A little twist on cloth diaper math

I’ve read a lot of posts about how cloth diapers will save you money.  Pretty much every time the math goes this way: .25 cents per sposie, times x many changes.  5$ per cloth diaper (estimate, prices range a lot!) x 12, 24 or 36.  you end up with the cost of disposable diapering vs. cloth diapering.  

I’m going to change things up a bit.  Let’s say you have a typical cloth diaper stash- about 24 diapers.  That’s about normal and means you wash every other day.  So each diaper is used once every two days.  Now, let’s say your child potty trains at 2 and 1/2, a little sooner than average.  All our kids are above average, right?

So let’s see here 2.5×365=912.5.  so lets say 900 to make the math cleaner. Divide by two (remember, that cloth diaper is used every other day).  900 / 2 = 450.  So each cloth diaper replaces 450 disposables.  

But that is for one child.  Most cloth diapers will be used for more children.  The average per house is 2.  Even if you only have 1 child, you will probably sell your cloth when they are through with it, so let’s do the  math for 2 children.

So we are back to 900.  Each cloth diaper you buy will replace 900 disposables.

Let’s say disposables cost .20.  You get coupons and buy as cheap as possible.   

900 x .20 = 180.  Each cloth diaper will save you at least 180$ worth of disposable diapers.  Suddenly that 25$, super cute, super fancy, cloth diaper doesn’t look so expensive, does it?


3 thoughts on “A little twist on cloth diaper math

  1. Applecheeks have on their packaging that it saves about 280 diapers but I have always thought to myself that it seems too little

  2. What about the other costs associated with cloth diapering? Such as water and electricity, as well as any sprayers one might buy?

    Re CDsimple: They may take into account that over X many washes, the diaper just wears out and either the diaper or insert needs to be replaced. The calculation above doesn’t account for wear and tear.

    • I can not calculate what I spend on that because I pay a yearly, standard fee for my water. My electricity is also how we cook/heat so again, it changes every month and is hard to calculate.
      Many diapers are designed to last and last. Sustainable babyish for example is designed specifically last through multiple children. Their website even says to please pass on your diapers when you are done with them.
      I do not own a sprayer. If you want to avoid buying one you can use the hand held shower head from your shower. Or just dunk and swish or scrape.
      For laundry you can assume 2/3 extra loads of laundry a week per child in diapers. I hang dry whenever possible, which saves, according to one source, 0.75 cents a load.

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