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How Much Does it Cost to Wash Cloth Nappies?

Breaking down the cost of washing cloth nappies so you don't have to!

What is the REAL cost of washing nappies? We know it's on your mind, especially given the current cost of living crisis, so we got our thinking caps on, our washing machine manuals out and started crunching the numbers!

The main costs of washing reusable nappies are: water, electricity and detergent. How much that costs will vary from person to person and area to area. Our calculations include the most popular brands of detergent and washing machines so you can see where you best fit.

Cost of washing cloth nappies for different washing machines - Peanut and Poppet UK

All figures are correct as of October 2022.

Energy rates are based on the current energy cap; 34p per kWh. If you are on a fixed tariff from before the cap then your energy costs will be lower. Likewise, if you provide your own energy, such as solar, then this will also decrease costs.

If you choose to main wash above 40 degrees then your cost will be slightly increased. More heat = more cost in a nutshell!

Water rates are based on an average cost per litre with major water companies in the UK, they also include sewage costs. If you do not have a water meter then you don't need to include these costs so we have broken the total costs in to 2 parts depending on your situation.

Detergent Costs

These costs are based on a heavy soiling dose with a 6kg+ drum size. If you use washing detergent in your prewash then that will be an additional cost.

Lundry detergent costs for washing cloth nappies - Peanut and Poppet UK

All figures are correct as of October 2022.


The cost of disposable nappies is also likely to increase due to the increased cost of manufacturing. Right now the costs of disposables from birth to potty training is £321-£1650 depending on the brand you use. You also need to add on the cost of wipes and bags which is another £100-£450. 

In the end both cloth nappies and disposable nappies are as cheap as you make them. It is still cost effective to use cloth nappies despite the current increased cost in washing. When you're done using cloth nappies you can also resell them which means you'll recoup more costs. 

You can wash a load of nappies from as little as 59p - 90p in soft water, 61p-92p in medium water and 63p-94p in hard water. Choosing more expensive detergents and washing on higher heat will increase the cost of each load, so it is worth considering these carefully in line with your budget. Likewise, daily prewashing or very long prewashes will hike up the price, you only need your prewash to be about 30 minutes. 

Check out our social media channels for more guides and advice on all things cloth nappies.

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