Part 2 – In Depth Cloth Diaper Analysis and Comparison

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(If you missed Part 1 – In Depth Disposables, or if you want to know where our numbers are coming from, please click here.)

CLOTH DIAPERS

Because of the many different styles and brands of cloth diapers, it is necessary to do an in-depth look at the actual differences to compare costs effectively. We will use 3-4 different cloth diaper options, and compare them in cost accordingly. We have also based our prices off The Cloth Diaper Shop, a Canadian-based company in Ontario.

Most cloth diaper sites suggest having between 35-40 diapers per child, which permits you to push your laundry cycle to once every 4 days, and eventually down to every 5 days. As I prefer to live on the more cost-efficient side of things, I have a stash of 23 diapers, and I do laundry every 3 days. However, not everyone opts for this route, so for arguments sake, I will use 36 diapers as an average “stash” amount.

As a quick aside, please note that these prices are based on the individual price per diaper. Some companies offer discounts for buying multiples, and have frequent sales throughout the year. These lower prices were not taken into calculations – these prices are the MOST you should pay.

Also, cloth diapers are reusable, and once you are finished using them with your own children, can easily be sold for up to 50% of what you paid for them initially, again lowering your out-of-pocket expenses.

Prefolds

A prefold system involves a cloth sheet that is folded into a diaper and clipped/pinned onto the baby, and then a waterproof cover is placed on top (formerly known as rubber-pants). This system is fairly basic, and requires fewer covers than diapers, as the covers can be reused.

Prefolds (OsoCozy)

       

Size

Changes

Suggested Qty

Cost For Diapers

Info

NB (6-12 lbs)

914

18

$48.00

($16/6pk x 3)

Small (12-18 lbs)

819

18

$48.00

($16/6pk x 3)

Medium (18-28 lbs)

3194

36

$96.00

($16/6pk x 6)

Large (28-40 lbs)

3194

36

$96.00

($16/6pk x 6)

Covers (Bummies)

Small (8-16 lbs)

1733

8

$111.60

($13.95 x 8)

Medium (15-30 lbs)

3194

8

$111.60

($13.95 x 8)

Large (27-36 lbs)

3194

8

$111.60

($13.95 x 8)

Total Changes

8121

Total

$622.80

 
   

Cost Per Change

$0.08

 

Fitted

A fitted diaper system consists of diapers that are pre-shaped to fit a baby. The use either snaps or velcro to close. However, these diapers need covers, as they are not designed to be water resistant.

Fitted (Thirsties)

       

Size

Changes

Suggested Qty

Cost For Diapers

Info

Size 1 (6-18 lbs)

1733

36

$682.20

18.95 each

Size 2 (18-40 lbs)

6388

36

$682.20

18.95 each

Covers (Bummies)

Small (8-16 lbs)

1733

6

$83.70

($13.95 x 6)

Medium (15-30 lbs)

3194

8

$111.60

($13.95 x 8)

Large (27-36 lbs)

3194

8

$111.60

($13.95 x 8)

Total Changes

8121

Total

$1671.3

 

Cost Per Change

$0.21

AIO’s (All-In-Ones)

An AIO (all-in-one) diaper system consists of diapers with a waterproof outer layer (usually PUL), sewn together with a moisture wicking inner layer and an attached absorbent flap insert. The term AIO implies that they are all connected. AI2’s (all-in-two) usually have detachable inserts.

AIO (GroVia)

       

Size

Changes

Suggested Qty

Cost For Diapers

Info

One-Size

8121

36

$934.20

$25.95 each

Total Changes

8121

Total

$934.2

 
   

Cost Per Change

$0.12

 

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers come in two parts: an outer shell (usually PUL on the outside, and an absorbent material on the inside) with a back pocket, to stuff the accompanying insert. Pocket diapers come in at least two different options: one is a one-size, and the other is a sizing system. We have compared both for you.

Pocket Diapers (AppleCheeks)

       

Size

Changes

Suggested Qty

Cost For Diapers

Info

Size 1 (7-18 lbs)

1733

36

$864.00

$24 each (with liner)

Size 2(18-35 lbs)

6388

36

$864.00

Total Changes

8121

Total:

$1728

 
   

Cost Per Change:

$0.21

VS

Pocket Diapers (Piddly-Winx)

       

Size

Changes

Suggested Qty

Cost For Diapers

Info

One-Size

8121

36

$468.00

$13 each

Total Changes

8121

Total:

$468

 
   

Cost Per Change:

$0.06

Additional Notes (Laundering)

For ALL cloth diapering options, there are a couple extra expenses to keep in mind: water, hydro, and detergents. However, because this cost will vary depending on your location, machines, and preferences, we are going to use an average cost and add it as a bulk cost at the end.

However, for information sake, here are some numbers. The great thing about detergents is that you have the choice to buy what you’d like and spend what you want. The cheapest way is to make your own. However, if you shop the sales, you can get this cost much lower. The following prices are based on regular costs if you were to walk into Walmart on any given day.

Detergent

Average

$0.20/ load

Tide PODS

$0.35/ load

Ivory Snow 1.18L

$0.40/ load

Tide HE

$0.27/ load

Gain HE

$0.17/ load

Homemade Detergent

$0.02/ load

I came across this awesome laundry-calculator in which you can find out exactly what the cost of your laundry will be over the course of a year. This calculator takes into account whether you choose to line dry instead of using a dryer, whether you have a top loader or front loader, etc. Here are some of the results I found:

Hydro (based on $0.11 per kWh and $5.50 per 1000 gal)

Washer

Frequency

Length

Cost

Cost per load

Electric (Top Load, Cold Wash)

3 times a week

12 months

127

$0.45

Electric (Front Load, Cold Wash)

3 times a week

12 months

101

$0.31

 

Dryer

Time in Dryer

Cost Per Load

Electric

45 minutes

$0.36

Electric

60 minutes

$0.45

Gas ($1.25/therm)

45 minutes

$0.30

Gas ($1.25/therm)

60 minutes

$0.37

For the purpose of this blog, I will use our laundering costs, based on our machine(s). We have a top loading washer, front loading dryer, and we have electric heat that we pay approximately $0.11/kWh. We use homemade laundry detergent, use cold water when washing the diapers, and we run the dryer for 45 minutes per load. Based on these numbers, our washer costs $0.27 per load, and our dryer costs $0.36 per load, for a grand total of $0.63 per load. This works out to $8.24 per month, and $98 per year. Over the course of 3 years, our total laundry expense will be $294, which works out to be about $0.035 per change.

To continue to Part 3 – Conclusion and Results from Disposables vs Cloth Diapers, please click here!