Cloth Diaper Savings in Minutes*
Using cloth diapers can save you big money. One of the arguments used against cloth diapers is that it "takes too much time" to wash cloth diapers - some people even make it sound like you have to neglect your baby to wash diapers.
How much time does it really take to wash cloth diapers? It takes me 18 minutes per week to wash and dry 3 loads of diapers for one baby. Even if I had two in diapers, the time would be the same even as the savings more than doubled.
Quality cloth diapers, even diaper service quality prefolds, are so simple to use and to wash that you will save as much money as if you were paying yourself $15 an hour (or more) - and you won't owe any taxes on that money!
Let's assume for a moment that you are much slower at diaper washing than I am. I'll even give you the benefit of it taking 15 minutes per load instead of the 6 minutes per load that I spend on cloth diaper laundry.
Washing cloth diapers every other day will take you about 15 minutes every other day (provided you have enough diapers to last two days). Be sure to use a cloth diaper pail liner to save yourself the trouble of washing the diaper pail too!
In 2.5 years of diapering...
Cost of disposables: $2000
Cost of disposable wipes: $800
Total cost disposables: $2800
Cost of most convenient cloth diapers (such as Thirsties Pocket AIO, 18 in each size): $840
Cost of cloth wipes (24): $42
Total cost of Thirsties AIO and wipes: $882
Choose a less expensive option such as prefolds and covers, or one size diapers, and your cost could drop as low as $300 (24 infant and 24 regular premium prefolds, 5 covers in each size, 20 bamboo wipes). Now your savings is $2500!
Dumping the cloth diapers into the washer takes 5 minutes (using your handy cloth diaper pail liner so you never touch the diapers) and restarting the washer for a cold rinse/hot wash/cold rinse cycle, then swtiching to the dryer takes 10 minutes.
That adds up to just over 39 hours a year (45 minutes week x 52 weeks). With a savings of $800 ($1,000 for prefolds) a year, the time you spend laundering diapers equates to an earnings of $20.50 ($25.60 for prefolds) an hour. Factor in utility costs for washing and drying diapers and you have saved yourself about $18 an hour.
Line dry your cloth diapers and you will spend a bit more time, but save a lot more money. One cloth diaper user reported that when her family started hang-drying all their laundry they saved $50 a month in electricity! Even better, line drying makes your diapers last longer.
* Obviously your experience may vary, depending on many individual factors. I actually updated these figures based on my own time savings with cloth diapers. Washing diapers takes me only about 18 minutes per week.