What Are the Downsides of Cloth Diapers?

A cloth diaper is also called a cloth nappy or real nappy. These reusable nappies are made from natural fibers, man-made materials, or sometimes both. Although they seem to be budget-friendly compared to disposable diapers, they have their own pros and cons. Before we jump to the downsides of cloth diapers, let’s have a quick look at their advantages:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Result in early potty-trained babies
  • Fewer chances of developing diaper rash
  • No artificial chemicals are added
  • Cheaper than disposable nappies in the long run
  • Versatile

Downsides of a Cloth Diaper

Cloth diapers are not all rainbows, as these offer a number of disadvantages too. Let’s discuss some of them in detail:

1. Reusable Nappies are Less Absorbent

Reusable Nappies are Less Absorbent

Cloth diapers will hold baby’s waste until your child pee again in the same diaper. The diaper liners will then start leaking, depending on the quantity and what they are doing.

One of the major disadvantages related to cloth diapers is their less absorbency. But this issue can be resolved as there are multiple liners available with different densities. It will take a while until you find the most suitable liner that works best for your child. Until then, you need to check and change the nappies way more than you would need for a disposable diaper. This is why not everyone agrees with cloth diapering.

Note: Not even the Fleece Liners can limit the frequency of its changing just like disposable ones because these are meant to be less absorbent as they are not stuffed with chemical absorbers.

2. Require More Energy as Cloth diapers Need Frequent Washing and Cleaning

Require More Energy as Cloth diapers Need Frequent Washing and Cleaning

Motherhood is itself quite tough. And if dozens of cloth diapers are added to your daily laundry, it will need additional energy to wash and clean them. Washing the poopy diapers is the biggest downside of cloth diapers.

Even though the latest washing machines are advanced enough that modern moms do not have to wash with hands. Still, you may end up in situations where a proper rinse is mandatory before tossing the dirty nappies in the washing machine. Another disadvantage is that you cannot accumulate the used diapers in a basket for more than two days to rinse them all together. (The reason is the intolerable stink).

If you are a working mom with an already busy schedule, cloth diapers are not for you. Plus, depending on the type of your washing machine and the powder you use, it can add a fair amount to your monthly expenses.

3. Results in Higher Utility Bills

Washing nappies on a daily basis will result in higher electricity and water bills, especially in the first six months of your newborn.  Frequent washing of reusable diapers may shorten the lifespan of your electric appliances as your washer and dryer will go through additional stress.

4. Cloth Diapers are not Convenient

Another downside of using reusable diapers is that they are not much convenient because: It takes enough practice to learn how to use cloth diapers.

  • Unfortunately, daycare centers do not allow cloth diapering.
  • It’s almost impossible to not touch the poop while changing/washing.
  • Frequent washing is needed, even after using diaper liners.
  • If compared with disposable diapers, these are needed to be changed quite often.

5. Traveling is Very Difficult with Cloth Diapers

Since babies feel the wetness quickly, the downside of cloth diapers is that they must be changed more often – almost double that of disposable diapers. (No one wants their child to develop skin rash, obviously!) Also, cloth diapers keep the little one’s bottom dry up to 1/4th time of the disposable diapers, i.e., 12 hours.

Frequent changes make it inconvenient when traveling. Not just the changing on the road is a hassle but imagine carrying a bag full of dirty nappies with you until you get home to finally throw them off in the washing machine.


There is nothing good or bad. In the end, it’s up to you to decide the winner based on your preferences and priorities.  We would recommend you to do what feels good and go for additional research if needed. Thanks to the availability of versatile baby products in modern days, there is something for everyone.