Cloth Diaper Cost Calculator

piggybankThis 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.

*Additional diaposable cost: Outside household economic costs not accounted for = trash disposal – 42 dirty disposables per week will equate to about one full kitchen-sized trash bag – around 20 extra pounds of trash, or four extra bags of trash (80 pounds) per month.


Option A: Prefolds and Covers all the way

28 Newborn-sized prefolds, 24 Infant prefolds, 20 Premium/Toddler prefolds, average of $2.25 each³: $162
10 Newborn/Small covers, 8 Medium covers, 6 large covers, $12.50 each: $300
Waterproof pail liner: $17
Total Cost: About $479 for 3 years of diapering your first baby and $0 to diaper your second.

Option B: Prefolds to start, then One-Size Pockets:

30 one-size pocket diapers, average $18.95 each: $568.50
24 Newborn prefolds and 8 covers for the early stages: $142
Waterproof pail liner: $17
Total Cost: $727 to diaper your first child and as little as $0 diapering your second.

Option C: Perfect Fit Diapers all the way:

22 Small pocket/AIO diapers ($17.50 each average): $385
18 Medium pocket/AIO diapers: $315
12 Large pocket/AIO diapers: $210
Waterproof pail liner: $17
Total Cost: $927 to diaper your first child, $0 to diaper your second.


*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:

$80/month average©ùfor 30 months (2.5 years): $2,400
24 covers (small-large, $12.50 each): $300
Total Cost: $2,700 to diaper one child, with only your covers reusable for the second child.

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.

Calculated based off cost in midsize metro U.S. city.

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