Diaper Washing_: Diaper Thoughts

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Saturday, January 27, 2007 | 2 comments
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Thanks to Catherine for this Frugal Baby Tip!

An average diaper lasts about 200 washings. I've been thinking lately about the usage differences between using a prefold system and something like the Mother-ease diapers - in terms of numbers of wearings you would get out of each diaper.

A prefold diaper needs to be washed 2-3 times prior to use - you now have about 197 washes left. If you only wash one time after each use - you are getting about 197 wearings out of each diaper. That means three dozen prefold diapers will last 7,092 wearings or about 39 months (3 years, 3 months). The majority of children will be trained before this time.

If you need to wash your diapers 5-10 times prior to use, as you do with the Mother-ease diapers - you now only have about 190-195 washes left. If you have to wash your diaper 2-3 times after each use to get them properly clean - you are now only getting 64-98 wearings out of each diaper. That means three dozen diapers will last 2,304- 3,528 wearings or about 10-16 months. You will probably eventually have to replace your diapers, unless you have a baby who trains very early.

I figured out the above on the assumption of 10-12 diaper changes for baby's first 4 weeks, 8-10 diaper changes from months 1-5, 8 diaper changes from months 5-12, 6 diaper changes from months 12-18, 5 diaper changes from months 18-30. If you change your baby's diapers less often, or start using cloth when your baby is older your diapers may last longer - but I thought it was something for those who are cost-conscious to consider...

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About Catherine: I have been writing my Frugal Baby Tips since 1982, when I was a young divorced mom of two - for my baby product company, Born to Love. I am now mom to three grown up sons, and a grandma - and happily married to a wonderful man. We have rescued two little dogs, Denny and Dexter - and a rescue cat, Bella.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i was curious- why do you only wash the prefold once after each use but you wash the mother ease 2-3 times after each use?

  2. Prefolds, since they have no Velcro, snaps, elastic, and are not very thick, will wash out easily in one wash. But thick diapers like Motherease will often take 2-3 washes to come clean, due to the thickness and stitching. It can depend on whether you soak your diapers first, rinse off poop before washing or use liners to help keep your thick diapers poop-free.

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