I have seen a lot of great rundowns comparing the cost of using disposables with using cloth...but I always wonder, 'What if I am couponing or getting some great Costco deals?' I soon came across a great spreadsheet on the Granola Babies website that broke down various estimates on buying with great deals on diapers and comparing them with cloth diapering. This is the most reasonable and honest breakdown I have found, so I asked Giselle from Granola Babies to submit a post to Padded Tush Stats. Lots of people may have different opinions on this, as I learned from my own research on this topic. You could probably dispute the costs both ways, just note this is one estimate based on one mama's experience. My cousin diapers her baby using disposables for free (by getting Amazon giftcards for using swagbucks and filling out surveys), but even with that, I would argue that you could use the Amazon gift cards to buy cloth diapers instead and the cost of washing would probably be made up for in possibly reselling the diapers at the end). So there are multiple ways to show the numbers, but I really liked this approach and found it to be more realistic than what I have seen. Check out her spreadsheet, it rocks.
Are some disposable diapers more affordable than using cloth diapers?
Written by Giselle Baturay
At .10 per disposable diaper, surely disposable are more affordable than cloth, right? As the owner of a busy cloth diapering store, Granola Babies, I often get questions whether cloth diapers really are more affordable than disposable diapers. For example, recently I heard, “I’m getting my disposables diapers at a great sale, so it’s actually cheaper than cloth diapers.”
“Really? Let’s do the math.”
At .10 cents a disposable diaper, plus .03 cents per wipe and assuming if you’re like most parents, you need at least 2-4 wipes for a diaper change. And you’re changing a diaper about 8 times a day (most pediatricians recommend changing your baby every 2-3 hours). You’re looking at roughly $45 a month for disposable diapers and wipes – really affordable disposable diapers and wipes that are at least non-scented (since we’re comparing with cloth diapers). That means that in that first year alone, you’ll spend about $540 total for disposable diapers (again very affordable disposable diapers – any other more “natural” disposable diaper will be a lot more).
Now, let’s do the math for cloth diapers and since we’re comparing simple, super affordable disposable diapers, we should also compare simple, super affordable cloth diapers – prefolds and covers. You’d need 24 prefolds + 6 covers + 24 cloth wipes. The total cost is $152 total – from newborn through potty training.
Super cheap disposable diapers at $540for the first year (doesn’t even include the second year or third year) vs. $152 for cloth diapers. Cloth diapers wins! Even with the most affordable disposable diapers, cloth diapers still wins when it comes to affordability.
There are so many other factors that make cloth diapering even more affordable. And our spreadsheet with a detailed cost analysis between generic disposable diapers and more luxurious cloth diapers also shows the savings when using cloth diapers.
For every budget there’s a cloth diapering system. Most parents are actually not buying the .10 cents disposable diapers (which as we shown are still more expensive than cloth diapers). They are buying the more expensive disposable diapers and spending a good $40 a box each time and some parents are spending this on a weekly basis. The costs of using disposable diapers on a child from birth through potty training are easily $2,000 - $3,000. Whereas the costs of cloth diapering even at the most basic cloth diapering system is about $150 from birth through potty training. And should a parent use a more elaborate cloth diaper, it’s still around $600 (for all-in-one cloth diapers) vs. $2,000. Again, this doesn’t factor in other savings with cloth diapers, such as using cloth wipes.
Choosing cloth diapers is greater than disposable in so many levels. Price is only one of these. But, less rashes, no chemicals, no toxins, safer and better for our environment (that’s a price we’re all paying into every single day because of disposable diapers…and another blog post all together), more enjoyable, softer on baby (would your baby prefer softness over paper on his bum?) , and the pride of knowing you’ve chosen a path that while saves your budget, also saves the greater good of everyone around you…including your baby.
Since 2005, Granola Babies has helped parents choose cloth diapers online and now also in our retail store in Southern California. And one thing we find is that parents are often surprised with the amount of savings that they earn when choosing cloth but also with how many cloth diapers they can get for their budget.
Don’t be fooled by the lure of what seems cheaper than cloth diapers options. Do the math, or take our word, as we’ve done the math for parents many many times – cloth diapers are always more affordable than disposable diapers.
Like this article? Pass it on to someone who might be interested! It would be an interesting facebook post!