Does Cloth Diapering Really Save Money?

By now, you’ve heard that using cloth diapers will actually save you money. If you notice an average diaper costing $15.00, though, you may be wondering how this could be true. Check out the cloth diaper savings calculator at to see the truth.

Note: I noticed that they price disposables at $0.17/diaper whereas I’ve calculated them to actually cost $0.22/diaper and they also fail to mention the use of disposable wipes while they do calculate them into the cloth diaper totals. So your savings are actually a bit more than what the calculator shows, and will be dramatically increased should you have more than one child (remember, you will reuse the cloth diapers!) or if you re-sell the diapers when you’re done (you can usually get 1/2 to 3/4 what you paid back).

Interested in having the math already done for you? Read this section from an article entitled “The True Cost of Diapering: More Than Money” from Diapering

Disposable Diapers: How much will they cost?

The costs calculated below for disposable, single-use diapers are based on two of the most popular brands from a store known for its value pricing.

The newborn package (up to 10 lb.) contains 48 diapers at $16.23, or $0.34 each . The average number of changes for a newborn is 12 to 16 per day for the first two weeks.
14 diapers x 7 days x 2 weeks = 196 diapers at $0.34 each = $66.64

The infant size 1 package (up to 14 lbs.) contains 104 diapers at $ 0.22 each. An average baby requires 10 to 12 changes per day for the first three months.
11 diapers x 30 days x 2.5 months = 825 diapers at $0.22 each = $181.50

The infant size 2 package (12-18 lbs.) contains 88 diapers at $0.26 each. An average baby who is three to six months old requires 10 to 12 changes a day.
11 diapers x 30 days x 3 months = 990 diapers at $0.26 each = $257.40
Mega-pack pricing was used for the balance of the packages, because mega-packs are the least expensive. Each mega-pack was $28.92 + $2.02 sales tax, for a total of $30.94 per package.
The infant size 3 package (16-18 lbs.) contains 96 diapers $0.32 each. A six- to nine-month-old baby requires eight to 10 changes per day.
9 diapers x 30 days x 3 months = 810 diapers at $0.32 each = $259.20

The infant size 4 package (22-27 lbs.) contains 64 diapers at $0.37 each. A nine- to 12-month-old child requires eight changes per day.
8 diapers x 30 days x 3 months = 720 diapers at $0.37 each = $266.40

The toddler size 5 package (over 27 lbs.) contains 58 diapers at $0.41 each. The average 12- to 18-month-old child requires six to eight changes a day.
7 diapers x 30 days x 6 months = 1,260 diapers at $0.41 each = $516.60

The child size 6 package (over 35 lbs.) contains 48 training diapers at $23.00, or $0.45 each. An average 18- to 30-month-old child requires six to eight changes per day.
7 diapers x 364 days = 2,548 diapers at $0.45 each = $1146.60
Grand Total

The total estimated average cost is $2,694.54 for 7,349 disposable, single-use diapers. Keep in mind that this is a conservative estimate. It is not uncommon for a child of 3 years to require a diaper at night, and children in single-use diapers tend not to feel wetness, requiring a longer duration of time for toilet training success. Your child’s individual sleep pattern, body functions and time frame for toilet training success will determine the number of actual diaper changes required.

Cloth diapering is relatively simple and financially rewarding, saving from a minimum of $2,300 to upwards of $5,000.

Single-use diapers range in price from $0.22 to $0.45 each. Cloth diapers pay for themselves within a six-month period. After six months, you’ll be diapering for almost free.

A quick estimate of cost: Consumer Report estimates that the most inefficient washer and dryer system costs approximately $0.78 per load, whereas more efficient models cost approximately $0.44 per load. So wash your own twice a week for $0.44-0.78, including water, hydro and detergent — or spend $16.94-$22.05 for single-use disposable diapers. Please keep in mind that your child is in the large size single-use disposable diaper for the longest stage of diapering, and yes, they are the most expensive at approximately $0.45 each.

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