How much does it cost to wash cloth nappies?

Can you help us?

We want YOU to let us know how much washing cloth nappies costs YOUR family. The extra costs associated with cloth nappies can be a sticking point for some families, so we want to show that washing cloth nappies is the the huge additional expense you might assume.

Please follow the guide below, and post your 'Cost per Load' in the comments, along with a rough outline of your nappy washing routine [ie quick wash followed by cotton cycle on 40 degrees in 6kg Samsung front loader]. Thanks heaps, Fiona & Catherine

Information you'll need:

Your washing machine

You can find some basic information on the government's Energy Rating Website, but you can also refer to your machine's manual (you can usually download it from the Energy Rating website, if you click the link on your model number), or check the manufacturer's website for more specific information (or if it isn't energy rated).
  • the number of litres of water your washing machine uses per washing cycle you use
  • if you incorporate additional rinse or wash cycles in your routine, the number of litres of water your washing machine uses per cycle. This information may be in your manual.
  • how many kWh your washing machine uses per wash - select the kWh appropriate to whether you use cold or warm water (if there's a choice). The kWH figure of your machine is calculated on a per year/washing daily basis, so divide it by 365 to get a per load kWh figure.
CHOICE Magazine can be a great resource for find out more in depth information about your washing machine.

Water & Electricity Costs

  • on your water bill find out how much you're charged per litre of water used
  • on your electricity bill find how much your electricity company charges you per kWH used


  • how much your detergent costs and how many loads there are in the box/bottle so you can work out how much a load costs you.

Your routine

  • don't forget to include additional litres of water used for flushing poo (a half flush on most toilets is 3L), or rinsing nappies by hand
  • if you use a clothes dryer you'll need to include the electricity costs associated with this based on your usage (you can find some basic energy information here).

By the way...

It can be hard to find some information depending on your washing machine and what information the manufacturer supplies. For example, you may use a whites cycle and you can only find water usage for the eco cycle, or you wash on cold, but you can only find kWh usage for warm. Don't worry too much - just do the best you can.



Here's an example using Fiona's Simpson 7L Front Loader assuming the following for a load of nappies:

  • a rinse & spin cycle followed by a 40 degree whites cycle
  • the use of 3L daily for hand rinsing/flushing
  • use of EcoStore detergent (amount for heavily soiled load)
  • calculations based on 25.5 cents per kWh for electricity and $2.58 per 1000 L for water as per bills
Per Washing Load
Water Usage
Litres per Rinse Cycle 21 Litres
Litres per Cotton Cycle 72 Litres
Extra Litres for Rinsing/Flushing 9 Litres
Total 102 Litres
Total cost per load (cost of water at $0.00258 per litre) $0.26
 Electricity Usage
 kWh per Load  0.8767
 Total cost per load assuming cost of electricity at $0.255 per kWh  $0.22
 Detergent cost per load  $0.27
Total Cost per Load $0.75
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