Save £12 per Week by Switching to Washable Nappies

Bumgenius washable nappySo, just how much could switching to reusable nappies save your family?  I actually sat down and worked it out in January 2011 and even I was amazed – it could be as much as £12 per week!

The cost of disposables

I looked at one of the larger chemists at their branded nappy range and, based on a size 4 nappy, was shocked to find out that the average disposable nappy costs over 20p.

Working on an average of 8 nappy changes a day over 30 months, that works out to £1460 from birth to potty training (assuming 10-12 changes a day for newborn and the recommended minimum on 6 a day for older babies/toddlers).

Add into that the cost of 1.5 packs of baby wipes per week (around £2.40 per pack at the large chemist) that is getting close to £15 per week just on nappies that you are going to throw away – a total of £1941!

And just in case I had got my figures wrong, I did some more research and found a 2006 Guardian article* that quoted £14.50 per week on disposable nappies, wipes and sacks.

And in case anyone questions the fact that these figures are based on branded nappies, it should be noted that they account for over 90% of the UK disposable nappy market.

The cost of reusable nappies

You can buy a really simple to use and wash set of Flip Nappies for £125 or by spending around £300 you could have a set of premium Bumgenius Onesize V.4 Nappies that are just gorgeous to look at.

Either way, you will need to budget for another approx £20 on nappy accessories, such as nappy bucket, mesh and wet bag plus £24 for reusable baby wipes.

You need to add into that the cost of home laundry, which works out at £132 over the 2 ½ years, giving a total cost of reusable nappies of £297 to £420.

The savings

  Flip Washable Nappies Bumgenius Onesize V.4 Nappies
Cost of nappies, home laundry, accessories and washable wipes £301 £476
Cost disposable nappies and wipes £1941 £1941
Saving £1640 £1465

 My maths

The disposable nappies come in a range of sizes and packs.  Basing on size 4 nappy, the branded nappies cost:

32 nappies for £6.49

56 nappies for £9.99

42 nappies for £9.98

25 nappies for £4.99

That gave an average price per nappy of £20p, £1460 over 2 ½ years.

The wipes came in packs of 60-64 for either £2.40 or £2.54 per pack.  Assuming 2 wipes per nappy change, this gave a use of slightly over 1.5 packs or £3.70 per week, or £481 over the 2 ½ years.

The washing

Most studies quote an extra 3 washes a week, or 390 washes over 2 ½ years ( I know I didn’t do that many extra washes as I generally bunged the nappies in with other washing).

A 4kg tub of premium brand washing powder costs £13.37 – this is enough for 100 nappy washes (based on using half the recommended powder as nappy manufactures advise), giving a cost of £53.48.

An average B rated washing machine uses 1.15 kw of electricity per load at 60 degrees**, at an average cost of 12p kw/h, giving 13.8p per load or £53.82 for 390 washes.

WEN calculated that the average depreciation of the washing machine caused by washing nappies is £25 – I am not going to argue with their figures but I have the calculation if anyone wants to see it.

This gives a total home laundry cost of £132.30, even with the higher electricity costs of 2011.


Prices for consumer products based on online prices at large chemists and supermarkets and energy providers, January 2011.

*Details of a report commissioned by Family Circle magazine and sponsored by Maestro. Based on potty training at 30 months. Quoted in the Guardian Newspaper, 16th February 2006.