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Mothering › Baby Articles › Cloth Diaper Cost…is it worth it?

Cloth Diaper Cost…is it worth it?


Each day of Real Diaper Week will focus on a different way to advocate for or educate about cloth diapers.  On Wednesday, 4/18, we’ll focus on the savings that families can achieve by choosing reusable cloth diapers, making them a great choice for low-income families.  Read on to educate yourself, then find a way to bring Real Diaper Week to your community.


There are many reasons to consider using cloth diapers. You may hear things like “Do you have *any* idea how long disposable diapers will be in landfills?!” or “Have you seen the super cute new prints that [insert favorite cloth diaper maker here] has now?! I can’t wait to see them on my baby’s bum!” Or how about “I can’t believe all the chemicals that are in disposable diapers nowadays. I am SO happy we decided to make the switch to cloth.”


The bottom line is reusable cloth is much better for the environment. And, there are so many options for adorable prints for your baby’s precious bum than with disposables – how can you pass up that fashionable opportunity? Plus, there are no harsh chemicals in cloth diapers; they are pure, soft, and harmless for your baby’s most sensitive parts.


But what about the monetary cost? After all, depending on what brand and style of cloth diapers you decide to go with, there could be a significant investment. Is it really worth it?


Well, let’s examine it just a little. First of all, your baby will go through approximately 7,600 diapers in his or her diaper-lifetime (number derived from usage estimates found at www.diaperdecisions.com). So, if you look at the accompanying chart, you can see the cost of diapering your little one with disposables of different brands. Even the least expensive options cost a LOT of money!


Compare that with cloth diapers. You can cloth diaper your babe anywhere from free (just do a little online search for how to diaper your baby with things around your house like old t-shirts, blankets, towels, etc) to several hundred dollars. On average you will probably spend around $200 – $500 on cloth diapers for your baby from birth through potty training, depending on the type and brand you choose. Keep in mind, that there will be some extra cost for cloth when you take into consideration laundry soap and the water and energy costs of washing/drying each load of diapers. Even with all of those costs, the overall savings is extraordinary!


This isn’t even taking into consideration a few bonus things:


  • First of all, if you have more than one child, you only have to have one stash (although with multiples, your stash will no doubt need to be larger). There is no throwing the diapers from your first child away and having to re-purchase.

  • Secondly, babies who wear cloth diapers tend to potty train earlier. Nice, huh? Since they can feel the wetness (versus the dry feeling of disposables), they generally figure out earlier that it feels much better to go in the potty than in their diaper.

  • Lastly, let’s not forget the *resale value* of cloth diapers! Yep, that’s right – when you are finished with your stash, you will have the option to sell to another frugal, environmentally conscious, toxin-avoiding cloth diapering mama…talk about making the most of your money!

To sweeten the deal, not only will you save your money when using cloth, but you will also be doing your part to save the environment, you will be saving your baby’s precious skin from toxins, and you will be “saving” your baby’s wardrobe from boring, flat, and non-cute fluffy bums! Ok, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea – you will be saving more than just money when you switch to cloth!


- Evie is a work at home mom of two young children whom she adores. She is a doula who will soon begin work on gaining her childbirth educator certification. She is also the social media expert for Elegant Mommy and in that, manages their blog, social media, and some website work. Find her work at: www.elegantmommy.com andwww.elegantmommysiouxfalls.blogspot.com.



Great Cloth Diaper Change

About The Great Cloth Diaper Change Ambassadors

We are a team of writers who are all part of The Great Cloth Diaper Change, an international initiative organized with the help of the nonprofit Real Diaper Association. The event is designed to show the world that cloth diapers are a real option for today’s families. The Great Cloth Diaper Change is an exciting Guinness World Record breaking event, and in 2011, more than 5,000 babies were changed simultaneously. For more information visit www.GreatClothDiaperChange.com.



Comments (7)

I'm a fan of cloth (my little one is exclusively in cloth, even when we go out!) but another thing worth mentioning in your cost estimate is the cost of water and electricity- the additional laundry is not an insignificant consideration.
What about after you factor in water, special detergent, lingers, sprayer, other accessories? I'm honestly curious if its a better value as I'm trying to convince my hubby to switch to cloth.
I'm cloth-diapering and I love it. I recommend it to everyone. But there are some costs left off of this list. Our water bill is almost double now since we're doing a load of diaper laundry every other day and doing two rinse cycles plus a wash cycle ($30 to $55 a month - a $25 dollar a month increase). And the detergent is not inexpensive, maybe $15 every three months. That said, I think we're still saving money.
There is a good amount of information out there about the cost savings of cloth--even taking into consideration utility bills--and the consensus is always yes you will save money. Check out these links--the second one has a nice calculator: http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/costofutilities.asp http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/ http://www.motheringshop.com/product-p/digreprint-diaper.htm
Love the article, but you may want to update your disposable diapers cost. I've never seen prices so high! A quick walk through an aisle at Walmart, Target, or Sam's Club (or even a quick search on Amazon.com) will show you much cheaper prices. I know that cloth diapering still saves a lot of money, but you don't need to inflate the prices that much to prove that point. ;) Thanks for the article! I love anything that shows the benefits of Cloth Diapering. People try to say that you don't really save much once you factor in washing, but that's simply not the case. Run the numbers for your own washer and your own utility costs, and you'll see how cheap a load of laundry really is. Keep promoting cloth!
I would like to recommend The Family Homestead's Homemade Laundry Soap recipe (you can google it to find the blog). I have been making my own soap using this recipe and Fels Naptha for about a year now and love it! An entire 1 month-2month supply of soap for our family of 5 humans and three dogs only costs us about 70 cents to make. We use it on our cloth diapers and have had no problems with the performance.
I agree the disposable costs were a little off but not by a ton. I think they were averaging the size discrepencies as well (the per diaper cost of a newborn vs a size 6 diaper are hugely different). For example I just checked Walmart.com and the online price for parent's choice size 2 is .15 a diaper where as the size 6 is .23 and it says that prices vary actually instore so not sure if they are more or cheaper than online. I also think the source data that the disposable cost table was taken from was updated awhile ago.
Mothering › Baby Articles › Cloth Diaper Cost…is it worth it?