The Nappy Lady Ltd

Do Reusable Nappies Really Save You Money?

Do Reusable Nappies Really Save You Money?

BBC Better Than Sliced Bread

This article was produced by The Nappy Lady for the BBC Podcast Better Than Sliced Bread. You can hear Wendy and the full episode on the BBC site here.

Reusable nappies have gained popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to single use disposable nappies which are a growing percentage of household waste. While the environmental benefits of reusable cloth nappies are widely known, many parents wonder if reusables are cheaper and truly save money in the long run, especially since the energy crisis and rising energy bills. I'll explore the financial aspects of using reusable nappies and help you to determine whether they are a cost-effective option for your family and if choosing reusable nappies is right for you.

Cloth IS Cheaper!

The answer isn't initially clear cut especially when just looking at the size 1 nappies. However when all the costs of buying reusable nappies PLUS washing are compared to disposable nappies, reusable nappies work out cheaper long term, even more so when you factor in reusing for subsequent children.

The only exceptions are in the smaller sizes of budget disposables which are a fraction cheaper than using budget reusable nappies.

It is important to note disposables cost more per nappy in the larger sizes. Once baby moves into the large sizes of disposables at approximately 9 months old, reusable nappies remain cheaper every time.

Reusable Nappies   
ProductCost Per UseCost to WashTotal Cost Per Use
Value Terry Square Kit - £1002.2p4.78p 6.98p
Little Lovebum Quickdry Kit, plus TotsBots Night Time Kit - £249.995.5p4.78p10.28p
Mother-ease Duo Perfectly Balanced Kit - £4149.2p4.78p13.98p
Disposable Nappies Size 1   
ProductNappyWipe & BagTotal Cost Per Use
Aldi Mamia 3.5p1.8p5.3p
Disposable Nappies Size 6   
ProductNappyWipe & BagTotal Cost Per Use
Aldi Mamia8.3p1.8p10.1p



Full Details - How we completed the comparison calculations.

Below you will find our full calculations of disposables v reusable nappies. This prices quoted in the article are based on energy, water, detergent and disposable prices as of May 2023.

How Much Do Reusable Nappies Cost To Buy?

Switching to reusable nappies requires an initial upfront investment in purchasing the nappies themselves. These costs can vary depending on the brand, style and quantity you choose. How does this cost affect the price comparison?

  • According to the Life Cycle Analysis report carried out by Defra in 2023 the average reusable nappy wearing baby uses 4515 nappies over 2.5 years between birth to potty training. 
  • There is an average of 20 nappies in a full time set of reusable nappies.
  • 4515 nappy changes / 20 reusable nappies mean each reusable nappy will be reused 225 times.

Using these figures, here are the calculations to compare the cost per reusable nappy per change.

However, keep in mind that reusable nappies are designed to last through multiple children. Reusing the same nappies on your 2nd or 3rd children or by selling your used nappies on second hand gives you the potential to significantly reduce the purchase costs even further.

Washing - Energy, Water Costs

While reusable cloth nappies eliminate the need for constant purchases, washing nappies does come with additional costs related to washing and maintenance. Water, electricity, and detergent expenses should be taken into account. Choosing the right wash cycle is important to get your nappies clean but to also be energy efficient in these times of high energy prices.

Families also tend to top up their nappy wash with other household washing that needs a long wash such as bibs, muslins, small baby clothing. Topping up the nappy wash with other items removes / reduces other household washing costs.

At the time of writing May 2023 energy costs are based on £0.33 per KWH



CycleEnergy Usage kwhEnergy TotalWater Usage LitresSE WaterSE Water Total
Miele 9kgCottons 601.45£0.4865£2.63£0.17
Samsung Eco bubble Series 7, 9kgCottons 601.504£0.50134£2.63£0.35
Bosch Series 6 Washing machine 9 kgCottons 601.75£0.5898£2.63£0.26
Miele 8kgCottons 601.35£0.4557£2.63£0.15
Miele 9kgEco 40-600.819£0.2767.1£2.63£0.18
Samsung Eco bubble Series 7, 9kg Eco 40-600.809£0.2771£2.63£0.19
Bosch Series 6, 9 kgCottons 401.29£0.4398£2.63£0.26
Bosch Series 6, 9 kg Eco 40-600.87£0.2975£2.63£0.20
Miele 8kgEco Cotton 400.72£0.2462£2.63£0.16
  Average£0.30 Average£0.20

Detergent Costs



Cost Per Wash Heavy Soiling Soft Water

Cost Per Wash Heavy Soiling Medium Water

Cost Per Wash Heavy Soiling Hard Water

Fairy non bioTesco£0.31£0.31£0.37
Persil non bioAsda£0.20£0.27£0.39
Own brand non bioAldi£0.12£0.15£0.17
Tots Bots Potion £0.44£0.66£0.88

Total Washing Costs

How many reusable nappies you put into the washing machine for the washing cycle will affect the cost to wash each individual nappy. The more nappies you wash per cycle the more cost effective washing becomes. Washing guidelines for reusable nappies are to wash every other day.

How many nappies each baby uses per day varies depending on their age. Based on NHS guidelines  a newborn baby will use up to 12 nappies a day while a toddler will use around 6-8 per day. Using this information I have calculated the following cost table based on the cost of washing every two days with 14 nappies per load.

Washing Method

Cost Per Wash Energy, Water & Detergent

Cost per nappy based on washing 14 nappies

Cheapest way to wash 40deg + own brand detergent67p4.78p
Most expensive 60deg + Persil115p8.21p

Drying Nappies

It is always best to air dry or line drying your nappies either on an outside washing line or inside drying rack. Air drying has a lower environmental impact and lowers the carbon footprint of your nappy washing compared to using a tumble dryer.

Air drying is also better for the long term condition of your cloth nappy fabrics, but importantly air drying offers you a cost saving compared to tumble drying your nappies.

What do Disposable Nappies Cost?

Understanding the financial implications of using a single use disposable nappy is crucial for parents seeking the most cost-effective nappy option. In this section, we delve into the expenses associated with disposable nappies and other hidden expenses such as disposable wipes and nappy sacks to provide a comprehensive analysis of their financial impact. By exploring the true cost of disposable nappies, we aim to help parents make informed decisions regarding their budget and sustainability goals.

Disposable nappy prices taken from stores as per the table in May 2023 and are a mix of own brand disposable nappies, market leading brand disposable nappies and eco disposable nappies. The largest pack size for each brand in each size was used.


Weight Guide

Product Name


Cost of pack

Cost per nappy

Aldi Mamia     
Size 12-5kgsMamia Premium2485p3.5p
Size 23-6kgsMamia Premium60£2.353.9p
Size 34-9kgsMamia Premium56£2.995.3p
Size 49-20kgsMamia Ultra Dry78£4.996.4p
Size 511-25kgsMamia Ultra Dry72£4.996.9p
Size 616kgs+Mamia Ultra Dry60£4.998.3p
Fred & Flo (Tesco)     
Size 12-5kgsFred & Flo Newborn50£1.803.6p
Size 23-6kgsFred & Flo Newborn58£2.273.9p
Size 34-9kgsFred & Flo Ultra Dry56£2.995.3p
Size 49-20kgsFred & Flo Ultra Dry


Size 511-25kgsFred & Flo Easyfit Pants38£4.2511.2p
Size 616kgs+Fred & Flo Easyfit Pants34£4.2512.5p
Pampers (Tesco)     
Size 12-5kgsPampers newbaby80£12.0015p
Size 24-8kgsPampers newbaby76£12.0016p
Size 36-10kgsPampers newbaby42£7.5018p
Size 49-14kgsPampers Activefit37£11.0030p
Size 512-17kgsPampers Activefit32£11.0034p
Size 614-19kgsPampers BabyDry Pants28£10.0036p
Naty (Boots)     
Size 12-5kgsNaty Newborn Eco Nappies25£4.5018p
Size 23-6kgsNaty Eco Nappies33£7.5022.7p
Size 34-9kgsNaty Eco Nappies50£11.5023p
Size 47-18kgsNaty Eco Nappies44£11.5026.1p
Size 512-18kgsNaty Pull On Pants20£8.5042.5p
Size 616kgs+Naty Pull On Pants18£8.5047.2p
Ecoriginals (Nappy Lady)     
Size 1up to 4kgsEcoriginals Newborn30£12.9543.2p
Size 24-7kgsEcoriginals Infant28£12.9546.3p
Size 36-11kgsEcoriginals Crawlers Pants22£12.9558.9p
Size 410-14kgsEcoriginals Toddlers Pants20£12.9564.8p
Size 513-18kgsEcoriginals Walker Pants18£12.9571.9p
Size 616kgs+Ecoriginals Junior Pants16£12.9580.9p


What do Disposable Wipes and Disposable Plastic Nappy Sacks Cost?

I have based these costs on 7 nappy changes per day. I have allowed for using 1 disposable wipe per nappy change plus 2 extra wipes to allow for pooey nappies. This is a very conservative amount and I know many people have to use significantly more wipes for nappy changes. Please alter the costs to reflect your own wipes usage. Parents who use reusable nappies tend to use reusable wipes and wet bags which they pop into the same wash cycle as their nappies.


Product Name

Wipes Per Pack

Cost of Pack

Cost 9 Wipes A Day

AldiMamia Sensitive360£3.59£0.09
TescoFred & Flo720£7.20£0.09
TescoTesco Soft Spring Fresh40£0.65£0.15
Pampers (Tesco)Sensitive Baby 0% Plastic52£1.25£0.22
BootsNaty Sensitive Unscented168£5.70£0.31
Waterwipes (Tesco)Waterwipes biodegradable240£11.00£0.41
Ecoriginals (NappyLady)Goats Milk Eco Waterwipes210£14.95£0.64
Nappy Sacks   7 bags a day
Tesco300 nappy sacks300£0.60£0.01
TescoFred & Flo150£0.95£0.04
BootsFragranced bags150£0.85£0.04
SainsburysLittle Ones150£0.95£0.04
BootsNaty disposable nappy sacks50£1.99£0.28



What are the best reusable nappies?

I get asked this every single day by eco conscious parents. The simple answer is there isn't a "best reusable nappy" as every family has different needs and requirements, but here are some examples of our most popular cloth nappies across a range of price points.

Cheapest Options:

The cheapest reusable nappies are going to be flat nappies such as Terry Squares. We sell a full time onesize bundle of nappies for under £100

Middle Price Range - Super Easy To Use

If you prefer not to fold nappies then consider the La Petite Ourse Day Time Bundles. Little LoveBum Quickdry Bundles or the Tots Bots Starter Kits.

Best Night Time Option

For Night time you can't beat our Nappy Lady Ultimate Night Time Kit with the Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretchy and Mother-ease Airflow wraps which have been loved by generations of babies.

Top of the Range

If money is no object then the top of the range would be the Mother-ease Wizard Duo Perfectly Balanced Kit or Wizard Uno Kits

See below for details on local council incentive schemes to help with the upfront cost.

Reusable Nappy Incentive Schemes

A growing number of local councils offer a voucher or cashback towards the purchase of reusable nappies or a starter kit. Visit our comprehensive list of incentive schemes running in the UK. Even if your local council doesn't offer a scheme The Nappy Lady has a nationwide reusable nappy incentive scheme for you to help you get started. These schemes' benefits can further enhance the economic advantage of reusable nappies.

Reusable Nappies Resale Value

Another aspect to consider is the potential resale value of reusable nappies. If you take good care of your nappies, they can retain value and be sold or passed on to other parents for use on subsequent children, further reducing your overall expenditure.

Is it OK to use second-hand cloth nappies?

Some people are shocked when they hear there is a market for second hand reusable nappies, affectionally called 'pre-loved'. Cloth nappies are not cheap, so once you've finished with your stash you can sell them on and recoup some of your initial outlay. Selling on your nappies helps families who might struggle to afford to buy new but it's also environmentally friendly. Premium brands of reusable nappies tend to hold their value better than the budget brands. Whenever you plan to buy second hand it's always important to get many photos of the nappies to check the condition. Find out how the family washed the nappies and stored them. Ask questions how the family got on with them. Make sure you know what you are buying: if it's a brand you've not heard of, is no longer available in stores or you can't find independent online reviews of them then it's probably best to avoid. Visit our article on buying and selling second hand nappies for more advice and tips.