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Comparing a Cloth vs. Disposable Diaper


Today we will be comparing the use of cloth vs. disposable diaper in a few areas. We will be looking at the health area, the cost differences, the over-all personal desires, and finally how eco-friendly each one is. Let’s just jump right in and start this review. First let’s take a look at the health arena.



In The Health Arena

Disposal diapers are more breathable but disposable diapers lack the soft feel that you can get with cloth diapers.

Many people believe that one is better than the other to prevent diaper rash but by just plain changing a soiled diaper promptly will help to prevent a diaper rash from beginning in the first place.

One major advantage I found is that many moms reported that “potty training” was earlier. This was simple because the child could FEEL the wetness. The disposable diapers today advertise that they will pull the wetness away from the child so the child doesn’t feel wet. But this can delay the natural potty training benefits.

Now to talk about the bottom dollar!! and it’s effect. What does it really cost a person for a year?



A person can spend anywhere from $2,000-$3,000 per baby for two years on disposable diapers whereas you will spend $800-$1,000 per baby for the same amount of time on cloth diapers. Of course that includes the cost of accessories. The cloth diapers are reusable so for the 2nd child the cost is less since you already have the accessories and only have to buy more diapers. So for a 2nd child you will spend between $400-$500.
I found a website that did breakdown the price of both very detailed so I will list it simply as a comparison here.



705.53 Diaper Stash                                        750.00 Diapers

(includes accessories)

51.00 Detergent                                                        130.02 Wipes                                                                                                                                                                                                  175.55 Water & Electric                                           152.75 Accessories



  930.08TOTAL FOR YEAR 1                        1032.77 TOTAL FOR YEAR 1




0 Diaper Stash                                                                       725.oo Diapers

51.00 Detergent                                                                      94.56 Wipes

175.55 Water & Electric                                                         65.34 Accessories

226.55 TOTAL FOR YEAR 2                                   884.90 TOTAL FOR YEAR 2


Wow that’s a BIG price difference!!! They are about the same the first year but boy the second year what a difference. And something I forgot to mention is that is your cloth diapers can be resold if you don’t need them again.

Something else is that you can get some of your newborn stash supply used because a lot of people do resale theirs. Many times you can get some really good deals doing this! This will help lower your output also!! Nothing will lower your output on the disposable side because all those must be bought new.



Your Personal Desire

Your choice of which diaper to use should be your choice. There are pro and cons to both.

Unfortunately society does make some of this decision for us. For instance, if you are going back to work and put your child in day care most day cares will ask that the child be in disposables. Some are beginning to accept infants in the all-in-one diapers since they are similar to disposables. This is only true for some day cares though.


A solution to this would be to have them in cloth while the child is with you and in disposables at day care. I have noticed more and more people switching back to cloth. Nowadays they are coming in so many colors and different types but still some resist the change.


Sometimes a sitter won’t change a cloth diaper if you want a “night out”. So that, can be another dilemma.


Ultimately the decision should be yours but there are worldly events that affect your decision.


What About The Landfill


This isn’t as clear cut as many people think.

Yes disposable diapers do use many trees and plastic and are just thrown in our landfills when they are used… maybe (at least by responsible people) When you use cloth diapers you need to think of all the water that is used to wash them.

The only major disadvantage or bad effect could be found is that disposable aren’t biodegradable and contain harmful materials for babies sensitive skin such as the chemicals that are in the gel.



The Finial Tally


So what have we learned today?

I want to point out some things that I thought were very interesting to me. In the health arena there was no difference between either diaper when it comes to diaper rash. I found that fascinating. I, like many others had always believed that disposable diapers lead to diaper rash. Through my research I have learned something new. As long as you change a baby as soon as they soil then they will be fine. Another intriguing fact, and now that I think about it makes sense, is that cloth diapers probably lead to early “potty training”.


So as we found out from this review that cloth diapers are less expensive than disposable. Cloth diapers were compared in detailed to inexpensive disposable that were bought in bulk so the price comparison may be a little on the low side.


As far as the environment goes, of course disposables aren’t biodegradable and do have harmful chemical that could damage babies sensitive skin. Cloth may be a better bet in this area especially if your child has very sensitive skin.


And finally the choice between cloth and disposable should be a personal one but society seems to play a big role. It used to be that cloth was the only way. Then disposables came and many places are asking that you use them for “convenience sake”. But just recently I’m beginning to see more people going back to cloth. Again let me stress, what ever diaper you decided to use YOU should be the one who makes that informed decision!





If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Elaine Smith

10 thoughts on “Comparing a Cloth vs. Disposable Diaper

  1. Very informative, and it makes one think, for sure.
    It has been years since I’ve done cloth diapers, but there was a time I had to use cloth because I couldn’t afford anything else.
    And there was a part of me that often wondered where all the disposables went, and how long it would take for the diapers to decompose.
    Great article, thanks for the read.

  2. My daughter has used the all-in-one and the all-in-two cloth diapers with great success. Her two year old is nearly potty trained now because she was allowed to be aware of wetness, however brief the experience. Her baby has never had a diaper rash because of the careful washing instructions these diapers come with. They are very durable and we love the colors they come in.

  3. Thank you so much Debra for leaving this comment. I’m glad your daughter was able to use the diapers. My research did talk about how cloth diapers would lead to early potty training because the child could feel when they were wet.

  4. Hi: Like me, you are soon going to be rid of the “admin”.

    Read your post with interest. My “babies” are now parents and grandparents themselves .
    My 3 toddlers had no choice but to wear cloth diapers, because that is all that was available. And I HATED THEM! I remember many mothers kept their soiled diapers in a “diaper pail”. I refused to do this as they were smelly and germy. I would rinse all diapers thoroughly, then hang them with 2 clothespins, on a hanger and hang it until dry in my laundry room. When the diapers were completely dry and basically clean, I would add them to my dirty clothes laundry basket.

    This system worked for me, and I do not think I would have used disposable diapers, even if they were available at the time. Thanks for a well written and well researched post.

  5. This is enlightening. I used disposables for convenience sake, since i had to work. I’ve never really bothered to check the advantages and disadvantages of both except for the financial aspect. A fair part of the monthly budget went for diapers then. My mum, on the other hand is an ‘ardent believer’ in cloth diapers and never failed to point it out during her visits.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Hey Eohia,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. Your mom sounds like a wise person!!!

      Financial issues are something I think about constantly. But now you know the cost difference. To be honest, I knew there was a difference just didn’t know how much.

      Again thanks for reading and commenting


  6. Hi Elaine,

    Very interesting! You seem to have covered all the bases.

    Here in the Philippines what I have noticed is that even very poor people opt for the convenience of disposable diapers.

    I don’t like the idea of landfills getting packed with plastic and chemicals that lead to nothing good.  Biodegradable plastic shopping bags are in wide use here.  I have always thought of them as substandard for my use as I store things in them for long periods and then find that they fall apart in the closet.  This material would seem to fill the bill for disposable diapers.

    Thanks for all the good info.



    1. Hey Joe,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. 

      I guess in the US it’s different because many of the shelters provide cloth diapers. I guess it just depends on were you live. When I lived in Central Texas a lady there used a plastic shopping bag as rubber pants over the cloth diaper.


  7. I work in a child care and honestly speaking we prefer disposable diapers over cloth diapers due to the convenience, even though I will certainly use cloth diapers in the future when I care for my own kids as I believe in saving the Earth. And since it cuts down the costs, why not? But in a child care setting, where you have limited educarers to care for so many kids at the same time, washing cloth diapers for all kids is almost impossible, so disposable diapers do have their good pros too.

    1. Hey Rachel,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. As I stated most day cares don’t accept kids in cloth diapers. A solution for this would be to use disposables for day care and then back to cloth when you get home.


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