Nappies: cloth or disposables?


Kidspot mums responded to a CHOICE survey to help guide mums’ choices around nappies and the overwhelming majority of mothers preferred disposable nappies to cloth or modern cloth nappies.

Nappies: not an easy decision

Nappies seem to come in as many shapes and sizes as babies – but how many parents prefer which style? Do parents commit to one type of nappy and one type only? Are price or ease of use a factor? With so many questions to consider, and so few statistics to back them up, CHOICE turned to Kidspot mums in July 2011 to survey which nappies they preferred.

Nappy breakdown: the options

  • Regular disposable nappies
  • Eco disposable nappies, for example labelled biodegradable or chlorine-free
  • Modern cloth nappies
  • Traditional-style cloth nappies

Nappy results: what Kidspot mums recommend

CHOICE conducted an online survey exclusively with Kidspot parents to determine the types of nappies they preferred. At the time of the survey, around 81% of Kidspot participants had one child currently wearing nappies, 18% had two children in nappies, and 1% had three or more.

Eco disposable and traditional cloth nappy use

In the survey, it was found the 5% of Kidspot parents use eco disposable nappies, either exclusively, or in conjunction with other nappy types. Further to this, another 5% of parents surveyed choose traditional-style cloth nappies for their baby, again either alone or with the use of another nappy option.

Modern cloth nappy use

Modern cloth nappies tend to be a little more convenient and easier to use than traditional square cloth nappies. Modern cloth nappies come in a variety of styles and may be more tailored and simpler to use than traditional cloth nappies.

Most parents perceive the benefits of cloth nappies to be their lower environmental impact, longer term cost savings, the appearance and the fact that they are gentle on babies’ skin. Eighten per cent of those surveyed picked the environmentally friendly modern cloth nappy as their primary nappy choice, either alone or used in conjunction with other nappy styles. The top five modern cloth nappy brands preferred by Kidspot mums were:

  1. Baby Beehinds
  2. Itti bitti
  3. Pea Pods
  4. Cushie tushie
  5. Bambooty

In regards to brands of modern cloth nappies, mums tend to choose more than one brand, with 46% choosing two or more different brands.

Regular disposable nappy use

A whopping 96% of Kidspot mum’s surveyed prefer convenience over environmental concern, choosing regular disposable nappies for their child, either alone or with other types of nappy. The top five brands of disposable nappies identified in the survey were:

  1. Huggies
  2. Mamia (Aldi)
  3. BabyLove
  4. Snugglers
  5. Select Contour Fit (Woolworths)

Kidspot users will tend to use more than one brand of disposable nappy, with 38% of mums alternating between two brands or more.

Factors for choosing between cloth or disposable nappies?

Convenience rates highest as the reason mothers choose disposable nappies over cloth nappies. While disposable nappies may seem cheaper at point of purchase, CHOICE found in a further study that “..on average, parents will spend between $1900 and $3000 on disposable nappies in comparison to less than $1000 for cloth nappies”.* Regardless of this, the vast majority of parents prefer the wash-free ease of the disposable nappy over the environmental benefits and lower ongoing costs of using cloth nappies.

*Average nappy spend is based on a separate survey by CHOICE, that found average pricing ranging from 18 cents to 45 cents per disposable nappy, whereas modern cloth nappies will cost between $20 to $55, with approx 20 – 24 cloth nappies required and washing every two days.

Sourced with permission from Figures courtesy of