Are Cloth Diapers Really Worth the Money I’ll Save?


A better question to start out: will I actually save money at all?

Cloth diapers versus plastic disposable diapers are a hot button issue in the mommy world. The basis of the two camps:

Pro Cloth Diaper: I’m keeping non-biodegradable plastic diapers out of landfills, I’m saving money, my baby’s sensitive skin is less prone to diaper rash.

Against Cloth Diaper: It’s gross, it seems unclean, that’s a heck of a lot of laundry I have to do and doesn’t extra laundry cost money too?

The answer to both the questions is yes. Yes, extra loads of laundry every week does cost money and yes you will still be saving money by not buying plastic diapers. How much money depends on what you’re willing to deal with (I’m talking baby poop).

The numbers

By most estimates, three years of disposable diapers runs roughly $2000 give or take your dedication to coupon cutting. High-quality, four-channeled, moisture-wicking, leak-proof, Velcro-strapped, super cloth diapers (not your grandma’s pinning and folding for sure) will set you back between $10 and $15 dollars per diaper. Quite an investment up front, but when you think about how they last basically forever and can even be used from child to child to child if you’re expecting a bigger brood, you can start counting all the coins suddenly filling up their college funds.

Cost of a the cloth alternative

Dealing with dirty reusable diapers takes some adjustment, and if you’re really freaked out by what comes out of your baby, you don’t even have to do it yourself. For roughly the same amount of money you’d spend on three years of disposable diapers (around $2000) you can hire a cloth diaper cleaning company to cart away your dirty laundry and bring it back clean as a whistle. Certainly doesn’t help out the bank account right now, but this is a really cool option for the eco-friendly mommy who wants to help do her part without getting her hands too dirty.

For the rest, expect to cut down your budget for diapers by about half. Use the same cloth diapers with your next child and cut it in half again. By most estimates, more laundry but less disposable diapers will end up costing a little over $1000 over three years, and only around $400 on any future kids.

How much poo do I have to deal with?

Lots of women develop their own techniques, but most I know of include dumping any solids into a toilet and then keeping the soiled cloth in a bin (either a wet soak bin or a sealed dry one) until laundry day where you run them all together in a load just like you would any other.

Baking soda helps prevent major stink from pervading your home and for those still squeamy about the squirts, some brands of cloth diapers come with flushable liners that you can just lift out and dump altogether in the toilet.

All in all pretty simple and super eco-friendly. Happy diapering!

FatWallet Tip: Find baby diaper coupons and deals on FatWallet and save!

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