Trying to build your cloth diaper stash, but you’re on a super tight budget?
Cloth diapers can save you a ton of money in the long run, but the upfront cost can certainly be intimidating.
Luckily, there are several ways to cloth diaper on the cheap, for an insanely low amount of money.
In this post, we’ll share 11 clever ways for you to save even more money by cloth diapering your baby.
11 Clever Ways to Cloth Diaper on a Budget
1. Buy Pre-Loved
One of the easiest ways to save money on cloth diapers is to buy pre-loved or second hand.
Sometimes you can get really lucky and purchase a whole lot from someone who barely used them, as cloth diapering just doesn’t work out for some people. But seriously, you can find some killer deals on top-name brands sometimes, so don’t be afraid to check FB marketplace and swap sites and second-hand stores.
If you’re purchasing from a consignment shop or someone you don’t know (and weren’t familiar with their wash routine) then it’s probably best to do a bleach soak and strip your cloth diapers before using them on your baby.
2. Stick with Prefolds or Flats
There are many different types and styles of cloth diapers, but in order to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to stick with prefolds or flats, along with waterproof covers.
Prefolds and flats are kind of your “old-style” of cloth diapers. You can fold them different ways around your baby for absorbency and then place a PUL cover over it.
Flats are nice and trim, but they’re not as absorbent as prefolds. You can usually find prefolds in 6 packs for around $10-$15 and a 12 pack of flats for around $20-$30.
Prefolds and flats also save you even more money, because they’re so versatile. You can use them as burp cloths, changing pads, cleaning rags, and more.
Our favorite prefolds and flats are from the OsoCozy brand.
3. Use Flour Sack Towels and Receiving Blankets
If you’re really tight on funds, you can always use flour sack towels (FSTs) or old receiving blankets as your inserts.
FSTs also work great as doublers, if you need an extra layer of absorbency for your heavy wetter or nighttime solution.
As with prefolds and flats, you will still need some waterproof covers to go over your inserts. Your cover, however, can be used a few times before washing or until soiled.
4. Put Them on Your Registry
I think most people are afraid to gift cloth diapers, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Go ahead and put your favorite fluff and cloth diaper accessories on your baby registry. This is super easy to do if you’ve created an Amazon Baby Registry, but you can also request your hostess to place a link for guests to buy cloth on the baby shower invitations.
I didn’t receive a whole lot of cloth at my baby shower, but I did get a few things from my mom and sister and was even gifted 2 diapers from a friend. Every little bit helps!
5. Buy in Bundles
If you know you like a certain brand, then you may want to consider stocking in bundles.
Many brands now offer starter kits or package deals to help save you a little bit more money and time.
- 1 -Nicki’s Diapers One Size Cover – Snap Closure
- 1 – Nicki’s Diapers GreatFit Cotton Prefold – Large
- 1 – Imagine Baby Products One Size Bamboo Fitted Diaper – (Closure type may vary)
- 1 – Nicki’s Diapers One Size Ultimate All In One – Snap Closure
- 1 – Imagine Baby Product One Size Pocket – Snap Closure
- 1 – Best Bottom Diaper One Size Shell – Snap Closure
- 1 – Best Bottom Diaper Stay Dry Insert – Large
- 1 – Planet Wise Lite Bag
- 1 – Imagine Baby Products Biodegradable Liner – 50 Count
- 1 – Cloth Diapering 101 Brochure
They also have a Newborn starter kit, which you can find here.
The nice thing about Nicki’s is that they have a 15-day wash, try, wash, love or return policy. If a certain brand doesn’t work out, you can also return it for store credit.
There’s also several brands that come in sets on Amazon.
Continue reading below.
6. Cloth Cheapies
Cheap cloth diapers can be a hit or a miss.
Some save you a ton of money up front, but simply don’t last. Others, you can find for under $6 and they’ll last for years!
We’ve had a few cloth diapers that didn’t even make it through one baby, but on the other hand, we’ve had some cheapies that are in tip-top shape after being used for almost 4 years.
The most affordable diapers we’ve had good luck with include:
7. Find Cloth Diapers for FREE
Yup, you heard me right. You can get cloth diapers for FREE!
There are cloth diaper banks that provide free cloth diapers, either by loan or to keep, to low-income families who don’t have the finances to meet the upfront costs of cloth diapering.
They help fill in the gap and allow you to change your baby, until you’re able to accumulate enough cloth diapers of your own.
You can find a list of cloth diaper banks and instructions on how to apply to one here.
8. Use Reusable Liners
If you’re serious about saving money with cloth, then it seems kind of silly to use disposable liners with them.
Of course, the most cost-effective route would simply be to ditch liners altogether, but if you do decide to use them, you can make around 30 of them for under $3.
Simply buy a micro fleece blanket at your local Walmart and cut out the shape of one of your inserts.
These reusable liners help wick moisture away from your baby’s skin, make poop more “plopable” for cleaning, and prevent your diapers from staining. Which means, you’ll have a better chance for resale in the future. Plus, you save yourself some sanity and make your baby more comfortable.
The extra $3 is certainly worth it to me in this case.
9. Choose a Cheap Detergent
Choosing a cheap, but effective detergent will also be a must if you’re trying to cloth diaper on the cheap.
Foca powder is one of the cheapest, quality detergents out there for washing cloth. But unfortunately, if you have an HE machine, you won’t be able to use it. You can find Foca powder at your local Walmart, and you can a two month supply for about $15 over at Sam’s Club.
If you have an HE machine, you can use Foca liquid though. It’s a quality detergent as well, but it’s just not as good as the powder, and usually costs a tad more.
Other inexpensive and cloth-safe detergents include:
10. Ditch the Diaper Sprayer
If you’re trying to cloth diaper for the very least amount of money, then you’ll want to bypass the cloth diaper sprayer and spray pal.
You’ll have to stick with the ole’ “dunk and swish” method for rinsing off those poopy diapers. You’ll save money by not buying the sprayer, as well as a few pennies on the water bill.
Remember that exclusive breastmilk poo does not need to be rinsed off before throwing it into the washing machine, since it’s water soluble. Your normal pre-rinse and spin or short wash cycle before your main wash should do just fine.
11. Stick to the Minimum
Let’s be honest, it can be so easy to get addicted to all those adorable cloth diaper prints.
You’ve got to remind yourself that you don’t need all those diapers and that you’re using cloth to save money.
I know those limited prints and new-release diapers can be tempting, so it’s best to avoid social media pages that promote cloth diaper sales after you’ve established your stash.
The actual number you have depends on how often you want to be washing them, but if you’re going according to bare minimum, then you’ll need 12-15 diapers a day for a newborn, and 7-10 a day for an older baby.
Save Even More with Cloth
The initial cost of cloth diapering can be overwhelming and down right intimidating. But if you play your cards right, you can cloth diaper for an insanely cheap amount of money.
Try building your stash slowly throughout your pregnancy, putting cloth on your registry, and purchasing fluff in sets or starter kits. You can even find some killer deals on very gently used cloth diapers.
But if you’re looking for the absolute cheapest route, you’ll want to use flour sack towels or old recieving blankets along with cheap waterproof covers. If you’re really struggling financially, don’t be afraid to look into a cloth diaper bank.
And remember, don’t get addicted to all those cute diaper prints!
What About You?
How do you cloth diaper on a budget? Share your best money saving tips in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other cloth diaper moms and dads.