Let me start by saying that I am a very thrifty mom! I save money in ways other people would otherwise think was a waste of time. So when it came to choosing cloth diaper vs disposable, I found myself caught between saving money or saving time.
Cheaper is almost always better in my book, as long as the item can do what it’s suppose to do effectively.
But when does the cost of something become less important than the time spent to carry out specific activities?
This is what you must decide when it comes to diapers. I’ll look at some main differences between the two, and pros and cons of each choice.
Which is Cheaper?
Choosing between price and convenience is always a debate.
But when you are strapped for cash and your baby still has to get the necessities, you might think differently.
Cloth diapers are more expensive to buy than disposables. There are usually much less in the package for cloth diapers and a single one can cost about 1/3 the price for a box of disposables!
However, you can choose to buy a set amount of cloth diapers and you’re all done spending on diapers for a long time.
Let’s say your baby uses about 6-7 diapers per day. You can buy about 2-3 days worth of cloth diapers and just re-wash them every couple days. You’ll be doing laundry about 1-2x per week anyway.
If you buy a box of disposables, which can cost about $20-$35 depending on the size and brand, you would have to spend that same amount each month until your child has been potty trained.
This means that you actually end up spending more in the long run for disposable diapers compared to cloth diapers (and the savings are huge if you do the math).
- Let’s say you buy 20 cloth diapers at $10 each (fairly average price), that’s $200 in total that you’ll spend on diapers in 1 year.
- If you choose disposables, you’re looking at about $30/box (depending on brand and size) and let’s say 1 box per month (this is a very generous estimation as you’ll probably end up using more than 1 box per month).
- That works out to be $360 for the year ($30 x 12 boxes).
- Add up the number of years your child wears diapers and you’ll see that the amount spent increases very quickly.
As your child gets older, he/she will start using fewer diapers per day but the fact that you still have to buy diapers makes this the more expensive option.
VERDICT: Cloth diapers are cheaper in the long run and save you more money over time.
What’s More Convenient?
I’m cheap but sometimes I choose the convenient route to make things easier on myself.
It goes without saying that disposable diapers are way more convenient than cloth diapers. You can just take it off and toss it away without having a second thought. You can’t do this as easily with cloth diapers because they are more expensive,and losing even 1 can make all the difference.
The other thing with cloth diapers, is that you don’t want to leave them sitting around dirty for too long. If it’s just pee, then you can probably just rinse it out and wash it later. But with a number 2, it’s a whole different ballgame.
You literally have to wash it out on the spot, or at least do a fair bit of work to get the stains out. This becomes a daily routine that you can’t just “ignore”.
You have to ensure that your baby’s little bum always get a clean, fresh diaper each time. So no cutting corners with cloth diapers as this could affect your baby’s health.
Imagine being on the go and you have a number 2 situation on your hands. If you’re using a disposable diaper then the clean up is not as disastrous. But it’s much more difficult to handle that using a cloth diaper.
If you want some comparison between Pampers diapers and Huggies diapers, learn more here.
I find that many parents who use cloth diapers, often use disposables when on the go which I find to be a good compromise.
There’s also cloth diaper services where a company comes around to your house to collect the dirty diapers and bring back clean ones. Or you can sometimes drop off and pick up at your convenience. This is a huge load off your back as you don’t have to deal with cleaning them yourself.
You must be dedicated to the cleanliness of the cloth diapers so if you’re up for the task, I say go for it.
VERDICT: Disposable diapers are much more convenient than cloth diapers.
Who would have thought about how long a diaper could last? If you’re like me, you probably haven’t given this much thought.
This doesn’t really apply to disposables as they are one time use only. Also, after a while, the particles inside the diapers start to harden.
Back in the day, our parents used a lot of cloth diapers (or nappies) and they sure lasted a long time!
My mom has told me many stories of having to wash the nappies every single day (each morning) to make sure that my sister and I had clean, fresh diapers for that day. This went on for a very long time because they were very durable.
Some people even pass cloth diapers down from one child to the next. I mean if you’re going to spend that much on them in the first place, why not keep them around if you can? This is where proper washing and cleaning comes into play.
VERDICT: Cloth diapers last longer than disposables and are more durable.
Snapshot: Pros and Cons
Pros of Cloth Diapers
- Saves you money longterm
- Last longer and can be re-used
- Lots of different fabrics/materials to choose from
Pros of Disposable Diapers
- Much more convenient
- Less maintenance (one use only)
- Can choose bigger sizes as your baby grows
Cons of Cloth Diapers
- Doesn’t retain moisture as well as disposables – can sometimes lead to diaper rash
- Not very convenient
Cons of Disposable Diapers
- Costs you more in the long run because you have to keep buying them
- Doesn’t last as long (one use only)
What Did I Choose and Why?
I must admit that with all the benefits of the cloth diapers, I still chose to go with disposables.
Because I made the decision to choose time over price in this situation. I know that disposables would cost me more in the long run, but I wanted to have more time to do other things.
This is by no means to say that cloth diapers are not worth it because I think they can work really well, if you can put in the time and effort to keep them clean.
But with a new baby and not knowing what to expect, I took the “easy way out” if you want to call it that because I didn’t want to be hung up on constantly cleaning messy diapers.
Which did you use and why? If undecided, what burning questions do have in support of either one? Leave your feedback in the comments below. Thanks for reading 🙂