Monday, April 29, 2013

You're Gonna....Cloth Diaper???

Never say never.  It couldn't be more true.  "I will NEVER cloth diaper."  I have said it a million times.  I have never had an interest in cloth diapering at all.  Never even wanted to try.  I already struggle with trying to keep up with the laundry demand, so I have always known that I am not the best candidate for cloth diapering.


It kills me every time I have to buy a package of diapers or wipes.  They are so expensive, just to be used for a couple hours and then thrown away.  Then when I go to throw away a diaper genie liner full of diapers, I am thinking about how much I paid for those diapers, how much I paid for those diaper genie liners, and how much space all these diapers are going to take up in our city trash can (which reminds me that these diapers have to go somewhere, so I can only picture a landfill filled with diapers from all the babies in the county...let alone the world).  So I have been contemplating cloth diapering for a few months now.  I'll read a blog or two about it or look up how other mothers cloth diaper on youtube. 

I only know of two other people in "real life" who cloth diaper, but there are tons of mommies on the internet that have done it with success.  People choose cloth diapering for many reasons, but for me, it all came down to the money.

I decided to break it down.  Here is what it is costing us (approximately) to diaper August in disposables.

Disposable Diapering
*Prices will vary.  I did this based on the lowest regular brand price I can find (which is typically Luv's) in whatever grocery store I'm in, which is how I usually buy diapers.  No sales or coupons. I'm a last minute diaper purchaser kind of person. 
1. ) Luv's size 3 diapers at Walmart: 124 count. $20.00.  Since we do about 6 diaper changes a day, this pack would last us about 20 days.  So if there are 365 days in a year, if you divide that by the number of days it takes me to use a pack (20), that would mean I would need 18.25 packs a year.  However, since I can't buy 1/4 of a pack, I would need to buy 19 packs of diapers a year.  So at 20 dollars a pack, I would end up spending $380/year on diapers.

 2.) Parent's Choice wipes at Walmart: 700 count for $12.00.  This is TMI, but most days, August poops 1-2 times a day.  We'll call it 2.  Obviously the rest of the time, it is just pee.  So, if I use about 4 wipes on poopy diapers (14 wipes if you are my husband....just sayin!), and 1 wipe for pee pee diapers, that would total about 12 wipes a day if I change 6 diapers a day.  So that means that we would go through this pack of wipes in about 58 days, or 2 months.  So this would calculate (6 purchases a year times $12 per purchase) to about  $72/year on disposable wipes.

3.) Diaper Genie Pail Liners: We got a diaper genie as baby shower gift.  It's great, and we enjoy it, however, the disposable pail liners for those things are quite expensive.  If we were to buy a roll in the store (they are blue and sold in rolls), it would last us about a month and costs $10. So, if you buy in stores, it $120/year just for the liners.  However, I have been buying them off of Amazon since there is a better deal for them on there.  They come in a 3 pack off of Amazon, which lasts us about 3 months.  They cost about $20 for a 3 pack.  So I need to purchase these about 4 times a year, so (20 x 4) would come out to be about $80/year on disposable diaper genie liners off of Amazon.
So, in total, for disposable diapering, I spend about $45 a month or $532/year.  This total is not including the additional diapers (more than 6 a day) that are used for newborns.  It also does not include the cost of a diaper genie (add $30). From birth to potty training, (about 3 years) this would be end up costing about $1,600 to diaper with disposables.
Cloth Diapering
*Prices will vary.  There are many different brands in cloth diapering, as well as many different methods of cloth diapering.  These prices are based on the brands I have chosen and the lifestyle I prefer.
1.) Sunbaby cloth diapers: $144 for a set of 24.  I have chosen the brand Sunbaby for our cloth diapers.  They are comparable to popular cloth diaper brands such as Fuzzibunz and BumGenius.  However, a brand new Fuzzibunz or BumGenius diaper will cost anywhere from $25-$35 per diaper, where as Sunbaby diapers end up being $6.50 per diaper.  Sunbaby diapers are adjustable and are made to fit from birth to potty training.  They do this by having stretchy elastic and adjustable snaps.  There are snaps around the waist to loosen or tighten, snaps to adjust the rise (how long the diaper is), and snaps to adjust the leg hole size (for skinny newborns or chunky toddlers).  Since the diapers are made to last for as long as your baby is in diapers, $144 is all that is needed to diaper the baby from birth to potty training (about 3 years).  You can choose whether or not you want 1 or 2 inserts with the diaper (you stuff the inserts into a pocket in the diaper), and you can also choose the material you want the insert to be made of.  Different materials have different benefits.  I chose 2 microfiber inserts per diaper.  August is always double stuffed since he's a heavy wetter. 

A few of the prints

 2.) Cloth wipes: The cost for me on cloth wipes is $0.  I simply cut up August's receiving blankets (we got a TON from baby showers....don't worry I saved the special ones that I remember using in the hospital) into squares and then with the help of cousin Sarah, sewed the squares to make a 2-ply wipe.  I ended up making about 50 wipes.  The wipes will be thrown into the wash with the cloth diapers. 

3.) Wipe "wetter": The cost for me is $0.  I will be using my peri-bottle that I got from the hospital when I had August.  You just need something to wet the wipe.  Some people use a spray bottle or even a wipe warmer with water in it.  You can ever wet a wipe under the sink on your way to the changing table.  Whatever works!  Some people add in baby wash or baby wash and tea tree oil into their water, but I have heard water works just fine.
4.) Reusable Pail liners: In cloth diapering, it is easiest to use reusable pail liners.  They work just like a garbage bag except that they are reusable.  You just throw it in the wash along with the cloth diapers and wipes.  I purchased 2 reusable pail liners on Amazon for (Kissa's pail liners) for $14.95 each, or about $30. ***UPDATE: Unfortunately, I do not recommend this product.  One of my Kissa's pail liners ripped at the seams in the wash after about 2 washes.  The other one is not leaving my pail dry.  It is "sweating" and not holding in moisture.  I have since purchased a liner from Planet Wise, and it is working out great!  The Planet Wise liners are a lot more substantial.  They seem to be made with a thicker fabric, and there aren't any exposed seams that could rip in the wash.  The Planet Wise liners run just a couple dollars more than the Kissa's liners.

5.) Diaper Pail: Most people may already have a trash can on hand, but I didn't since I use a diaper genie for disposables.  So I had to go to Walmart and purchase one.  I paid $0 for mine since I used a giftcard.  I'm not going to include this in my costs, since that's basically a gift, just like the diaper genie.  If you get a step one, it will cost you about $13.

6.) Wet bags: You need a wet bag to put your dirty cloth diapers in while you are out and about.  You probably technically need 2 so that you can have one to take out if one is in the dirty laundry, but I only have 1 for now.  The cost for the one I purchased is about $17.00 (Planetwise brand off of Amazon in size medium), so if I buy 2, the cost will be $34.00.

7.) Cloth diaper safe detergent: There are many cloth diaper detergents out there, however, I have heard great things about Tide detergent (powdered).  I know that there are perfumes and dyes in it, and I personally am allergic to those things in detergent.  We will see how August reacts to it.  However, with cloth diapering, you give your diapers at least one, preferably 2, extra rinses in the wash cycle to make sure there isn't any build up (which will cause repelling).  So there shouldn't be any detergent left on them.  If I have issues, I will try the free and clear version before moving to cloth diaper specific detergents that I would have to order online.  Tide is $7.99 at BI-LO this week.  It's hard for me to say how much we will buy over the course of a year.  I make my own laundry detergent for our clothes, so the Tide will be for diapers only.   I will use about 1/2 of the smallest load size on the scoop since cloth diapers actually need very little detergent.  Maybe I'll repurchase it 3 times a year?  I'll estimate it to be $24.00/year.
8.) Dryer balls (optional): You don't really need these, but I found that my microfiber inserts that came with my cloth diapers tended to stick together in the wash since you can't use dryer sheets with the inserts (they cause repelling since the non static stuff will build up in the diapers).  I paid about $5 for a pack of 2 from Walmart.
9.) Cloth Diaper Safe Rash Cream: Cloth diapers require a diaper rash cream that is cloth diaper safe.  Typical diaper rash creams will build up in the lining of the diapers which will cause the diapers to repel liquid instead of soak it up.  I have chosen CJ's butter diaper rash cream.  There are different options out there, but I chose CJ's because I have friends who use it, and I also read that it is basically a do-everything ointment.  Many people use it in place of Vaseline and Neosporin.  It is also well known for clearing up diaper rash in one application.  The cost for the CJ's Butter is about $14/8oz. off of Amazon.  This tub is pretty large, and since August very rarely gets diaper rash (he has had maybe 3 his whole life), I bet we won't need to repurchase this.

10.) Water Bill: Of course you have to pay for the water to wash all these diapers.  I haven't been cloth diapering for a full month yet, but I have heard from many mommy bloggers that their water bill was increased by about $5/month or an increase of $60/year.
So, in total for cloth diapering, I will spend about $309 in the first year, and $84 (for detergent and water) each year after that.  So from birth to potty training (about 3 years) I will spend a total of about $477 to diaper with cloth.
So, if you do the math, I will save (1,600-477) $1,123 by cloth diapering.....our first child!
Here is where it gets really crazy, we are pregnant!  Ok, that's kind of old news and not that crazy. diaper our 2nd child, I can buy 12 diapers with 2 inserts per diaper for....$78.  I wouldn't need to buy 24 diapers because I don't actually go through 24 diapers without washing them.  36 diapers (18 diapers per child) would be a perfect number for doing laundry every 2-3 days.  So here are the cloth diapering comparisons for diapering 2 kids from birth potty training.  Note: The water cost will not change because I have plenty of room in the wash for another set of cloth diapers.
Birth to Potty Training with 2 Kids Cloth Diapering Cost Comparison
Disposables: $3,200
Cloth: $555
Savings of (3,200 - 555) = $2,645!
As you can see, the money saved continues to increase with each child.  However, you don't have to buy new diapers with each child.  Usually, you will have one leaving diapers as one enters.  However, our kids will be 15-16 months apart, so they will be in diapers at the same time, hence the need for a second set of diapers.

I hope this cost comparison was helpful for you if you are considering cloth diapering!  So far, I have been cloth diapering for about two months now.  I will give an update on that in another post.  Thanks for reading!

Pictured: White Sunbaby Cloth Diaper



  1. Great information! Thanks for the post! :) -Lacy

    1. Thanks, Lacy! I am glad it was informative! :)

  2. I've been contemplating this for awhile; awesome post, really gives me the information I need!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I could help! :)

  3. Oh man lots of math in this post. I still have Zoe in a diaper if we leave the house and on most nights, but I think soon I will invest in the cloth. Even though we didn't buy that many diapers until she was older, I know this will be better for the next one when that time comes! Thanks for all the great info!!!!

    1. Yeah, lots of math! My brain hurts. That's so great that she is almost fully potty trained! She is so advanced. Such a big girl! Yeah, cloth is more of an initial investment, but it definitely pays off. Thanks for reading! I'm glad it was helpful for you! :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! You were one of the ones who inspired me to cloth diaper! :)

  5. SOOOO Glad that you're cloth diapering! I'm a little obsessed with it :) I have a routine down, and it's the easiest thing.

    I don't think that you mentioned that you had it, but I would HIGHLY recommend a diaper sprayer when the baby's poop get thick enough to not be able to go through the wash. With one kid, I'm sure you know what I mean ;) It attaches to the toilet and you spray it off then flush.

    Don't be intimidated to use cloth diapers in your church nursery. I just go in and give instructions, but mainly let people figure out what to do. I was going to use disposables, but with her eczema just using a disposable once will break her out.

    Message me with any questions you have!

    1. Thank you! I didn't know you cloth diapered! We actually have a shower head that is the kind you can pull off the wall to wash your body with. I just pull it over the toilet and use it like a diaper sprayer, and it works great! We do have a good routine down, and I will update on that soon! We had a lot of trial and error at first, trying to figure out why we were getting leaks every time. But now it's no big deal! It really is super easy.

  6. Hi,
    Found your blog while doing sunbaby diaper research. I was wondering if you were still liking them? Or anything else you've learned since April.


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