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Thread: Cost of Cloth

  1. #1

    Default Cost of Cloth

    I had to replace some cloth diapers recently, which gave me the chance to get a cost estimate.
    I use a large flat 4-layer from Unit cost is $20 plus shipping. I got about 180 nights out of it before it started losing absorbancy and I had to add some extra padding to it. After about 130 nights, it was getting thread bare. I ordered some new ones and did a weight comparison. The new diaper is 18 ounces and the old one is 12. So it had lost a third of its fabric over that time. The cost and duration shows around $0.20 per night, give or take.
    I use a plastic pant, and the cost varies a lot there. There are two basic thicknesses: 4 mil and 7 mil. The cost is about $15 either way for a basic pant. The 4 mil went about 45 nights before it started to break up, for a cost of about $0.30 per night. I picked up a 7 mil and used it for about 150 nights without breaking up. It was starting to become noisier and stiffer, but is still useable. My wife decided I needed more to put into rotation to keep the odor down, so I don't know how long it would have gone. But if we take the 150 nights, it becomes $0.10 per night, a third of the cost of the 4-mil.
    Together that makes $0.40 for the thin plastic, and $0.20 for the thick. If you are using something durable, like PUL, the price drops again.
    For laundry, I rinse it in the shower and drop it in with the bath towels and other whites. Since we use our bath towels once only, we run about 5 loads a week anyway, so it makes little difference. For those using a public laundry, the cost probably doubles.

  2. #2


    Nice breakdown. I use both cloth and disposables. They both have their benefits and costs. Taking away the sheer thickness and the hassle of laundering, cloth and waterproof pants are more affordable, comfortable and definitely more babyish. I have a rotating stash of several dozen diapers and a dozen waterproof pants. I do a load of cloth diapers 3-4 times per week. The cost to launder becomes a factor when you do that many. However, they are still cheaper than high quality disposables and save us from filling up the landfill with used diapers.

  3. #3


    That is great info. Based on 180 days and 150 days I probably spend 70 cents a day for 3 cloth diapers at $15, 6 cloth baby diapers at $1, 3 disposables at 10 cents each and plastic pants at $5 each. More than I thought, but still a good deal for 24/7 use. That is $4.9 per week or $21 a month.

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