Blogs, Modeling

The Cost of Cloth

While I was pregnant, I had a lot of questions about being a parent; what could I expect from a child, how could I ensure my son would stay safe, what kind of clothes, bottles diapers and other things should I buy.  It was definitely a bit overwhelming.  However, one of these questions that I wanted to talk about today is, what kind of diapers should I get?  While I was researching this question, I came across a possibility I had not known even existed before.  In particular, I came across the idea of using cloth diapers.  While I had known that people at one time used cloth diapers, I hadn’t realized how different modern cloth diapers were.  The prints are extremely cute, they offer a higher level of quality than disposable and they create less waste.  It seemed like the perfect choice to me.

However, my husband wasn’t as quick to jump on board.  While he wasn’t completed opposed to the idea, he was worried about whether or not it was worth the extra work washing the diapers after they got dirty.  While I focused on showing him how adorable they were, it was the financial argument which finally convinced him it was worth the effort.  Therefore, I wanted to share with you the difference in cost that we’ve found while using cloth diapers.

How much do disposables cost?

When my husband and I calculated this before my son was born, we used an average that we found on the internet, however while completing these calculations here, I will use numbers from my own experience.

Recently, my family took a trip and decided that we would use disposable diapers and wipes on the trip. We bought three packs of diapers at $8 a piece and a bundle pack of wipes for $5.   Therefore, we spent $29.00 on disposable diapers and wipes for one week. Because we did have some disposable diapers and wipes left over at the end of the week, we will use an average of $25 per week.  If we assume a child will be potty trained at 2.5 years, this will give a total cost of $3,250 for diapering a child in disposable diapers.

How much do cloth diapers cost?

For my son, I chose to primarily use Bum Genius diapers, prefolds and covers and some Nicki’s Diapers. There are many different brands to choose from, but I chose these brands because they offer products made of cotton and have a reputation for creating high quality products. There are many types of cloth diapers at many different price points, which I will discuss further in later posts, however today I wanted to focus on the cost savings that families can see. I did want to mention what brands I primarily use so that you can take that into consideration when doing your own calculations.

We had to buy some newborn diapers, since my son didn’t fit into all-in-ones when he was born.  However, the all-in-ones we’ve purchased still fit him and it appears they will continue to do so until he potty trains.  I got really excited when picking out diapers, and I wanted to get lots of diapers.  I did, however, have to justify the purchases, so I ended buying approximately 20 newborn diapers, 6 covers, 25 all-in-one diapers, and 36 prefolds as well as some pail liners and travel wet bags.  We ended up spending approximately $700 on our cloth diapering supplies. While your own costs will vary based on your choices, this was the cost that accurately displayed my families needs.  I do want to say that, if we have another child, we won’t have to pay for these the second time around since we can reuse them.

In addition to the initial cost of the diapers, we also have to pay to wash the diapers.  We do the laundering ourselves at home.  When doing so, we use powder detergent on our diapers. We are currently one year into cloth diapering and we have used 1.5 boxes of detergent. We bought a box of Country Save detergent to start with because we had heard so many great things about it. It does work great and I would highly recommend it. With that being said, we did switch to Tide Original powder because it is more readily available in our area and is less expensive. We find that Tide Original powder works just as well for our diapers.  If I had started with Tide Original powder, the total I would have had to spend on the powder would be approximately $50.  This comes from using 1.5 boxes per year for 2.5 years at $13 per box.

We also have the cost of water, electricity and wear and tear on the machines when running the washer and the dryer.  This is more difficult to find a cost that would work for all people, since water and electricity costs can vary drastically from location to location.  If you would like to look at your own costs, I would suggest using the specific costs in your area and multiply by how much is used in each load.  In order to have some numbers to work with, we used the cost of doing a load at the laundromat.  We would pay $1.00 per wash load and $1.50 for a dryer load.  This would then cover all of the above costs.  I do one load of diaper laundry every 2-3 days, which leads to 2 or 3 loads of diaper laundry per week.  This means that we have approximately 130 loads per year at a cost of $2.50 per load for an annual coast of $325, or a total cost of $812.50.

What have we come up with?

As a comparison, we have found that the total cost of disposable diapers and wipes is $3,250.  On the other hand, when we sum the costs of the diapers, detergent, washing and drying we found a total cost of cloth diapers to be approximately $1,550.  Therefore, using cloth diapers would lead to a saving of $1,700 for the first child, and would result in even more savings if you had more than one child.  That is a significant amount and it was more than enough to push my husband over the edge into going along with the cloth diapers.

If you are pregnant, congratulations!  If you are trying to decide what types of diapers to use I hope this helps to inform you about the costs.  If you have questions, please comment below and I will answer the best I can.  If you have a child you have been diapering, let me know how much it costs you do so.  I’d love to see how my costs compare to yours.  If you’d like to share you favorite diaper prints, please do that as well.  I’m always looking for new and exciting diapers.

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