Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapering and Water Restrictions

I live in California and we are having a severe drought. We are supposed to reduce our water usage by 20%. We already have stopped watering outside, which means the most logical place to cut our water usage is with the cloth diapers. I hate this. I am debating between going with the Honest diapers, gdiapers with the disposable inserts, or just saying screw it, I am not giving up the cloth diapers (really irresponsible response. Our reservoirs are scarily low!!!) Does anyone have any thoughts on my options? Have you used either of these diapers? I also hate the thought of having to spend $80+ a month on diapers. On the plus side, I suppose my water and utility bills will go down a bit...

Re: Cloth Diapering and Water Restrictions

  • Well... I have read that producing the disposables uses more water than washing cloth. So I would think that washing cloth would still be better. I would keep using cloth. I live in Denver and we have water restrictions every summer. It has never changed how we do laundry. Of course we don't have a baby yet. I would shorten showers and flushing before switching to sposies


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  • What about shorter showers (by child number 3 I am now VERY efficient. 5 minute showers are possible), if it's tinkle let it mingle (is that how it goes?), you could handwash dishes survivor style with a small amount of water if you're up for that...
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  • I would do what PPs said, and cut water usage other ways. How often do you was diapers? Are you EOD? What types of diapers do you use? Could you possibly stretch it out to every 2 days?
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  • Wait, I also live in CA, and I'm totally lost about news. When this news about the water restriction came out?
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  • OMG, I just google it. Anyway that only think that I can think off is to do one wash and after that boil everything in order to have them very clean. But since I'm using flat, I wash them every 4 days.im using flats with the gdiapers cover, they absorb better than using the gd inserts.
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  • I would also cut it out in other ways, less/shorter showers, adding an extra day to my CD laundry, etc.
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  • What about shorter showers (by child number 3 I am now VERY efficient. 5 minute showers are possible), if it's tinkle let it mingle (is that how it goes?), you could handwash dishes survivor style with a small amount of water if you're up for that...

    I think it's "if it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down." Op I don't have any advice but there is no way I'd be giving up CDs.

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  • Maybe see if you can minimize laundry?

    I'd make sure every cloth diaper load was filled to the max (wait an extra day to add more diapers). You can even do a warm rinse with a hot/cold wash. You're not using more water with this.

    Combine laundry loads if you can (I wash my infants clothes with ours or throw towels in with othe laundry if I don't have a full load).

    If you have indoor plants water them with water you toss. I always empty my daughters cups into them.

    Plan meals around the number of dishes they make. Also avoid using water (boiling pasta or potatoes). Grill if you can (less cleanup).
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  • I'm also struggling with what to do.  Our water usage is so much less than the average family already though (and 30% less than the bachelor who lived here before us), so I'm going to continue CDing. 

    Things that you can try:

    Obviously the outside watering (I'm only watering food plants at this point)
    Fewer toilet flushes - toilets use a huge amount of water
    Low-flow toilets (our town gives them away for free if you have older toilets)
    Low flow shower heads, shorter showers
    Use the dishwasher, minimize hand washing dishes
    Get a HE washer (our water usage has gone down SO MUCH since getting a new washer)
    Check for leaks

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  • Hey!! If you have a large toilet tank you can fill a jug with rocks and put it in there so it doesn't take as much water to fill.
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  • Hey!! If you have a large toilet tank you can fill a jug with rocks and put it in there so it doesn't take as much water to fill.

    I do this in Nebraska year round to save water.
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  • I'm in the same situation. We will not be giving up cloth diapers. We will, however, try to wash every third day instead of every other day, which will eliminate 1-2 loads per week.


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  • I live in a severely drought stricken area of Texas, to the point that our water supply is so low that wells are having to be lowered all over, and many have run dry. I still CD, it's really not a huge water waster. I wash EOD with an HE washer.

    No outdoor watering. I pack the dishwasher full. We were using a ton of water handwashing things, especially bottles and pump parts. I only wash really full loads of laundry. We dont let the water run when brushing our teeth. I think the biggest saver has been our showers. 10 minute showers, tops, and I gave up tub baths. We were both guilty of loving long, hot showers and soaking in the jacuzzi tub. We also put a bucket in our shower to catch the cold water while it's warming up, and use that for potted plants when we need to water them. Definitely get low flow toilets, and make sure they dont run.

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  • freezorburnfreezorburn
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    edited January 21
    Just want to chime in that the low flow toilets can make a huge difference. When I was visiting home last month and scraping out poopy diapers, I was really struck by how little water ran through a single flush with our Totos, versus the torrent of water that gets released when we flush a toilet here in our rental.
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  • I'm in California, too, so I'm interested to see everyone's suggestions regarding cutting down on water. My mother cloth diapered me during the last severe drought here, and it is definitely possible. Another thing to consider if you want to cut down on water usage during CD laundry is soaking and hand-washing poopy diapers and then foregoing the pre-rinse in the washer. 

    I'm with everyone else, I will be cutting down on water usage in every other possible way before I consider cutting out CD laundry. I firmly believe that the extra water for washing them now is far better than the environmental impact of disposables. 
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  • I'm in CA, too, and considered this for about 10 seconds until I decided that our environment will be better off in the long term if I continue my CD usage vs. disposables.
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  • Wow! Thanks for all of the responses! You guys have some great ideas for saving water. I definitely don't want to give up our cloth diapers. I'll consider it again if the drought gets significantly worse, but for now, I'll try other options. Thanks!
  • Just my 2 cents, but don't put rocks in your toilet tank.
    Put a bottle of water in there instead.  That way if the bottle breaks or something happens to it, it'll just be water that gets into your tank instead of rocks or something else.
  • I grew up during the last big California drought, so all these things are ingrained in me (including following people around and turning off their water - DH loves this). But I now live in a place that has TOO MUCH water and it has been a huge adjustment for me. The number one landscaping issue for me is drainage. I have spent hundreds to make sure all the water flows away from my house and have spent thousands filling in the holes that storms have taken away (we call it "free excavation"). My town is at the confluence of three rivers, so flooding is so common that basements aren't insurable (a couple businesses flooded last week from ice jams). Even my town encourages extra water usage in homes and businesses. Our water treatment plant was set up for more population growth than we've had so if folks don't use enough water, the plant doesn't operate as well. So the "downside" of extra water usage for CDs was an easy choice for me. But I still feel weird when I pour usable water down the sink instead of watering (already saturated) plants with it.

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