We’re going to talk about poop. Yep. Poop. In all its glory. And the cloth diaper costs that it takes to get all that butt fluff happening.
I love cloth diapering. I love seeing my kid in all his fluff buttness scooting on the floor sporting an adorable print diaper. I love not knowing what size my kid is in disposable diapers. I love not buying disposables. I love a cleaner and healthy option for my family. I even love putting away all my diapers. There is something about it all that just fits me.
But when you first get started. Ekkk. It’s a mess.
All that information is out there! All the price guides! All the different types! All the wash routines!
And those price tags! How can YOU cloth diapers on a budget for under $400?
This page may contain affiliate links. To view my full affiliate link disclosure, click here.
Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable
I’ve read all sorts of articles over the years. Statics galore, and I couldn’t link them to the appropriate article even if I tried. However, here are some things I have read.
- An average disposable diaper costs .20 cents.
- The average top of the line cloth diaper costs $20
- To get to potty training stage the average amount of disposable diapers you will need is 8,000 diapers.
By contrast, the average amount of cloth diapers you will need to get to the potty training stage is 40-42 diapers.
How Long Do Cloth Diapers Last
Using cloth diapers and only having them last a short time, is not going to be cost-friendly. We have bought almost all our diapers off of Amazon, there is a lot of debate if buying diapers off Amazon is ethically questionable and if they truly will last. We made a lot of mistakes when we bought our first batches of cloth diapers off of Amazon, but over 2 years later those first cloth diapers we bought are still being used. They are not pretty by any means but come on, they have been holding bodily fluids for 2 years.
Once I learned which were the best amazon cloth diaper companies to use, we did see the longevity of our diapers go up. The diapers we bought from the right companies are about a year and a half old and they look almost new to me.
If you buy the right cloth diapers and wash them right, they will outlive your child needing them.
Do you Really Save Money Using Cloth Diapers?
This means that disposable diapering costs will run you somewhere around $1,600 dollars over the 2.5 years you have a child in diapers. However, if you choose to be more environmentally friendly with your disposable diaper’s it can cost upward of $2,500 for the span of a diapered child.
In opposition to the disposable diaper, over the course of 2.5 years, cloth diapering (42 cloth diapers) will be around $840.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Expect we’ve forgotten a few things.
You’ll also need extensive amounts of wipes and diaper cream for both options. For disposable diapers that’s about it. But for Cloth Diapers let’s take into consideration these other items.
1.Wet/Dry Bags –
- We use two smaller wet dry bags for traveling These are great for traveling. I use one for dirty diapers and one for clean diapers. In addition we have one large wet/dry bag for holding all the diapers until they are ready to wash. For two smaller bags and one larger bag it will cost around $25
2. Cleaning Costs –
- If you use a service expect to spend about $100 dollars a month based on around 80 clean diapers a week. Although I have never went this route, a popular diaper cleaning service is OC Diaper Service.
- Cleaning them yourself takes an unknown toil on your washing machine. Plan on buying detergent and hard water softeners specifically for your diapers about once a month. We purchase Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus and Borax, which costs about $17 a month. On a as needed basis we also buy Hydro-Peroxide.
3. Extra Inserts –
- My favorite type of inserts are Bamboo Charcoal. They are black, which keeps the stains away, and are highly absorbent. I purchased one 12 pack to use at night with our first born and recently purchased another 12 pack in anticipation of our second born. Estimated costs is $60 for two packs of 12.
4. Toilet Sprayer-
- I honestly don’t think this is optional once the baby has started eating solid foods. Breastfed baby diapers can be thrown directly in the wash, but once a child eats solids, their poo turns all sorts of nasty and needs to be removed from the diaper as not to ruin the washing machine or diaper. Our sprayer has been a lifesaver and was only about $40.
Total Extra Cloth Diapering Costs:
Without cleaning service: $635
With cleaning service Estimate: $3,125
How Much Does it Cost to Cloth Diaper?
Remember for cloth diapers are talking about top-of-the-line single diaper purchases. At $20 per diaper, we are at $850 for our baseline starting diapers, plus an additional $635 for continued use over 2.5 years. That is also assuming we don’t have to replace any diapers.
Grand Total without cleaning service: $1,485
Grand Total with cleaning service: $3,975
Grand Total Disposable Diapers: $1,600-$2,500 (depending on quality purchased)
Is it Possible to Cloth Diaper on a Budget?
Although most families are not in cloth diapering solely for the cost factor, our numbers are getting a little tight.
Is the cloth diapering lifestyle really cheaper than the disposable diaper lifestyle? Is it possible to cloth diaper on a budget?
I will faithfully argue that it is on both accounts.
Reason #1 – The Chemical Consideration
Dioxin is the main concerning chemical that is used in manufacturing disposable diapers. It also happens to be a known carcinogen, which has led many parents to be concerned about the gases released from the diapers and the effect on those prone to asthma. Another consideration is the elusive ‘fragrance’ label that is still not regulated by the FDA and therefore many manufacturers still hide an abundance of chemicals under the title of ‘fragrance.’
Although nothing concrete has been traced back to disposable diapers, I personally find it reasonable to conclude that medical conditions and costs can be reduced in the avoidance of disposable diapers.
Reason #2 – The wonder of Amazon
After I had been cloth diapering for a few months, I started to look into the brands I had purchased. I was disappointed and saddened to realize that many of the companies I purchased off of amazon had less than stellar track records. Amazon diapers are commonly called ‘china cheapies’ because of the lack of information available about their manufacturing practices in China. Often the materials used have chemicals in them that are not safe, and their labor practices make it unethical to buy from their company.
However, China is not always the bad guy. There are some companies that are well documented and we can still put our trust in. Please don’t misunderstand me on this. There are bad companies all over the world. Our responsibility as a consumer is to research and purchase from companies that align with our personal convictions. There is still a way to buy cloth diapers economically from well-intended companies.
Getting Started with Cloth Diapering on a Budget for Less than $400
We’ve gotten a bit off track with all the ins and outs to consider, so let’s get back onto the main purpose. How do you leverage your financial resources to cloth diapers for less than $400 starting out?
We are specifically talking about the initial costs, not the washing, diaper creams, or wipes. Those are regular expenses. We are talking about the fixed costs.
There are some companies on Amazon that you can utilize with safety. You can also use this resource on the Best Amazon Cloth Diaper Companies.
Use the China Cheapie Questions to determine if they are reputable.
- Can you find a website for them?
- Do they have a social media page that is active?
- Do they reply to your messages?
Mama Koala Diaper Costs
There is one Amazon diaper company that continues to come up in my research as sustainable, good quality, ethical manufacturing practices in china, and affordable.
Mama Koala is our go-to diapers. They are pocket diapers and for a 6-pack run around $40. That just took our individual diaper costs from $20 to $6.67.
As a bonus, they don’t use elastic in the pocket insert, which my husband loves because his hand can fit in it.
Out of all my amazon diapers, these are the only ones that do not have stretched-out elastic. That says something MAJOR!
Asenappy Diaper Costs
Asenappy is a rather new company for me, but they have proved to be easy to research, which is one of the things I look for most in a company. On amazon, they come in 4-packs at $29.99, which is around $7.50 a diaper. They are AIO diapers which means that an insert is not required. However, they still have the pocket option, which I continue to use.
The diapers are nicely made and I love that they use charcoal/bamboo materials which makes them extremely absorbent.
Simple Being Diaper Costs
I’m not going to lie; it took me FOREVER to properly research Simple Life diapers. I almost gave up and didn’t put these diapers on the list, but then I found it! Their website, story, manufacturing practices, everything was right there. The reason their information is so hard to find is that their larger company goes by the name SimplyLife, yet their diapers are under the name Simple Being. You can find their entire website information here.
These diapers are quite impressive and at $36.99 for a 6 pack they come in at $6.17 a piece. That is especially incredible with the double-wide gusset that helps reduce diaper leaks and rashes.
Final Cloth Diaper Costs
This is a sample idea of what you can purchase to keep your costs under $400 for your fixed diaper costs.
You will approximately need 40 cloth diapers to start out. This will allow you to wash every 2-3 days. I recommend you do not buy all from the same company.. This will give you an idea of what type of diaper you like best.
- Two Mama Koala 6- Packs at $40 = $80 (12 diapers)
- One Asenappy 4-Pack One 6-pack at $25.99 and $29.99 = $59.98 (10 diapers)
- Three 6-Pack Simple Being diapers at $36.99 = $110.97 (18 diapers)
Grand Total for Diapers
Other Extras: Total adjusted from above as Asenappy and Simple Being come with small wet dry bags. I still recommend getting one large wet/dry bag
I have also not included cleaning costs as these will be recurring costs.
- Wet/Dry Bags: $12.99
- Extra Inserts: $60
- Toilet Sprayer: $40
Total Extras: $112.99
GRAND TOTAL: $394.91
Tips for Cloth Diapering on a Budget
It is entirely possible to cloth diapers on a budget!
- If you are a first-time mom, dedicate all your gift cards from baby showers to the expenses of cloth diapering. That’s what we did are we were able to purchase everything we needed for around $250 out of pocket.
- Utilize Amazon for your diaper purchases. Buy in bulk packages. Just remember that not all companies are equal. Use the China Cheapie Questions to determine if you can trust a company.
- Look for packages that come with extras such as Wet/Dry bags, inserts, and liners. You are getting more bang for your buck!
- Research your cloth diaper companies until you are confident the product is reputable, clean, and sustainable.
When there is a will, there is a way. Using reputable Amazon companies will decrease your costs, but remember you are the consumer, and it is your responsibility to research these companies.