I always wanted to use cloth diapers when we had a baby. I just figured they fit right into our frugal lifestyle and they were so cute! I already use homemade cloth pads so the "gross" factor was not there for me .
So I started researching the various kinds of diapers that you could purchase (Fitted, Pockets, All in Ones, All in Twos, Covers, ect) and then a little about each brand. There is so much information out there it's overwhelming!
What I did discover though, is that cloth diapers can be very expensive! Cheap cloth diapers seemed to be an unreachable goal. Yes, generally any new endeavor has some kind of upfront cost but I saw some diapers selling for us much as $50! (With an average cost of $25 per diaper) Shopping the cheap diapers at the store would get me a whole package of about 45 for $7 so why would I spend that much on cloth diapering. I decided my goal was going to be to spend $5 per cloth diaper, and no more than $7 for a diaper. Here's how I did that and some other ways I keep my cloth diapering costs down.
Buy Used. Check out sites like Diaperswappers.com (I buy lots of diapers there!) where you can buy used (and sometimes new) and cheap cloth diapers from other moms. There is nothing wrong with used diapers as long as you find out if they have been well taken care of, and generally cloth diapering mama's take good care of them. Make sure the diapers have been washed in a cloth diaper approved detergent and sunned regularly.
Buy Fixer-Uppers. Watch garage sales, Facebook sales, and diaper swapping sites for posts with fixer-upper diapers. These are diapers that are in decent shape but need either new elastic, or new velcro, or something similar. If you are handy with a needle and thread these might be a great option for you.
Make Your Own. I've tried this option and it's not my personal fav but it does work, especially if you are going to be mainly using prefolds, fitteds, or covers. Read my post here on my cloth diaper making experiment with suggestions on patterns to use.
Buy Cheapies. Some mamas might frown at this one but this has been my greatest source of success with cloth diapers, cheap ones! I purchase cheap cloth diapers from Ebay, or from Alva Cloth Diapers for right around $5 for a new diaper plus insert (or less!) These have been working excellent for us (and we've had a tough time finding diapers that fit right because of baby's skinny legs) and they are cute!
Skip the Expensive Detergent. Some of the cloth diaper approved laundry detergents are just too expensive (Charlie's, Rocking Green, Tide Free and Clear). But it is important that you still buy a good detergent otherwise you will have a problem with build up on your diapers and they won't last long. My favorite detergent is Country Save. It's cheap, hypoallergenic, and works great not only for your cloth diapers but for all your clothing.
Stop Stressing Over the Cute Factor. Chances are that you are going to cover that diaper right up with clothes anyways so don't get too overly obsessed with looks. Sometimes we have to remember that the purpose of the diaper is to be a potty-catcher and nothing else! And if you do have plain boring diapers that you let your little wear without clothes in the summer, you can always dress it up with some cute baby leg warmers. I love those!
Wash More. I read somewhere that the average amount of cloth diapers one mama has for one baby is 40 diapers. I only have half that many! To make up for it I wash my diaps every other day, or every 3 days. I don't like them to sit longer than that anyways.
We use almost all pocket diapers. I love that I can stuff them perfectly for regular use or naptime use and they aren't super bulky. Plus they seem to be the most inexpensive option that works well for us.
I also don't have any special way to clean my diapers. I rinse them off in the bathtub and let them soak in an un-used sink until I'm ready to wash them. Maybe someday I'll have a better set up but this has been working fine!
Save even more by making your own Homemade Cloth Wipes!
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