Reusable Vs. disposable nappies

Emmy Samtani
Emmy Samtani
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Created on Oct 03, 2023 · 2 mins read

When we were babies many of us were probably getting around in cloth nappies, but through the years with advances in technology, disposables took over as the busy mum’s saviour. And amen to that. But these days with growing understanding about the catastrophic environmental damage caused by landfill there has been a growing trend back to cloth, or reusable nappies. So you might be wondering which type is best for you and your baby? We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of each to help you make the best decision for your family.



  • Convenient and readily available
  • Easy to use and dispose of
  • Handy for on-the-go nappy changes
  • Some brands are now moving to more eco-friendly and biodegradable options
  • More sanitary than cloth varieties
  • Tend to be more absorbent to keep your baby dry and help prevent nappy rash
  • Fewer leakages
  • No time spent washing and drying
  • Cheaper in the short term (remember they are an ongoing cost that you will likely fork out for up to three years or more)


  • End up in landfill which has a negative impact on the environment
  • Contain chemicals that can harm your baby’s sensitive skin
  • Improper disposal of these nappies can let off more methane which contributes to greenhouse gases
  • Whilst cheaper in the short time, the cost of nappies over a number of years seriously adds up


Reusable or cloth nappies


  • Non-toxic – no harsh chemicals on your baby’s skin
  • Cheaper in the long run (though they will be more of an initial outlay)
  • Less environmental impact than disposables
  • May prevent nappy rash thanks to lack of chemicals
  • Can often lead to earlier toilet training as the child can feel the wetness so gets an understanding of the need to go to the toilet
  • Fun colours and designs to customise
  • Multiple options to suit your baby (from cloth squares to all-in-ones)
  • These days all-in-ones make it really simple with no need to learn how to fold or tie


  • Expensive initially (but will be more cost-effective in the long run)
  • Can be tricky to master the folds if you opt for cloth squares
  • Must be cleaned and washed thoroughly after every use
  • Higher water and energy consumption due to regular cleaning
  • On-the-go changes can be tricky to manage as you can’t dispose of the soiled nappy

Ultimately the decision of whether to use cloth or disposables will come down to personal preference and values. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you make the right decision for your family. You may even end up opting for a mix of both, using cloth nappies wherever possible to do your part for the environment, but keeping disposables on hand for when you need the convenience.

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