Diaper Services–What’s Your Experience?

Diaper services are a great option for people who want to use cloth diapers without washing them themselves. The company will plunk sets of nice clean diapers outside your door and whisk away your bag of soiled ones on a regular basis.  They’ll usually allow you to specify the size of prefolds you need, and you’ll buy the covers yourself.   While prices vary across the nation, diaper services generally end up being cheaper than disposables but more expensive than home-laundered cloth diapers. 

Are they better for the environment, too?  With a diaper service, you’ll throw away far less garbage than disposable-users will.  There is the added environmental cost of the water used to wash the diapers and the fuel used to transport the diapers to your house–but keep in mind that there are fuel costs associated with driving packs of disposables from the factories to the stores as well.

We’re hoping some of our readers have used a diaper service so we can learn a bit more about them.   Please post a comment with your experiences!  How much did your service cost?  How convenient (or inconvenient) was this diapering method?  Would you recommend a diaper service to our readers?  Why or why not?  Thanks for your input!

Comments

  1. I didn’t use a diaper service, but I wish I had. I recently found out about one in our area that uses trucks that run on biodisel and provide biodegradable wipes.

  2. I used a diaper service for a little over a month 7 years ago. So my experience is limited. I did not know a single person who did cloth diapering at the time and looking at going back to work when my daughter was 7 weeks old made the whole thing seem daunting. I got some pretty nice covers at a garage sale and found a delivery service for cotton pre-folds. They even provided a pail and all you had to do was leave the dirty diapers on your doorstep and a new bag would be delivered every week. I think a few things went wrong, not the least of which is that I didn’t know what I was doing. For instance, I hated the way they fit on the newborn and didn’t realize that the cloth diapers fit a lot better on bigger babies. Having changed my nephew enough times, I can see that now. The main thing that made me stop the service was that my daughter had a diaper rash that wouldn’t go away and I decided it must be from the chemicals they used to wash and sanitize the diapers. My mom kept trying to convince me that it was no big deal to just wash your own diapers but I wouldn’t listen. I had read up on it and believed that if I did it myself I would have to wash them in super hot water 3 times and if my washing machine didn’t have a sanitize setting I would have to turn up my hot water heater to the point that it could be dangerous for things like, oh, washing your hands or giving a baby a bath. I was intimidated to say the least. Anyway, I don’t know if the chemicals the diaper company used caused my daughter’s rash or not. It turned out to be a yeast rash which requires antifungal cream to get rid of. I definitely think the diaper service was convenient and only slightly more expensive than disposables. I think it is worth a try if you’re not sure about cloth diapering. It can be a good way to test the waters. I would ask about their methods for washing/sanitizing. Keep in mind that if your kid is going to wear the same diaper that another kid pooped in, you’ll want the method to be pretty darned effective, but at the same time, how many chemicals do you want your baby’s tush exposed to? My experience was 7 years ago and so I’m sure there’s more info now. I think if only YOUR baby is using the diapers (you own and wash them yourself) the need for super sanitizing is reduced. I mean, your baby is not going to pass, say, hepatitis, to herself.

  3. Eileen, you bring up a lot of interesting points. The chemicals used to wash diapers in a service could not only be bad for the baby but also for the environment. In the book Green Babies, Sage Moms (which I reviewed a while back), she recommends against ever using a diaper service because she had never heard of one that didn’t use chlorine bleach. I haven’t looked into it, but I would think it would be possible for a service to use eco-friendly detergent and boiling water to sanitize the diapers. Clearly I have to do more research on this!

  4. Hi, I live in Portland and enjoy your blog but have never commented.

    We use a cloth diaper service for our 3-month-old. We have had the service since she was born. Between jobs, life and the overwhelmed-ness of being first time parents, the service made it easy for us to get on the right foot with cloth diapering. I load the cloth diapers into the wraps each evening in preparation for the next day and they are as easy as using disposables. Our service costs $18 per week. We are happy with the service but are now transitioning to using bum genius wraps.

    I know there are people who contend that diaper services are “green” enough. I’m a careful, thoughtful parent so we did not choose this direction lightly. It worked the best for our household. Bottomline is that when we first brought our daughter home (and the service hadn’t started yet), I threw away 13 disposable diapers a day! And felt terrible about it. I wish more parents considered a diaper service instead of disposables when they first start diapering. It is simple and easy. And I guarantee it will get them off and running in the cloth direction.

  5. Hey Ali,

    Thanks for posting your very first comment! It sounds like the service worked well for you in those first few months. Using a diaper service right at the beginning can be a sanity-saver for sleep-deprived parents who have to deal with such frequent diaper changes. I know a couple people who used a service in the beginning and then transitioned to home-laundering, as you are. Good luck with the bumGeniuses–they’re great!

  6. We currently use a cloth diaper service for our 5 month old son. I LOVE our diaper service, and here’s why.

    A) Our service is a family owned-operated venture. Gina personally came out and dropped of our first bundle, diaper pail, and even helped me diaper my squirmy boy. She also brings along a teddy to demonstrate on. Her husband is the delivery driver and handles the pick up/drop offs.

    B) One occassion there was a mix up (2 clients, same last name) and the wrong diapers were dropped off. The problem was solved by the next morning.

    C) Gina is so committed to cloth diapering that she picks out disposable wipes if a client uses them and leaves them in with the dirties. I know some places charge a fee if this happens.

    D) NO rinsing, swishing, soaking, or wet pail required. Simply dump used diaper, contents and all, into the lined pail. Diaper day the liner gets removed, tied and dirties are placed outside. By midmorning/early afternoon a fresh bundle and pail liner appear like magic!

    Our service is $60/mo (or $15/wk) for 80 diapers/week. However, the system only gives us back what we turn in, so watching how much we use and increasing/decreasing our service changes the price.

    We do supplement with cloth inserts we wash at home, and we use Fuzzi Bunz as our night diapers. We could use the diaper service for this, but because our son is sleeping for longer and we nurse at night, it’s more convenient for all for us to leave him in a more absorbant diaper for longer.

    Chandra

  7. My service, Innovative Diaper Service, located in Stamford CT was born green and gets greener all the time. My partner and I are in the laundromat business and realized the need for a modern green service in the Greater NYC area.

    We partnered with a facility that has a unique wash system originally designed to clean and deodorize sports equipment using no harsh chemicals or bleach. The machine manufacturer devised a special ingredient recipe exclusvely for breaking down organic compound specific to dirty diapers. The multi stage process uses a combination of eco-friendly surfectants, detergents and ph balance to break down matter and kill bacteria, virus and spores on contact. The result is a level of hygiene and safety similar to that of bleach/chemical laundering but without the harm to babies and the environment. Completely eco-friendly, the waste water is such that it can be safely drained in the city water system, no filtering or additional treatment required.

    We use Premium Unbleached Indian Cotton 4-8-4 diapers as our only diaper. They are light brown in color, just like Mother Nature intended.

    We offer 2 levels of service:

    Premium Service, which is $30.00 a week: Upon enrollment, we purchase 160 brand new infant sized diapers for your baby, expertly launder them 5 times for optimal softness and absorbancy and put them into a rotation for your baby exclusively. Our wash system allows us to wash and dry your babies diapers separately so you get exactly the diapers we picked up the prior week. This service provides 80 infant sized, 60 medium then 40 toddler diapers a week as your baby grows.

    Our Standard Service, for 23.00 a week, provides the same Premium diapers, washed in the same system, same quantities as Premium Service, only they are not brand new and are not in an exclusive rotation.

    Both services provide 1 pickup/drop off per week.

    We’ve bundled the most essential accessories for cloth diapering into a “New Baby Kit” available for purchase for $99.99 to be delivered with your first order. The kit consists of a 14 gallon diaper pail with locking lid and charcoal filter (we also provide monthly orange deodorizing discs to be inserted into the underside of the lid), 3 pairs of Thirsties brand DuoWrap covers (Thirsties is a great company in Colorado, cover pants are sew by stay at home moms of fabric and components sourced in the USA, and they just installed a roof full of solar panels over their warehouse facility. http://www.thirstiesbaby.com ) and 3 Snappi Fasteners.

    We also offer weekly washable flannel wipe service for $7.00 a week with a $25.00 set up charge.

    As a new service, we’ve been operational since October 09, we set out to be as enviromentally conscious as possible, and that consiousness will evolve as we grow. In the next year, we expect to begin replacing our delivery vehicles with hybrids.

    We serve Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford Counties in CT, Manhattan, Westchester and Rockland Counties in NY and Bergen County NJ.

    Please feel free to ask questions, give feed back or make suggestions, our desire is to build a modern diaper service for a contemporary world.

    Thanks!
    Dana
    Innovative Diaper Service
    203.570.3335
    http://www.idiaperservice.com

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