Cloth Diapering on a Budget: Best Tips to Diaper Cheap

Cloth Diapering on a Budget: Best Tips to Diaper Cheap

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Key Takeaways: 

  • Cloth diapers can save money compared to using disposable diapers.
  • There are a variety of cost-saving strategies for cloth diapering, including buying used, choosing cheaper materials, and DIY options.
  • Cloth training pants can be helpful in potty training to save money.

Introduction to Cloth Diapering on a Budget

In this guide, I’ll focus on cloth diapering on a budget – because let’s face it, babies are already expensive enough without adding the cost of disposable diapers.

While cloth diapers may seem like a more expensive investment compared to disposable diapers, the good news is they can save you money in the long run. I used budget cloth diapers with all 9 of my children which helped me to save a lot of money.

So let’s dive into some tips and tricks that will help you diaper your babies frugally whether the choice is to buy new diapers or second-hand ones. 

You can bookmark on Pinterest!:

cloth diapers with a piggy bank in the middle with the title, "cloth diapering on a budget."

Benefits of Cloth Diapering

There are numerous benefits to cloth diapering, both for your baby and the environment. Some of these include:

  • Cost savings: Cloth diapers are reusable, meaning after your initial investment you won’t have to continuously buy new ones like with disposables, with proper care.
  • Better for the environment: Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills and contribute to pollution. Cloth diapers can be reused and are a more sustainable option.
  • Fewer chemicals: Disposable diapers contain harmful chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are made from natural materials and don’t contain any harsh chemicals.
  • Adorable designs: Let’s be real, cloth diapers come in some seriously cute prints and designs that make diaper changes a little more fun.

Budget-Friendly Supplies

Before we jump into the tips, let’s cover the basics of what you’ll need for cloth diapering on a budget.

Different Types of Cloth Diapers

There are several types of cloth diapers to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. Some popular options include:

  • Prefolds: These are the most basic and affordable option. They consist of a rectangular piece of cloth that you use with a waterproof cover.
  • All-in-Ones (AIOs): AIOs are the most similar to disposables, as they come in one piece and are easy to use. However, they tend to be more expensive than other types of cloth diapers.
  • Pocket cloth diapers: These have a pocket where you can insert an absorbent liner. They are a great option for those looking for adjustable absorbency levels.
  • Fitted diapers: Similar to prefolds, these are rectangular absorbent inserts but with elastic around the legs and waist for a more snug fit.
  • flat cloth diapers:  These are very similar to prefolds, but they are a single layer of cloth that can be folded in various ways for customizable absorbency.
  • Hybrid diapers: These combine features of both cloth and disposable diapers, allowing you to use either reusable or disposable inserts.
a stack of cloth diapers - cloth diapering on a budget

Secondhand vs. New Diaper Options

A great way to save a significant amount of money is by buying previously used cloth diapers and supplies from thrift shops or online from places like Ebay. Keep in mind that cloth diapers are meant to last through multiple children, so even used ones can still have a lot of life left in them.

When it comes to choosing secondhand cloth diapers, there are some factors to consider. Secondhand diapers can be significantly cheaper than new ones, especially if you buy them in bulk. Also, used diapers may have staining or wear and tear, but this can vary depending on the condition

Cloth Diaper Accessories and Supplies

In addition to the cloth diapers themselves, some other accessories and supplies can help make cloth diapering more budget-friendly. These include:

  • Wet bags: Instead of using disposable plastic bags for dirty diapers, invest in a few reusable wet bags to store them.
  • Cloth wipes: If you’re already using cloth diapers, why not switch to cloth wipes as well? They are gentle on your baby’s skin and can be washed along with the diapers.
  • Waterproof diaper cover:  Instead of buying multiple covers, you can just invest in one high-quality waterproof cover and rotate it with your diaper changes.
  • Extra inserts:  Instead of buying more diapers, you can purchase extra inserts to add absorbency to your existing cloth diapers. This can be especially helpful for overnight use.
  • Cloth Diaper Covers:  Cloth diaper covers are an essential part of your cloth diapering journey. They are the outer layer that goes over the cloth insert to prevent leaks and keep your baby dry.
  • Diaper sprayer: This device attaches to your toilet and helps you rinse off solid waste from diapers before washing them, reducing the need for disposable liners.
  • Drying rack or clothesline: Instead of using a dryer, consider air-drying your diapers. Not only is it better for the environment, but it can also save you money on electricity.
  • Diaper pins or Snappis: While most modern cloth diapers have built-in closures, some still require pins or Snappis to secure them. These can be reused and are a one-time investment.

Receiving Cloth Diapers at Baby Showers

If you’re planning on using cloth diapers for your baby, consider adding them to your baby registry or mentioning it to friends and family. 

Creating a Cloth Diaper Registry or Wishlist for Baby Showers

Many popular baby registry websites now offer the option to add cloth diapers and accessories to your registry. This can be a great way to receive gifts that will help offset the cost of cloth diapering. 

Another option is to create a wish list on a retail site such as Amazon, where you can include specific brands and styles of cloth diapers that you’re interested in trying. 

women at a baby shower - cloth diapering on a budget

Incorporating Cloth Diapers into Baby Shower Games and Activities

If you’re having a baby shower, here are some different ways to incorporate cloth diapers into the festivities:

  • Diaper decorating station: Set up a table with plain white cloth diapers and fabric markers for guests to decorate. These personalized diapers can then be used as burp cloths or keepsakes.
  • Diaper relay race: Divide guests into teams and have them race to see who can properly diaper a doll with a cloth diaper the quickest.  This can be a fun and interactive way to introduce the concept of cloth diapering to others.

Cloth Diapering on a Budget: Finding Deals

There are ways to find deals and save money on cloth diapers.

Exploring Online and Offline Retailers for Discounts and Sales

Many online retailers offer sales and discounts on cloth diapers, especially during holiday weekends or special events. Some may also have rewards programs or referral programs that can provide additional savings.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also great times to look for deals on cloth diapers.

a store with a sign that says, "Black Friday" - cloth diapering on a budget

Participating in Cloth Diaper Buy/Sell/Trade Groups and Communities

Another great way to save money on cloth diapers is by joining the cloth diaper community and buy/sell/trade groups specifically for cloth diapering. These can be found on social media platforms, such as Facebook.

Washing and Maintenance Tips

Proper washing and maintenance are crucial for keeping cloth diapers in good condition and preventing issues such as leaks or odors. 

Basic Washing Routine

Here are some general guidelines for washing cloth diapers:

  1. Pre-rinse or pre-soak: Before throwing the diapers in the wash, it’s important to pre-rinse them in cold water to remove any solid waste.
  2. Wash cycle: Use a gentle detergent and run a hot water wash cycle with an extra rinse.
  3. Drying: Depending on the type of diaper, you can air-dry or machine-dry on low heat. Line drying or using a rack will save you additional money and will prevent your diapers from shrinking.
cloth diapers and covers are on a drying rack - cloth diapering on a budget

Recommended Detergents

When it comes to choosing a laundry detergent for your cloth diapers, it’s important to look for one that is free of additives and fragrances. Some recommended options include:

Storage and Organization Solutions

Proper storage and organization of cloth diapers can make your routine much easier. Here are some tips:

Cost Analysis and Savings

While the upfront cost of cloth diapers may seem high, they can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. 

Comparing Cloth Diapers Costs to Disposable Diapers

Many parents are drawn to using cloth diapers because of the potential cost savings. While cloth diapers may have a higher upfront cost, they can save you money in the long run when compared to disposable diapers.

Note: You’ll want to make sure you use quality diapers so they will last.

Here’s a basic breakdown:

  • A set of 24 cloth diapers can range from $200-$500, depending on the type and brand.
  • Disposable diapers typically cost around $0.25-0.35 per diaper, with an average of 8 diapers used per day.
  • This means you can save up to $500 and even more as your child grows and needs fewer changes per day.
  • In addition, if you have other babies, you’ll be able to use the diapers you already have which will save you even more money. I saved lots of money this way diapering my 9 children.
cloth diapers with a piggy bank - cloth diapering on a budget

Cloth Diapering on a Budget: Long-Term Savings

Not only can cloth diapers save you money, but it can also continue to save you money as your child grows.

Cloth diapers can be reused for multiple children, saving even more money. Some cloth diapers have a higher resale value, making them an investment that can pay off in the long run.

Additionally, using cloth diapers can also reduce your household waste and potentially save you money on trash pickup fees.

Cost of home Laundering

When considering the cost of home laundering, it’s important to factor in the use of your washing machine. While it does incur additional costs for water, electricity, and detergent, these costs are commonly offset by the continual reuse of cloth diapers. 

Other Uses

I used cloth diapers for burp cloths and bibs!  They were much more absorbent and durable than traditional burp cloths and bibs. As a bonus, they also saved me money in the long run since I didn’t have to constantly replace them and they cleaned up much better than regular bibs.

Cloth diapers can also be repurposed as cleaning rags or even used as makeshift menstrual pads in an emergency. Some parents even use them as swim diapers.

DIY Cloth Diaper Solutions

If you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to make cloth diapers even more cost-effective.

DIY Easy Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapering on a Budget: Making Cloth Diapers at Home

If you’re crafty with a sewing machine and want to save even more money, you can make your own cloth diapers at home. There are many patterns and tutorials available online, and with a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can create customized diapers for your baby.

someone is sewing - cloth diapering on a budget

Repurposing Household Items for Cloth Diapers

You may already have some items in your home that can be repurposed for affordable cloth diapers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Old t-shirts or receiving blankets can be turned into flat diapers by cutting them to size and sewing on snaps.
  • Kitchen towels or washcloths can serve as inserts for pocket diapers.
  • Plastic-free options like flour sack towels or even old towels can be used as diaper covers.
DIY: Sew Your Own Cloth Pocket Diapers

Potty Training with Cloth Diapers

One of the common misconceptions about cloth diapers is that it makes potty training more difficult. However, this is not necessarily true. Some parents have found that using cloth diapers can make the potty training process smoother and faster.

Tips for Successful Potty Training with Cloth Diapers

  • Start introducing your child to the potty from an early age, even if they are still wearing diapers. This helps them become familiar with the concept.
  • As your child gets older and shows signs of readiness for potty training, consider switching to cloth training pants or underwear during the day. This allows them to feel wetness and can help with their awareness.
  • Use cloth training pants or underwear with character designs that your child likes, as it may motivate them to keep them clean and dry.
a little boy sitting on a potty - cloth diapering on a budget


Cloth diapering is the best way to save money on diapers while also being environmentally friendly. 

Summary of Budget-Friendly Cloth Diapering Tips

There are many budget-friendly options for cloth diapers. You can get great deals by buying secondhand, using cheaper diaper types, and making your own diapers at home. 

With a little bit of research and creativity, you can find a solution to make every diaper change a budget-friendly one.  But even beyond the financial benefits, cloth diapers also has a positive impact on the environment and can be a healthier option for your baby’s skin. 

If you liked this post, please share on Pinterest:

baby with a cloth diaper holding a bear with the title, "cloth diapers on a budget".

Encouragement for Exploring Cloth Diaper Options

Don’t let the initial cost of cloth diapers deter you from exploring this eco-friendly and money-saving option for your family. 

Embrace cloth diapering on a budget and reap the rewards – both your wallet and the planet will thank you!


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    1. I’ve always wanted to look into clothe diapers for my littles! We are almost out of diapers but maybe for our next little one! I’ll be saving this article to revisit! Thanks!

    2. Great information! I’ve always been too scared to try cloth diapering. The cleaning has always seemed daunting!

      1. Thanks, Courtney! Yes, washing diapers can be overwhelming if you don’t have a specific routine that you stick to.

    3. This is actually a very good idea! Especially, considering the health benefits of these cloth diapers. I hope more mothers will look into this.

      1. Thanks, Anthuwin! I can’t imagine what chemicals are in disposable diapers and what they could cause as health issues. I’ve read some horror stories.

    4. I know a lot of millennials are into sustainability, so I know this article is going to help so many with cloth diapering on a budget. Plus it’s healthier for the baby so win-win!!!

    5. That is amazing you used cloth diapers on all your children. The way you explained made it less intimidating for me to try. I have a toddler and I am interested in the training pants.

      1. I used the cloth training pants for potty training, but I still used a diaper for naps and nighttime so there wouldn’t be any accidents in the crib.

    6. Interesting read! While I’ve never tried cloth diapers, I’ve heard some parents find them comfortable and cost-effective. Might consider it for the future!😊

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