How much does it all cost?
How much do cloth nappies cost?
Yes cloth nappies do require a bit of an investment up front. However, after you have purchased a set of nappies your main ongoing costs are just washing and caring for them. In the long run you will save money, especially if you will be using for more than one child. I have some nappies that have been used for all three of my children. Alternatively you may be able to sell your second hand nappies to another parent if they are still in good condition, and/or they can be passed along to friends or family. For those who enjoy figures I have a bit of a rough calculation on the cost difference between cloth and disposable below!
1. How much do disposable nappies cost?
Disposable nappies vary from approximately 30c for house-branded nappies to 80c for branded nappies (but these come down to between 49-65c each on special) *
Taking an average of 59c per nappy if we assume around 8 changes per day for the first 6 months (given that newborns are usually changed more frequently than older babies). That equates to $4.72 per day, $33.04 per week and in total around $860 for the first 6 months.
After that, your infant / toddler will need a nappy change around 5 times per day and a night time nappy. That equates to $3.54 per day or $24.78 per week. This phase will last for 2-3 years and costs around $1290 per year.
So, over 2 ½ years your baby could cost you as much as $3440 in disposable nappies. This is without including disposable wipes. If your child takes a little longer to toilet train the cost could go up even more. Not to mention somewhere between 5000-6000 disposable nappies going to landfill!.
- How much do cloth nappies cost?
Your initial outlay depends on the nappies that you buy. You might spend in the vicinity of $700-850 for 20-24 one size fits all nappies. Or you may spend less if you use prefolds and covers or snap in style nappies. Add to that your washing including laundry detergent (around $250 for 2 ½ years if you wash cold), 2 buckets ($25) and boosters($100). Your total cost might be $1000-$1250
- Calculate the difference
With cloth nappies you could save between $2190 and $2440 over a period of 2 ½ years. When you have any additional children, your savings could be as much as $3190 per child!
A note about cloth wipes
As mentioned I haven’t added wipes into this equation. However I personally think using cloth wipes is another great money saver. The cloth wipes purchased for my first child have now lasted through three children. I very rarely ever bought disposable wipes (only a few times with the first child). Using cloth wipes is easy as you can just throw them in with the cloth nappies to wash. They are a much more environmentally friendly option and also save you heaps of money – win win!
Remember: you really do get what you pay for. If a nappy system seems cheaper than another, there will be a reason for this. Cloth nappies have a hard life ahead of them. Your nappies will be washed continually for the next three years (around 500 washes) so you want to invest in a product that will last the distance.