Reusable Nappies vs Disposable Nappies : Cost Comparison
Oct 2023 - this blog post has been updated, giving the current costs of energy and consumables. The good news is that switching to Cheeky Doodoo cloth nappies will still save you money! Even more in conjunction with using Cheeky Wipes too of course!
You can see that using our fairly robust numbers, reusable nappies are much more cost effective and cheaper than disposables.
By our comparison below, you'll save AT LEAST £373 by using reusable nappies on one child. Plus it's obviously more environmentally friendly, as you're considerably lowering both your carbon footprint and waste output. Disposable nappies including eco disposables / biodegradable nappies, take 500 years to decompose in landfill.
However the cost saving will be greater than that if you compare premium brands (Pampers / Huggies / Eco nappies). And if you're thinking of having more than one child, obviously your reusable nappies can be used again, leading to even higher cost savings!
To work these figures out, we took into account the number of nappy changes, average length of time that one child is in nappies, average number of nappies per pack and washing & drying of reusable nappies. Here's what you need to know when comparing costs of reusable nappies to disposables:
- Cost of disposable nappy prices UK
- Cost of disposable nappies
- Average Cost of Disposable Nappies per baby
- Cost of reusable nappies UK
- Cost of washing reusable nappies
- Total Cost of using Reusable Nappies UK
- Do you save money using reusable nappies?
We estimate that the 'average' baby will use approximately 5000 disposable nappies, which is a sh!tload of money to literally throw away!
Newborns can use up to 10 nappies a day, but generally 5 diapers is the 'normal' amount of nappy changes daily from around 3 or 4 months old. And we reckon that potty training normally happens at around 30 months old (130 weeks), between their 2nd and 3rd birthday.
Amount of nappies per day
Newborn = 10 x 7 days a week x 12 weeks = 840
Average = 5 x 7 days a week x 118 weeks = 4,130
Total = 4,970 nappies
Some people always only use 'branded' nappies, some use supermarket brands, so again, it's important to use an average. The market leading brand works out at around 25p per nappy, so using these will cost you around £1250.
You'll save by buying in bulk too, buying jumbo packs works our cheaper no matter which nappy size you buy. Although watch out for shrinkflation - jumbo packs are no longer quite as jumbo as they were!
We've assumed that your nappies are working out at 18p each which makes the total £894.60.
It's worth nothing though, that costs depend on the type of nappy, with pull ups generally being way more expensive than this, these costs are JUST for nappies. You'll need to add on the costs of nappy bags etc.
Switching to cloth nappies isn't just better for the environment. Switching to Cloth Nappies will save you hundreds of pounds for one baby, potentially THOUSANDS if you go on to use those nappies for another baby.
Obviously reusable nappies vary too. Some brands cost more than others and if you're looking for bespoke 'pretty' cloth nappies, you can spend a load of money. But there's no need to spend lots.
Assuming that you wash every other day, our 'ultimate reusable nappies & wipes kit' will see you right for one baby for napies AND wipes, it contains:
- 1 nappy wrap / waterproof outer layer - one size fits all
- 3 charcoal coloured bamboo night nappies - choose from
- size 1 (7 lbs up to 20 lbs),
- size 2, (18 lbs to 38 lbs),
- size 3 (35 lb+)
- 3 boosters - choose from regular / large
- 3 fleece liners
- 16 Pocket Nappies for daytime use
- 1 XL Nappy Bag/Pail Liner for storing dirty nappies
- 1 Medium Wetbag for nappy changing on the go
- 1 Bio Laundry Cleanser
- 1 All-In-One Reusable Wipes Kit
Costing just £299, it's a great kit for full time nappy usage when you consider that's ALL you have to buy for nappy changing. In our costs for reusable nappies below, we've apportioned £249 for the nappy element.
"Quality soft nappies and an ingenious wipes kit. Exactly what I needed for my twin girls and to alleviate my conscience from the guilt of throw away baby products. Friendly and helpful customer service. Will recommend to friends!" Trustpilot Review
But that's just the upfront costs. There's the cost of washing nappies to take into account too.
|Per Load||Per child*|
*washing as a sole load every other day for 30 months = 548 washes
** We assume that nappies aren't tumble dried by themselves but as part of shared load with other washing. Also assumes an 'average' tumble dryer, not most efficient or least efficient. Heat pump tumble dryers are most efficient! Assumes that nappies account for 1/3 of a full load and that the dryer is only used for half the year.
Yes, you will save will save money using reusable nappies. In the UK, that amounts to approximately £373 for your first child by using reusable nappies instead of disposable nappies. It's also easy to save even more money when using reusable nappies:
- Use for more than one child or sell them onwards
- save money through smart washing choices
- choose to air dry rather than tumble dry
Personally, I used my stash of nappies for all 4 children and then I donated them to a cloth nappy library so that they could continue to be used as they still had plenty of life left in them. So not only did I save money but was also doing my bit for the planet too. If I hadn't
But it's also worth nothing that you can save on some of the costs in washing drying your nappies too, plus minimise your environmental impact too.
Actually saving energy is a blooming brilliant idea anyway from an environmental prospect (and a geopolitical point of view too...Up Yours Putin!)
This is an area where you need to be careful of greenwashing. For quite a few years, I washed my clothing using eco washing powder or laundry balls, thinking that I was doing a good thing for the environment. Which, in theory, I was.
However, I found that actually these products didn't work as well to get my washing clean, which meant, particularly for kids school uniforms etc, that clothing got irreversibly stained and had to be replaced.
Switching to a bio washing powder really helped make my clothing a LOT cleaner, which meant more longevity. Better for the environment and my pocket too.
You can also save money by switching to non-branded washing powder. Aldi & Lidl washing powders are top rated by Which and do a fantastic job of cleaning, even on a cold or 30c wash.
Drying your washing on an airer or clothes line is always the cheapest way to dry your clothes, but we know that can be tricky in the winter.
If you're drying indoors on an airer, invest in a mould and moisture trap. These ones from Ecozone are great, they come with a refill bag too so you don't have to buy the plastic container again.
If you're upgrading your tumble dryer, look for a heat pump condenser rather than a standard condenser or vented one. Much more energy efficient, less than half the cost per load of drying.
'I brought the full wipe set and it's the best decision I ever made. They are so easy to use, wash and dry. My baby is now one and I have just brought some new wipes as going through more now she's feeding herself, but one wipe is all you need for a full face and hands scrub after dinner. One wipe for a poopy nappy, the odd occasion I have used disposable wipes I used 2 just for a wet nappy, so the money saved in the long run and the thought of im not adding extra in landfill, I feel i am going my bit for the planet and making my life easier. Easy company to order with and all arrives quickly with email updates. The points are an added bonus and I have shared with all my friends to offer them a discount too.' Samantha Jan 2022
We hope this has been useful for you. If you're interested in making the switch to reusable nappies or reusable wipes, please do get in touch. The team have all used the products themselves and just LOVE to talk pee, poo and periods! Alternaively, if you'd like to do some further research, you may be interested in:
- How to deal with poo in a reusable nappy
- Eco vs disposable nappies, which is best
- Pocket nappies: everything you need to know
Bestselling Nappy Products:
About the author: Helen Rankin is a Mum of 4, who founded Cheeky Wipes, the original reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. She went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable sanitary pads and finally reusable two part nappies and pocket nappies.
The Cheeky customer services team love helping educate customers to make the switch to reusables. They just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.