Cost of Cloth Diapering

MoneyThere are several benefits to cloth diapering as I previously mentioned, but can you truly save money? There are several resources available via a simple internet search for a cost comparison of disposables vs. cloth diapers, so I won’t be reanalyzing the intricate details. What I am able to do is share my costs for cloth diapering and help you take in consideration some of the hidden costs that go along with diapering.

Before writing this post, I hadn’t actually calculated the amount I spent on diapering my daughter, who is now 15 months. I had a rough idea, but was really surprised by the results. I currently have 32 pocket diapers, 2 fitted, 2 hybrid, 1 cover, 12 extra inserts, 30+ doublers, and a thanksgiving diaper not in my rotation. The majority of these diapers were purchased new, but there were a few I purchased that were excellent used condition. I also won 5 of these diapers plus the cover. My total cost ended up being $503.69, which includes a few diapers I no longer have due to reselling and giving away. These diapers will last me till my daughter is potty trained, so even if I splurge for a few more, let’s say my cost is $550 for 3 years. The average cost for disposables for 3 years is about $1500, so it seems like a no brainer, but what other costs go into diapering?

If you decide to use disposable wipes for 3 years, it seems like the average cost is around $400. I use cloth wipes, which I made myself out of flannel, for less than $20. Even if I have to replace them for some reason…$40 is still a huge savings.

If you use disposables, then you need to calculate in garbage bags or pail liners. Let’s be nice and say you get by with only $100 for the 3 years. With cloth diapering, I use a wet bag, which I won in a giveaway, but let’s say I purchased it for $40. Even if I bought 2 to use, I am still under the $100.

Laundry, detergent, and energy.
I think this one is hard to calculate, but let’s overestimate and say $500, which would be much less if you line dry your cloth diapers, which I do if I can. Disposables require trips to the store, which means gas $, but you do have the option now to have them shipped directly to your house, so we’ll be nice again and say $0.

So, overall I will spend $1170 (550+40+80+500), which I definitely think is an overestimate. With disposables I would have spent around $2000 (1500+400+100), which I think is being nice. So, did I truly save money? Yes, but I could have done better. For example, if I had chosen to use prefolds & covers, my diaper cost would have been only around $250 vs. $550.

Now, your savings will dramatically increase if you have more children that you use your cloth diapers with. Since baby #2 is arriving while my daughter is still using our current stash, I can either start washing diapers more often or add some more to my stash. Let’s say I add some prefolds & covers at $250. That’s still much better than another $1500 for three more years of disposable diapers. If you aren’t having more children, the resell value for used diapers is really good if you took care of them, so you can increase your overall savings that way too.

Luckily, my story isn’t necessarily typical, because most of the cloth diapering moms I have spoken to spent much less than I did. I have learned a lot over the last 15 months and I am so excited to start creating a stash that I actually love for baby #2. I am also ecstatic to show these numbers to my hubby, so I won’t feel bad to splurge on a few cute holiday diapers this year!


  1. CupcakeLiz says:

    It’s just amazing, the savings!! I am kicking myself for using disposables on our two daughters!!! I am expecting, and this time around, we are going with cloth. We’re also having a boy, and since all we have is girl themed, wherever we can save money is appreciated! lol My mom and I are going to sew our own, from the Babyville line at JoAnn’s…they now carry a pattern book, super cute prints and solids in the PUL, along with all the notions you need to make your own diapers, wet bags, and you can even coordinate the materials and make bibs if you’re picky! 😉 I am so excited to start diapering this lil guy!! lol

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