Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Go Green, Use Cloth

The big buzz phrase right now is "Go Green." Everyone, everywhere is finding new and interesting ways to be kinder to our environment. I find it interesting that most of what we're doing as a society is simply stepping back to the way things were one hundred years ago (or so). Luckily for me, there are many ways to Go Green that are actually helpful to my budget.

My firstborn son is about to turn seven. I can hardly believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were painting the baby's room and picking out names. We had many decisions to make during that time. One decision we made was to use cloth diapers. We thought it would save on our monthly expenses and we even decided to wash them ourselves rather than hire a service

Plastic Headed Diaper Pins - White - 4 packThis was before it became all the rage to use cloth diapers. It took forever to find a store that sold diaper pins! Of course, now there are a lot more choices in both diapers and diaper covers available. We do use disposable diapers when we are out and about and for overnight, as well. I typically spend less than $5 per month per child on diapers. We recently had our fifth child. We have been primarily using cloth diapers for the past seven years on about two children at a time. Oh, the money we have saved!

I have turned old diapers into cleaning cloths. After diapering five children, sometimes that material just gives out. We rip them in half and store them in buckets under the sinks. When it's time to wipe down the bathroom, that's what we use. No more sponges or paper towels for many of the jobs in my home.

Hemstitch Dinner Napkins White 1 DozenAnother place to use cloth is napkins. It's just as easy to set the table using cloth instead of paper. In times past, we have left one napkin per place on the table throughout the day. We keep a basket in our kitchen for dirty towels and rags, and we just toss these in there after dinner, ready to be washed with the next load.

Going Green in your home doesn't have to be a budget-killer. Take one thing at a time and make the switch. You'll soon see how easy it is to do, and you'll never buy paper again!

For more tips and ideas check out Works For Me Wednesday.


  1. Great post! I write for 5 Minutes for Going Green, and was thinking of doing a cloth article soon! (Found you via Works for Me Wed!)

  2. I too have 5 kids, used cloth diapers and mostly cloth now. I'm curious how the amount of water used to wash them all balalnces out the amount of paper saved.

  3. I did a quick search on the environmental impacts of using cloth vs disposable. It was a varied response, and hard to find concrete sources. I read that disposables use more than twice as much water in their production than the average amount of water used to launder one diaper. The impact varies widely based on type of cloth material used (cotton vs hemp), the laundering system and machines used by the family (rinse twice? line dry?). Plus it has been observed that cloth diapered children tend to potty train a little earlier. Water is a renewable resource (as opposed to the materials used to make the disposable) and can even be harvested in your home for reuse in your garden, minimizing the impact even more greatly. In some water hefty washing scenerios, disposables would come out ahead as far as environmental impact is concerned. However, if someone is making the decision to cloth diaper your children based on environmental impact, my guess is that they would also have a low-water washing machine and are more likely to line dry, thus saving resources overall. If anyone has a good source outlining some of this, I'd really appreciate it. I mostly found info that wasn't well documented (or studies were done in the 90s) and would be interested in how this plays out today.

  4. I did only clothe diapers on all 3 of my children and my oldest turned 18 just last month! I did it to save money and for the trash aspect.
    My children were very easy to potty train.

  5. Using cloth napkins has saved us a ton of money - and although we used cloth diapers about 1/2 of the time, that was also a big savings. We used cloth wipes (baby washcloths), except for the REALLY messy diapers, so we hardly ever had to buy disposable wipes.

  6. I love cloth diapers, too! Even aside from the cost and environmental impact, they're just better diapers.

    Another of my favorite cloth things is handkerchiefs (click my name for joyful ravings!) which are vastly superior to tissues.