Disposable vs Cloth Costs


Before we can calculate the costs of either system, we need to know how many diapers a child uses from birth to potty training.  The following is a chart details the average number of diapers used per day:
Diapers/Day
0-1 M
Newborn (6-9 lbs)
11
1 M - 6M
Infant (8-14 lbs)
10
6M-9M
Infant (12-18 lbs)
10
6M-12M
Infant (16-22 lbs)
10
12-18 M
Baby (22-24 lbs)
9
18 M-2 Y
Toddler (24-26 lbs)
7
2-3 Y
Pre-Trainer (26-31 lbs)
6

Next we can determine the costs of using disposables.  I used the best price available by buying in bulk and ordering from diapers.com. 
For example, Pampers newborn has 30 diapers and costs $11.29.  That means each newborn diapers costs $11.29/30 = $0.38.  A newborn, using the table above, utilizes 11 diapers a day.  For one month, a newborn uses 11 diapers/day multiplied by 30 days equals 330 diapers.  Then we can calculate that a newborn uses $124.19 (330 diapers x $0.38).
Price per Pack
$11.29
$24.49
$24.49
$24.49
$24.49
Pampers Swaddlers
Sensitive
Jumbo Pk  
Newborn Diapers
30ct.
SIZE 1
76 ct
8-14 lbs
SIZE 2
70 ct
12-18 lbs
SIZE 3
62 ct
16-28 lbs
SIZE 4
52 ct
22-37 lbs
Newborn
(6-9 lbs)
$124.19
Infant
(8-14 lbs)
$483.36
Infant
(12-18 lbs)
$629.74
Infant
(16-22 lbs)
$711.00
Baby
(22-24 lbs)
$639.90
Toddler
(24-26 lbs)
$497.70
Pre-Trainer
(26-31 lbs)
$1,017.28
TOTAL COST
$4,103.17
We know that using disposables from birth to potty training costs $4,103.17.  Now lets caculate the costs of using cloth diapers.  One of the arguments against cloth is the cost of laundering the diapers.  Let’s calculate that as well.
·         DETERGENT COST: Tide Free and Gentle High Efficiency 2x Concentrated Liquid Detergent, 64-Load, 100-Ounce bottles (Pack of 4) costs $44.00.  That is $0.17 a load ($44/4 bottles/64 loads).
·         WATER/SEWER CHARGE: The typical front loader uses 25 gals of water per load.  If you look at your water bill, the average water/sewer charge is $0.005 per gallon.  One load = 25 gal x $0.005 = $.125.  If you have well water, this would be zero.
·         NATURAL GAS TO HEAT THE WASHER WATER: 20 cu.ft. of natural gas per load@ $.0015 = 3 cents/load
·         ELECTRICAL POWER TO RUN YOUR WASHER: 0.44 kwh per load @ 10.65 cents per kWh = 4.7 cents/load
·         ELECTRICAL POWER TO RUN YOUR DRYER: 5.76kwh per load @ 10.65 cents per kWh = 61 cents/load
·         WASHER DEPRECIATION: A $600 front load washer is estimated to last for 11 years. Based on 8 loads/wk x 572 wks., a washer will wash 4576 loads before having to be replaced. $600 / 4576 loads = 13 cents/load
·         DRYER DEPRECIATION: Dryer is estimated to last 13 years and dry 5408 loads. $400 / 4,680 loads = 7.4 cents/load
If we total all these costs, we find out that a load of laundry costs $1.19.  The typical cloth diaper enthusiast washes diapers every 3 days.  That equals 365 day/year divided by 3 days = 122 loads/year multiplied by 3 years = 365 loads x $1.19 = $434.25.
Now we know the laundry costs of cloth diapering to be $434.25, let’s calculate cloth diaper costs.
$17.95
$21.95
$19.95
$17.95
$9.95
$48.95
Fuzzibunz
Perfect Size
Fuzzibunz
One Size
bumGenius
(Artist)
bumGenius
econobum
(ea)
econobum
(package)
0-1 M
Newborn (6-9 lbs)
X-small
1 M - 6M
Infant (8-14 lbs)

$658.50
$598.50
$538.50
$  298.50
$122.38
6M-9M
Infant (12-18 lbs)

6M-12M
Infant (16-22 lbs)
Small
12-18 M
Baby (22-24 lbs)
Medium
$484.65
18 M-2 Y
Toddler (24-26 lbs)
Medium
2-3 Y
Pre-Trainer (26-31 lbs)
Large
$323.10
Laundry Cost

$432.89
$432.89
$432.89
$432.89
$  432.89
$432.89
TOTAL COST

$  1,240.64
$  1,091.39
$  1,031.39
$971.39
$  731.39
$555.27
Savings over disposables
70%
73%
75%
76%
82%
86%
2nd Child (Only cost is laundry!)
$432.89
$432.89
$432.89
$432.89
$  432.89
$432.89
Additional savings over disposables
89%
89%
89%
89%
89%
89%

In conclusion, the most economical cloth diapering method costs $122.38 in materials + 432.89 for laundry, which totals $555.27.  That is a 86% savings over disposables!

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