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Are you wondering how much a cloth diaper service costs? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done an analysis of the cost of diaper services across the U.S. to save you time and help you decide if a cloth diaper service is right for you.
Cloth diaper services are ideal for those who like the environmental benefits of cloth diapers but do not want to take on the extra laundry and diaper care. Cloth diaper service companies supply you with cloth diapers each week and pick up your dirty diapers for laundering.
I’m a researcher who also have personal experience cloth diapering two babies. I’ve written in-depth analyses on the cost of cloth diapering vs. disposable and a detailed breakdown on how much doing cloth diaper actually costs. I’m back today with another installment of the cost of cloth diapers to evaluate how much it’ll cost you to use a cloth diaper service instead of disposables or washing diapers at home.
And if you are planning to do a mix of cloth diapers and disposables, you should check out some of my deep dives on which disposable diapers are the best, such as my comparison of Huggies vs. Pampers. I do thorough testing of absorbency and made them in to animations so you can see for yourself how well each diaper brand works.
Now, let’s take a look at cloth diaper services.
What is a cloth diaper service?
A cloth diaper service is a rental service for parents who want the environmental benefits of cloth diapers without the hassle of laundry and diaper care.
A cloth diaper service company handles all the logistics of cloth diapers for you, including providing diapers and laundering them. Each week, they deliver a set of fresh cloth diapers to your doorstep and take away your soiled diapers for washing.
These diapers then get professionally cleaned and sanitized before being delivered back to families. This adds to the eco-consciousness of cloth diapers because these diapers see more use and the bulk laundry is often more efficient.
The type of diapers offered by cloth diaper companies vary. Most companies offer prefold inserts that are absorbent cotton fabric that you put into waterproof diaper covers. Usually, you provide your own diaper covers but some companies will also supply diaper covers at an additional cost.
About half the companies I found also offer an all-in-one diaper option at a higher cost (more on this below). All-in-one diapers are the closest cloth diaper to disposables, they are one diaper that you put on just like a disposable that gets washed all together as one piece. All-in-one diapers are often required by daycare.
In essence, a cloth diaper service combines the eco-friendliness of cloth diapers with the convenience of disposables. It’s a luxury option for families who are conscious about reducing waste but are also realistic about the demands of parenting.
How much does a cloth diaper service cost?
You may be thinking that all that sounds great but how much is the convenience of cloth diaper services going to run you?
The cost of cloth diaper services is not cheap and I’d classify them in the “luxury baby expense” category. Cloth diaper services were more popular in previous generations but became less prevalent with the rise of modern disposable diapers. Because there are fewer companies available, cloth diaper services can be pricey depending on your area.
I priced out cloth diaper service companies from 10 somewhat-randomly selected cities. I tried to get a range of cities and smaller areas but some states like Oklahoma only had a diaper service in a city. Some states like North Dakota where I wasn’t able to find diaper service.
Below you’ll find a table of diaper service costs, last priced in June 2023. These are the costs of the companies’ standard pre-fold diaper packages, which ranged from $13-$45/week.
On average, these diaper services cost $28.80/week. For a year, you’d pay $1499.58 on average for a cloth diaper service.
|City||Weekly Cloth Diaper Service Cost|
Of the ten cities surveyed, only Missoula had an option where you could pay based on how many diapers you wanted a week. A few other companies also offered a smaller package and a full package, or a mix of pre-folds and all-in-one diaper packages.
Additionally, I found three companies from these ten cities that also offered All-In-Ones (AIO) diapers that may be required by often required by daycares. The table below shows the all-in-one diaper service costs, ranging from $49-$60/week.
|City||AIO Diaper Service Cost|
One of the companies offered mixed packages where you get half all-in-one diapers and half pre-folds at a slightly reduced rate. This is a nice way to save a little money for families who are comfortable with pre-folds use at home but are required to have all-in-ones for daycare.
Now, let’s take a look at how these cloth diaper services costs compare to disposables or washing your own cloth diapers.
Cloth diaper service cost vs. DIY cloth diapers
First, how much does a cloth diaper service cost compared to buying and washing your own cloth diapers? You’ll save over $1000 by buying and washing your own cloth diapers. Even if you opt for the highest end all-in-one diapers, you’ll still save almost half the cost compared to diaper services.
The table below compares the cost for a year:
|Diaper Type||Estimated Cost Per Year (as of June 2023)|
|Cloth Diaper Service||$1499.58|
|DIY pre-folds Cloth Diapers||$264 (budget diapers); $344 (name brand diapers)|
|DIY All-in-Ones Cloth Diapers||$366 (budget diapers); $834 (name brand diapers)|
The yearly cloth diaper service cost was calculating taking the average weekly cost across our U.S. sample ($28.80/week) multiplied by 52.
The total for owning your own cloth diapers and laundering them yourself comes from my analysis of cloth vs. disposable diaper costs. The first estimate is for pre-folds and covers since this is the system that is the closest equivalent to cloth diaper services.
A set of budget-brand pre-folds and covers costs approximately $77 and a name-brand set costs approximately $157. Diaper accessories such as wipes, pail and wet bags cost $88. Laundering cloth diapers costs roughly $99 a year, per my breakdown of cloth diaper laundry costs.
I also included the costs if you elect to use all-in-one diapers instead which are more expensive than pre-folds and covers. Many families prefer all-in-ones or pockets over diaper covers so these costs are likely to be more in line with average costs.
Note, these estimates do not include a separate set of newborn-sized cloth diapers. Babies often grow out of these quickly so for many people they are not worth the added expense.
Diaper service cost vs. disposable
Finally, let’s look at the cost of a diaper service compared to buying disposable diapers. Again, you’ll see over a $1000 savings with store brand disposables vs. cloth diaper service costs. The table below shows the estimated cost comparison, updated in June 2023:
|Diaper Type||Estimated Cost Per Year|
|Cloth Diaper Service||$1499.58|
|Disposable – store brand||$290.00|
|Disposable – name brand||$685.00|
The diaper service cost was estimated from our weekly $28.80 average multiplied by 52. Disposable diaper costs were totaled based on the estimated diaper usage detailed in the table below:
|Diaper Size||Changes Per Day||Total Diapers||Store Brand Costs||Name Brand Costs|
|Newborn (1 month)||10||300||$30||$72|
|Size 1 (2 months)||8||488||$44||$93|
|Size 2 (2 months)||8||488||$49||$98|
|Size 3 (7 months)||6||1278||$141||$294|
|Wipes (1 per change)||–||–||$26||$102|
Conclusion: are cloth diaper services worth the cost?
Cloth diaper services are much more expensive than washing your own cloth diapers or disposables. Cloth diaper services cost over $1000 more a year compared to our economy disposables or DIY cloth diaper options. Even on the higher end, you’ll come out hundreds of dollars ahead doing it yourself.
It is ultimately up to your budget and goals whether a cloth diaper service is worth it. I personally have not found washing cloth diaper laundry to be too bad, so for me personally it isn’t worth the added cost.
However, cloth diaper services are great if your goal is to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The cloth diapers used in diaper services will see a lot of use and the bulk laundry can be more efficient.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge on cloth diapers, don’t forget to check out my guide to buying cloth diapers secondhand (another great way to save money on cloth diapers!).