With all the baby products on the market it’s no wonder that many new parents are overwhelmed and unsure what to spend their money on.

Families are bombarded with so much information that it can be daunting when you are bringing a new baby home. Most people turn to disposable products because they think it’s the cheap and easy option but disposable doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper – in long run using disposable baby products will cost between five and six times as much as sourcing reusable.

The biggest cost savings is in moving away from disposable nappies – this can set a family back close to $4000 from birth through to toilet training. Cloth nappies are the way to go – the ones on the market today are easy to use and close with snaps or Velcro. The same with wipes – this can cost several hundred dollars. Think of all the waste that goes to landfill using disposable nappies and wipes – it’s terrible for the environment.

The 6 biggest misconceptions about cloth nappies are:


It’s about $3800 to use disposable nappies whereas a full time pack of 24 modern cloth nappies costs $700. Let’s calculate how we got to that figure:

Nappy Changes Per Day         Cost Of Nappies                          Number of Nappies             Total

(1-3 Months) 10 – 12                          55c                                         300 per month                  $165 x 3 = $495

(3-6 Months) 8 – 10                           55c                                         240 per month                  $132 x 3 = $396

(6-36 Months) 6 – 8                           55c                                         180 per month                  $99 x 30 = $2970

Total cost of $3861

Cost of using cloth nappies until toilet training:

Total Needed                                                   Cost Per Item                  Total

Full Time pack of 24 cloth nappies            24 nappies in total           $700

If you are planning on having multiple children you can use the same nappies… so the cost saving just keep going!


Disposable nappies use 3 times more energy, 20 times more raw materials and 2 times more water than reusables during the manufacturing process. After all that manufacturing and the fact that 90% of Australians use disposables, it is estimated to take around 250 – 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose in landfill – that’s a big pile of rubbish! Who wants their baby’s dirty nappies sitting in landfill for so long?


Often families are worried about the amount of water they will use to wash their cloth nappies. The amount of water used in the production of disposable nappies is the same as the production and home washing of cotton reusable nappies.


There is no soaking or fancy wash routine needed. An extra load or two of washing a week and 10 minutes to prepare them is all that is required.

Old fashioned flat nappies and pins

The new of style nappies are the same shape as a disposable nappy and are fastened with snaps or Velcro. There are a few styles available to suit your family which include:

Pockets – the absorbent boosters sit inside a pocket. This makes them easy to customise the amount of absorbency required for your bub.

Snap in – the absorbent boosters snap into the waterproof nappy shell. Making them quicker to assemble.

All in one – Has everything sewn in so there is no assembly required. These are as quick and easy to use as a disposables.

Toilet Training

Toddlers often toilet train quicker when using cloth nappies. The moisture isn’t absorbed as quickly as disposables which makes them more aware of the contents of the nappy.

As you can see there are many advantages to switching to cloth. Of course if you choose to use cloth it doesn’t have to be full time. Even 1 nappy a day will save your pocket and the environment in the long run.

Have you used cloth nappies? How do you feel about them? Share with us below.

  • We used both. Would totally recommend it. None of the fuss out and about but way cheaper. We only had about 10 mcn off ebay so didn’t cost much at all. I also cut up old towels for extra absorbency in the pocket bit. Worked really well.


  • I used cloth nappies for all my babies, mostly because disposables were so expensive back then


  • About to have my second baby this was a relevant article – but I don’t think the costing is accurate, most mums stock up on disposables when they are on special, bringing them down to as low as 28c per nappy… they haven’t costed in detergent, electricity, water that you need for washing cloth nappies not to mention if your time is worth something…..
    jury is still out….


  • They don’t tell you how long they take to dry. The outer part unless they have what the outside of it is made of should not be put in a dryer. The absorbant boosters also take a long time to dry. The pocket section of the nappy itself gets stained. I don’t care what anybody says, the stain doesn’t automatically disappear in a normal washing time. The nappy minus the absorbant part is synthetic which causes nasty rashes in some babies, not just nappy rash in the normal areas you would see it. Not sure the absorbant part isn’t partly synthetic too. Some of those nappies leak too. Unless you are going to put the permanent nappies in a warm place to dry (not a dryer – its heat gradully perishes them) for some babies you would need more than 2 dozen. Or at least extra of the absorbant part. I know of 2 mums who used them and both needed to buy extra of the absorbant parts as they take longer to dry. One of the houses I have stayed there, done the washing, hung it on airers out in the sun to dry, moved the airers into the sun as it moved over etc.
    Basically the difference between the old style permanent nappies is the new ones you don’t have separate pairs of pilchers, and the absorbant part of the new ones draws the urine away from the baby’s skin so it’s not hot right against their skin, then when it goes so it not cold right against their skin. Their Poo stays against their skin and still burns it.


  • I am still wary of the washing time


  • It is good to have a choice of cloth or disposables.


  • I used cloth nappies for my baby but he developed rashes that we could not get rid of so we had no choice but to use disposables in the end. The cost is not as high as indicated by this article when you take into account the detergent needed to clean the nappies with plus the time needed to clean & dry them not to mention the OTC creams & prescription creams so it all adds up. I was having to change my baby every hour to try & prevent the rash which resulted in a lot of nappies! When we went on holiday near a beach I let him play in the salt water without a nappy on which cleared it up until I put cloth back on, once I discarded the cloth ones he rarely had any problems. I usually bought quite a few disposables when they were on special & put them away so it helped keep the cost down. I still have the cloth nappies 20 years later & now use them as hand towels or cleaning cloths, they do last a long time & came in handy after all..


  • Good points !
    My friend used cloth nappies on her babies. The nappy rash on 2 of her kids was extreme.


  • an intersting comparison. like all things it is personal preference.


  • Must admit that’s all I ever used – but the old fashioned square cloth ones with a nappy pin/or pins.
    So easy to wash, no nappy rashes, and the children virtually toilet trained themselves as they didn’t like the wet cloth nappies on them. Only used plastic pants on them if we were going out.
    I must agree with you about the environment – both with the production wastage, and the land fill problems. Hope others will change – especially with those lovely nappies with Velcro and clips. And what’s wrong with being given a few at your baby shower by your guests and family members – or doesn’t that happen any more either?


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