Cotton Babies Stands Behind The Cloth Diapers They Sell

It’s great to find a company that stands behind the products that they sell—even beyond the stated warranty is over, and even after the products have been used for their intended purpose for an extended period. Rachel learned that online diaper retailer Cottonbabies.com is one of those companies, and wanted to share her experience with Consumerist readers.

I am one of those few mothers who decided she really wanted to do cloth diapers on her baby. Trouble is, cloth diapering has been out of style for decades, and it’s hard to find a local place to buy cloth diapers let alone find someone who actually supports doing cloth rather than disposable. Thankfully, the Internet gives you great access to lots of cloth diapering information from how to do it, what to buy, and where to buy it. I chose to buy from cottonbabies.com because of all the articles and support they have to help their customers be successful with cloth diapering. I just didn’t realize how committed they were to helping their customers use cloth until last week.

Last August, two months before my child was born, I bought $600 of a particular brand of cloth diapers from them. (I know, $600 sounds like a lot, but I was planning to use them with a 2nd and possibly a 3rd child, so I bought more than recommended to rotate through them more and have them last longer.) I diligently followed the directions in the care of these diapers from day one. However, they started leaking on me. I read through the FAQs on cottonbabies.com to try and solve the leaking problem. It would work for a few days, maybe even a week, but then they would start leaking again. I did everything they recommended to get the leaking to stop and nothing worked. Finally, I gave up and packed them up. I then wrote them an email in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 30 describing the problems I have had, trying to fix it, and finally just giving up. I honestly didn’t expect anything for the diapers because they had been used for 9 months and definitely looked like it. I just wanted to let them know that the diapers I had purchased didn’t work.

I received an auto-reply email from them about an hour later stating that they had received my email and they would respond soon. I really didn’t think anything about that. I was amazed, however, that a CSR replied with a personal email to me that same evening and asked me to call them the next morning. I’ll admit I was hesitant to do so because I figured I would just get the run-of-the-mill try to convince to try everything I have already tried to fix the diapers phone conversation. I was pleasantly surprised. I talked to Angie who just talked briefly to me about the fit (I assured her I had already tried that), and then she promptly asked me if I wanted replacement diapers or a full store credit for them. (She also asked me if I had found any other cloth diapering options that were working for me. I told her I had, but I really didn’t want to spend much more on diapers. I appreciate the fact that she was that concerned with my current cloth diapering situation.) Since I was disenchanted with the brand I had originally chose, I opted for the store credit. She had me return my current diapers which I did that morning. One week later (July 8), I received an email stating that they had received my diapers and that I had a full store credit waiting for me. Because of this, I can now try different brands of cloth diapers without feeling I’m just going more in the hole. This company really made me feel like I have a supportive and trustworthy place to go in my often lonely efforts to cloth diaper. Thanks for your help.

Now, that’s a company that really believes in the product they sell—even when they aren’t the manufacturer. It’s the company’s dedication to cloth diapering in general that made Rachel’s experience so special and earned her trust.
(Photo: terren in Virginia)

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  1. Stephen Schenck says:

    And I thought my hand-me-downs were gross. Feel good for the planet, bad for your future kids.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @Stephen Schenck: Eh, worse things will touch -and be in their mouth- them before they’re even a year old.

    • misokitty says:

      @Stephen Schenck: If you wash them in hot water with bleach they really do stay nice for a long time.

    • Vermifuge says:

      @Stephen Schenck:

      I hope you bring your own towels to a hotel. There’s a reason they are always white.

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      @Stephen Schenck: Wow, I used cloth diapers on both my boys, and yes, actually RE-USED some of the same ones for the second child. Believe it or not, I still have some that I use for the “nice” rags, as they’re not all gross like undershirts are after a few wearings. We saved enough money using the cloth diapers to buy very nice appliances, and I love knowing their crap isn’t sitting wrapped in plastic in a landfill somewhere.

      And yes, they will touch and eat worse (like squirrel poop:)

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Stephen Schenck: If you were born before about 1980, you were probably cloth diapered. And some of them were probably hand-me-downs, since you need a LOT of them.

    • Heather Barnstein Moore says:

      1) Cotton Babies is a great company!

      2) Hand-me-downs are not gross. Clothes once worn once are used ;)

      @Stephen Schenck:

      1) Cotton Babies is a great company!

      2) Hand-me-downs are not gross. Clothes once worn once are used ;)

    • Lee Gibson says:

      @Stephen Schenck:

      You know that you wash them, right?

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Stephen Schenck:

      All three of us were cloth-diapered. I remember my brother’s rubber pants in the clothes pile.

      Mom bleached them out after he was potty-trained (he was the last kid) and we used them for cleaning cloths for years until they finally wore out.

    • ajlei says:

      @Stephen Schenck: I was born in Hawai’i in the late 80s and my parents, being poor and economical, used cloth diapers on me and my sister (born in early 90s).

    • queenofdenial says:

      @Stephen Schenck: There’s an entire website devoted to buying/selling/trading cloth diapers. And most of us don’t use bleach as that is nasty.

    • mrearly2 says:

      @Stephen Schenck: That’s rather an idiotic comment. I’m sure she’ll keep them clean.

  2. Corporate_guy says:

    I guess the lesson is try something out before committing so much money on it.

    • serreca says:

      @Corporate_guy: How is that the lesson here? She got a store credit.

      • You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

        @serreca: Yes, but the overlying moral of the story is that not every company will stand by their products like this one did, so you have to assume the risk and not depend on the company to back up your decision.

        It is nice to hear stories like this sometimes though.

    • VouxCroux says:

      @Corporate_guy: What, is she supposed to wear the cloth diapers for nine months?

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @dcs315: She used something before that. Plus the lady admits she bought more than really needed to stretch out how long they will last. She could have placed a sensible order and tested them for a few weeks.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Corporate_guy: @Corporate_guy: That’s good advice in general, though even used cloth diapers can be sold for pretty close to their original price, if you can be bothered to sell them. To date, my experiences with cloth diaper stores have all been positive; they’re mostly small businesses (Cotton Babies is one of the bigger ones) run by parents, and usually excellent with customer service. This story really doesn’t surprise me.

  3. mgy says:

    Something has been bugging me ever since I realized that cloth diapers were still being used.

    What happens if your little guy/gal leaves a particularly…massive present, if I can use the term?

    Do you scrape it into the trash? Just throw it straight into the wash? Dip it in the toilet? What?

    I apologize in advance for anyone who comes upon this question against their will.

    • outoftheblew says:

      @mgy: I don’t have kids, but was cloth-diapered myself and hope to do it for future kids, so try to learn about it when I can. My understanding is that you dump solids in the toilet, or get as much as possible in the toilet as you can. I believe you also soak the diapers for a few days before washing a load that’s JUST diapers, in hot water with bleach, to sanitize. That generally takes care of the “messy” ones. I think my mom also soaked them in the toilet sometimes.

    • PeggyK says:

      @mgy: solid “presents” in disposable diapers are supposed to be scraped into the toilet too. There’s just no pleasant way to change poopy diapers.

    • bubbledumpster says:

      @mgy: some people dunk them in the toilet, some people buy special sprayer attachments for their sink and spray them off. and sometimes they do get soaked in a bucket before being washed as well.

    • corinthos says:

      @PeggyK: I can barely clean my cats litter box. Thinking of this made me vomit in my mouth a bit.

    • Coral Benjamin Thomas says:

      @mgy: The Poo situation really depends on the age and diet of the child involved. An exclusively breastfed/formula fed infant’s diapers can just be thrown into the wash as is. Once solid foods come into play scraping it into the toilet or a diaper sprayer are recommended.
      Its really not as complicated as people make it out to seem. I love our cloth diapers, they really are as easy as disposables.

    • squrl says:

      @mgy: I have a little shower sprayer on my toilet, and I spray the poo into the toilet. Then I throw the diaper in a 5 gallon container with a lid and wash them every three or four days. It’s pretty easy and has saved me a lot of money.

    • Anitra says:

      @mgy: It’s poo. It goes in the toilet.

    • Erin Cummins says:

      @mgy: you put the diaper into a clean toilet, flush, turn it inside out, flush. That usually gets it all. If it’s a real mess, take it outside and use the hose. you can either do that in the backyard (where the dog poops) or in our case the driveway slants downward and there is a storm drain at the base so we could use that too.

      disclaimer: i don’t have kids of my own, just young cousins

      • krista says:

        @Erin Cummins: Just to let you know – in many places the storm drain dumps directly into a river, lake or ocean. It is not a good idea to rinse anything toxic or bacteria laden (like poop) into the storm drain.

    • Anonymous says:

      @mgy: It is also possible to buy thin cloth liners which can easily be lifted out for easier dumping, no pun intended. Flushable disposable liners are also available. They have a sturdy, soft, almost toilet paper texture. You can grab the liner by the ends and drop it and the contents into the toilet without having to touch anything. There’s a bit more waste generated that way, but not as much as with disposable diapers, and it keeps the cloth ones from getting as badly stained. We used a mix of disposable (for going out and about) and cloth (at home) and that was a good compromise for our family.

  4. ZoeSchizzel says:

    Yay!! Sounds like a great company! I love happy endings. I know I work soooo hard for our business, pleasing customers and going above and beyond whenever I can (and, really, you pretty much always can). With that effort, we hope that we’re gradually gaining an edge over the competition. It’s nice to hear from the customer in this case as well. I know they are thankful that she took the time to let everyone know about her experience.

  5. NotYou007 says:

    Being that I was born in 1970 I only wore cloth diapers. Did my mother clean them or did a service clean them I have no clue. I can’t phone to ask her as she passed away Jan 19th but when my daughter was born I went with Huggies Supreme. Yes, I purchased the most expensive diapers for my daughter. She was worth it but that was also almost 11 years ago.

    I know mine leaked though as I did where rubber pants on the outside of the diaper. From what my mother told me it also potty trained us faster since we did not enjoy the feel of a wet diaper so we learned to use the toilet faster.

    I’m not having any more children but disposal is much easier to deal with but a lot of people still prefer cloth.

    • Heather Barnstein Moore says:

      @NotYou007:

      Cloth actually last much longer for us than disposables…if they leak, you’re waiting too long to change them. That being said, many types do not have a waterproof layer…they aren’t leaking, they’re wet.

      Fortunately there are much nicer looking waterproof covers to use with cloth dipes now-a-days :)

    • queenofdenial says:

      @NotYou007: I purchased quite a few cloth diapers from cotton babies and they are as easy to use as disposables. They have pads on the inside and are nice and soft, with a PUL (plastic) covering on the outside. Its all one piece and has velcro just like a disposable, and mine don’t leak. OP must’ve had a bad batch.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      @NotYou007: I was born in 1969 and I wore Pampers. They were relatively new at the time but my mom was tired of cloth and probably thrilled to try the new disposable kind.

  6. SGAC says:

    My experience with cotton babies was just as great too. I was making a diaper cake for a new mom who wanted to go the cloth diaper route. Not only was the phone rep very helpful in answering my questions about measurements, accessories for the cake, etc. she also mailed a few more cotton diapers for FREE just so that my diaper cake is bulky enough. I was not even pregnant to have a baby try her product, and she was being SO helpful. If I eventually have a baby and decide to go the cloth diaper route, I will definitely go with cotton babies – they even gave me a non-expiring coupon for 10% my next order!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cottonbabies, and many of the other cloth diaper companies, really do have fabulous customer service. I am really curious as to what brand you tried and what brand you will be going to. We have a large variety of diapers (and also have a 9 month old), and have been really happy with every kind.

  8. The Black Bird says:

    It’s a shame we don’t read more of these “feel good” stories. I always find it very refreshing to hear about the decent companies that really do care about their customers instead of the companies that are “taking it seriously”.

    I realize there are quite a few decent companies around and they probably outnumber those that don’t care one iota about the customer but it’s still a shame we don’t hear more about them.

    • Con Seannery says:

      @Bogart’s Falcon aka Philly Falcon: It’s kind of like that old news adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” I guarantee you don’t come here for the feel-good stories. You probably want to see some carnage, and the feel-goods are just nice breaks from that.

      • The Black Bird says:

        @Con Seannery: I agree with your “If it bleeds, it leads.” comment but I honestly don’t come here to see any carnage. I come here to become a better educated consumer. As far as I’m concerned I come to this site for the same reason I buy a newspaper, read a book, etc., and that is, as I’ve said before, to become better educated. In a Utopian society sites like this one wouldn’t be needed and while I would rather there not be any need for these type of places, I know realistically there is no Utopia so there is a need for places that help the consumer.

        Going back to the carnage comment, I’ll admit that when companies treat consumers like crap it ticks me off, but when said companies gets their comeuppance it makes me feel good.

        • The Black Bird says:

          @Bogart’s Falcon aka Philly Falcon: I wish we had a way of editing out posts when we do something dumb like hit the wrong button, the way I just did. The post should look like this;

          @Con Seannery: I agree with your “If it bleeds, it leads.” comment but I honestly don’t come here to see any carnage. I come here to become a better educated consumer. I come to this site for the one of the reasons I buy a newspaper, read a book, etc., and that is, as I’ve said before, to become better educated. In a Utopian society sites like this one wouldn’t be needed and while I would rather there not be any need for these type of places, I know realistically there is no Utopia so there is a need for places that help the consumer.

          Going back to the carnage comment, I’ll admit that when companies treat consumers like crap it ticks me off, but when said companies get their comeuppance it makes me feel good.

  9. XTC46 says:

    Im glad the company was helpful, but buying 600 worth of a product you have never used before seems like a poor consumer decision. I mean, try them, make sure you like them and they are a good product then order more.

    Also…I dont understand the logic of buying more so you can reuse them in the future, why not just buy more in the future? With the current process, the last baby gets all the really worn out stuff, if you bough 1/3 of the total now, and cycled them more quickly, all the kids would start with good stuff and they would lose quality as the kid grew out of them. And if you decide to have 2 kids instead of 3, or decide to go the disposable rout for the second kid you dont end up spend the extra 400+

    any good for the company, and good for the OP. glad things worked out.

    • Raanne says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter:
      Most cloth diapers, like the disposables, come in sizes. I’m assuming that the 600 worth of product was at 3 or 4 different sizes, plus the covers (assuming they weren’t all-in-one diapers). Especially since they were used for 9 months. I doubt they would be very worn considering how fast babys change sizes – just possibly stained.

    • K-Bo says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter:I would buy more so that I wouldn’t constantly have a lot of oops we should have done wash yesterday emergencies. Specially since it’s not like you want to throw them in with your other wash.

    • Anitra says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter: Part of the reason to buy that much is so that you don’t have to wash the diapers EVERY DAY. Newborns, especially, need to have their diapers changed very often; you’ll probably do it 16 times a day for a while.

    • shepd says:

      @xtc46 – thinksmarter on twitter:

      Things only get more expensive (in a functional economy). That means if you are certain to have an expense in the future, barring an abnormal sale, you are best to buy what you need now, rather than then.

  10. hypoxia says:

    Wow. How many friggin’ diapers is the baby in the picture wearing? Holy cow! Poor thing.

  11. Floobtronics says:

    Cotton Babies rocks. We use them for the (pretty expensive) all-in-one cloth diapers we use. Yeah, $600 is a lot of dough, but consider that at $40 a box for diapers, you break even within a year – even with all the washing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Its so sad when uneducated people judge & question those who use cloth diapers. Cloth is an investment for your childs first years, and the more diapers you have in your rotation, the better they hold up over the years. You need at least two days worth to be happy with your stash. Cottonbabies is a great place to purchase from, and they stand behind their products.
    And sure, the chemical composition of a disposable diaper may be the norm, but why not do better for your children and our environment?

  13. Anonymous says:

    My wife and I used cottonbabies.com for ~$600 worth of cloth dipes for our boy. That was two sets (12lbs-18lbs, 18lbs-25lbs or so) of cotton prefolds and covers. They worked great and we saved a good deal of money over disposables, even after you factor in extra utilities usage. Now he’s a year and he’s gone to daycare so we’re on disposables. We liked the cloth a lot better, but 2-3 diapers at home a day just doesn’t make enough laundry to make it worth it.

    But what I meant to say is that we loved cottonbabies, in part because they offered so much help in deciding among a fairly confusing array of options as well as very nice sampler packs that let you try out several different brands and styles at a decent price. We ordered a couple of those try-it packs and then followed up by getting a few more of the covers we especially liked.

    A+, Cottonbabies.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That’s great to read about a company really standing by their customers!

    As for cloth diapers, we’ve been using cloth since my son was 2 months and he rarely leaks now. Those disposables always leaked and were horrible! The cloth diapers are cute, environmentally friendly, and much more absorbent. Not to mention the money we save!

    $600 on cloth diapers is pretty normal, but disposable diapering parents would spend about $1500 instead, I seriously sat down and did the math before we decided on switching to cloth and we save a bunch. Most cloth diapering moms choose to get enough diapers for 2-3 days so that translates to 24 diapers on average. Luckily they truly do last a long time and most people are able to use their diapers for their 2nd or 3rd child.

    mgy, I had the exact same questions before we started cloth diapering, lol! As for the poopy messes they sell sprayers (actually I think cottonbabies does) that attach to the back of the toilet (5 minutes to install) and you use that to spray the poop in the toilet, flush, then toss the diaper into a lined, covered trashcan next to the toilet. When it comes time to wash you toss all the diapers (already sprayed off and having been soaked in Oxyclean) into the wash and most people do a cold rinse, hot wash, hot rinse, then hang to dry or put in the dryer if you want. It becomes routine and simple, my husband even helps throw the diapers in the laundry when he’s home. Our diapers are pristine white, not a single one has even stained after 10 months of use.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cloth diapers have come a LONG way since our mamas use them. They are no more difficult to use than a disposable and I have no idea why that baby in the pic has such a HUGE diaper on, cloth does not look like that. And for the person who wanted to know about disposing of “yucky” diapers…. they make these great thin flushable liners now. you lay one inside the cloth diaper and then just shake the whole thing in the potty and flush (which you are suppose to do with sposies too, you aren’t suppose to wrap it up and put human waste in the trash to eventually go in our landfills!).

    1 disposable diaper takes 500 years to decompose, we are fillign our landfills with them, and on average it cost $1500 to diaper a baby in disposables where as cloth cost around $500 from birth to potty training. And lastly, cloth babies do tend to potty train early b/c they can feel some wetness unlike sposie babies who can wear the same diaper for hours on end and not feel a thing… Aren’t you worried about what chemicals are sitting on your child’s most delicate parts to absorb all of that liquid??

  16. Kimberly D. Rosas says:

    Cotton Babies is really known in the cloth diapering community as having outstanding customer service. If you ever have problems with their products (which I have had none, but know others who have) they work diligently with you to find the problem and fix it. And if not, something awesome like this happens. I was really happy to read this story, and see Consumerist giving a shout out to cloth diapers!

  17. FF_Mac says:

    We purchased all of our cloth diapers from Cotton Babies as well as many other items. They are local to us…only about 10 minutes away.

    Cloth diapers really don’t wear out after just one or two kids. Cloth diapers have also changed quite a bit from what many folks believe cloth diapers are like. They’re as easy to change as disposables and MUCH less expensive in the long run.

  18. Phamos says:

    To be fair, if she purchased the BumGenius diapers from Cotton Babies, they actually are the manufacturers, and the diapers have a year warranty from purchase. So, great service but not really anything beyond what they should have done. (Of course, this is not the case if she bought a different brand of diapers from the website, in which case Yay Cotton Babies!)

    • queenofdenial says:

      @Phamos: coulde be that she bought seconds, which are not covered by warranty.

    • aaronhoffman says:

      @Phamos:

      We, too, returned an entire supply of diapers to Cotton Babies after they started failing. They were Bum Genius and they were out of warranty. The elastic was failing for some reason (they’d never seen the problem before). Cotton Babies replaced the whole lot of ‘em.

      Modern cloth diapers are not the hassle they once were, and we are particular fans of Bum Genius, despite our previous luck. Many people wouldn’t even recognize them as cloth diapers…they are fitted and elasticized and close with velcro. And yes, we are on our 2nd kid with these diapers.

      For poops, milk/formula fed babies’ diapers go right into a dry diaper pail. Modern washing machines handle that no problem. Wash once on cold then once on hot and you’re golden. Once they kid starts eating solid food, you line the diaper with a thin flushable liner (a bit sturdier than toilet paper). Just pull that out and flush it, throw the diaper into the pail and wash as above.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Really,
    You used the diapers for 9 months before deciding you had enough. A month or two, sure. Or if you’d only opened one box of the cotton diapers, or something, but really, 9 months to figure out you can’t stop the leaks.

  20. MadelineB says:

    I wish I knew where my mom got her cloth diapers back when I was born. We’re still using them as dust rags, and they’re twenty years old. Those things are built to last.

  21. Adam Hanson says:

    What was the “particular” brand? I’d like to know before spending money diapers that I will just have to send back anyways!

    • AuntNi says:

      @Adam Hanson: I doubt it was really a quality-control problem. Just like one brand/style of jeans doesn’t fit everyone exactly the same, different brands of cloth diapers work better on different body shapes. There can also be leaking issues from extremely hard water making cloth diapers kind of water*proof*. So it really is best to try different brands of cloth diapers on your baby before investing a ton of money in one style. Some online stores even sell variety packs for this reason.

      All that being said, I love that Cotton Babies has such great customer service. I’m just sad they didn’t start manufacturing diapers until my daughter was already potty-trained.

  22. TechnoDestructo says:

    There should be a counter to the Worst Company in America…its hard to say from Above and Beyond stories that they’re necessarily the best…so maybe “Abovest and Beyondest.”

  23. chocolate1234 says:

    I love the idea of cloth diapering, but is that something one can easily do if their kids go to day care? I’m wondering if a day care wouldn’t allow cloth diapers simply because of the extra time and effort involved. Does anybody know?

    • krista says:

      @chocolate1234: You would really need to ask each day care center – I would think that some would allow it, and some would not. You could always do cloth at home and disposable at day care if you can’t find one that will do cloth.

      If you feel strongly about using cloth for environmental reasons, you would probably be happier with a care provider that has similar values.