The case for cloth

In the UK each baby uses on average 6000 nappies. That is 6000 nappies going to landfill per baby and about 8,000,000 to landfill each day!

Disposable nappies take hundreds of years to degrade and during this time they give off a harmful gas called methane, adding to the effect on climate change. They also contain chemicals which more and more babies are becoming sensitive to.

Reusable nappies are not only beneficial for the environment but also for our purses. The average cost of a disposable nappy is approximately 10p each. Based on this it costs around £600 per baby to use disposables. A full set of reusable nappies costs between £150 - £300 that is a saving of between £450 - £300 per child and they can be used on subsequent children. A household that uses cloth nappies on three subsequent children will make a saving of £1650!

Tickle Tots cloth nappy

The benefits

Converting to cloth is easier than you may think and there are many benefits for both you and your baby, as well as for the environment too.

For babies: 

  • Evidence suggests that children who use cloth nappies become potty trained much quicker than those using disposables as they are more aware that they have been to the toilet.
  • Cloth nappies are made from natural materials, which help your child’s skin to breathe naturally as they do not contain any chemicals or gels.

For parents:

  • Real nappies could save you up to £500 per child and this price will rise if the nappies are reused for subsequent children. An initial payment is required for the nappies at the start of use, but this is one-off and you won’t need to pay out for disposable nappies as part of the weekly shop. Although the one of cost for real nappies will be between £300-400; parents will end up spending four times this amount over a two and a half year period.
  • Great fun prints!

For the environment: 

  • It is predicted that a child will use between 4,000 and 6,000 nappies. These will unfortunately end up in landfill sites and as they decompose give out a harmful greenhouse gas called methane, which contributes to climate change.
  • WRAP (the Government's Waste & Resources Action Programme) have calculated that households which use cloth nappies reduce their household waste by up to half compared to those continuing to use disposables.
  • Disposable nappies use up to three and a half times more energy to make compared to cloth nappies.

Picture of sleeping baby in cloth nappy

Different types of cloth nappies

All-in-One (AIO)

  • A waterproof shell with sewn in absorbent core and stay dry lining. Available in velcro or popper closings and sized or birth to potty (BTP)
  • These are easy to use with medium absorbency and come in some great prints. 
  • But, you cannot adjust the absorbency so they're not good for night time use. 

All in two

  • A waterproof shell with separate boosters that can be secured into the shell.
  • Great value for money and, once soiled, the shell can simply be wiped down and re-used with a new booster. The also normal have a leg gusset to help prevent leaks and have adjustable absorbency. 
  • But, they can be more complicated to get used to than AIOs. 

Pocket nappies 

  • A waterproof shell with a stay dry lining and a pocket to allow inserts to be added.
  • These are quick drying, come in fun prints and it's easy to increase or decrease the absorbency of needed. 
  • But, they can be bulky, especially for newborns, and more prone to leaks. 


  • An absorbent fitted nappy with a separate waterproof shell
  • These have excellent absorbency and containment so good as a night time option. 
  • But, they can be bulky and slow to dry and you'll need to purchase more as your child grows. 


About the author

Sophia Ferguson is the Founder and Managing Director of Tickle Tots, a Shropshire-based cloth nappy company. In 2017, they were featured on Dragon’s Den and they are now stocked in Waitrose! Tickle Tots provide All-in-One nappies and 2-part systems, to suit your needs. They also plant a native UK tree for every 1,000 nappies sold!

Picture of a crawling child in a cloth nappy



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