Why choose cloth?

For your baby’s comfort and health:
There are more than 60 chemicals in disposable diapers. Some are known toxins and one is a chemical banned from tampons in the 1980s. These chemicals have been linked to asthma and male infertility. In contrast, cloth diapers have been linked to less diaper rash and younger potty training.

One study (1) exposed mice to both disposable and cloth diapers in a mid-sized room. Chemicals released by the disposables caused symptoms similar to asthma. Out of six cotton and disposable diaper brands tested, the cloth diapers did not cause any problems.

Male infertility
Another study (2) attributed the increase in male infertility in the last 25 years to the fact that most parents now use disposables. The plastic-lined disposables kept more heat next to the scrotum — as much as 2 degrees — and temperature is key to fertility. We're not for babies having babies, but someday you might want grandchildren.




There are many in disposables but we'll mention just two. The super absorbent "gel" sodium polyacrylate is used in almost all disposables and is the same sort of chemical that was banned from Rely tampons in the 1980s because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. This chemical is how a baby's bottom can feel dry even when sagging with the weight of urine. It enables parents to delay diaper changes on the guise that the baby is dry, but dry does not mean clean.
The other chemical is dioxin, which is a by-product of the bleaching that makes the diapers white (our diapers are unbleached and, therefore, softer!). A study (3) showed dioxin can cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage and skin diseases. Why would you choose to put your baby's bottom in nearly constant contact with harmful chemicals for years?
The bottom line: Don't trust that the diaper companies have your baby's best interest at heart. Procter & Gamble denied its diapers were contaminated with hormone pollutant TBT even after Greenpeace conducted its own study. Greenpeace's toxics expert, Thilo Maack, said: "The reaction of Procter & Gamble is a scandal. The company is downplaying the danger instead of actively searching for the source of TBT in Pampers. It is absolutely irresponsible to expose babies to these extremely toxic substances."




Potty Training
You can expect your baby to potty train a year earlier in cloth diapers. Chemical-laden disposables feel too dry, so your baby doesn't understand that they pee and then are wet. (Of course, cloth diapers do soak it up, just not as instantly.)
According to The New York Times (4):
"In 1957, 92 percent of children were toilet-trained by the age of 18 months, studies found. Today the figure for 2-year-olds is just 4 percent, according to a large-scale Philadelphia study. Only 60 percent of children have achieved mastery of the toilet by 36 months, the study found, and 2 percent remain untrained at the age of 4 years."
Also, Maria Smith of Baby Fresh USA, a maker of wipes, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal (5) as saying:
"The products [wipes] are also benefiting from the fact that children now wear diapers until they are 36 to 42 months old, some six months longer than when Baby Fresh was introduced 16 years ago (in 1977)."
Of course it's nice not to have to change diapers, but potty training is also is highly significant for your baby's development. Columnist and best-selling author John Rosemond says late potty training delays the switch from parents as caretakers to parents as authority figures. This helps explain why modern parents may have more discipline problems.




Diaper rash
This one is simple. In the 1955 virtually every baby in the United States was diapered using cloth diapers. In 1961, Procter & Gamble introduced Pampers, a disposable diaper. In 1991, approximately 90% of babies in the United States were diapered using disposable diapers. Coincidentally, the occurrence of diaper rash has increased from 7% in 1955 to 78% in 1991, according to the Journal of Pediatrics (6)

For the environment:
There are also myriad environmental reasons to choose cloth diapers.  It takes over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feed stocks and 20 pounds of chlorine to produce disposable diapers for ONE baby for ONE year. Most parents will end up using 5,000-8,000 diapers per child. It is estimated that it takes 250-500 years for disposable diapers to decompose, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren are gone. Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of all solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.

When a disposable diaper is sealed up and dumped it is essentially an encapsulated ball of chemicals, plastics and toxic waste. The diapers will eventually leech into our water systems, as landfills are not zoned to dispose of human waste. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, have the solids dumped into the toilet and then go into the washing machine. The water from washing goes into the sewer or septic and on to the sewage treatment plant where it belongs. Cloth diapers can be reused for an immeasurable number of times. Even after they are no longer fit for baby bottoms, they will be used for cleaning rags and scrap material.




For financial reasons:
Finally, cloth diapering is generally more affordable than using disposables, especially if parents choose to launder their own diapers.  The average cost for conventional disposable diapers ranges from $0.20 - $0.43 per diaper depending on size.  Eco-friendly brands such as Seventh Generation come in a bit higher at $0.25 - $0.50 each.  Green Cheeks’ weekly diaper service averages $0.29 - $0.47 per diaper depending on size.  Using a diaper service may not save a lot on a weekly basis while your child is in diapers, but since your child will generally potty train earlier, you’ll save over time on the costs of diapering an older child. 

For your peace of mind:
The responsibility to care for Mother Earth belongs to us all. Whether it's recycling, using energy efficient appliances, eating local produce, or cutting back on water usage, we can all do our part to help create a sustainable environment for generations to come.
At Green Cheeks Diaper Service, we not only genuinely care about your baby; we also care deeply about our planet. Everything we use from our high efficiency washers and dryers (we also air dry when we can!) down to our non toxic chemicals, are done for the safety of your child and the conservation of our earth. We try to use reusable, recycled or biodegradable products in everything we do, from our business cards down to the bags we use to deliver your diapers. We are committed to helping our environment in any way we can. By supporting a local diaper service you are helping in more ways than just clearing our landfills, you are preserving a greener future for your child and children to come.
We promise to never deliver a diaper we wouldn’t use on our own child!




Please see our resources page for other links to learn in more detail about the health and environmental benefits of cloth diapering.


  1. Anderson, Rosalind, and Julius Anderson. "Acute Respiratory Effects of Diaper Emissions," Archives of Environmental Health, 54, October 1999.
  2. Partsch, Aukamp, and Sippell. "Scrotal temperature is increased in disposable plastic lined nappies." Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. May 2000.
  3. EPA, "Integrated Risk Assessment for Dioxins and Furans from Chlorine Bleaching in Pulp and Paper Mills."
  4. The New York Times, January 12, 1999
  5. The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 1993
  6. Journal of Pediatrics, 1959, Vol 54 pp. 793-800 "Relationship of Peri-Anal Dermititis to Fecel pH" by Drs. Tamio, Steiner, Benjamin
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