Cloth Diapers

If You Wore Your Favorite T-Shirt Once A Week for 12 Years

#clothdiapers wear and tear via @chgdiapers

Earlier this year, I wrote about how my cloth diapers have aged. Some of those diapers are now more than 5 years old, have been used on two children and were ready for new elastic.

In my prior post, I pointed out that some of my diapers were showing wear on the PUL at the middle rise snaps, where they’ve been snapped for the majority of their “lives.” As I gathered my oldest diapers up to send off for new elastic, I noticed that a few have not only worn through the PUL but through the snap backing as well.

#clothdiapers wear and tear via @chgdiapers

I haven’t had any issues with leaking and will continue to use them until they have no life left! The diapers have now been converted to snaps and have springy brand new elastic in the legs & back.

Those diapers had rubbed up against clothing as well as other diapers (in the wash) on that rise setting for nearly all 5 years. They’d been stressed at that point as the diapers were pulled to close and come on, they’re 5 years old! I admit I was a little sad that they’d no longer be good diapers to donate. (I will certainly pass them along to another mom when I’m finished with them of course, but probably not to a charity.)

I got to thinking about how many times these diapers have been washed. The one pictured above was one of the first 6 Bumgenius 3.0s I bought in 2009 (it has been converted from H&L to snaps), and they were washed daily for a long time as I built my stash. Let’s just be incredibly conservative and say they were washed 3x a week for 4 years (since I do have some 4 year old diapers with this wear as well – mostly ones I used as night time diapers & washed 4x/wk).

3 washes per week, times 52 weeks, times 4 years is…624 washes. Let that sink in, then realize that each of those washes was essentially two washes due to pre-washing and double rinses. (P.S. that’s under 3 cents per use excluding washing cost.)

Put this into perspective. Do you have a favorite t-shirt? What would it look like if you washed it every week for twelve years? What if you did a pre-wash, heavy duty wash and double rinse every time? Used it to wipe up urine first? The shirt I pictured is old, beloved, faded, well worn, and has a few holes. That shirt has been washed less often than once a week. If you up the figures to 5 years and 4 times per week, that’s more like weekly washing for 20 years.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that someday, these diapers will have to be retired. For now I’m marveling that they look as good as they do and still work perfectly.

How old is your oldest diaper? What does it look like? Have you made any repairs? How often was it used?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Jennifer H
    November 14, 2014 at 8:13 am

    That’s amazing. I had some BG 3.0s in use once a week for 3-1/2 years that I sold (yes, sold!) to another mother. The H&L closures and the leg elastics were shot but otherwise the PUL, suedecloth, and rise snaps were still in excellent shape. And I have a bunch of BG 4.0, Sunbaby, and Kawaii pocket diapers and Diaper Rite prefolds still working fine after the same amount of time — and used once a week or every two weeks. So, great quality and performance!

    The only other item that I can compare these to is my Patagonia fleece jacket used daily by me in cold weather and hot (in A/C’d rooms) for over 10 years and bought secondhand! It’s starting to get a little threadbare (if you closely examine it).

    • November 14, 2014 at 8:32 am

      That’s awesome! Fleece too is more likely to last as a synthetic. That’s the one thing I haven’t mentioned is that natural fibers will wear more quickly. Plus I bet over 12 years you didn’t wash it constantly (I don’t wash jackets that often!) 😀

  • Melanie
    November 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I was thinking of this post today- one of my two pairs of comfortable jeans (this one that I’ve had almost 15 years) finally bit the dust this morning! They were getting pretty threadbare.

  • Natalie
    November 13, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    That is a lot of washes! I never thought about it like that before.

  • DaneaT
    November 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I agree, it’s amazing how long they last when you actually break it down that way. My BG3.0/4.0’s are getting close to 8 years old and have been through two kids 😮 The elastic has been replaced once already and needs it again before my 3rd arrives in Feb plus the H/L needs refreshing as well this time. To me it’s cheaper to fix these up than buy a whole new stash, but if anyone offers to buy me new ones I wouldn’t complain 😉

  • Bianca Munoz
    November 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Wow! I’ve thought about it before. But not in detail like this.
    Some of ny first bgs were some that my friend in Texas gave me. They were 4.0s she used for her two kids. Then I used them with Emilio for a long time. Then I sent them to a friend as well.
    I love my BG. What are your thoughts on their latest quality control issues?

    I love your tool shirt btw 😀

    • November 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I haven’t had any QC issues but then I don’t buy many diapers anymore! I think they’ve done a great job making it right when something slips through. 🙂

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