Cloth vs. Disposables

Cloth diapering is essentially a great economic decision, as it will save you loads of money, a great environmental decision, as you are not filling the landfills with harmful waste which takes between 150 to 500 years to decompose, and it’s fun!

I’ve never seen a disposable as cute as my son’s cloth diapers and covers. However, be warned, it is addictive! Happy Cloth Diapering!

Although initially costly (a full set of 20 cloth nappies will cost in the region of R2500 to R3000), the cloth nappies available in South Africa are much cheaper in the long run than their disposable counter parts.

What do disposable nappies cost?


  • Small – R2.14 each*
  • Medium – R2.26 each*
  • Large – R2.32 each*
  • Extra Large – R3.14 each*

*Cost on average from cheapest to most expensive brands available; January 2011 from Pick ‘n Pay Online –

How many changes needed?

  • 0-3 months – 12-15 times a day
  • 3-6 months – 10-12 times a day
  • 6-12 months – 8-10 times a day
  • 12 months+ – 6-8 times a day

Many children only potty train at 3 years old when using disposable nappies, and many still wear night time nappies at age 4!

So, how much does this cost?

  • 0-3 months = (3 x 30 days) x (R2.14 x 13 changes a day) = R2503.80
  • 3-6 months = (3 x 30 days) x (R2.26 x 11 changes a day) = R2237.40
  • 6-12 months = (6 x 30 days) x (R2.32 x 9 changes a day) =R3758.40
  • 1-2 years = (365 days) x (R3.14 x 7 changes a day) = R8022.70
Total for first two years = R16 522.30 per child!!
As most cloth nappies last for years with the correct care, a set of cloth nappies can usually be used for more than one child (sold as 2nd hand or handed down from an older to a younger sibling), therefore an investment in cloth nappies can save even more. We would like to thank the Ecobaby Company for this costing.