A Modern Cloth Diapers versus Disposable Diapers Analysis – Which one comes out on top?
This has probably been done to death but I haven’t found anything that really laid it out practically and simply to understand, so I am doing a post (mostly for me).
- 8 Diapers used per day on average, therefore 2920 diaper changes per year on average (newborns use more then it tapers off)
- Using the same quality of cloth diapers versus disposables (e.g. biodegradable & unbleached disposables versus organic cotton)
- Taking into account diapering accessories required like soap, electricity, detergent etc
They’re cute but they sure do make a lot of waste.
2920 DIAPER CHANGES IN A YEAR
I should mention that wearing cloth diapers apparently makes children want to potty-train sooner. If that does not convince you to try cloth diapering over disposables, I do not know what will.
The grandchildren currently in my family wore diapers up until 3 years old…. so if you can imagine having to deal with THAT for 3 years, good luck.
(That fact alone was enough to convince me to use cloth diapers, never mind hippie environmental impact stuff or the savings!)
CLOTH DIAPERS (THE INITIAL YEAR)
|CLOTH DIAPERS (FIRST YEAR)||Per Item||Total Cost||ON taxes (13%)||NOTES|
|Biodegradable Liners (1)||$4.99||$149.70||$169.16||100% Biodegradable — You put these liners inside the diapers and only flush them if they’re soiled|
|Prefold Inserts (2)||$27.49||$164.94||$186.38||100% Organic Cotton Padding — Kind of like padding for a diaper|
|Diapers Covers (3)||$16.95||$84.75||$95.77||100% Organic Cotton Cover for the diaper|
|Diaper Wash Board||$25.00||$25.00||$28.25||We had to buy a wash board to pre-wash the diapers before putting them in the laundry|
|Diaper Pail||$10.00||$10.00||$11.30||Need to put dirty diapers somewhere!!|
|Diaper Carrying Bag||$40.00||$40.00||$45.20||Aquapac Scuba Diving Bag (to carry the soiled diapers when we are out)|
|Laundry Costs (4)||$3.00||$366.00||$366.00||$3 for a wash and a dry|
||$1.00||$24.00||$24.00||Assuming 2 boxes of baking soda used a month to deodorize stinky diapers|
|Savon de Marseilles Soap||$4.99||$59.88||$67.66||Assuming 1 Savon de Marseilles (soap) bar a month (we will be pre-cleaning before throwing it in the wash)|
|Soap Nuts (Detergent)||$25.99||$25.99||$29.37||1 bag of these soap nuts will last about 200 washes a year so I’m overestimating just in case|
|TOTAL||$1,023.09||FIRST YEAR / INITIAL COST|
(1) to (4) CALCULATIONS / NOTES:
- 100 in each pack assuming 8 changes a day x 365 days = 30 packs needed
- 6 prefolds in each pack, assuming we need 36 (3 days worth) = 6 packs needed
- 1 diaper cover costs $16.95, we bought 5 because we’re changing the prefolds more than the cover = 5 needed
- We’re in an apartment where it costs $3 for a wash and dry, wash every 3 days or 122 times a year
CLOTH DIAPERS (THE SUBSEQUENT YEARS)
|RECURRING YEARLY COSTS|
|Soap Nuts (Detergent)||$29.37|
This isn’t so bad after the initial cost of buying the cloth diapers and so on.
DISPOSABLE DIAPERS (COST PER YEAR)
|DISPOSABLE DIAPERS||Per Item||Total Cost||ON taxes (13%)||NOTES|
|7th Generation Diapers(40 come in a pack)||$19.99||$1,459.27||$1,648.98||These are unbleached, biodegradable and the top of the top when it comes to buying hippie diapers|
DISPOSABLES VERSUS CLOTH DIAPERS
Now for the good stuff!
I optimistically want at least 3 children.
|Child One (Year 1)||$1,648.98||$1,023.09||$(625.88)|
|Child One (Year 2)||$1,648.98||$656.19||$(992.78)|
|Child Two (Year 1)||$1,648.98||$656.19||$(992.78)|
|Child Two (Year 2)||$1,648.98||$656.19||$(992.78)|
|Child Three (Year 1)||$1,648.98||$656.19||$(992.78)|
|Child Three (Year 2)||$1,648.98||$656.19||$(992.78)|
Basically what this is telling me is that if I have 3 children I can save about $5600 over the next 6 years of diapering if I just use cloth diapers.
If you can’t find a use for $5600, I sure can.
AM I MISSING SOMETHING IN THE CALCULATIONS, SEASONED PARENTS? PLEASE TELL ME!
I am nowhere near having a baby, but when/if I do, I would give cloth diapers a chance. Sure, it takes a little more work, but I don’t mind it considering I’ll be saving a ton of change! Great comparison post!
I want and have one kid only. Even if they were 10, I’d still go with disposables. In this case I’m willing to pay for the convenience. I do run the washing machine every 2-3 days with her and our clothes and it’s the only such job I want to be doing, since it’s already taking quite some time (especially here tiny clothes – and I’m not ironing).
My day is spent with the baby, most of it. If she’s sleeping, I prepare her food or work for my clients. I’d not sacrifice a moment just to handle the diapers which in this case take 2 seconds to remove and throw away 😀
In my country our monthly Pampers ‘stack’ costs about 50-70 bucks. We’re willing to sacrifice this money for the convenience of it. Sure, if there was any diaper genie who’d come to do the work for me, I’d use the cloth diapers starting from yesterday
I’m not pregnant but when thinking about kids I have assumed I will use cloth diapers (or nappies as we say in the UK). One question, do you need a specific diaper pail? Couldn’t you just use any old bucket and lid?
You’re such a hipster 😉 – my mom used cloth diapers on me. I turned out fine. ^_^
So. I never used cloth – which was a lot simpler way back than the fancypants kind you get now. Interestingly, though British/American’s used terrycloth nappies/diapers and pins, that was never done here in central Europe. Here it was a muslin folded and laid on a flannel nappy/diaper that was folded and tucked, with knitted woollen pants (soakers in English, I believe) over the top (they showed me this in the hospital, where I grabbed the first disposable I could get my hands on!). I think that worked pretty well in the days when moms started potty training at 6 mths (like the commenter who said she was pooping in the pot at 10 mths) and knew their kids’ rhythm…
Nowadays, kids are often left to potty train when they want or “feel ready”, and my experience was two girls who trained (daytimes) at 2 1/4-2 1/2 and one who was 3 1/4 before she would go (but was then dry day and night). My grandson is 6 and still has the occasional accident, he was hard to train at 4. His sister took all her clothes off on her mom’s 30th birthday, a sunny day in March, aged 2 1/2 and never put the nappy/diaper back on again – she is fully reliable at not quite 3.
Also, none of these kids ever used 8 or more nappies/diapers per day, more like 5, just for calculations’ sake ;o!!
Re. disposables – I first used the most famous brand name but was soon recommended to use a store’s own brand, which were not only way cheaper but had far fewer chemicals and perfume, which is still the case today in our country. But everyone needs to find their own “fit” so personally, I find the discussion pretty futile! As you show, there are many things to factor in, whether it’s cost or ethics.
Am I missing the cost of purchasing the cloth diapers? I see liners, inserts and covers but not the diapers themselves.
That’s a lot of poop. I am also a cloth diaper supporter! And, my mom used cloth diapers on me and I learned to do my business on the pottie by about 10 months (I walked early). Yes, I type this with a serious look on my face. I am all about saving money and getting the shorties self-managed as quickly as possible.
That’s a lot of poop. I am also a cloth diaper supporter! And, my mom used cloth diapers on me and I learned to my business on the pottie by about 10 months (I walked early). Yes, I type this with a serious look on my face. I am all about saving money and getting the shorties self-managed as quickly as possible.
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
We did cloth for the first year. We switched to disposables when we were showing our house for sale, then found out our new dryer sucked, and then we decided to only have one kid. We were at the stage where we needed to buy the next size up and only planning on having the one kid really took away the savings.
We used a dry pail method for our diapers. An old garbage can with lid and a wet bag to line it. No prewashing or soaking. We used Nelly’s detergent and nothing else in the wash. We never really used our liners because they moved around so didn’t usually catch what we’d want them to…. It seems like you’re using a wet pail method for your calculations, so numbers will be higher/lower in some spots.
My only other suggestion would be that there are lots of ways to get cloth diapers for much less than retail. I got my prefolds, non organic, as seconds off eBay from a Canadian business. They were amazing and for the first year’s worth cost only $30 total. Also, I got covers that supported a Chinese Orphanage for $5 a piece (assunta store). I did have a problem with the covers when Little Miss was getting to an awkward size and the customer service from them was amazing.
How did you guys prewash these before the laundry? Living in an apartment, did you put them in the sink first? I’m definitely thinking about using cloth diapers, its the cleaning part that I’m still thinking about, logistically. We have a laundry tub in our laundry room, that’s probably where I could soak and prewash the diapers. More things to think about 🙂
Nevermind, I just looked up the washing board, it goes in the toilet. Hmm, that makes a lot of sense 🙂
I’m not a mom (yet), but I’m expecting and have done a lot of research on cloth diapering. The only things I think you’re missing are (a) the wear on the diapers, you might have to buy new cloth diapers with subsequent children depending on what shape they’re in; (b) wipes (?) does that factor into the equation?
Yep it’s not cheaper when you have to go through five brands to find one that fits. Lucky if you get one that does and doesn’t leak. They went through g diapers, bummis, and few more and ended up using green Mountain. Said it turned out to not be worth it as their kid was potty trained like my girl at age 2 and needed night time pull-ups. So length in diapers make a difference.
My other green neighbors found the same thing and are using disposables now. Lol. They went through three sets that didn’t fit and gave up.
I know two friends who successfully used their clothes diapers on their first but by their second they switched because it was too much work