Resurgence of Cloth Diapers: The Ecological and Economical Choice

If you are currently expecting a new baby or are a mom with a child who has not been potty trained, you may have considered the many choices in diapers for your baby. Perhaps you have compared name brand to generic, or plan to purchase whichever diapers happen to be on sale when you need to make a purchase, but there is another option you may wish to explore. More moms than ever are choosing to use cloth diapers for their infants.

The number one reason for choosing cloth diapers over disposables is price. While it is assuredly less expensive to buy a single box of newborn diapers than it is to purchase enough cloth diapers to get a working system going, in just a short time cloth diapers pay for themselves. The average cost of a single diaper is $0.35. It is estimated that normal babies go through 6,000 diapers through their first two years of life. That totals $2,100 in disposable diaper costs alone. Factoring in other variables, such as disposable wipes and rash creams, may put the two-year disposable diapering cost over $2,500 per child.

The average cost of a cloth diaper is $10, but several less expensive diapers can be found. The traditional cloth diapers that must be secured with pins and tucked inside rubber bloomers are the least expensive option, but they are more prone to leaks than the new diapering systems that use pocket inserts or the ease of all-in-one functionality. The most expensive cloth diapering systems may cost around $16 each, but these are adjustable, washable models that may last through several children. Like disposables, these diapering systems have several sizes, but typically children only require them in small, medium and large from birth to toilet training. It is recommended that at least 36 small diapers, 30 medium diapers and 24 large diapers are purchased to keep an ample supply through wash cycles. Even at their most expensive, a total cost for cloth diapers is $1440. The cost of laundering diapers, even at a high-end estimate of $123 annually, does not close the gap in price between cloth and disposables. Cloth diapering systems use cloth baby wipes, and infants are less likely to develop rashes in cloth diapers. This eliminates the additional costs involved with disposable diapers, saving over $800.

Another factor that encourages moms to choose cloth is the environmental impact of disposable diapers. While disposables may offer a certain amount of convenience to busy parents, they pose a definite imposition on the earth. It may take up to 500 years for a single disposable diaper to biodegrade. This is merely an estimate–not one diaper of the millions that have been used has broken down to this day. Disposable diapers are the third most common consumer waste products in landfills today, and they represent up to 50 percent of the household waste of homes with a baby. For earth-conscious moms, cloth diapers offer a superb, reusable alternative to wasteful disposables. They are a perfect way to save money and reduce environmental impact at once.

Holly Adams from Coupon Croc contributed this post. On, you can find the best coupons on everything you need to go green.

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  1. I relly wanted to do cloth, but I went back to work full time and day cares are not fond of them.

  2. Cambria says:

    I have 3 kids (3, 2, and 1) and just switched to cloth diapers last month. My friend sent me an Econobum starter kit with 12 inserts and 3 diaper covers (I think it was about $45) and that’s all I’ve really needed! I just do a small load of diapers every day and my 2 and 3 year old only use the diapers at night, so there are just enough covers! I love how much money it’s saved!

  3. I tried cloth diapers, but I failed miserably. By the end of day one, I gave up. It’s just not for me. :(

  4. Liz, we used them for all our children except for #8. My husband was sick of them and their stink. :-(

  5. Courtney says:

    I’m really hoping I can do cloth. Fingers crossed we can find a 2br apartment with our own laundry unit.

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