This nifty worksheet is going up on our shop site as soon as I can figure out how to slap it up there. But in the meantime, crunch away:
There are many ways to calculate your potential savings using cloth diapers. Any way you come out, you will save a big chunk of change by avoiding disposables. Using the methodology in this chart we built, you can create your own cost comparison between any number of disposable and cloth options.
Below we compare for you the cost of disposables to 3 different and common types of cloth diaper set-ups. Don’t miss the notes addressing additional costs (water, trash) and the biggest slam-dunk savings of them all: Unlike disposables, cloth diapers are FREE for your second child (or will bring you some of your investment back if sold after you’re done).
$$$ Crunching the Diaper Numbers $$$
A baby will use 7,300 diapers total at an average of 8 a day for 2.5 years of diapering and 8,760 for 3 years of diapering¹.
7th Generation disposables average 34 cents per diaper².
Total Cost: About $2,482 (2.5 years) to $2,978 (3 years) of diapering for each child.
Option A: Prefolds and Covers all the way
Option B: Prefolds to start, then One-Size Pockets:
Option C: Perfect Fit Diapers all the way:
*Additional cloth cost: Outside household costs not included = water usage. 2-3 extra loads of laundry per week. Additional cost of water is similar to that of trash generation with disposables (or to toilet flushing for older children/adults) and therefore can cancel each other out. Extra electricity/water usage can be further mitigated by using an energy-efficient (HE) washer, hang drying and/or buying enough diapers to wash full loads and economize resources.
Diaper Service – Green but not Economical:
¹A newborn typically goes through 12-14 diapers a day. That number drops as baby grows, poops less frequently, and sleeps longer nighttime stretches. We average that out to about 8 diapers a day over the total diapering years.
²We searched for the cheapest and most regularly available online price. We chose a more environmentally and health-conscious disposable with the premise that parents considering cloth diapers would select such a disposable should they decide not to go with cloth. Conventional plastic diapers have a different price point and can easily be plugged into out formula.
³We calculated for about a 2-day supply of cloth diapers, what we feel is the “hassle threshhold” – the minimum amount you should have on hand. As babies grow they go through fewer diapers per day.
⁴Calculated based off cost in midsize metro U.S. city.