Cloth Diapers On A Budget

Once upon a time, long Ago sweet little babies crawled around, their squishy bums covered in cloth.

Actually, not too long ago cloth diapers were the norm in society and not the trendy luxury that everyone seems to think they are today. In 1948 Johnson and Johnson introduced the first mask-marketed disposable diaper in the U.S. (source)

So less than 80 years ago the majority of babies were wearing cloth and only cloth.

By the year 2006 American babies were wearing 3.6 million TONS of disposable diapers, making of 2.6% of municipal waste. (source)

Typically when cloth diapering comes up in conversation the first thing someone will say to me is, “Wow! I wanted to cloth diaper but I just couldn’t commit to it.” Cost and laundry are usually the top two reasons why most mamas feel overwhelmed by cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers don’t have to break the bank! Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through it.

When I decided to cloth diaper I only knew what little I had been exposed to. You can read more about that here. When I shared that I wanted to cloth diaper with other people, I was met with skepticism. I was told it was expensive and would only add unnecessary work to my already overwhelming role as a new mom.

I didn’t set out to prove anyone wrong. But I knew I had to be smart about the cost part of it and the work part of it, well I wasn’t afraid of a little extra work. Which by the way is A HUGE misconception when it comes to cloth diapers. By the time I was pregnant we were a one income family, living in a 600 square foot basement apartment. We didn’t have extra money to throw around. How was I going to afford a bundle of cloth for my sweet baby?????

  • Buy Used (Secondhand). Buying used DIAPERS? Gross! Actually, it’s not. Most cloth mamas treat their cloth diapers like another child, especially if they bought them brand new. You can find SCADS of secondhand diapers at a fraction of the cost literally all over the Internet. Facebook marketplace is great place to start. If you live in Canada, Kijiji is also a great resource for finding secondhand diapers. If you are looking for the most budget friendly secondhand cloth diapers, FB Marketplace and Kijiji are your best bet. You can usually haggle with people who are trying to sell of parts of a stash. Sometimes a mama will even be selling wet bags, diaper pail and sprayer as part of her stash!

Cloth Diaper Trader is a HUGE resource for finding consigned cloth diapers.

Nicki’s Diapers has really great standards as far as what they sell. Check them out!

  • Shop Deals and Promotions. I recently (and for the first time) purchased new Kawaii Baby diapers through this deal on Amazon. I now receive monthly emails about discounts, deals and promotions that this brand is offering. Brands will also discontinue different styles and put them on clearance. If you keep tabs on your favourite brands, you might be able to snag a deal when something goes on sale!
  • Become a Brand Ambassador. While I’ve never done this during my cloth diaper journey, I’ve seen plenty of moms across the internet who have. A brand ambassador is someone that a company will send diapers to, to try out and review. This usually means that you can get diapers for free or at a major discount. The downside to being a brand ambassador means that you need a website or blog with high traffic. The whole point is that the company is getting free advertising in exchange for letting you try out their diapers.
  • Put cloth diapers on your baby registry! I WISH I had thought of this but it never occurred to me until after the fact. You can score almost everything you need by registering for your stash before you even have your baby.
  • Inherit diapers. My sister gave me a garbage bag full of cloth diapers and it really boosted my stash! If you know a friend or family member who isn’t going to resell or has had used diapers for a long time and wants to just get them gone-try asking. You might be surprised!

Cost Breakdown: New VS Used.

If you are new to cloth, you might be asking yourself how could they possibly cost so much? That all depends on how you go about it. If you MUST have high end, brand new, organic diapers you are going to spend anywhere from $500 to $900 for a stash. For example:

The Charlie Banana brand of diapers sells 3 brand new diapers with 6 organic inserts at the price of $112 CAD. If you are diapering from birth, you’ll need at LEAST 12 diapers a day (and be washing every night) to have enough. That’s a cost of about $350 for 12 diapers (with inserts) or over $37 per diaper. If you go with a budget friendly brand like Kawaii Baby (my FAV!) you are looking at $7 to $12 CAD per diaper with or without inserts, depending on the style. That’s an incredibly GREAT deal at $84 CAD for 12 diapers. But even $84 can feel like a lot when you are on a really tight budget.

When I first started my stash I spent a total of about $180 on everything. I had about 30 pocket diapers with 2 inserts, cloth wipes (given to me for free), 2 brand new wet bags at $15 for both, $50 diaper sprayer, $2 gloves, and 2 buckets ($5) for dirty diapers. If you break down the cost, I spent about $3.60 per diaper including inserts.

I was given more diapers from my sister after she didn’t need them anymore. I’ve resold almost ALL the secondhand diapers I started out with. This enabled me to purchase BRAND NEW diapers this past Christmas. YAY! I now have a total 24 pocket diapers with 2 inserts each, for my boys. I typically wash twice a week. We use cloth Monday through Friday, during the day. We use disposables nights and weekends.

Budget Friendly New Cloth Diapers:

If you aren’t keen on secondhand diapers you can still purchase brand new diapers that are budget friendly. You are still going to spend more than if you bought secondhand but these are the two most affordable brands I’ve seen that I can reccommend.

In conclusion, I’m PRO secondhand diapers all the way. Why? Because it’s the most affordable option when you are starting out. You can also try so many different styles of diapers when you buy secondhand because the cost gives you more freedom. That is how I figured out what brand, style and fit I liked the most and why I eventually purchased brand-new from this company. Cloth diapers don’t have to be a luxury thing. It’s the same way I think about unmedicated birth, midwives, doulas and home birth. Women have been doing these things for ages!

Do you cloth diaper and have you ever tried doing it on a tight budget? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks!

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5 Things To Consider Before Committing To Cloth Diapers.

Cloth diapers ya’ll! I still love them (maybe even more) than when I started and that is the truth.

When I started Cloth Diapering, I didn’t know much but I learned along the way. Here are 5 things to consider if you are thinking about doing cloth diapers.

  • Will you buy brand new or pre-loved? There are pros and cons to either. If you buy brand new, the cost is more up front. That is ok if you are committed to the process. I’ve seen many bundles on FB Marketplace where a mama found out cloth diapers were not for her. You won’t get back what you spent up front, if you decide cloth is not for you. Pre-loved diapers are a great way to try things out without spending a ton of money. You can try various styles and brands to figure out what you like. Elastics and velcro tend to need replacing on pre-loved diapers and you typically won’t know the condition they are in until you see them in person.
  • Will you cloth diaper from the day you bring baby home? Remember that newborns typically go through 8-12 diapers a day. This slows down as baby gets older. You will typically wash every 2-3 days. Some choose to wash diapers every day. I personally do not have the time or energy to wash diapers that often. We also share our laundry room with the tenants below us so I try to be as efficient as possible. I’m not perfect but I don’t want to be taking up the machines every day. I now own a large enough stash to put both boys in cloth, that I wash twice a week. Make sure you do your math and have enough diapers, depending how often you wash.
  • Will you use cloth 100% of the time? Doing a combination of cloth and disposable can work really well. I always knew I would be doing disposable at night but early into cloth diapering with my first son, my husband suggested disposables on the weekends as well. It’s a nice break and gives me a chance to wash, dry, sort and fold everything in time for the start of a new week.
  • Do you have the right setup? If you don’t have access to a washer and dryer where you live, that can be complicated. I’m sure you can make it work if you are seriously committed but something to think about. You want to be able to choose how you wash/dry your diapers because it’s important for removing the nasties and making them last longer. You can check out how I store and access my diapers, here.
  • Are You Flexible? What I mean by this, is are you willing to keep going even if it doesn’t feel like it’s something you want to do? Can you give it a good go? There are things about cloth diapers that make them an entirely different animal from disposable. They aren’t convenient in certain ways but if you have an understanding of this before going in, that can help you stick with it. Things like dampness, dealing with the yuckies and such. Just keep these things in mind as you venture forth.

So those are just some thoughts of my own that I’ve compiled in the last 14 months of using cloth diapers. I still love them and I’m going strong.

Do you cloth diaper? What have you found to work for you or not work for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

My Cloth Diaper Setup.

50% of successfully cloth diapering is about your setup. You can love cloth diapers all you want, think they’re super cute and want to save money while making a better environmental choice. Those are great things. But if you aren’t organized you may find cloth to be frustrating very quickly.

I’ve probably revised my cloth diaper setup more times than I count at this point but I have a pretty good system in place now that works for me. I am cloth diapering both my 2 month old and my 16 month old. The setup I’m sharing today is what I have in my toddler’s room. I have the exact same setup just a small, taller dresser in my younger son’s room.

  1. Drawer of pre-stuffed Cloth Diapers.
  2. Drawer of disposables (what we use at night and on weekends)
  3. Wipes, hand sanitizer, baby bum stuff (for cloth and disposables)
  4. Garbage for wipes and disposables. Since we only use a few disposables at a time, this small bin works. It also encourage us to get dirty disposables out of the house. Call me biased but I’ve found disposables to smell far worse than cloth.
  5. These garbage pails with these wet bags are the BEST solution I’ve found for storing dirty diapers during the week. Since my toddler’s #2 is pretty solid at this point, it gets knocked into the toilet and all dirty diapers go in this pail. It seals really well. When it’s time to wash, I just pull the wet bags out and carry them down to the laundry room.

In my bathroom I have a cloth diaper sprayer, a bucket from a hardware store and rubber gloves. For #2’s that aren’t solid, I hold the diaper in the toilet and spray everything off. Flush. Diaper goes into the pail. Breastmilk #2’s can go right into the washing machine as they are water soluble.

That’s it! It’s really pretty simple to have a good setup. It helps to keep things organized and clean. It also is really nice for others who might be babysitting your children that aren’t familiar with using cloth diapers. Wh

Do you cloth diaper? What is your setup like? If you do something different, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below! Happy Cloth Diapering!

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Cloth Diaper Styles, Inserts and Brands.

Currently on my living room floor is a pile of clean cloth diapers, covers and inserts. They’ve been clean for 3 days………

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Let us jump right into the different types of cloth diapers and how they work. I’m not an expert and I haven’t used every kind out there. I’m still learning but I have found what I like and don’t like. Let’s start with the basics. Liners are what are inserted into cloth diapers. There are many different kinds of liners but the most common is microfiber. This can’t be directly against baby’s skin because it will cause irritation and/or rash. Microfiber will always be stuffed inside a pocket diaper. I currently have in order from left to right in the photo below:Charcoal, Microfiber and Bamboo. 


Excluding pre-folds (think really old school cloth diapers that many use as burp cloths) cloth diapers today use a snap or velcro system. Or a hybrid snap/velcro system. This diaper would also have side velcro tabs. There are One Size diapers are typically all snaps/velcro and snap combo.

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All-In-One’s: These are exactly what they say. The liner is sewn into the cover. There is the option of stuffing an extra liner for max absorbance.

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Pocket diapers are probably the most commonly used type of cloth diaper and the style I prefer. You can see the little pocket where you would stuff the liner. You can double and triple up but be wary of gaping near the legs. Boys will always leak near the belly button where I’ve heard that girls tend to have more back leaks.

Lastly are covers which I find have the least if any leaks. It takes practice with these because they are not pockets. So, you kinda have to finagle that liner into the cover while you are also putting it on baby or the liner will just fall out. Make sense? You can not use microfiber inserts with these because the liner would go directly against baby’s skin. I use Charcoal or Bamboo.

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That’s it as far as the types of cloth I have used. Almost all the diapers I have in my possession are able to grow with baby. I do experience leaks and I try to change baby boy every 2 to 2.5 hours. I know for those 100% committed to cloth diapering have hacks for getting their babies through the night but I’ve found that my little guy does not like the feeling of being wet in cloth (which is said to be why children tend to toilet train faster when in cloth). He’d stay in a disposable ALL day and night. To get a good night’s sleep we stick with disposables.

I did not purchase any of my diapers brand new. I saw way too many adds online where moms plunked down $500 or more on a bundle of brand new cloth diapers only to find they didn’t like it. They were trying to sell off said diapers but I think most took a loss money-wise. I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money only to find out I didn’t like something. Also-I don’t have that kind of money to spend. All together including diapers, liners, diaper sprayer, and wet bags I have spent around $180. The great thing about buying used is you get the chance to try many different brands and styles without breaking the bank. I will mention that if you buy used make sure you strip your diapers before using them on your baby. This is a process I will share on another time.

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The brands I currently have in my possession are Alva Baby, Bummis, Hip Huggers, Happy Flute, Preston’s Pants (esty and not selling anymore right now), Jamtots, Kawaii Baby and AppleCheeks. Hipper Huggers is great for double gussets.  

UPdate as of January 2019: I have been the happiest with Kawaii Baby’s diapers which I will review in another blog post!

Don’t forget to check out my intro in to cloth diapers and my set up!

What are you favourite brands and styles of cloth diapers? Share in the comments below what you love! I can’t wait to hear from you =)

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Cloth Diapers 101

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When I was exposed to cloth diapers I was a nanny for a 17 month old little boy. He was cloth diapered and his mama had a fantastic set up! She showed me around her setup, how to put on the cloth diapers, launder them etc. I thought they were interesting. Little did I know I’d be a cloth diaper fanatic one day!

Before disposable diapers became marketed mainstream and cloth diapers were the norm, children began potty training at one year and were mostly done by 2 years of age.

“The current average age of potty training completion in the US is 35 months for girls, 39 months for boys.” (Ambulatory Pediatrics Journal, 2001)

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Stats from The Barefoot Baby say that the average baby will be changed 6,1000 times before they are potty trained (think 6x a day for 25 months). For disposables that is anywhere from $1900 to $2900 per child, depending on what brand of diapers you buy. With cloth you are looking at a minimum of 24 diapers (enough to get you through 3 days at a time) and if you buy brand new a cost of $400 to $900 in one go.

We used disposables exclusively the first 2 months for both boys. We use them at night, on weekends and when we are on the go. It works for us. I’ve put together a basic list for cloth diaper beginners.

  • Have at least two large wet bags as well as one or two travel size ones. I use these in baby boy’s room. They are safe to throw right in with the diapers when I wash them.
  • RUBBER GLOVES-unless you wanna be touchin’ the gross stuff all the time!
  • Get a diaper sprayer or bidet-this one has worked GREAT for us! It was fairly easy for the husband to install and it gets the yuckies gone! More on that routine later.
  • ENOUGH cloth diapers!! Unless you want to be doing laundry every day, you need to have enough diapers to last you a few days.
  • A solid but simple wash routine. I use powder tide, hot/cold wash on delicate cycle and then hot/cold regular wash cycle. Hot water gets the nasties out! I dry my inserts on high. I hang my pockets to dry. Drying shells and pockets can wear down the inner PUL a lot faster.
  • A sense of humour. You will touch poop at some point. I had a moment the other day where I wasn’t sure if I there was mustard or poop on my sweater. Same colour. Seriously. What are you going to do? WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD.
  • It’s an investment of both your time and money. We didn’t start cloth diapers until 2 months in because being a brand new parent is enough work to begin with. I didn’t want to add a complicated wash routine to new life as mom. Also-newborns poop A LOT. This factors into much more laundry with cloth diapers. By 2 months poops slow down which makes the transition to cloth that much easier.
  • Have a setup you love. Check out my cloth diaper set up here.
  • Research different types of diapers. Don’t have time? I did some work for you already, here.

I really love cloth diapering. That being said-it’s not for everyone and that is ok! Do you cloth diaper? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife! SaveSave