Saving Money with Real Nappies


We could all do with watching our pennies right now, and lets face it, literally throwing away money on disposable nappies is the last thing anyone would want to be doing.

The odd £5 here, or £10 there on packets of nappies may not seem such a problem, but when people actually stop and add up the true cost of these regular purchases, they are often horrified at how much money they are throwing away.

A common concern of parents is that rising fuel costs would make washing and drying nappies so expensive that they are no longer economical- but what needs to be realised is that one of the main components of the disposable nappy is indeed petroleum, not to mention the amount of energy that goes into producing each and every one- the costs of disposables is rising, and will continue to do so. So while the cost of washing reusables may be rising a little, the cost of disposables is rising much faster.

It is easy to spend upwards of £14.50 per week on disposable nappies, nappy sacks and baby wipes during the first 2.5 years of infancy, so for the average child you are looking at spending a whopping £1885 just to get them to potty training!* Now thats an awful lot of money to be simply throwing away! 

Disposable nappies cost you dearly as a taxpayer also- for every £1 spent on disposables, it costs the British taxpayer 10p to dispose of them. Now that adds up! This is the reason so many council authorities have introduced cash incentive schemes to encourage people to use reusable nappies. If you live in London for example you may recieve a voucher for as much as £54.15!

The long-term savings of switching to Reusable Nappies are obvious (including taking into account home laundering costs¹), and don't be fearful of an unreasonable initial outlay, as we always recommend that you only buy about 8-10 nappies to start off with, to see what type work best for you and your lifestyle, then gradually build up your 'stash' as you go.

Based on some of our Nappy Kit options, we have calculated how much you can potentially save over the course of your childs infancy by switching to reusable nappies.....

The Budget Nappy Kit Stash:


For a more comprehensive nappy stash, you might want to add the following additions. Note that disposable liners are entirely optional, some parents use them exclusively, some use them only at certain times, and some opt for reusable liners or none at all.


Ways to further increase savings:

  • If you use reusable nappies, you may as well use reusable wipes, and just wash the lot together. It may surprise you that disposable wipes will cost you between 2 - 4 pence a piece! Over the course of 2.5 years, it is easy to spend approximately £250 on disposable wipes. Compare that to a one off spend of £10-£30 on cloth wipes, and the saving speaks for itself!

  • Wash at 40° when possible

  • Use the same nappies for 2nd or 3rd children

¹ Laundry Costs were adapted from those calculated by WEN. Washing Machine depreciation through laundering cloth nappies at a value of £25 over 2.5 years. For a standard wash, the weight of washing powder used is 100gsms, however only half of this amount should be used when washing cloth nappies to avoid detergent build up, so 50gsms calculates at 10p per wash. The average number of nappy washes is 2.8 per week, over 130 weeks, or 364 washes. So 364 x 10p is a cost of £36.4. Most real nappy manufacturers recommend a washing temperature of 60°. In 2005, the average unit cost of electricity was 8.67p per kWh, so based on a B energy washing machine, a load of nappies washed at 60° and using 1.12 kWh, incurs a cost of 9.71p. For 364 washes over 2.5 years, the cost incurred is £35.34. All these factors considered, gives a total cost of £96.74 of laundering cloth nappies (without tumble drying them) for 2.5 years.


* Guardian, 16th February 2006. Report commissioned by Family Circle Magazine and sponsored by Maestro.


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