Cloth nappies are cheaper in the long run compared to disposables.
Let's do the calculations:
Budget option - 24 cloth nappies x R100 each = R2,400
High end option - 24 cloth nappies x R400 each = R9,600
Disposable nappies - 30 months x R444pm = R13,320*
With cloth you can save R11,000+ on a single child.
If you have more than one child, you can use the same cloth nappies on your second and even third child and the savings increase exponentially. You can save R26,000+ when using cloth on two kids. This doesn't even take the potential resale value of the nappies into account. That's roughly enough to cover two years of school fees!
Let's break down the extra costs:
Cloth wipes - 4 packs of baby face wipes (10 wipes per pack) are enough for full-time use and will cost R240.
Disposable wipes - you will go through roughly 66 packs of wet wipes up to potty training age. At R20 a pack this will amount to R1,320 from birth to potty training.
Cloth saving: R1,080
Cloth safe cream - on average R80 a jar and you will go through max 3 jars in total. Total cost: R240
Regular bum cream for disposable nappies - typically you will use a jar a month, sometimes it can be stretched to two months. Average cost until potty training age - R650
Cloth saving: R410
Dealing with the poop
For cloth nappies you will use either:
- A Nappy sprayer @ R250 once off
OR Disposable liners @ R250 total
You will also need a wetbag to store dirty nappies in when out and about - R80
For disposables you will use fragranced nappy bags for the poopy nappies. Total cost - R190
Disposable saving: R140
Washing cloth nappies uses electricity, water and detergent.
Electricity: R1.59 per wash* x 2 loads a week x 30 months x 4.33 weeks = R415 total
Water: 53 - 170 l per wash x 9 loads per month = 0.5 kl to 1.5 kl pm x 30 months x R15** per kl = R225 to R675
Detergent: Sunlight gel - 1 bar soap per month = R12 x 30 months = R360
* actual cost calculation for a 2.5 hour wash cycle, as measured by a member of the South African Cloth Nappy Users using an electricity meter
** average cost per kl given sliding scale of cost and assuming a total consumption of 20kl per month. City of Cape Town rates used. Cost of water and the related sewage charge was combined to arrive at the average cost of R15 per kl.
Total cost of cloth - R1,450 (assuming your machine uses the max water as indicated above)
Disposables: No washing required. Cost - ZERO
Disposable saving: R1,450
(More detailed information regarding the cost analysis above can be found on Hippie Safari)
* Average monthly spend on disposable nappies was calculated using the information provided by moms on two Facebook parenting groups during June 2017.