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Thread: Has Anyone Tried This Math?

  1. #1

    Default Has Anyone Tried This Math?

    Say, has anyone taken the cost of a quality disposable vs the cost of laundering a couple adult cloth diapers and a pair of pants? I'm not good with numbers, but I am guessing my cloth setup is about .90 a use, while my dispies are about 1.90 a use. Any input? Let's put the debate to rest!

  2. #2


    Here's my math for washing my cloth diapers. It's $.16 a day. My water is free and mother nature dries them. My Arm & Hammer with
    Oxi Clean costs me $4.90 for a 2.13 qt which lasts me 30 days. I wash two diapers plus one or two boosters daily. These are hand washed.

    My disposables are a $1.40 per day on the average. Sometimes I have a messing accident
    and goes two. That happens maybe once a month.

  3. #3


    It's actually pretty hard to calculate this. Oleman gets free water, but somebody is paying for that (or it's incorporated into his rent and ought to be pro-rated by amount used). Plus there are different environmental effects: the effects of power/water/detergent from doing extra laundry vs the effects of disposables in landfill. You might also want to consider the oil used in shipping multiple deliveries of disposables and, if you're busy, the value of your own time in doing laundry and folding cloth.

  4. #4


    i bet that it works out the same for both types.......if you count the cost in calories (don't forget that money is intangible; in other words, worthless)
    of course, dispies are millions of years in the making; would Sir care to wait?

  5. #5


    I wash my cloth night diapers in the shower by letting the warm, soapy shower water cascade through them. I then manually wring the excess water out and air dry. So itís pretty much no extra water, soap or power consumption for me. Cloth is almost free here!!!

  6. #6


    It's not hard to calculate at all. It's hard to come up with one set of hard and fast "these are the rules" numbers that apply to many cases, but calculation is easy.

    For me, my water is about $75 per month. Last month, we went through about 800 cubic feet of water and sewerage, at rates of $3.766 and $5.911 per 100 cubic yards, respectively. So, doing extra diaper laundry would probably run $10-15 in extra water and a few bucks in electricity. For shits and grins, I'll call it $20 per month for an all cloth all the time diet, and that's probably a bit generous.

    Conversely, figuring three changes per day (Mr. Aurkarm often does it in two, but that's him) of a diaper that will actually hold (so an Abena or Dry 24/7): 1.42 per diaper for Abena X-Plus M4 whatevers, 1.32 per diaper for Dry 24/7s (based on the special they're running right now, 1.74 per at full price). Using the stabilized price Abenas at 1.42 per, that's 4.26 per day, times 30 days. 127.80 per month.

    Of course, that is figuring three changes per day every day. If you're only doing a few diapers a month, or you do two changes per day instead of three, or some other thing, your numbers will change.

    A more realistic 24/7 scenario for me, when I've done it, involved a couple of disposables for work and a cloth or two for home each day. So, 2.84 per day * 30 days = 85.20, plus let's say $10 for the electric and water to wash the cloth. Not included here is the amortized costs of the initial cloth diaper and plastic pant purchases. For me, I use the flat squares from and basic Gary plastic pants. So, $150-200 and I have a pretty decent diaper setup, and those costs get amortized over at least a couple hundred uses (figuring a two-year life span because of mediocre care and using one per day), probably several hundred uses with good care.

    So as long as you can take of those cloth diapers and get the most out of that initial investment, they can save you decent money.

  7. #7


    I enjoy cloth. I know it saves me Money, but maybe disposables are worthwhile too. I wear disposeables when I am active and cloth at my office and to bed. Cloth does not look too nice, but it feels so dreamy. So I have gone 24/7 for 20 days. I spent $58 bucks. $32 of it on cloth/plastic and $26. I got 29 disposeable and ten cloth. I do not think my laundry bill will change. I have 28 of the 29 left and used all ten cloth. I am hoping my stuff lasts like 6 months, but that is only possible if I make pads to add and extend wearing time.

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