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Many parents think that cloth diapers will cost more than disposables. At first, it often feels this way as with cloth your major cost is your initial purchase. However, over the course of your baby's diapering years, the cost of cloth diapering is in fact less expensive than using disposables. And, of course those savings are doubled with every child those diapers are used on.


The cost of using disposable diapers is approximately $2900.00 per child. This includes diapers, wipes and the disposal system you use (diaper genie etc).

Cloth diapering one child will cost a family anywhere from $1400-$1700. This includes the cost of the diapers and accessories as well as the cost of washing those diapers.

By using cloth you are saving about $1200! If you use those same cloth diapers on a second child, those savings are increased to $4100!!!

Still not convinced? Let’s break those numbers down for you.


When a child is born, up until the point they are about 3 months old, they will go through approximately 12 diapers a day. Add in the wipes and the disposal system (diaper genie etc.) that you are using. That’s almost 1100 diapers in the first 3 months!

In monetary terms you’re looking at around $500 for disposable diapers for your child’s first 3 months. But if you are looking at the whole picture, you are also throwing 1100 diapers into the landfill. And those diapers will sit there for 100’s of years. Well past your lifetime and even possibly your child’s lifetime.

After a baby hits the 3 month mark, the diaper changes are reduced to approximately 8 changes a day. Once a baby is older than 6 months it usually decreases further to about 6 changes a day. Most babies remain at approximately 6 changes a day until they move out of diapers completely. So that’s about 5000 diapers over the course of 24 months at a cost of about $2400.

The average child is out of diapers and into trainers by the time they hit 30 months. The total cost of using disposable diapers on one child for 30 months is approximately $2900. Not to mention the 6100 diapers you will be throwing into your community landfill.



There are a few different ways to cloth diaper a baby. Some are more economical than others. Some families like to mix a few diapers from each category, while others like to stick with one type of diaper. Every family is different in the method they use so we will break down the three most popular choices and the costs of doing each.

Fitted Diapers & Accessories

The first and most economical option is to use fitted diapers and covers. For most babies using a small and medium size option will last the course of the child’s years in diapers. Based on how many diaper changes are expected, and washing every second day, a family choosing to use fitted diapers would need to purchase approximately 40 diapers, 8 covers and the remaining cloth diaper accessories.* The cost of using this system would be approximately $890. If you add in the cost of home laundering those diapers that total would increase to around $1440.

One Size Diapers & Accessories

Another option is to use one size diapers. These diapers are adjustable in size and are used from birth to potty training. It is recommended when using this system to purchase approximately 30 diapers and the necessary accessories. The cost of using this system would be approximately $900.00. When you add in the cost of home laundering that total would increase to $1450.

Pocket Diapers & Accessories

The final option is to use Pocket diapers. For many babies, using small and medium size options will take them into potty training. However, some bigger or taller babies may need to move into large sizes. Based on how many diaper changes are expected and washing diapers every other day the total cost of this option would be approximately $1200.00. When you add in the cost of home laundering that total would increase to $1750.00

Here is a summary of the different cloth options discussed:




Cost + Laundering*

Fitted Diapers



One Size Diapers



Pocket Diapers (sized)



* Cloth diaper accessories we used in this calculation were: Diaper Liner, Tote bag, cloth wipes, and disposable liners.

* Home Laundering (based on washing every 2 days + detergent) = $550.00/annually


So remembering that it would cost about $2900.00 to outfit a baby for 30 months in disposable diapers and looking at the above numbers for the cloth options, I think it is safe to say that cloth is the most economical option!