum Genius’ cloth diapers, I have been pretty amazed that the dirty diapers do not smell. In fact, they do an excellent job of wicking away moisture from my infant son. Because of this and the suppressed smell, each diaper can be worn longer than a disposable one. Furthermore, Bum Genius diapers are easy to clean (we do not pre-wash them and they come out sans stains).
While the upfront cost may be prohibitive (the diapers are sold in packs of two on Target.com for $35.99), they have a number of benefits, along with a few drawbacks. In the first few weeks of life, my son was too small for the reusable diapers so we had to outfit him in disposables. The number of trash bags filled with diapers was astounding. Instead of throwing out the trash every week to two weeks, we had nearly daily trips to the dumpster. Estimates from the EPA claim that 3.1 million tons or 1.4% of municipal solid waste in the US is attributed to diapers.
However, the reusable diapers have caused a noticeable uptick in our energy bill (roughly $15 per month). Although we have an Energy Star rated washing machine, the hot water and extra rinse cycle consume more energy and water. The outer shell does not need to be dried. Instead, they air dry quickly. The liners, on the other hand, do go through a dryer cycle.
Yet to be seen is how well the diapers will hold up through the next two years. The agitation from the washing machine and the hot water required to sanitize the diapers will cause greater wear and tear on the diapers. In addition, the velcro stay that inhibits the diaper from sticking to the rest of the laundry has already shown signs of wear. At roughly $40 per box of 200+ diapers at Costco or Sam’s Club, we need to use each diaper nearly 100 times to break even. With the use of cloth wipes though, we have little need for disposable wipes and wash the cloth wipes along with the diapers.
Overall we’ve been very pleased with the Bum Genius line. Instead of using our laundry detergent though, we will switch over to their brand to help ensure the longevity of our diapers.
- Eric Wilson