Child Care Blog

Cloth Diapers VS Disposable Diapers

by | Mar 9, 2015 | Child Care, Cloth Diapers, General, Parenting

To use cloth diapers or to use disposable diapers that is the question!


This has become a topic of discussion among new moms. There seems to be a number of personal reasons ranging from financial to ecological concerns. Quality cloth diapers cost about $2.80 a piece to buy while the average name brand disposable diaper costs about .25 cents a piece if bought in a jumbo pack.


Here is a breakdown of the average diaper usage of an infant.

0-1 month 10-12 330
1-5 months 8-10 270
5-9 months 8 240
9-12 months 8 240


After a bit of research and math, figuring in the initial cost of cloth diapers and the associated costs of laundering ( detergent , fabric softner , water, electric and natural gas ) the cost benefit of cloth vs disposable diapers over the course of a childs first year seems negligible, however the cost benefit raises significantly in the second year as the cost of purchasing new cloth diapers all but disappears and there is just the laundering costs.


A little more research shows that there are about 4 million babies born per year in the United States per year, that means that approximately 40 million diapers are being used per day just on babies and about 90-95% are disposable diapers. That’s a lot of waste! Literally!!


There are Pros and Cons to both types of diapers, so lets discuss them



Pros: Made of cotton, terry cloth, or flannel all natural materialsCloth diapers come pre-folded or all in one diapers that has an insert that you put inside of a cover that looks and function like a disposable diaper. Velcro closures not pins needed or you can get the old fashioned need to fold and pin diaper). You can sign up for a diaper service. They will rent you diapers pick them up on a schedule for laundering and leave you fresh ones. This service costs about $3000.00 per year.

If you find yourself worrying about the dyes and gels used in disposables, then using a cloth baby diaper makes sense for you. Plus, cloth diapers are far less absorbent than disposables diapers which means more diaper changes. This can lead to fewer rashes. It can also be easier to start potty training because kids wil begin to know that they are wet and not like the feeling and will desire to use the potty and underwear.

Cons: Cloth diapers can be extremely messy if baby has a digestive upset. Some manufacturers do make some with disposable liners but, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? (This type of diaper is much more expensive to but and use.). You will find yourself doing a greater amount of laundry and you will watch utility bills increase. Unless you decide to carry disposable diapers as back ups when you are going out you will find yourself carrying around soiled and smelly diapers while you are out and well for me that was just not that entertaining of a thought.


Pros: Disposable diapers are convenient. All you have to do is pick a size based on your baby’s weight and age. Traveling with your baby or toddler is much simpler when you change a soiled diaper you can just dispose of it instead of putting it a plastic bag or bin to be cleaned at a later date. You will find that you can change diapers less frequently every 2 hours instead of every hour because disposable diaper are more absorbent than the cloth ones.

Cons: Some babies are allergic to the chemicals in the disposables. The disposable diapers are not as green as cloth. Disposables diapers account for about 3 million tons of landfill waste per year and just don’t decompose. (in all fairness a lot of stuff doesn’t break down in a landfill even if it is biodegradable. You need oxygen to support the degradation of garbage. ).

In the end, the choice is totally up to the parent, and at my childcare centers ( Brass Ring Learning Centers ) we have always allowed parents the option of which diapering method makes the most sense for them and their baby.


If cloth diapers are you preference, we ask you to provide us with a diaper pail and pail liners. The diaper pail must be clearly marked with your childs name on the lid as well as the side. We also ask that you take soiled diapers home daily for laundering to maintain a healthy and pleasant smelling baby room. Additionally, we do not rinse the diapers out as that would cause a cross contamination issue.

Post Categories