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Cloth vs. Disposable

Posted by Chelsey on 10/7/2011

While trying to come up with a topic for this blog, I was vastly overwhelmed at the ABC Expo in Louisville.  It occurred to me while being described product after product what and how it was superior to other products similar to itself, that most people donít get the opportunity to discover or experiment with products to truly know what is going to work the best.  I decided to make that my weekly blog.  I will test products head to head, cost comparisons with pros and cons.  I realize that what may work for myself and my family may not work for everyone.  So I will record my findings and let you make your decision.  

This week since I have not started a product, I am going to work off the coattails of another blog highlighting the cost savings from diapering with cloth over disposables.  The woman who wrote the blog had only compared one brand of cloth and didnít take some disposable products into account found the cost savings were a mere $226.  After reading the comments she received, I thought I would be able to show a better cost comparison.  I understand that there can always be lower prices found and coupons used.  However, those sales and coupons arenít always available. 

Starting with disposables; I am going to compare a store/generic brand to Pampers.  

P $43.99 xl box 234 ct sz 1 8-14 lbs (month 1-5) $219.95

t $ 6.29 x 1 box of 50 sz 1 8-14 lbs $157.25

P $29.99 x 9b of 132 $ 12-18 lbs (month 6-12) $269.91

T $14.99 x  18b of 96 $  12-18 lbs sz 2 $194.87

P $44.99 x 9b of 222 size 3 16-28 (month 12-18) $404.91

T $20.99 x 14b of 144 size 3 16-28 lbs $293.86

P $29.99 x 15b of 128 size 4 22-37 lbs (month 18-24) $449.85

T $20.99 x 15b of 124 size 4 22-37 lbs $314.85

P $29.99 x 16b of 116 size 5 27+ lbs (month 24-36) $479.84

T $20.99 x 17b of 108 size 5 27+ lbs $356.83


P $ 29.99 x 17b 2-3T 108 ct 16-34 lbs $509.83

T $17.49 x 32b 2-3T 58 ct 18-34 lbs $559.68

P $29.99 x 12b 3-4T 96 30-40 lbs $359.88

T $17.49 x 21b 3-4T 52 ct 32-40lbs $367.29

Total Pampers $2,334.29

Total Store Brand $1,877.34

Not including additional costs of diaper cream for one year, estimating that one 4 oz tube will last one month, $58.08

Wipes for one year, estimating 3 wipes per change, $366.51

I will also take the time to mention that you are not supposed to throw human feces in the trash, it is supposed to be flushed down the toilet as it can contaminate the ground water by being in trash instead of water where it is filtered and cleaned.  The argument poses as not wanting to touch or deal with poo, well you are not supposed to throw it away, therefore having to deal with it differently is not an argument. Not to mention the chemicals that are in disposable diapers. 

Cloth comparisons

I will be estimating a every other day washing of diapers, estimating at the early stages going through 11 diapers a day.  

FuzziBunz One Size diapers designed to grow from birth to potty training in one diaper, fits 7-35lbs at $18.95/ppd  with 33 $625.35

Prefold diapers with covers

Buying used/stained prefolds at $.75/ppd and getting 33 infant sized prefolds $24.75 and then buying additional med/large prefold inserts at the same $.75 $24.75 totals the prefolds at $49.50.  Buying 12 one size diaper covers (also 7-35lbs) $13.99/ppd totals $167.88. 

Three wet/dry bags for outings with diapers 3/$22.00 $66

Wipes 4 packs of 10 $19.99 total $79.96

Laundry Detergent $.13/per load@122 washes $15.86

Electricity and water costs (paying $.15/kWh and $22/1000 gallons) $99.16

Total: $260.97

Year One FB OS $625.35 Prefold $217.38

Total $886.32 Total $478.35

Year Two

Laundry/Soap $115.02 $115.02

Year Three (usually, the average child in cloth is potty trained at between 18-26months.)

= $0.00 = $ 0.00

Aside from cost, there are many issues that complicate the decision to use disposable or reusable and that make the choice a personal one.

Pros of reusable:

Significantly cheaper

Create less trash

One size diapers will get you through your childís first year, and well into his or her second and third.

Most cloth diapers have a great warranty and can last for additional children, saving even more money with not having to buy any additional diapers. 

Resell value is high

Children learn to use the toilet at about 18-26 months of age

Hybrid insert options make it easier to travel with, not needing to use disposables.

Cons of reusable:

More hands-on poop time

Extra laundry

Added costs for laundry detergent, water, and electricity or gas

Pros of disposable:

Refresh your supply at any superstore, warehouse, drugstore or grocer

Cons of disposable:

More expensive

Each child creates a half ton of diaper garbage per year that goes into a landfill that takes 300+ years to decompose.

Additional gas and time spent going to the store for diapers.

When you look at the additional time added into that a child is in disposables vs. cloth, it is well worth the extra load of laundry you will be doing.  So in all, the difference is not just a couple of hundred dollars, it is $1447.97 for the more expensive side and $1398.99 on the cheaper side.  Not to mention the added costs of having to run to the store for diapers when you have run out and the added time you will be spending changing diapers.  My daughter was potty trained fully at 22 months, it is possible to be done with diapers before your child is two.

After, looking at the numbers a bit more closely can you really afford to pour over one thousand dollars in the trash? 

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