Cloth vs Disposable Diapers

By | 21/12/2015

With all the talk about the environment you are probably wondering if you should be using cloth or disposable nappies (diapers).  When I had my babies the issue never arose.  Disposable nappies were not in common use until much later even though they were first produced in 1948. I have to admit they would have been a blessing for me as I didn’t own a washing machine when my first baby was born and did all my washing by hand.

We have been aware of  the impact of disposable nappies on our environment for a long time and this has led to the debate on cloth vs disposable diapers .  This debate has led to a rise in the production and popularity of cloth nappies and more people are going back to using them.

Eco-Friendly Cloth Nappies

Disposable Nappies

What is the impact on the environment

Disposable nappies have a huge impact on the environment.  It has been estimated that one baby will need approximately 5,500 nappies from birth to when the baby is toilet trained.  These nappies go into landfill dumps and there they stay because these dumps do not have the conditions needed for them to decompose.

What is the cost

If your baby uses 5,500 disposable nappies then you are looking at a huge expense over the time it takes for him to be fully toilet trained.

Age Qty per week Cost per nappycloth nappies
3-6 months 56 $0.40
6 months + 40 $0.50
Disposable wipes 1 $5.00
Total Nappies over 2 ½ years

The total cost has been calculated at approximately $3000 to $4000 per child.  This amount does not include the disposable wipes and even more if you use disposable nappy sacks.

The pros

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Contains absorbent chemicals to keep wetness away from baby
  • They come in a variety of sizes to suit your baby
  • So much easier when traveling you don’t have to carry soiled nappies with you
  • Use less because they are absorbent

The cons

  • They contain chemicals
  • The tabs can tear and you have to throw the nappy away.
  • Can make potty training more difficult due to the absorbancy of the nappy your toddler will not feel uncomfortable.
  • Adds 3.4 million tons of waste to landfill and does not decompose


Disposables are quick and easy to use and does cut down on your workload when you don’t have to wash nappies every day but they are an environmental disaster.

The cost of disposable nappies is ongoing until baby is toilet trained and the age at which this is achieved can vary making this an expensive option for the parents.

Cloth Nappies

What is the impact on the environment

There is minimal impact on the environment.  You will use your washing machine more often putting up your electricity bill but if you dry your nappies on the clothes line rather than in the dryer the cost is very small.

You can use biodegradable washing detergent with the benefit of protecting your baby from chemicals as well as having less impact on the environment.

There are liners available to make cleaning baby easier.  Just drop the nappy into you Nappie bucket and when it is time to wash, tip it into your washing machine.  This way everything is hygienic and you will not have smelly nappies lying around.  You won’t even know they are there.

What is the cost?.

The cost for a supply of  Cushie Tushies Brand nappies  from birth to toilet trained is $800 to $900.  When baby is toilet trained you can put them away for the next baby.


  • Does not cost as muchDiaper Bag
  • Comes in all in one  type making them easier to change.
  • Available in different natural fibers such as cotton, terry cloth or flannel
  • Reusable for the next child.
  • Makes potty training easier.


  • can be messy if you don’t use a liner
  • Makes more work for mum with washing
  • Extra cost of water and electricity required
  • Not as easy as disposables when traveling


There are a few draw backs with cloth nappies when traveling.  No one wants smelly nappies in their car on a hot day.  Personally this is when I would have a few disposables for the journey.

The pull up or snap on type nappies are easy to use.  There are sizes available for babies from birth up to potty trained.  It is no longer the old square of toweling you might remember fastened with safety pins.

There is minimal impact on the environment and are made of natural fabrics with no chemicals added.

There is a huge financial saving when you use cloth nappies and occasional disposables and the little extra work needed for washing is more than compensated for by this cost saving.

If you would like to know more about Cushie Tushie Cloth Nappies Click Here To View Products.


Cushie Tushies








6 thoughts on “Cloth vs Disposable Diapers

  1. Jan K

    Hi Margaret, my mum only used Cloth Nappies for us those days as couldn’t afford disposable ones. My personal opinion, I would say that we may need a balance. We have the responsible to take care the environment of the earth by reducing the disposable nappies. But can’t deny we need the convenience at times when travelling.

    As such, would strongly suggest the parents to use cloth nappies whenever at home and only consider the disposable nappies when travelling or needed.

    1. admin

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. I totally agree with you. Disposable nappies have been around for quite awhile and are easy and convenient but oh boy, aren’t they expensive and their long term affects are really bad.

      If every parent only used them when they were out it would reduce the toxic waste in our landfill by at least 60% and that would be great news for planet earth.

      When I look back at what was available to my mother I realize just how lucky we are to day but it also makes me realize that while making things so much easier we have reached a point where we have to change or completely destroy the only planet we have.

      Thanks for commenting and have I hope your Christmas if filled with love and joy.


  2. Geoff

    Bravo! Splendid website, and excellent blog showing all the pros and cons of disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers. The content was captivating, and presented in a way that was easy to read. Which side of the argument are you on? Are there any other options available on the market? How do you feel about the pull ups? Best of wishes. Geoff.

    1. admin

      Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for your thoughts on this subject and my post. I really appreciate your input.

      I lean heavily toward the cloth nappies. I guess it is easy for me because I do not have any young babies to take care of but I did have and I did use cloth nappies. I would never have been able to afford disposables anyway.

      If we don’t take action to clean up our planet nos then we are not giving the babies being born today a lot to look forward to. If all mothers only used disposables when they were out and is was awkward to carry soiled nappies then we would reduce this form of pollution drastically.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family


  3. Pitin

    Hi Margaret,
    I am also using a cloth diaper for my toddler. I started at 3months until now (22months). I noticed that you estimated the cost to be $800 to $900 until toilet trained? Hmm. It’s a bit expensive for me. I am using a one size diaper which I bought them for $88 x 3boxes (a total of 18 covers and 36 inserts) and hopefully they fit until toilet trained. What is extra special with the Cushie Tushies brand that you have mentioned? Is it not one sized? Do you have to keep buying until toilet trained?

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Hi Pitin
      Great to hear from you again. I value your comments and thoughts about my articles.
      The Price I quoted for Cushie Tushie Nappies was an all up cost for the entire time from birth to fully potty trained. This included the disposable liners that make cleaning up so much easier. This is an ongoing expense until baby is fully potty trained. The nappies are also one sized and are adjustable as baby grows.
      I chose the comparison with Cushie Tushie as the cloth version nappy because I believe it is top of the range in cloth nappies. The product was also recommended to me by a young mum who is using them. Cushie Tushie also sells their own detergent especially for their product as well as other accessories. All of these things were factored into the cost I quoted. If you click on the link at the bottom of my article you can watch the videos about the products available.
      All the best to you .


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