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Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers: The Pros and Cons

When it comes to cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers, cloth is becoming easier and easier while disposable diapers are becoming more and more expensive. Money savings, time savings, and environmental savings are just a few things to consider when looking at cloth diapers vs. disposable.  So, let’s break those down and see what fits your needs best.

This post is all about the pros and cons of cloth diapers vs. disposable.

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable | Cloth Diaper Pile

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Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable

What drove me to cloth diapers vs. disposable?

There are so many factors that drive people to choose cloth or disposable. Some factors to consider when determining what works best for you might be cost, time, and the environment. 

For me, it all started when covid hit and the formula shelves were bare for months. I luckily was breastfeeding my baby, but it made me worry that diapers could be next. So, I bought a few cloth diapers just in case.

But then they came and they didn’t look as complicated as I expected. They weren’t the old fashioned rags that I had to tie. It was just a diaper I had to slide a liner in and button on. 

So, with the massive cost savings in mind, I gave it a whirl. I’m now using those same diapers on my second baby now and we have saved SO MUCH MONEY. 

The rest is history.

How much money will you save with cloth diapers?

When it comes to cost savings, cloth diapers are the clear winner. While many people think it’s expensive to get started with cloth diapers, we got started with only $100! If you’re using Pampers, that’s only two months worth of diapers. Meanwhile, I’m still using those $100 worth of diapers now with my second baby. 

Using this chart by Babylist I determined that the first year requires about one month of newborn diapers, two months of size ones, three months of size twos, and six months of size three diapers. I’ve done some shopping on Amazon and listed the cost breakdown below for Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs.  This way you can see exactly what you would be saving, rather than a random estimate without the math. Then, in the next section I’ll break down what I spent to get started with cloth diapers. 

Pampers Diapers Cost

Let’s start with Pampers. Pampers are one of the top diaper brands in the market. However, they are also one of the most expensive. With the first years worth of diapers in my cart, It came to a grand total of $627.58! (painful to think about throwing that in the trash can)

Pampers Diapers Cost for 1 Year | Cloth Diapers vs. disposable

Huggies Diapers Cost

Next, we have Huggies. Huggies came out just below Pampers in price for the first year’s supply at $618.07. That’s still a lot to swallow. 

Huggies Diapers Cost for First year | Cloth diapers vs. disposable

Luvs Diapers Cost

We have moved six times in the past three years and in the thick of a move, I call on disposable diapers. Luvs diapers are my personal favorite when I’m in a situation that calls for disposable diapers. Luvs diapers come in something called an “Economy Pack” to help you get a better price per diaper. Even with 100 more diapers included compared to Pampers and Huggies, Luvs still came out to $359.87. So, even if you don’t opt for cloth diapers by the end of this article, I would definitely look into Luvs’ economy packs. They served us well until we switched to cloth diapers. 

Luvs Diapers Price for First Year| Cloth diapers vs. disposable

Cloth Diaper Cost for AlvaBaby Diapers

Cost of Cloth Diaper start up| cloth diapers vs. disposable

In order to get started with cloth diapers I recommend having about 12 one size adjustable diapers, a sprayer for cleaning them, and a spray guard. Many people falsely believe that cloth diapers have to be super expensive, but I have been a big fan of AlvaBaby cloth diapers. They are very reasonably priced with 12 only costing about $60. If you buy all three of these things on Amazon, it comes out to a grand total of $136.92. But, I have a way to get that number even lower if you keep reading. 

Cloth diapers cost to get started without the sprayer guard| Cloth diapers vs. disposable

It is actually incredibly easy to create a diaper spray guard on your own with a trash can, plate, and chip clips from the Dollar Tree! This is how I made mine and I made an Instagram reel to show you exactly how I did it! You can check it out here! If you make your own sprayer guard from the Dollar Tree, you will be ready for cloth diapers with just $96.95! 

That’s a $530.63 savings in the first year compared to Pampers, a $525.10 savings compared to Huggies, and $266.90 savings when compared to Luvs. However, if you continue using these diapers, your cost for the following year of diapers will be $0 and you will save hundreds more. AlvaBaby has a one year money back guarantee on their cloth diaper liners and each set of diapers comes with two inserts per diaper. That means that with $60 your done buying diapers for two years. 

How Much Extra Time Do Cloth Diapers Really Take?

The thing that holds most people back from using cloth diapers is the extra time that it takes. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how little I have noticed the extra work involved with cloth diapers. As far as putting them on, it is negligible. Instead of velcro straps, I have to button a few buttons. The difference in cloth diapers vs. disposable is about one minute to clean poopy diapers with a sprayer and a few minutes at the end of each day to throw in a small load of laundry. I’ve found the small amount of extra work to be very much worth it! 

Environmental Impacts of Disposable Diapers

Disposable Diaper getting thrown away | Cloth diapers vs. disposable

Did you know that one baby can use about 3000 diapers a year. With over 3.6 million babies being born every year in the U.S. alone, disposable diaper waste can quickly enter into trillions of diapers. Since disposable diapers are primarily made of synthetic materials that are not biodegradable, all these diapers pile up in landfills. In addition to filling up our landfills quickly, disposable diapers are also introducing feces into the groundwater and many different dangerous chemicals into the environment. If you want to read more on the specifics of these chemical compounds and the effects of disposable diapers on the environment I would encourage you to read this article by Unsustainable Magazine. It does a great job describing the effects of disposable diapers. 

This post was all about the pros and cons of cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers. The cost savings and eco-friendly nature of cloth diapers is far beyond that of disposable diapers. While cloth diapers take a few more minutes of your time, I believe it is all too worth it for the ecological impacts and the money savings. However, I simply hope this article helps you make the best decision for you and your family.

-Beautifully Busy Mom

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This post was written by Monica, a mom of two passionate about finding ways to save money in motherhood. 

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