How Do Cloth Diapers Compare to Disposable Diapers?

Use the Cloth Diaper Savings Calculator

New parents often balk at the expense of baby supplies. Besides bottles, formula, baby food, and baby furniture, the most expensive necessities for newborns and older babies are diapers. The easiest way to save money (and save the environment) is to use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers go through the laundry so that they can be reused over and over. You can even reuse the same cloth diapers on new infants and babies as your family grows. There are pros and cons for both cloth diapers and disposable diapers, so use the diaper savings calculator to compare prices and make the best decision for your family.

Cloth Diaper Pros: The reusable nature of cloth diapers means that parents can save thousands of dollars on diapering supplies from birth to potty training. And when you consider how many tons of disposable diapers are dumped into landfills each year, cloth diapers are also a greener, more environmentally-friendly choice. High-end cloth diapers come in cute designs, so your baby can look uniquely fashionable and color coordinated as well. Many people use cloth diapers also use reusable wipes and washclothes instead of disposable wipes, thereby saving even more money.

Cloth Diaper Cons: The basic cloth square and fitted plastic cover are fairly cheap, and great for daily wear around the house. But if your baby is a soaker, or you travel frequently, you will need to buy high-tech, high-end reusable diapers. Fancy cloth diapers can set you back as much as $20 for one diaper. This can make the up-front cost of cloth diapers much higher than the recurring monthly costs of disposable diapers. Nevertheless, the major con of cloth diapers is doing laundry. It is much more time consuming and costly (and gross!) to wash the cloth diapers several times a week.

Monthly Cost of Disposable Diapers
price of one package of disposable diapers: $
number of diapers per package:
number of diapers used per day, on average:
price of one box of disposable wipes: $
number of wipes per box:
number of wipes used per day, on average:
price of one package of Diaper Genie refills: $
(enter 0 if you do not use Diaper Genie)
number of Diaper Genie refills per package:
(enter 1 if you do not use Diaper Genie)
number of Diaper Genie refills used per month:
(enter 0 if you do not use Diaper Genie)
Approximate Monthly Cost of
Disposable Diapers: $
Fixed and Monthly Costs of Cloth Diapers
price per regular cloth diaper: $ ea.
number of regular cloth diapers:
price per fancy cloth diaper: $ ea.
number of fancy cloth diapers
price per diaper cover: $ ea.
number of diaper covers:
price per box of diaper pins: $ ea.
number of boxes of diaper pins:
price per washcloth or reusable wipe: $ ea.
number of washcloths or reusable wipes:
price of diaper pail: $
number of diapers used per day:
approximate cost of laundering, per diaper: $
(consider the cost of detergent, water, energy, or laundering
service, and enter a number between 0.30 and 1.00)
Fixed Cost of Cloth Diapers: $
Monthly Recurring Costs: $

Disposable Diaper Pros: The chief advantage of disposable diapers is convenience and sanitation. With inventions like the Diaper Genie (TM), using disposable diapers can keep your home freer of germs and your laundry room smelling fresher. Another reason to use disposable diapers is that many companies make biodegradable, environmentally-friendly diapers. These disposable diapers break down in landfills more readily that traditional plastic diapers, so their environmental impact is greatly reduced.

Disposable Diaper Cons: The major disadvantage of disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers is the cost. While older babies use fewer diapers per day than infants, the monthly cost of diapers, wipes, and Diaper Genie refills is still higher than the cost of washing cloth diapers.

In reality, most parents use a combination of disposable and cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have the advantage for daily wear around the house, while disposable diapers are preferable for travel, overnight wear, and super poopers.

© Had2Know 2010