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.
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?