Diaper Service versus Get your own Stash and Wash at Home - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone read articles or know facts (DH is a fact based decision maker) regarding the overall cost/energy consumption of paying a diaper service (about $20 a week) versus buying/making your own diapers, soakers and paying for water/electricity to wash/dry them at home? I know it's variable depending on diy/thrift/new cd's but I'd love to know if anyone has figured it out. I'm wondering water costs plus diaper costs if they are significantly cheaper than paying $20 a week for a service that provides you with diapers and washes them. I plan to buy prefolds, make some fitteds and thrift some wool for soakers and am looking at getting the materials and I think DH is overwhelmed with the frequency of changing newborns (1st timers!) like he didn't think babies peed more than a few times a day. I'm trying to make it easy on him but I need better evidence to convince him we can do it at home by ourselves.

DD: 8/10

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#2 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 01:29 PM
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From what I understand, a diaper service will cost about the same as using disposables during the diapering stage, unless maybe you part-time EC, and use less diapers over all.

Washing at home, unless you live in an area with high electricity/water costs, is generally much less expensive I think.

We decided to go the "build a stash and wash at home" route, since I'll be home most days, and we have a FL washer that gets our clothes really clean, and costs practically nothing to operate. Even with a toploader, you'd still probably save.

The diaper service is definitely still much more earth friendly, IMO, than sposies, but I see it as a CDing luxury!

ETA: I didnt see the cost part. must have stopped reading. Is your $20/week for sure the cost? that's not so bad IMO, but I still think once you pay for your initial stash, especially if it's PFs and home made fitteds from thrifted material- the cost of laundering would be WAY less than $20 per week!

figure out how many gallons of water your washer uses (my FL uses like 7 to 10 per full load I think, TL uses significantly more but still...) multiply that by three -for wash, rinse, and the second rinse if you do that- then by the water rate in your area (shown on your water bill) and there's your cost per load of diapers. I think with PFs and fitteds, and washing every other day, you can multiply the water cost by 15 and there's the cost per month.

A basic stash could probably cost less than $100 with thrifted materials, and purchasing pre-owned covers... (again a total guess- i went overboard) so divided by say 24 months of diapering that's only $4 per month cost for the diapers/covers themselves.

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#3 of 14 Old 04-12-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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Our water and electrictly bill have stayed the same we hnestly have not seen any increase and it was the same with our first child.. We are on a flat bill rate for Electricity and the only hikes we saw were during basic energy hikes which happened jsut as often when we were out of cloth as in.. Water so far had stayed the same.. We pay stupid amounts for both but its not becaue of diapers....
I use a combo of prefolds wraps, AIO, and fitted for night..
I estimate that not counting and trade or selling or sales or those little "extra" diapers that I'll spend around $900 to cloth diaper my child from birth through Potty training.... I could do it for much less but that is realistic ofr me as we like some ease and prefer sized diapers...

$20 a week for a child that PT at 2 years there are 52 weeks in a year...
2x52=104
104weeks x $20=2,080

have to go another 6 months?
2.5x52=130
130weeks x $20=$2,600

get the idea?
diaper services will still require you to wash covers many will find they eaither want better or some special CDs for night or sposies...
IMHO washing your own is cheeper by a long shot...

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#4 of 14 Old 04-13-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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I just did the math yesterday. You could buy a whole stash of prefolds, covers and some AIO for around $300. If you were to use a diaper service at $20 a week you would only get four months service for the same amount. What it came down to for me is that at the end of the day the diapers are mine and not a rental. I rather pay more to begin with and spend $50 more in washing every month than to have them washed for me. Does that make sense? Probably not, but that's what I decided.
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#5 of 14 Old 04-13-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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I agree that having your own stash is cheaper, I didn't notice a difference when we had our first in cloth diapers either.

I also like that I don't have to rely on someone bringing me diapers I could just throw them in the wash.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#6 of 14 Old 04-13-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I don't think we've seen an increase in water/power bills, but I've secretly wondered if the increased water use (we wash every other day) is offset by me taking fewer showers now that I have a baby?

One thing to consider with this is: are you the kind of person who will build a fairly frugal diapering system - as you say, prefolds, some homemade stuff, thrifted covers - and stick to it? Or are you the kind of person who will get sucked into chasing the latest and greatest 35-dollar organic velvet fitted diaper handmade by blind Tibetan nuns? If buying your own stash becomes an excuse to shop, then the diaper service might be cheaper.

But otherwise, a diapering service will always be more expensive in the long run. Here's my math: if you bought a couple dozen Green Mountain infant prefolds and some covers, you'd break even on the diaper service about two months in. Every diaper you change after that would be "free" aside from the (very low) cost of laundry.

However, one thing to bear in mind is that many babies don't fit into "small" prefolds really well right away - there's an awkward newborn stage where newborn prefolds fit well but only fit well very briefly, and smalls are still too bulky. You could just ignore the bulk (I doubt it bothers the baby) for the month they're too big, or you could go ahead and buy newborn prefolds, but then that raises your start-up costs quite a bit.

Or of course you guys could split the difference and get diaper service for the first month, until your baby fits into your small-sized diapers?

Science-loving mama to one little guy (11/09).
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#7 of 14 Old 04-14-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lalemma View Post
I don't think we've seen an increase in water/power bills, but I've secretly wondered if the increased water use (we wash every other day) is offset by me taking fewer showers now that I have a baby?
Had to laugh at this!

In my case, I'm pretty sure that having my own stash is cheaper than a service. However, the service was still very affordable so money wasn't a factor in my decision. I found pros and cons on both sides and in the end my choice was made based on energy consumption and environmental aspects.

At my home, we have very abundant well water and a high-tech septic system that returns 99% of the water back to the ground perfectly clean and exactly where it came out. We have a new HE front loader that uses very little water. I can choose to use natural soaps. I can choose to line-dry the diapers. Our electricity comes from a very small hydro dam just down the road from us. Aside from the environmental damage that was caused at the time of building the dam, the electricity source is 100% green with no emissions whatsoever (and it's super cheap!).

On the other hand, the diaper services I have access to are all in the next city over. That city has a terrible record for accidentally dumping municipal waste water (which is where the diaper service wash water would go) into a major river with shocking frequency. I can't know for sure what kind of chemicals they use in washing and I know the diapers are being dried in giant energy-sucking dryers. To top it all off, the energy source in that city comes from old-fashioned coal burning generators which are about as filthy as electricity can get.

Once I thought of it that way, it was a no-brainer for me. Perhaps you have similar factors that might make the decision more black & white for your husband?

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and Littlest Lake due mid-Dec 2014.
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#8 of 14 Old 04-14-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I meant to add also that if you build a decent-sized stash you won't have to do laundry very often. Babies only need 10-20 changes a day for the first few months, then it drops down dramatically. I have about 35 diapers and only wash once every 5-7 days (depending on how well our pottying is going). Some would say that's gross but quite frankly I'm lazy so we've made it work. We've never had a problem with a stinky pail or mildew or anything like that. It's far more energy efficient to do one big load than several small loads (and way less work!).

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and Littlest Lake due mid-Dec 2014.
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#9 of 14 Old 12-06-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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Hi,

 

this is a bit off subject... but if someone could help me with this it would be greatly appreciated. I am also looking into washing my own and diaper service, and I keep hearing it is much cheaper to wash your own. However, every time I am look for reusable diapers they seem very expensive-- one diaper is like 20 to 30 dollars. So I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction when shopping for great quality, but inexpensive reusable diapers. Also, if someone could tell me how many and about the different types of diapers I will need. I am currently 5 months pregnant and am trying to do my research (and shopping if possible) before the baby arrives. Any help would again be appreciated. 

 

Thank you :)

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#10 of 14 Old 12-06-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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where do you get your diapers from?

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#11 of 14 Old 12-06-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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As someone transitioning from a diaper service to washing my own, yes it's cheaper in general to wash at home. On the other hand, especially at the beginning, it can be nice to pull one thing off your plate. (it's a small amount of money to not have the pressure of getting the laundry done before you need that next diaper.

 

Also, as some have said above, it can let you skip over buying the smallest diaper size (they're not in it for long), and let you go straight to all in ones, which offsets the cost significantly. (because they need quite a few of those first tiny sizes, because they go through them, but only for a few weeks/months)

 

And it can give partners who are afraid of washing diapers a little time to get used to the idea.

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#12 of 14 Old 01-01-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abw11 View Post

Hi,

 

this is a bit off subject... but if someone could help me with this it would be greatly appreciated. I am also looking into washing my own and diaper service, and I keep hearing it is much cheaper to wash your own. However, every time I am look for reusable diapers they seem very expensive-- one diaper is like 20 to 30 dollars. So I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction when shopping for great quality, but inexpensive reusable diapers. Also, if someone could tell me how many and about the different types of diapers I will need. I am currently 5 months pregnant and am trying to do my research (and shopping if possible) before the baby arrives. Any help would again be appreciated. 

 

Thank you :)



There are many inexpensive options...sounds like you're looking at many of the brand-name diapers out there.  I mostly use prefold diapers and covers.  A prefold diaper is basically just an absorbent piece of cloth, generally thicker in the middle third, that you can fold.  (And folding doesn't have to be difficult--we mostly just fold into thirds and lay in the cover.  Prefolds range anywhere from $1.00 to about $3.00 each, and covers can range from $7 to $15.  And you can use a cover multiple times before washing, so you don't need as many covers as you need prefolds. 

 

You can also buy kits.  My MIL bought us two boxes of Econobums to start out with.  They're $60 in Canada, but I believe cheaper in the US.  Each box came with 12 prefolds, 3 covers, and a wetbag to store used diapers in the diaper bag.  Bummis makes a good kit as well, with a number of prefolds, covers, a large wetbag to use as a diaper pail, liners, etc.  It's more expensive but Bummis is a really great brand!  Nicki's diapers also makes a diaper line called Imagine that I've found to be quite good and economical.  The covers are one-size, so they fit big and little babies alike.  If you like pocket diapers, Kawaii diapers are inexpensive. 

 

Also, don't overlook used diapers!  Many merchants sell them and you can buy them straight from moms over the Internet too.  Just make sure they're still in useable quality...you can use cloth over and over and over, and they can take quite a beating, but they will wear out over time!

 

http://www.theluvyourbaby.com/

http://www.clothdiapersinc.com/proddetail.php?prod=BUMKIT

http://www.nickisdiapers.com/imagine.html

http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=138

 

And since you're still pregnant, there's lots of time to search the sales!

 

If you have any questions, please ask.  I know I'm missing lots of stuff because I typed this all in a hurry because the baby is cranky and poor DH is trying everything under the sun to make her happy but it's not working.  I really believe in economical cloth diapering!

 

 

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#13 of 14 Old 01-02-2012, 11:10 AM
 
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Also something to consider: If you buy your own diapers, you can resell them when you're done with them!  A lot of brands can be resold at almost retail (some even more if they're a highly coveted style/print/whatever).  You can also save them and use them for another child, if you plan on having more, and that will cut your cost way down as well.

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#14 of 14 Old 01-05-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i do prefolds with thirsties brand covers. you can buy all of this used in fsot on diaperswappers.com

as for how many...i will copy some txt that i sent to a friend recently:

 

 

i had 54 orange edged newborn prefolds (GMD). i forgot that they pee 10-12x in a day at first.  i could have gotten by with 30 but it was nice to have an extra day to stretch laundry day.
i tried kissaluvs but didn't care for them. they are cute and fit nice but i seriously love prefolds. hands down.
i was lent some second hand bumgenius and hated them. they leaked like crazy and stuffing and unstuffing them drove me crazy.  they could have leaked b/c dd has no fat on her thighs...i know people that love them but have heard that over time they get stinky and you have to strip them to make them absorbant again (i have heard this of prefolds but have not needed to ever strip them) oh and the velcro wears out pretty quick.
i also tried happy heiny all in ones and at the smallest setting they didn't fit dd until 3 months or something but i had the same issues as the bg's.
 
then i pretty much stuck with thirsties.
for newborn i had 8 covers. on a typical laundry day with a newborn i had 4 covers in the wash. so maybe i could've gottne by with 5 or 6?
 
the orange edge lasted 3 months but some people don't get those and just start with yellow edge (dd was a small baby and slow to gain weight. she's still 3% for weight...but if your baby is a chunky one they probably will grow out of orange edge fast.  they were just nice to have when she was itty bitty (and resell well so i'm not worried about it)
so at 3 months we switched to yellow edge gmd prefolds and i own 30 prefolds (and 3 thirsties small) and we do laundry every 3 days and have about 2 covers per load. plus we were dong EC pretty regularly at htat point so you may still be doing laundry every other day.  you could always get by with less diapers and do laundry more often.
 
at 5 months, dd was 14 lbs and was awesome at the potty so laundry was every 4 days and the yellow edge gmd's are getting snug.
at 5.5 months i switched to red edge gmd's and she's in thirsties small. at this point i own 18 red edge prefolds, 3 thirsties medium covers (and 3 thirsties smalls as backup) barely 1 cover in a load of laundry b/c most poops are in the potty.
 
somewhere around 7 or 8 months diaper laundry was once a week but that was b/c she used the potty so much.
 
and apparently i stopped keeping track at this point but we're in brown edge gmd's right now and we switched to those at 13 months? we have now 18 brown edge prefolds and 1 thirsties duo size 2 cover. i do laundry once or twice a week.
she sleeps in homemade lanolized wool pants but under that is a prefold layered with a babykicks hemp soaker (http://www.babykicks.com/productInfo/JoeyBunz.cfm) and a fleece blanket cut up to the size of the soaker so that way if she pees at night the hemp soaks up most of the pee and the fleece keeps her dry. but she doesn't pee at night anymore. maybe once a month?  i love the hemp soakers and got mine all used off diaper swappers. 
 
hope this helps!

DD: 8/10

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