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Cloth Diapers: Why We Do It & How Much We ACTUALLY Save


Have you heard of cloth diapering? You may be surprised to find out just how easy cloth diapering is these days! Gone are the days of sharp pins and leaking diapers. Modern diapers such as my favorites by Go Green are complete with a moisture proof outer lining & double leg gussets.

In addition to being a wonderful alternative to disposable diapers, they’re also cheaper and more “green”. Let me give you the run down on cost…

Go Green Diapers cost $14.95 each. We’ll round that off and call it $15. You need a stock of about 20-24 diapers. We’ll use the higher number of 24 to be safe. That’s a total cost of $360 for 24 diapers. Compare that to Huggies. On Amazon they run $47.17 for 160 diapers. That’s a total cost of $7.08 for 24 diapers. I know what you’re thinking… “why would anyone pay so much for 24 cloth diapers” but just bear with me for a moment to finish this idea.

Here’s the big difference with cloth & disposable. You wash & reuse the cloth diapers for the entire time you diaper your child. So lets say the average child goes through perhaps 7-10 diapers per day. I’ll use 7 to be conservative. That means you’re only washing diapers every 2-3 days to always have a steady supply. Let’s compare that with disposables. If your child potty trains at 2.5 years old. That’s about 912 days. At 7 diapers a day, you’ll go through 6,387 diapers before your child potty trains. That equals $1,882.96!!! Wow!

Now lets go one step farther… baby wipes! Most cloth users also use cloth wipes. A pack of 12 wipes runs $5.95 on Amazon, but you can easily use wash clothes or even cut up t-shirts instead. I’d recommend you have about 20-30 wipes. Assuming you’re buying them you’ll spend $11.90 on your washable wipes. Compare that to disposable wipes which run you $10.97 for 600. If you use 1 wipe on average for every diaper change that’s still $117 worth of wipes over the same 2.5 years.

Now let’s be honest, there is other “gear” involved with diapering. No matter what type of diapering you do you’ll need a container to store your dirties in. With cloth though you’ll also need 2 wet bags for the nursery and 2-3 wet bags for when you’re out and about. That’s a total cost of around $55.

Cloth diapers also need to be washed. You do have the option of using a special soap for cloth diapers like Rockin’ Green Soap, but many moms swear by good old Tide powder. I spend about $32 a year on our diaper soap. Washing cloth does require extra water. Depending on your washing machine’s efficiency this could add up to $100-$200 a year in extra water.

Both cloth & disposable diapers require creams or sprays for diaper rash, but with cloth you do need to use a cloth diaper friendly product so that it doesn’t create a barrier in your diaper’s surface. We love Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion concentrate. One bottle will last us all the way until Easton is potty trained. Since you’ll be spending this money no matter what I’m not going to include it in my final totals.

There are other great cloth diaper accessories you could consider – but they definitely aren’t required. Our two favorites are the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer and SprayPal Splatter Shield.

So where does this leave us….

Cloth Diapers from birth to 2.5 years:

  • Diapers = $360
  • Wipes = $11.90
  • Accessories = $55
  • Soap = $32
  • Water = $100
  • GRAND TOTAL = $559
Disposable Diapers from birth to 2.5 years:
  • Diapers = $1,882.96
  • Wipes = $117
  • Trash = ????
  • Trash bags/Travel trash bags = ???
  • GRAND TOTAL = $2,000 + ???
There’s just one more thing to consider. The average American family has 2 children or more. That means you could diaper the second (or third) child for the total cost of $32 a year plus diaper cream/spray and water use. (There are even cloth diaper options that cost way less than $15 each – but we personally prefer pocket diapers to prefolds.) And when you’re done with your diapers you can sell them for $2-$10 a piece depending on brand & condition. Speaking of which… if you can purchase used diapers from the get go – you’ll be saving even more money!
So what do you think? Is cloth diapering at least worth considering? If you’re concerned about the “how” of cloth diapering or the “ew” factor check out Obbs and Lala on Youtube. Her videos are full of great information and useful advice.
Tell us about your cloth diaper experiences in the comments below! 🙂


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