Once upon a time the only way to diaper your baby was in cloth. Before washing machines were common in the home you either had to handwash or you could use a diaper service. Once disposable diapers became the norm and pushed cloth diapers out of mainstream life, the diaper service business took a hit. Some family owned diaper services are still running today, like the Dydee Diaper Service in LA that started in 1938. Others had to shut their doors. Today cloth diapers are making a comeback. Just like cloth diaper sales rising in recent years, more diaper services are opening as well. Learn more about cloth diaper services and see if they are right for you.
[hr]How Does it Work?
The specifics for a diaper service are going to be unique to each location. In general though, you can expect all or some of the following:
You will choose from a plan that offers a certain number of diapers (typically prefolds) each week.
The clean diapers will be delivered to your home each week, along with a wet bag or garbage bag.
Your starter package will usually include a plastic diaper pail.
You will leave your dirty diapers for the service to pick up.
You will usually have to provide your own covers, although some services do include them.
You will usually have to wash your own covers. Luckily, most covers can even be washed with regular laundry.
The diapers will have the same PH as your baby’s skin. Unlike home laundering, you are guaranteed not to have stink/ammonia/buildup on your diapers that could irritate baby and cause rashes.
You are usually required to have your own Snappi.
Many services do not require you to shake out solid waste, but some will. Take that into consideration as your research.
[hr]Why Choose a Diaper Service over Home Laundering?
Why not?- If you have the means, and would prefer to cloth diaper without having to deal with washing them, then why not?
Both Parents Work Full Time- If both parents work full-time there are only so many hours in the day. Some families would like to cloth diaper but don’t want that added responsibility and time commitment of washing diapers.
Disability- One or both parents have a disability that prevents them from being able to wash diapers easily.
Simplicity- Sometimes it is just plain nice to use prefolds and covers and not have to worry about washing/stuffing/folding/choosing cloth diapers.
Travel- If you are traveling, especially for longer stays, you can use a service in your desired location during that time in order to keep using cloth diapers when you are away from a washer. ( I have done this twice)
[hr]What Does It Cost?
Again, this is unique to your region. Here are a few samples of a typical Diaper Service and costs:
Bundle Baby Shop– Service area includes: Boulder/Denver
The Diaper Fairy– Service area includes: Louisville, KY and Southern Indiana
Diaper Kind– Service area includes: New York City
Diaper Junction– Servicing most of the Hamptons Roads area!
The cost will still be less than disposable diapers in most cases, however you will be paying more than if you decided to launder your diapers at home. You can expect that most services will require a set-up fee which will sometimes include items you will need such as a pail, covers, wet bags, and accessories. You may also be required to buy a minimun number of weeks.
[hr]Gifting a Diaper Service for New Moms
Many parents hoping to cloth diaper will request not to receive disposable diapers at their baby shower (I know I requested this). Since diapers are a traditional gift, you may want to purchase a diaper service for those first few weeks for the Mom-to-Be. While Mom is healing and having her babymoon this makes a perfect, thoughtful gift. This also helps bridge the gap between a newborn size set of diapers and One Size diapers that many parents will buy. Not having to buy a seperate set of newborn diapers will save money. Tiny Tots is one service that has an option to gift a service, typically for 4-6 weeks. Most services do offer this newborn timeframe.
[hr]Pros vs ConsPros
Still less expensive that disposable diapers.
No need to wash.
No need to research/ buy diapers.
Stain Free diapers.
Ph balanced diapers with no chance of build-up or ammonia. Cons
More expensive than home laundering (typically)
Less choices in diapers (usually only prefolds)
Possibility of running out depending on your weekly plan.
DIrty diapers will be in your home for one week (depending on your plan)
Some facilities are less energy efficient than others in their washes.
Many facilities use Chlorine Bleach [hr]I have only used a diaper service myself on two vacations. It was a very painless event. The diapers were all clean and stain free and in good condition. It was very nice to get a vacation from washing my diapers while still getting to use cloth diapers. To dismiss diaper services would be a mistake. There are many options for families hoping to use cloth diapers and the Diaper Service is one that is making a comeback.
To find a diaper service near you visit the Diaper Service Locator.
Just for fun: Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe- the Diaper Service Episode