Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cloth diapers: cost-effectiveness of cloth vs disposables

Now that G is 17 months old (pictured left in size medium Happy Heiny pocket diaper), I thought this would be an appropriate time to tally up what I've spent on cloth diapers for his entire diapering career up-to-date: $791.87.

Here's the fine print about our stash.
*The diapers range from newborn through toddlerhood. We will not have to buy any more diapers to fit G as he grows, so this stash will take us through potty learning (probably 22 months, which is really early for most kids).
*I bought some diapers gently used and some brand new.
*We have a somewhat "fancy" stash that includes All-In-Ones, Goodmamas fitted diapers and Aristocrat wool covers. We definitely could have done with out these things and spent $215 less. We thought the Goodmamas were worth it, though, because they fit newborns through toddlers. A bare-bones stash using prefolds and covers would have cost us even less -- to the tune of probably about $200-$300 for a full stash.*We have a large stash; I only do laundry every other day, and I can go three days laundry-free without Gabe having to run around naked and free.

4 newborn covers ($32)
2 Thirsties Covers size large ($18)
3 Bummis Covers size medium ($30)
2 Bummis Cover size small ($20)
2 Thirsties covers size medium ($20)
2 Aristocrat Soakers sizes large and medium ($60)

8 Happy Heiny Pocket diapers in size medium and inserts ($140)

5 Bamboozle size 2 ($45)
4 Snug-to-Fit Supremes ($51.80)
4 Goodmamas ($105)
4 Organic Under the Niles in size Medium ($51.80)
8 infant Green Mountain Diaper fitteds ($64)

4 Very Baby All-in-Ones and All-in-twos in size large ($50)

10 brown edge prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper ($20)
2 blue edge prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper ($5.32)
2 yellow edge prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper ($4)
12 green edge infant prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper ($21)

4 Hemp/Fleece Doublers from GMD ($32)
2 Fleece Inserts from GMD ($3)
2 Happy Heiny Hemp Doublers ($16)
1 Hemp Doubler from GMD ($2.95)

Here is a total of what we would have spent on disposables during the last 17 months: $986.64. (I am using sale prices found online for Babies R Us and Toys R Us as of today.) And as you know, disposables cannot be reused.
I also should mention that this is an estimate! Some babies pee more and need more changes and some pee less. This is roughly what it would have cost us with our little one.

Huggies newborn 92 count for $25 -- $152 for months one and two
(That's 10 diapers per day, seven days a week, four weeks per month for two months because newborns poop a lot. That's a little bit of an underestimate because a lot of days we were changing 12 diapers per day.)

Huggies size 1-2 192 count for $33.99 -- $101.97 for months three and four
(That's 10 diapers per day, seven days a week, four weeks per month for two months.)

Huggies size 3 144 count for $33.99 -- $528.73 for months five through 14
(That's 8 diapers per day, seven days a week, four weeks per month for 10 months.)

Huggies size 4 126 count for $33.99 -- $203.94 15, 16, and 17
(That's 8 diapers per day, seven days a week, four weeks per month for 3 months.)

G probably will not be done potty learning until about 20 - 22 months, so you can factor in 5 more months worth of costs for disposables, yet we do not have to buy anymore cloth diapers. If I were to factor in five more months in disposables, it would cost an additional $305.91. That would bring the total for disposable diapering a child through age 22 months to $1,292.55.

And that, my friends, is my unscientific but experience-based research about cloth-diapering costs versus disposable-diapering costs. And just think, for another baby, we would end up spending another $1,292 for disposable diapers. We will be able to reuse our cloth diapers when we have another little one whose bum needs covering, and that makes both me and the Financial Manager very happy.


  1. wow - you change gabe 10 times a day? i'm not a CD-er ... i'm a bit squeamish not to mention my dh is the laundry guy around here and it would have to take ALOT of convincing ... anyways ... i think i change L's diaper maybe 5-6 times a day at 7 mos. ... i was just surprised to see 10x's a day ... ;) ... hope you're well! =D

  2. Now that he's older we're down to 8. Maybe if we would have been using disosables we would not have gone through as many? If we didn't change him every 2 hours, though, he would be completely soaked. Now, it's getting better because he's potty learning. But it seems he always leaks some pee in each diaper first, thus making a new diaper necessary.

  3. This is a post I can share with friends! You're assuming an early potty learning age. 36-40 months of diapers takes the bill up. I'm pretty sure I spent at least $1200 on Jensen (30 months) before switching to cloth. However, he learned to use the potty at 40+ months.


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