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Cost of nappies

Tips & Bits... Cloth vs Disposable Nappies

Big decision.  Lots of choices.  Lots to weigh up. This is seriously one of the most perplexing questions that parents face.  Of course, for some the choice is simple, but I would say that I have spent a lot more hours discussing nappy choice than pram choice.

Firstly it will have more skin to skin contact with baby than you will.  And we spend a lot of time changing them, so they are omnipresent.  (And they do take up a lot of space.)

Here is some food for thought.  (And don’t forget to check out our older posts on this subject.)


Baby Bare Cloth Nappy

Baby Bare Cloth Nappy

  • Once you buy the full set, the main expense is done (only need to buy liners      which are relatively inexpensive)
  • Easier to toilet train – uncomfortable in wet diaper
  • Limited landfill issues
  • Good quality nappies can last multiple children
  • Better absorbency in the newer, modern cloth nappies
  • Home-delivery for cloth is an option although this obviously increases the cost
  • Cot linen changes likely
  • More likely to cause nappy rash
  • Smell from soaking nappies
  • Detergent, Power & Water usage increase, plus time for washing/drying
  • Can be slow drying depending on the cloth used
  • Can be reused for baby number 2 and even 3


  • Highly absorbent
  • Minimising night time changing – maybe more sleep for parents
  • Less chance of nappy rash – with frequent changing
  • Don’t require any accessories –they are an all in one solution
  • Higher cost over the lifecycle of nappy usage
  • May increase difficulty of potty training
  • Environmentally unfriendly – take a long time to degrade in landfills


  • In the first year the costs work out to be quite similar (we based our costs on Huggies 144 packs of nappies versus Pikapu All-in-One Full Time Pack of Cloth nappies)
  • Year 1: cloth $1,308.55; Disposable $1,318.88
  • Year 2: cloth $653.35; Disposable $1,271.42 (cloth cost is based on using disposable liners for every nappy change)
  • Obviously kids toilet habits are different, volumes may differ; there are cheaper   & more expensive nappies on the market than Huggies; and costs fluctuate. The above does not include costs for buckets and nappy covers.  You need to do the exercise for yourself considering the brands you want.



    My advice – don’t sweat it.  And don’t be black and white about it.  It doesn't have to be either/or – it can be a combination.  Don’t forget that there are great disposable options now that decompose quicker than the mainstream nappies, if you are trying to balance environment with convenience.

    I am a combination user – the cloth nappies I have are amazing.  They just don’t leak.  They don’t.  Even when there is major stuff leaking out of the baby.  But I use them at home and during the day only.   

    Ultimately, you have to do what you feel is right for you.