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Babies 0-12 Months | Your Baby's Wellbeing

Disposable vs. Cloth Nappies: Make an informed decision

The debate between which type of diaper is best is not a simple question to answer.
With so many different choices these days, here are some things to take into consideration.


The cost of nappies is usually a great concern for most parents.

The cost of disposable nappies varies due to the range of disposables on the market.

The cost of cloth diapers also varies because of many factors. One being the quality of the cloth nappy. Another factor is the amount of washing that is done for each load of dirty nappies. The more you wash and re sanitize the higher the cost of the cloth nappy. Other factors are your time to launder the nappy, cost of electricity, soap, water, and wear and tear on your washing machine and tumble dryer.

If you compare the cost of the disposable nappies vs. the cost of washing your own cloth nappies, you will save money by using cloth nappies.

Skin care concerns:

The biggest worry parents have is keeping their baby dry and free from nappy rash. There are many things that can cause nappy rash like prolonged wetness, a soiled nappy being left on for too long, chemical allergies and lack of air circulation.

As each baby is different, some parents will find that disposables suit perfectly fine, while other babies will have reactions and will need to use a cloth nappy.

If a cloth nappy is not changed often, or sanitized properly this can also lead to rashes forming.

The best way to avoid nappy rash is to change dirty nappies often, whether it be cloth or disposable.


Cloth nappies now come with Velcro-fasting straps and replaceable liners. These flushable liners can be lifted off the cloth and flushed down the toilet.  If you don’t use liners, you can just deposit the older baby’s solids down the toilet.

Disposable diapers are more convenient as you can throw away the dirty nappy without carrying them around for washing.  Disposables also require fewer changes because of the super absorbent materials they use in manufacturing them.


There has been much debate over the impact of disposable diapers and cloth diapers on the environment.

The impact of cloth nappies: The extra water used to wash the towelling nappy is said to be just as much an abuse to the environment as is the production and use of disposable diapers. Although when flushing solids down the toilet and washing the nappies in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at wastewater plants.  The treated waste water is more environmentally friendly.

The impact of disposable nappies: Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air and sun.  Since this is unlikely, it is said to take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing. The untreated waste placed in these landfills is also a possible danger for contaminating the ground water.

With all the factors considered there really is no one best type of diaper that is good for every baby.  Deciding to use cloth or disposable diapers depends on your lifestyle, personal preference, finances and your concern for the environment.  The choice that is right for you and your baby may be different from someone else’s.

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