Why choose cloth nappies?
What are cloth nappies made of?
Which nappy to choose?
How many nappies will I need
What care do cloth nappies need?
How to fold your nappies
How much does it all cost?
Troubleshooting Tips
Cloth nappies & the environment
How to boost a nappy?
Cloth nappying Twins & Triplets
Modern Cloth Nappy Publications

How much do modern cloth nappies cost?

That nappies will be a large expense, is pointed out to us new parents from the moment we are expecting a baby. It’s an additional reason people want to use cloth nappies: to save money. First of all: YOU WILL SAVE MONEY! The only down side is the initial investment that is needed to start with cloth nappies.

How do we rationalise this initial expense? Three steps:

1. How much will Disposable Nappies cost?

Disposable nappies vary from approximately 36c for house-branded nappies to 81c for branded nappies (but these come down to between 49-65c each on special) *

The boring bit: On average (based on the above that is $0.59 per nappy), that equates to $4.13 - $5.90 per day, $28.91 - $41.30 per week and $115.64 - $165.20 per month (assuming 4 weeks per month) for the first 6 months (newborns are generally changed 7 - 10 times per day**). That equates to $693.84 - $991.20 for the first 6 months. 

After that, your infant / toddler will need a nappy change around 5 times per day and a night time nappy. That equates to $3.54 per day, $24.78 per week and $99.12 per month (again assuming 4 weeks per month). This phase will last for 2-3 years and costs around $1189.44 per year.

So, over 2 ½ years your baby could cost you around $3072.72 in disposable nappies... (that is 6120 nappies over 2 ½ years!).

* Based on information obtained from www.starcanterbury.co.nz (click here for the full article).

** Based on information obtained from www.clothnappyweek.co.nz.

Well known brands of disposable nappies like Treasures and Huggies, sell for about $0.51 per nappy when you buy in bulk online. That means that if you used just 1 cloth nappy a day for the average 2 ½ years that your baby is in nappies you’ll save around $465!

2. How much do cloth nappies cost?

For the last two years I’ve kept a spread sheet (.... I know....) noting down how many cloth nappies I used on my son and additional expenses I had. I was able to do this all because I always used nappy liners and just counted the rolls I bought (100 nappies per roll).

Your initial outlay depends on the nappy that you buy. Our Company’s range varies from $599 for a Real Nappies Birth to Potty Pack to $798 for 20 One Size Fits All nappies. Add to that your washing incl laundry detergent (around $250 for 2 ½ years if you wash cold), 2 buckets ($25) and boosters ($100). Your total cost is $974 - $1173.

I also used flushable liners which add on average $10 per 100 nappies. Based on the calculations above, these cost $612 over 2 ½ years. This is optional though as you don’t have to use them. You can opt for no liners or even washable liners which would average at around $50 for 20.**

** For convenience, I leave these cost out of further calculations. If however you choose to use flushable liners (and I swear by them), add $612 to your total budget.

3. Calculate the difference

With cloth nappies you can save between $1899.72 and $2098.72 over a period of 2 ½ years. When you have any additional children, your savings are around $3072.72 per child!

Remember: you really do get what you pay for. If a nappy system seems cheaper than another, there will be a reason for this. Cloth nappies have a hard life ahead of them. Your nappies will be washed continually for the next three years (around 500 washes) so you want to invest in a product that will last the distance.