Cloth nappies vs disposables

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helen grounds

helen grounds Having a child isn’t cheap, with estimates of parents spending around £9,500 during their baby’s first year – and one of the big costs for the first few years is nappies. Using cloth nappies could help lower the cost… But why should we go back to using cloth nappies, I hear you cry? Well that’s what I’m going to talk about.

In the United Kingdom we pay VAT on certain products that are considered a luxury whilst things which are essential don’t have VAT on them like milk, bread and cloth nappies. That’s right, cloth nappies are considered an essential – but disposable nappies are a luxury which we pay tax on. No matter where you buy your cloth nappies from you won’t be paying VAT; in fact a lot of companies do their best to give their customers free delivery of some kind so even buying online is still reasonable when it comes to cost.

Another bonus is once you own the cloth nappies you have the option to use them again on other children, sell them on eBay or give them to a friend or family member who is expecting. It may sound gross but most cloth nappies stay soft and looking great for many years. We hand down clothes, why not cloth nappies? As for disposables… well I wouldn’t recommend handing down used ones! They can take over 100 years to decompose in landfills and they certainly don’t work again once used, so best not to keep them for your next child…

On the subject of the environment, cloth nappies are always questioned as we have to consider the cost of washing and drying them. Modern washing machines can work wonders even at low temperatures and I find wet nappies can come out clean and smelling great even in a 30C wash; however you should wash them in a 40-60C wash when badly soiled to kill everything nasty on them. Also if your baby is very ill then I’d recommend 60C or even a 90C to be sure there are no nasty bugs.

helen grounds baby boy cloth nappiesSome brands of washing machines come with a small load or eco-friendly type setting which uses less energy and less water. This is great for when you just want to pop a few cloth nappies in the wash and they don’t fill up your machine. But if you don’t have that then you can always wash your towels, underwear and anything badly soiled in with the cloth nappies. Whatever you do you should never add fabric softener with your nappies as it can affect their absorbency. As for disposables, they can sit in landfills for many years to come. If the Queen had been in disposables then chances are her nappies would still be around today. Yuck.

And finally the number crunching time. With disposables you could be looking at £1,200 in your child’s nappy lifetime. Many cloth nappy companies do Birth-to-Potty kits which have everything you need (except a washing machine, sorry!) such as Little Lamb’s Bamboo Birth-to-Potty 40 Kit which is under £300. Do I need to say more? You can add to your collection with various makes and brands – I picked this as an example because it has everything and Little Lamb nappies are perfect for both day and night time, so they are a good example for any of you reading this thinking about getting into cloth nappies.

If you want to know more about cloth nappies feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out!

PetitMom is a 26 year old mother of one, cloth nappy addict and pushchair collector who runs a family on a single income.