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Can you save money with washable diapers? | Calculate savings

Posted on May 17 2021

With global warming and climate issues being taken more seriously around the world, there has been an increased emphasis on a need for sustainability. Whilst people are fully aware of the part that they can play in limiting their environmental impact through things such as recycling and opting for oat milk as opposed to cow's milk, you are still contributing to landfills in ways that you likely don’t even realize.

A big contributor to landfills is diapers. New mothers often don’t think about the environmental impact diapers can have on the world as disposable diapers have been the norm for so long. However, reverting to the traditional cloth diaper has a plethora of benefits, not only

environmental, but also practical and economical.

Despite the fact that most mothers are still opting for disposable diapers, cloth disappears have begun to increase in popularity, meaning the options available to you are more varied than you might initially think. Cloth diapers come in a variety of forms, from all in one pocket diapers to prefold cloth diapers, there will be an option that works best for you.

What are reusable diapers?

Cloth diapers are washable diapers that can be washed in the machine with the rest of the baby’s clothes and that replace the traditional plastic diapers that are bought in stores and supermarkets.

Some models have clasps that allow them to be folded in different ways to adjust them to different sizes. Others use a combination of snaps to adjust the size and velcro to adjust the waist.

Everything you need to know about washable diapers

How to use reusable diapers

Modern reusable diapers have been made completely for your convenience, meaning they don’t require the kind of skill and dedication they once demanded. In fact, putting a cloth diaper on is very similar to putting on a disposable diaper.

You put on a cloth diaper exactly how you would put on a disposable diaper, the technique is the same. The only real difference is the fact that you’re using snaps or velcro to close it as opposed to the sticky surface you use for disposable diapers. Moreover, you can adjust the waist size and height of the diaper by adjusting the snaps, so this may need to be done every now and again in line with your baby's growth.

Reusing and washing diapers is equally as easy, although naturally involves more steps than disposing of a single use diaper. Simply take the soiled diaper and apply water to remove any solid waste, then put the rinsed off diaper into a diaper bag or diaper pail with other dirty diapers and throw it in the washing machine when you’re ready.

It’s recommended that you wash your diapers daily, regardless of the amount of diaper changes you have done that day as this avoids any staining and ensures you always have an adequate supply.

Cloth Diapers Vs. Disposable Diapers

What extras do I need for my reusable diapers?

In addition to the cloth diapers themselves, and the inserts that you may or may not need, depending on your chosen kind of reusable diaper, there are some things that you will want to have on hand to make your diaper changing duties as stress-free as possible.

Here’s a list of extra things you might want to consider buying to make sure you’re fully prepared for your reusable diaper endeavours:

  • A cloth safe detergent
  • Wet bags
  • Diaper pins (depending on the type of diaper you have)
  • Stainless steel trash can to store dirty diapers
  • Diaper sprayerCloth wipes

What’s the average cost of reusable diapers?

Setting up your initial stash of reusable diapers will likely set you back around $ 450.

As with anything, the quality and brand of reusable diaper that you choose will determine the final cost. The kind of reusable diaper that you opt for will affect the final cost. For example, opting for pre-folds will be cheaper upfront than investing in all-in-one diapers.

Is it cheaper to use cloth diapers or disposable?

Raising a baby is one of the most expensive tasks in the world and the cost of disposable diapers adds a hefty amount onto this bill. On average, families can expect to spend $1500 to $ 2500 on disposable diapers, which is a significant amount. But are reusable cloth diapers any less expensive? The short answer is yes!

You’ll be pleased to hear that opting for cloth diapers will save you money in the long term, although it may not seem like it in the beginning. Setting up your reusable diapers tash presents quite a big upfront cost as you have to invest in all the relevant materials, however, once you really crunch the numbers, you begin to notice the long term savings you can make.

The average cost of cloth diaper inserts is around $0.07, whilst the average single use diapers costs around $0.25, so you can save a significant amount of money each year. However, you also have to consider the initial investment of buying the diaper materials as well as the money you will be spending on water and electricity to wash them.

All these things considered, you save little money in the first year. However, when the second year rolls around, your initial investment into reusable diapers has been made, meaning now you’re only paying for your inserts and the cost of washing them so you can make some noticeable savings.

The bottom line is that cloth diapers save you money, especially if you’re planning on having more than one child as your initial investment in a reusable diaper starter pack will hold you in good stead for years to come, allowing you to save even more money in the future.

Benefits of cloth diapers

Better for the environment

This is probably the most obvious benefit of cloth diapers, but the positive impact that switching to cloth diapers can have on the environment should not be overlooked in your decision-making process.

The majority of single use diapers are not recyclable and therefore end up in landfills only to be burnt, hence creating a damaging amount of greenhouse gases. Reusable nappies obviously do not cause this problem as not only do they not need to end up in landfills, they can also be recycled and upcycled.

If your baby is now potty trained, you don’t need to throw your cloth diapers out, you can give them to someone else… they can be constantly recycled.

Money Savings

As has already been explored, using cloth diapers will save you money in the long term. If you’re willing to put in the initial investment, you will reap the benefits of reusable diapers in the years to come.

Reusable inserts are cheaper than disposable nappies in the long run. If you’re planning on having more kids, you will save more money as when one is finished with its potty training years, the initial stash that you bought can be reused for baby number two, three, four and so on!

Reduces nappy rash

Another key benefit to using cloth diapers is the material it is made from. Many families are unaware of the negative implications of disposable diapers due to the toxic material it is made from. Although not catastrophic, the material used in disposable nappies does far more damage than cloth diapers do.

The material used for disposable diapers is more likely to cause irritations and diaper rashes on babies skin, whereas the cotton used in cloth diapers is softer and more breathable, making these irritations less likely.

Moreover, many companies offer cloth diapers made from organic cotton, which is even better for babies as it ensures that no harmful chemicals, such as pesticides, have even touched the surface of the material.

Potty trained faster

A benefit of cloth diapers that is often overlooked is the fact that it has been proven to help children become potty trained faster than children who wear disposable nappies.

Potty training usually takes place between 18 months and three years as this is when children become mature enough to understand the need to go to the toilet. Cloth diapers can help make this process faster.

Regular disposable diapers have a feature that gets rid of the wetness in the diaper, meaning the baby is largely unaware that it is wet. Cloth diapers on the other hand do not have this sensation, meaning babies can actively feel when their nappy is wet.

Being aware of when they have a wet diaper encourages children to go to the toilet themselves when they can as a wet nappy is not a pleasurable experience for them, something that children using disposable diapers do not understand as they often are not even aware their diaper is wet.


You can be sure that you will always have a diaper on hand if you’re using reusable diapers as all you need to do is throw them in the wash if you’re running low. You won’t ever have to worry about not having diapers on hand because the store was closed.


At the end of the day, the decision to choose either cloth diapers or disposable diapers comes down to the lifestyle you want to lead. If the regular washing and upkeep needed for reusable diapers is not going to fit with your busy schedule, then maybe they aren’t for you. However, it’s evident that the benefits of using reusable diapers far outweigh the negatives.

Hopefully it is now clear to you that the world of cloth diapers has evolved from the outdated image of victorian diapers that many of us still have in our head. You no longer need to create origami masterpieces from pieces of cloth.

Instead, families are presented with an array of options for their babies. Whether you want all in one diapers or want to use inserts, there will be a variant that suits you and your baby. Moreover, cloth diapers come in a plethora of cute and playful designs, making them more attractive to customers.

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