Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable

Cloth diapering isn’t as difficult or tedious as most believe. A little bit of training and it is actually something you will be proud that you made the choice to do.
Cost wise the more children you have the cheaper it is to cloth diaper and the more expensive to use disposables. If you don’t have more than one or two children the resale value of your cloth diapers will ensure that you save hundreds compared to throwing away your diaper investment.

Lets look at what it costs to put a baby in disposables through to potty training
(roughly 30 months):

cloth vs disposable

  • Newborn = 6-10 lbs     8/day x 30 days = 240    40 in a pack = 6
  • Size 1 = 8-14 lbs   6/day x 120 days = 720

         84 in a pack = 9
  • Size 2 = 12-18 lbs    6/day x 180 days = 1080

        72 in a pack = 15
  • Size 3 = 16-28 lbs    5/day x 140 days = 700

         60 in a pack = 12
  • Size 4 = 21-30 lbs    5/day x 100 days = 500 prefold

        52 in a pack = 9
  • Size 5 = over 27 lbs    4/day x 210 days = 840

          46 in a pack = 18
  • Training pants "Pull-Ups" = 30-40 lbs   2-4/day x 120 days = 240-480

         40 in a pack = 6-12

That is 75-81 packages of diapers minimum. Packages of diapers where I live cost $17 for no name and $21 for br /and name

that’s $1275-$1377 or $1575-$1701.

Jumbo packs are available for $40 which would br /ing you down to about $1292-$1418 for br /and name diapers. Not to mention the cost on the environment or that for every child you have you will spend that all over again.

Compare this to what you would spend on new cloth All-In-Ones (AIO), which are the most expensive type of cloth diaper and the closest to disposable in terms of use.

  • Newborn      7-8 diapers a day     laundry every 3 days = 24 diapers Typically $20 for a dozen

    (most people just use small size diapers, but if you are going to have more than one child it is worth it to invest in two dozen chinese prefolds which are perfect for newborns.)
  • Small = up to 18 lbs      7-8 diapers a day      laundry every 3 days = 24 diapers $18/diaper = $432
  • Medium = up to 24 lbs     5-6 diapers a day     laundry every 4 days = 24 diapers $20/diaper = $480
  • Two dozen again they will go through fewer in a day but that means less laundry for you!)

  • Large = up to 35 lbs    4-5 diapers a day     laundry every 2 days = 12 diapers $20/diaper = $240
  • Training pants – these can vary a lot you can go cheap thick cotton panties & get 12 for about $30 or you can buy expensive lined AIO panties that will run you about $12/pair Personally I am cheap and really the idea is to get away from diapers right?

So all total it is $1200 that you would invest on br /and new AIO diapers. You can always go the cheapskate route like me and hunt down second hand diapers or use fitteds and covers which will be even cheaper. I have about 40 diapers in each size that cost me about $2 each with four $15 fleece covers $240 for the diapers & $120 for the coversPlus you can reuse them over and over, a set of good diapers will last 3 kids, after that you need to be good at sewing and textiles or retire them to the shed for car washing rags. If you only have one or two children you can sell on sites like diaper swappers and diaper pin.

But we do need to figure in that you will go through an extra bottle of laundry soap a month ($6) and I use about 10 liters of vinegar ($8), you will also do a dozen “mini” loads of laundry every month washed in cold water and hung to dry (if you put them in the dryer they “set” the stains and absorbs less moisture
next time) will cost you a whopping $1.00 a month. $15 x 12 months x 3 years =
$540 this cost is ongoing with each child, like death and taxes, laundry is a fact of children.

For a grand total of $1740.

Now if you have two children that number can go to $2280 for cloth or $2550-3402 for disposable – that is just diapers folks!

Here is a really cool calculator for cloth vs. disposable.

What have we learned from all of that?

You are going to spend roughly $1500 to diaper your child whether you use cloth or disposable diapers. Aside from the fact that your $1200 worth of cloth diapers could easily be sold for $800 (if you only have one child, dropping your cost to $940), the choice in which you use is really a personal one. Do you shell out $1200 in roughly one year or over a period of three years?

I spend about 30 min every other day doing laundry whether it be, diapers, clothes or towels. When the kids are older they can help you sort the laundry. The fact that I can still put out my small bag of garbage each week with two small children in the house makes me feel proud that I made the effort to put my kids in cloth and I hope that they choose the same.


Wanna know where to get your diapers? Well….

Unfortunately EarthBaby where I got my own diapers is no longer owned by the same people. DiaperSwappers.com is a good place to start the moms there are pretty helpful.


Tips & Tricks of the trade.

cloth diapers

  • Diapers can be soaked in a wet pail or a dry pail. Most AIO’s should be in a dry pail.
  • A Diaper pail can be anything that has a lid. A large ice cream bucket or small Rubbermaid container. (Don’t forget that a pail full of water is twice as heavy full of diapers and water, I use two smaller pails instead of one large one for my wet pail)
  • In your diaper bag a large Ziploc can be your best friend, one for dirty diapers and another for some wipes, they keep smells and wetness in and can easily be rinsed to use over and over.
  • For your wet pail – Pour about a half inch of vinegar into the bottom of your pail along with a couple squirts of baby or laundry soap and then fill 2/3 full of water. It helps prevent stains and makes for easier washing.
  • When washing cloth diapers do a rinse and/or soak first with about a cup or two of vinegar it helps with smells and stains. Skip the fabric softner it builds up and repels moisture so your diapers won’t work as well! After a rinse do your normal wash and hang to dry.
  • A backpack makes a great diaper bag, and doesn’t say "MOM" from 100 yards. Plus you can use it for years and even Dad will carry it!
  • Cloth wipes can save you a small fortune, serge together old squares of baby blanket, flannel from the fabric store. You can soak them in a little container or use a spray bottle to wet them.
    Use this solution:

    water, baby soap (2 squirts), olive or grape seed oil (tbs) you can also add essential oils like lavender, euclyptus, neroli and tea tree.

    If you prefer to have your wipes soak in the solution add a tbs of vinegar to help keep it fresh.

  • Hanging diapers helps them to absorb more moisture, keeps stains from setting and saves you on energy costs. We hung a line above our washer in the laundry room so that it was all in one area.
  • Don’t forget to close any Velcro tabs on diapers to avoid "diaper chains"

Recent events led me to compile and write this article:

Staph & Cloth Diapers Facts

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