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Best Cloth Diapers – How To Save Money With Cloth Diapers

Updated on June 7, 2013

The cloth diapers of our days don’t resemble with the diapers that our grandmothers used. Modern cloth diapers are now well studied: elastic waist and thighs, closing by band system auto-seize or pressures. They are they are colorful, safe and efficient. A baby essential that will save you money, is ecological and respectful with your baby’s skin.

Eco-friendly baby diaper

Using a cloth diaper is, above all, an ecological alternative for the disposable baby diapers. The production of disposable diapers, as well as their elimination, generates a lot of pollution.

From newborn to toddler, the use of disposable diapers will require for one child 4.5 trees and 25 kg of plastic. Their manufacture includes extracting cellulose of trees, oil for the waterproof part and the absorbent gel, but, also, a huge amount of water for their laundering (much larger than for the maintenance of the cloth diapers).

A happy tushy, a happy planet

Use cloth diapers to save money and the environment
Use cloth diapers to save money and the environment | Source

A huge volume of waste

Disposable diapers represent 4% of our household waste. At the rate of 6 disposable diapers per day, it is estimated that a child, from birth to the age of 2-3, will use about 5000 baby diaper, that is, to give you a more concrete idea, 1 tonnes of waste.

Used for an average of 4 hours, a disposable diaper will need about 500 years to degrade, a slow process during which it will produce (among others...) of methane. The toxic emissions generated by the incineration of such waste are also a problem.

The alternative: Cloth diapers

Their impact on the environment, of course, is not zero. However, they are more eco-friendly. The washable diaper industry doesn’t use the same amount of chemical products. It should also be noted that some diapers are manufactured from biological tissues or uses the recycling of plastic bottles for the fleece.

The only downside is the energy consumption and water linked to the maintenance of a cloth diaper. Thus, it should be noted that a layer of washable requires 7 litres of water per use (for the machine to wash the laundry and toilet) or 3 times less than a disposable nappy.

It can be used up to 200 times, a cloth diapers will decompose completely in less than 6 months. So, cloth diapers are therefore much more respectful to the environment, both their production and their use, as they are by definition washable, therefore reusable, even for several children.

Let’s talk about how to save your money with the baby diapers

Even if the ecology is not your main concern, you can really save money while using the cloth diapers. And if you have a low budget for baby essentials, you find an additional motivation to choose cloth diapers.

Disposable diapers budget

For these baby diapers, the cost is double. You have a direct cost, related to the purchase, and an indirect cost – local taxes of the household waste. If the cost to the community is difficult to calculate, it is relatively easy to calculate when you think at the number of disposable diapers your baby uses.

The use of disposable diapers is very variable from one child to another. But we can estimate that the use of disposable diapers cost about €1000 (used for 2.5 years at the rate of 6 changes per day).

Cloth diapers budget

The direct cost is associated with the purchaseof the cloth diapers and other accessories, but the costs are also related to the maintenance of these diapers. We can estimate around €600. A washable diaper can be reused for another child, reducing all average costs. And you can resell the diapers.

How many cloth diapers do you need?

If your baby has up to a year, you'll need about 15-20 cloth diapers. If he’s already a toddler, there's no need to change it that often; and at this point you will need fewer diapers.

  • Up to 6 months – 12 (if you wash them daily), or 36 (if you was then every three days)
  • 6-12 months – Between 10 and 30
  • 12-24 months – Between 8 and 24
  • Potty trained – 4 to 12.

Types of cloth diaper

Every cloth diaper has three components:

First layer – in contact with the skin

Second layer - which absorbs moisture

Third layer – on the exterior and is waterproof

1. The classic diapers

It looks like a disposable nappy. However, it’s not waterproof and therefore requires a pantie for protection to make it waterproof. The interest is the drying time! This type of cloth diaper is equipped with elastic at the level of the thighs to more effectively retain the stool. It closes using Snappis, depending on the model.

The classical diaper comes in several sizes or in one size. In this case, the layer is adjustable through a system of pressures on the front.

The classic diaper is usually from organic cotton or bamboo. It can be colored or patterned. Their aesthetic has little importance, because you have to add a protective pantie.


  • They are not waterproof, so you have to add panties
  • The diaper is a little thick for a newborn’s bottom


  • Good absorption
  • Low leakage risk
  • Easier to use than diapers
  • Reasonable price

2. Prefold diaper

Is a rectangular material, similar to the classic diaper, but easier to put because it no longer requires to be folded. The material is sewn in three. In the middle are multiple layers of absorbent material. Like the classic diapers, the prefold diaper needs Snappis and panties.

The advantages and disadvantages are similar with the classic diaper, however, the prefolds are more absorbent, easier to put on and a bit more expensive.

3. The All-In-One diapers

They resemble to the disposable diapers and are easy to use.

The All-In-One (AIO) diaper has an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable closures. It’s very easy to use and there are many models, according to the materials used in their manufacture: organic cotton, flannel, sponge, bamboo.

The colors and the patterns available satisfy everyone. You just have to find the perfect all-in-one diaper that fits to the morphology of the child. It should not be too tight, to irritate his skin at the level of the elastic, but it has to be sufficiently adjusted, because otherwise it will leak!


  • Average absorption
  • Slow drying time. The dryer is not recommended, because it will prematurely damage the outside layer
  • The price is a little high


  • Very easy to use
  • Requires little manipulation
  • No panties of protection to add
  • Large selection of colors and patterns

4. Pocket diapers

It's the same principle as for the all-in-one diaper, but instead of the inner absorbent cloth diaper soaker sewn in, the pocket diaper has an opening, a pocket to add removable inserts. So, you can easily control the absorption capacity of the diaper.

This type of cloth diaper is thus quite suitable for a day and night use. Furthermore, being able to remove the layer inserts allows a faster drying time. The exterior fabric is always waterproof fabric, and the layer that touches baby's bottom is made of soft fleece that keeps moisture away.


  • The high risk of leakage
  • The dryer is not recommended, because the heat will prematurely damage the outside layer


  • Fast drying time
  • Easy to use
  • You can adjust the absorption with additional inserts

Be honest!

What kind of diapers do you buy?

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Do you consider replacing the disposable diapers with the cloth diapers?

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    • Babytech profile image

      Babytech 4 years ago

      Thank you so much, Mary 615!

    • Babytech profile image

      Babytech 4 years ago

      Amhabel, good luck with the second baby:) I look forward to know how is the new experience

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I was way past the diaper stage in my life, and then a Great Granddaughter arrived. She and her Mother lived with me for a while and I went through the diapers all over again.

      Good info here for Mommies. Voted UP.

    • amhanel profile image

      amhanel 4 years ago from Ann Arbor, Michigan

      Thanks for this post! I'm hoping to have my second baby within the next year or so, and I really want to try cloth diapers this time:)