Today’s question comes from Sarah Jane. She writes:
“What type of diaper would you recommend to someone who has to pay every time they do laundry?”
Until recently, I never had to wash my diapers at the laundry mat. However, our landlord has decided to restrict the amount of loads I can do per week, so that has sent us to the laundry mat with most of our laundry.
I already have my diaper stash established, and I am able to do some loads at home. But the few times I have trekked to the laundry mat with my diapers in tow has caused me to consider whether or not I would use cloth diapers if I had to pay to wash them. I came to the conclusion that I would still use cloth diapers, and that using cloth would still save me money, even if I was paying to wash them. But I also realized that I would chose a different type of diaper stash if I had to pay to wash my diapers.
I would definitely choose a hybrid/all-in-two system. This would allow me to invest most of my money in inserts, without paying for a pocket/cover for each insert. With an AI2 system, you can reuse the cover multiple times and replace only the inserts at each diaper change (unless the cover becomes soiled).
Technically, a prefold and cover is also an AI2 system, but the prefolds are bulkier to store until wash day. Prefolds are a really “safe” bet for the laundry mat because cotton is really easy to care for. You don’t have to be as concerned about contracting build-up from someone else’s detergent left over in the machine. Cotton prefolds are also inexpensive to purchase, so you can add a lot to your stash for a small investment. So if one is ruined or left behind at the laundry mat, no worries!
Using an AI2 system would cut down on the amount of dirty diapers that had to be stored in between washing (as your pail would contain mostly inserts, and not multiple pockets/covers). It would also mean fewer diapers that had to be washed, and therefore you might be able to select a smaller and less expensive washer at the laundry mat.
And if you could invest enough money to purchase a larger stash of inserts, you could probably get away with doing laundry every 3-4 days, rather than every 2-3 days. (Provided that you have room to store that many dirty inserts, of course). Therefore you would also be saving money on your washing by doing fewer loads each week.
There are many types of AI2/hybrid cloth diaper systems on the market. Some of the more popular ones include Flip, GroVia, AppleCheeks, and Best Bottoms. While I have tested several hybrids, they do not make up the majority of my stash. I’m sure I have left some off of my list!
Are you a fan of AI2/hybrid cloth diapers? Be sure to leave a comment and tell Sarah what brands you prefer. Do you wash your diapers at the laundry mat? What type have you found to be the best for that situation?