Many people like cloth diapers because they are better for the environment. They are also better for your wallet. Many people want to know, do cloth diapers really save money. The answer is yes. Cloth diapers save money. Disposable diapers cost more than cloth diapers. Disposable diapers cost 4 to 5 times more than cloth diapers for one child. Dramatically more for each additional child.
Cost Breakdown – Disposable Diapers
One of the biggest expenses associated with children is diapering. You will use a lot of diapers throughout the years. Current estimates are roughly $1,000 a year for disposable diapers. Most kids are in diapers for 2.5-3 years. So you are looking at dropping upwards of $3,000 into the landfill each year, since that is where each disposable diaper will ultimately end up. These numbers can be higher or lower depending on whether you buy premium diapers or discount diapers.
Cost Breakdown – Cloth Diapers
If you buy cloth diapers, your initial investment will be in the ballpark of $625 for 25 premium cloth diapers. 25 diapers is enough to get you through 2 days. Having approximately 50 diapers, gives you a 4 day supply. 50 cloth diapers would be roughly $1250. Similar to disposable diapers, the costs will depend on the quality and brands that you buy. The $625 we quoted above are for premium cloth diapers.
To know how many cloth diapers (and accessories) you need to buy, see Cloth Diaper Basic’s How Many Cloth Diapers Do You Need: The Answer!
Do cloth diapers save money? Yes. $625-$1250 for premium cloth diapers is much less than $3,000 for average quality disposable diapers.
Up front costs – Apples to Apples
Cloth diapers are more expensive than disposable diapers up front. If you were to buy a 3 year supply of disposable diapers when your child is born, then obviously disposable diapers would cost more.
The more children you have the more you save too. If you have two children, then you are spending roughly $6,000 on disposable diapers and the same $625-$1250 on cloth nappies. Add more children and the savings really adds up.
It is worth noting that with cloth diapers you will need to do more laundry and you may want to buy accessories to make diapering easier.
Lower Up Front Costs
There are ways to lower your up front costs.
- Buy Used Cloth Diapers: You can buy cloth diapers used. This offers a significant savings. Oftentimes you can buy “used” cloth diapers that are new. The seller just never used them.
- Donations: There are agencies and friends that offer cloth diaper donations. For more information see ClothDiaperBasic.com’s article on Donate Cloth Diapers.
- Find Sales: Pay attention to sales. You can always start off with a few cloth diapers and add to your stash when you see sales
- Cloth Diaper Services: Some cloth diaper services “rent” you their diapers. Your baby gets clean cloth diapers, craps in them, and then the service takes them away and gives you more clean ones.
- Registries: You can add cloth diaper and accessories to your baby registry. Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow”>Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry
For more information and ideas see Lower Cloth Diaper Costs Strategies.
Used Cloth Diapers Have Resale Value
When you are finished with the cloth diapers you can sell them. It is unlikely that you will be able to sell used disposable diapers.
You do not need to pick a side
Please know you do not need to pick a side in the cloth diaper vs disposable diaper debate. You can have a mix of both. Use disposable when they work for you, and use cloth with cloth works for you. See our guide on When to Use Cloth Diapers, When to Use Disposable Diapers.
Bottom line cloth diapers save money
Cloth diapers cost less than disposable diapers.