For new parents who are eager to cut costs, the cost of building a cloth diaper stash can be daunting. After all, there is a large initial outlay of money compared to the convenience of picking up a $20 package of disposables. But how much do cloth and disposables actually cost?
The cost of cloth is minimal compared to the cost of using disposable diapers over time. Let me walk you through a fictitious scenario to show you what would happen if you decided to purchase deluxe, all-in-one cloth diapers which are similar in structure to disposables. Then we’ll look at the costs of purchasing the cheapest disposables and compare.
All-in-one diapers are very similar to disposable diapers in structure. There are many cheaper options, like cloth prefolds. Prefolds require some diaper folding, and all-in-ones do not.
- You buy 25 all-in-one diapers at $25 each for your newborn. This costs you $625. These are some pretty deluxe diapers, and you have a large stash.
- You buy 10 diapers at $25 each for your toddler or potty learner because your child outgrows the old ones. This costs you $250.
- You wash your diapers at home in a top-loading machine, and you do at least one cycle on hot. Cold water washing in a front-loader uses less water and is cheaper. The cost of doing the laundry and buying the detergent is $40 a month.
- If your child potty trains at age two-and-a-half, the cost overall is $875 for diapers and $1200 for laundry. The total is $2075.
There are many kinds of disposable diapers. If you choose a chlorine-free, unscented type that uses environmentally-friendly materials, you will pay up to $1 per diaper.
- In this scenario, you choose a very cheap disposable diaper that is $0.30 per diaper.
- During the first 6 months of your child’s life, your child uses 15 diapers per day. That’s $135 per month and $810 for the first 6 months.
- During the next two years of your child’s life, your child uses 8 diapers per day at $72 per month, for a total of $1728.
- If your child potty trains at age two-and-a-half, this will cost you $2538 in total.
Comparison of Costs for Cloth and Disposable Diapers
Note that I have used the cheapest disposables here and a fairly expensive cloth diapering solution, with two purchases of cloth diapers. You can play with the variables, but overall, cloth diapering tends to be less expensive than using disposables–and it doesn’t add to the garbage in landfills!