The cost of raising a baby is one of the biggest financial challenges new parents face. One of the most significant ongoing expenses is nappies. An average baby will use between 6 and 12 nappies per day depending on their age, which can add up to over $1,000 per year.
Like many parents and parents-to-be, you might have already thought about the cost comparison between reusable and disposable nappies - but what happens when we factor in the water, energy and detergent used to wash reusable nappies?
The wash routine
I've been logging the energy and water consumption of my washing machine for 27 months... and let me tell you something, even I was surprised with the data.
I have 2 boys under two, so I have been doing a pre-wash and main wash every day. I both pre-wash and main wash at 60 degrees. Prior to this, I was pre-washing daily and main washing every 3rd day - which is a pretty common wash routine.
My washing machine. I have an 8kg self-heating front loader, with a WELS rating of 63 and an energy rating of 4.5 stars.
on average I spent $3.40 per month on water to wash my cloth nappies. Well technically, I actually spent ZERO dollars extra because we have a tank that services our laundry, but I otherwise would have spent $3.40 per month.
Over 27 months I used a total of 22,000 litres of water [22-kilo litres] to wash my nappies and other reusable products.
It's important to note that I assumed I would be paying $4.18 / kilo litre of water, which is astronomical compared to the rest of Australia - but is the current rate where I live (Canberra in 2022).
The amount of water I used over 27 months to wash my cloth nappies, is enough water to make only 44 disposable nappies. It's true. According to Stephan Leahy’s book "Your Water Footprint", it takes approximately 545 litres [0.5 kilo litres] to produce just ONE disposable nappy.
For comparison, your toilet will consume about 20,000 litres per year.
On average I spent $2.89 per month on electricity to wash my cloth nappies at 60 degrees.
Again, I actually spent ZERO dollars extra because we have solar which feeds in more than this per month, but I otherwise would have spent $2.89 per month.
Over 27 months I used a total of 390 kilowatts of electricity to wash my nappies and other reusable products.
I assumed I would be paying $0.2 / kilowatt of electricity, which is Australia's current average (as of July 2022).
Is this more or less than what you expected? It's crazy that a nappy just like this can save you so much money!
Article written and supplied by Aami Mills from Mimi & Co.