Save Green: Add Energy Savings to Green Your Cloth Diapers

Dry your diapers for free
Dry your diapers for free

A lot of people use cloth diapers to save money. When you are saving money, you squeeze everything you can whenever you can. Last week I wrote about saving money on your initial cloth diaper purchase. Keep squeezing and see what you can do to save money washing and drying your cloth diapers.

Lessons from Our Grandmothers

I hear a lot of people talk about “modern cloth diapering.” I find this very funny. Based on my own questions to cloth diaper users at public events, I know that most families use very simple cloth diapers not unlike those used by my mother and my grandmother. I often think that the phrase “modern cloth diapering” is used to try to appease those who want to believe they can get out of the mundane job of taking care of their babies’ waste, similar to the marketing of the mid-twentieth century that tried to convince women that time-saving devices would make their perfect lives sparkle.

It’s just poop, and it’s sooo not a big deal. It’s easy with prefold diapers; it’s easy with all-in-one diapers; it’s easy with fitted diapers. Cloth diapers are just easy.

I think our grandmothers were right about the diapers themselves, so I find myself wondering what I might learn from them about caring for diapers.

Save Money Washing Diapers

First, I’m glad I don’t have to boil diapers on the stove like my grandmother did. When I was very young, my mother had a hand-crank, non-electric washer. Maybe she was just being stubbornly anti-electric, but I thought it was fun. It ran on kid energy.

While I could probably opt for either of these washing solutions out of my inherited stubbornness, I know that we parents today have some excellent energy-efficient washing options available to us with Energy Star machines. These are both more energy-efficient and more water-efficient. Cutting down on both of these does save money—not so much that you would notice a drastically reduced utility bill, but they do save a bit. The idea is to squeeze anywhere you can, right?

Check the Energy Star websites for statistics on washing machines, and you will realize how easy it is to make all of your clothes washing more efficient.

The other place to squeeze in savings is in the water temperature. You can save energy (and a bit of money) by washing diapers at 140 degrees F. Some have their water temperature set hotter, which isn’t necessary.

Save Money Drying Diapers

Then, how can we save money on drying the diapers? Please tell me you saw this coming. Use the free energy of the sun and the wind, of course. Dry and bleach those diapers naturally outdoors. You could even dry your diapers on a rack indoors, though I found that it can be more difficult to get diapers feeling completely dry in a humid climate when you don’t have the extra boost of the sun. And, yes, you can even dry diapers on the line when it is freezing out, but it helps to get them most of the way dry indoors first.

I have seen descriptions of Energy Star washers suggest that with the money you save on washing you can buy the dryer, but what if you just saved that money and skipped the electric dryer altogether?

If you find the diapers a little stiff after drying, toss them in the clothes dryer with a hockey puck for just a few minutes. If you skipped the dryer, roll the diapers around in your hands to loosen the fibers and soften the diapers.

If by “modern cloth diapering” people mean simple cloth diapers that can be washed easily and inexpensively in energy-efficient machines, I’m all for it.

Today is day #11 of my new Save Green Habit: run the stairs every day.

I’ve stopped finding this fun, but I’m still running. Maybe tomorrow will be a breakthrough, and I’ll experience runners’ high before I experience muscle exhaustion.

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1 thought on “Save Green: Add Energy Savings to Green Your Cloth Diapers”

  1. Agree, agree, and agree. We use prefolds for the most part (save our nicer diapers for special occasions) and it is cheap and easy. Every little bit counts.


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