Real Nappy Week – Washing, Surely we won’t be saving money?


One of the biggest factors when choosing to use cloth nappies is washing. Your nappies will need to be washed, they will not function if the washing routine is not up to scratch! But surely all this washing is not going to be cost effective? Won’t we end up spending more money on electric and water.

I think it is a pretty safe bet that unless you research your own particular washing machine and know your energy companies cost rates and then there is your water company rates, specific costs savings can not be noted. Majority of websites use estimates.


The Which? guide has a report on the Environmental impact of using cloth nappies which makes a good read. A couple of points to make the more “Energy efficient” your machine is the less water is being used. Cloth nappies need a really good wash, the more water the better to ensure they get a good rinse. Some users find they have to “weight” their Eco washing machine, this is to make the washing machine “think” the load is heavier than it actually is, thus using more water. 

Working out the savings

The UK Cloth Nappy Library Network worked out between them that the costs of washing nappies was on average around 45p for a cotton wash, this included wear and tear of the machine, detergent, electric and water costs. On average you wash every 2-3 days so for example purposes let’s say we wash everyday. 

So :

£0.45 x 156 (3 washes a week for 1 year) = £70.20p 

over 2 years = £140.40p 

Over 30 months the average time a child is in nappies = £156.20 (rounded up to the nearest penny) 

The most economical way to dry your nappies is outside on a clothes line, or using airers inside the house. 

Washing and Drying

Nappies can be purchased brand new for as little as £100 for a birth to potty kit. 

And like in our previous post Why choose cloth nappies? you can see how you can still save money! 

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