## Monday, November 26, 2012

### The Cost of Cloth Diapers (part 4)

Cost of Laundering
The actual diaper cost can be pretty low (\$4 a month spread over 2-3 years), but what about the cost of laundering?

Here's a really neat energy-calculator.  It allows you to adjust the percentages of hot washes versus cold washes (I used a mix of 33% hot to show the actual hot cycle with detergent and 66% cold for the two rinses per load), use of different types of dryers (or none), cost of electricity, cost of detergent (I used the default numbers), number of washes per week (4 for washing diapers every other day), and even the ground water temperature (he includes a map so you can see how cold your ground water is).

I estimate that I spend \$5 per month using my washing machine to wash diapers.  Mr. Electricity's calculator doesn't include a category for well-water.  I don't pay for water other than the electricity to run the pump.  So I'm not exactly sure how much that costs.  That's why I have \$0 in the cost of water.  It should be something, I just don't know what.  Maybe it adds a few dollars per month?

The second column assumes I was using an electric dryer and paying for water (that \$5.50/1000 gallons is the default) --- about \$13 a month.

I have cheap electricity in the Pacific NW --- \$0.0707/KWH.  It is so inexpensive that cloth diapers save a lot of money.

When I started line-drying all of my laundry, our next electricity bill was \$50 less.  Our dryer isn't working properly though, so while that is a true cost savings for us, you probably wouldn't see that kind of savings with a newer and nicer dryer.  Try line-drying your laundry for a month though, and see if you save money.  It looks like, from the calculator, that you'd save around \$10 a month.

So, for my family, \$10 a month includes the cost of the diapers and the laundering.  If I was using my dryer and city water, it would be about \$17 per month.

I estimated that I was spending \$40 a month on disposables every month until potty-training.  The quantity of diapers used per month went down as the baby got older, but the cost of the bigger diapers went up, so the cost really did seem the same each month.  And the cost of Pull-Ups, using 1-2 per day, was just as expensive as 12+ newborn diapers.

In my area, cloth saves money. In your area, it might not save as much.  But there are other reasons to use cloth ...

True value of cloth diapers

 http://www.cottonbottommama.com/2011/08/heres-what-5000-disposable-diapers.html
Cleaner for the environment.  Disposables stay in the landfills for years and years and years.  Here's a picture of 5000 disposable diapers.

No chemicals on baby's skin.  Those little gel-beads that escape the disposable's "cotton-y" liner are chemically designed to absorb liquid.  Ick.

Not consumer-dependent.  No running to Target or Costco to pick-up diapers (and then buying 10 other items you didn't really need).

Know your baby's system as you can't help but notice his "output."  Know what foods are settling well.

Diaper changing can be fun with a variety of diaper styles and a creativity that might inspire you to make your own.

Adjust the absorbency needs by adding more flats for nights, or only one flat for trim daytime diapers.

Get outside more with line-drying.  Enjoy the sun on your face and marvel at God's perfect sanitizing light.  Did you know that the UV even works at night?

Re-use diapers on future babies, and eventually in your household as cleaning cloths.  (Another reason to love flats).

Start any time.  I started cloth with my third baby when he was 18 months old.  Even if you're currently buying pull-ups for nights, you can still try cloth training pants. I haven't used these, but have liked other Cottonbabies diapers.  The purchase of one trainer plus three liners is \$30, probably what you're spending on one month's supply of nightly disposable pull-ups.

Feel connected to mothers and grandmothers of older generations who used cloth.  Elderly women love to find out about babies wearing cloth now.

Learn new skills in cloth diapering and laundering.  More work done with more care is less of a chore.

The true value of cloth diapers includes many benefits.  I hope my experience encourages someone to look into cloth.

{I'm linking up with Simple Lives Thursday.  Click over to read some great ideas!}