Updated March 18, 2021
Are you looking for ways to make cloth diapering work on a tight budget?
You are not alone.
Many new parents are making the decision in 2021 to use cloth diapers.
But it can get expensive, there are so many choices.
You can keep it budget-friendly by following our simple advice.
Cloth Diapering on a Budget
- Cloth diapers are not only easier on the environment than disposables, but they’re also better for parents with a tight baby budget.
- Many parents who choose cloth diapering do so to save money, but with all the fancy cloth diaper options currently available, the price of cloth diapering can be deceptive.
- Fortunately, frugal parents still have plenty of options that will keep their babies dry from birth to potty learning for a reasonable price.
Inexpensive Cloth Diapers
One of the most affordable cloth diapering systems is old-fashioned prefolds or simple rectangles of fabric with extra layers in the middle.
Prefolds come in several sizes, from preemie to toddler, but parents who need to save money can often skip the smallest and largest sizes.
Cost for two dozen infant size prefolds and two dozen standard or premium size prefolds: about $100.
- When considering cloth diapering on a budget, you will definitely want to consider flat diapers. They can be folded to just the size the baby needs and can be used from birth to potty learning.
- Although it’s possible to get by with two dozen flat diapers (washing every other day), having three dozen will leave enough extra to layer multiple diapers together if needed for more absorbency.
Cloth Diaper Covers
Yet another item you will want to consider covers for cloth diapers when researching cloth diapering on a budget.
Both prefold and flat diapers need a cloth diaper cover in order to make them waterproof.
Covers that come in cute prints and colors can be fun, but for affordability, it’s hard to beat plain white pull-on covers such as Bummis Super Whisper Pants and Dappi nylon pants.
These covers are easy to rinse or wipe clean between most changes, meaning parents won’t need to buy as many covers.
Parents who opt for wrap-style covers may want to choose ones that use a single-layer of waterproof material that can be reused between changes unless the diaper is messy.
This can be a great way to save if you are cloth diapering on a budget.
Covers that use snaps to adjust to multiple sizes as the baby grows, such as the Thirsties Duo, may cost a little bit more upfront but can also save money over the long term.
Saving Money on Wipes and Accessories Is The Key To Cloth Diapering On A Budget
- When cloth diapering on a budget, cloth diaper wipes also saves a lot of money compared to disposables, and it’s easy to sew cloth diaper wipes.
- Parents who don’t sew can also simply cut up a yard or two of flannel or even an old receiving blanket since flannel doesn’t unravel much in the wash. Cost for homemade flannel wipes: about $5.
- Rather than buying a diaper pail, parents can purchase an inexpensive garbage pail and line it with a nylon bag for easy laundering, or simply hang up the bag and skip the pail altogether.
More Cloth Diaper Savings Strategies
- Shop around – with so many top-quality online cloth diaper stores available; it pays to look for the best deal on both diapers and shipping. Sites such as Wee Bunz and Nicki’s Diapers often offer free shipping on covers, while Sew Craft Baby may also ship prefolds and flats for free.
- Look for durability – although some parents opt to save money by purchasing one-size diapers, the constant use means these diapers may not really last one baby from birth to potty training or hold up through multiple children. Consider getting extra diapers, so they’re washed less frequently, and look for diapers with snaps instead of hook-and-loop closures. This is a great way to get the longest use out of cloth diapers when cloth diapering on a budget.
- Buy used – sites such as Diaper Swappers and Undermycrib allow parents to buy preowned diapers and sell their own when they’re no longer needed. Look for cute diaper covers at second-hand stores. I’ve scored some outrageously good deals on all kinds of baby items including brand new diaper covers with the tags still on!
- Avoid cheap diapers – stay away from store brand prefolds that use cheap polyester fillings instead of absorbent cotton to prevent a frustrating cloth diapering experience. It will be tempting to save the money but the diapers will not hold up and they are not as comfortable for your baby which is one of the main reasons parents choose cloth diapers. This article is about cloth diapering on a budget and in the long run, this will save your money.
- Be content with the stash on hand – it can be tempting to want to try the latest thing in cloth diapering, but it’s less expensive to stick with a system that works. It is so hard though. So maybe set aside a small budget to add a couple of new diaper covers a few times a year.
In order to save money with cloth diapers, it’s important to find a cloth diapering system that fits the family’s lifestyle, not just the one that’s least expensive.
Parents who wish to compare the cost savings of cloth diapers versus disposables or of various cloth diapering systems can use the online cloth diaper savings calculator from Diaper Pin.
In addition to the cost of diapers, it is important to look at the other factors that could impact your cost comparison of cloth vs disposable diapers.
These factors include the cost of laundering diapers (water, detergent, electricity, etc.) and your particular concerns about the environment.
For more information on these other factors, please check out our article: Which Is Better Disposable Or Cloth Diapers? [Pros vs Cons in 2021].
1. How many cloth diapers do you need?
It is best to have up to 3 days worth of diapers. Newborns require the most (around 36 diapers). The number will then depend on your baby’s age, your laundry habits, and the type of cloth diaper.
2. How do you wash cloth diapers?
The best way to wash cloth diapers is to use hot water with detergent and softener. It is important to make sure the water at the end of the wash cycle has no suds to be sure the diapers are thoroughly rinsed and will not cause any irritation from the detergent.
3. Can cloth diapers go in the dryer?
Yes, they can be put in the dryer but only on medium to low heat.
4. Are cloth diapers worth it?
Whether or not cloth diapers are worth it is an individual decision based on a cost comparison, environmental concerns, job constraints, and other factors such as the ability to launder diapers or afford disposable diapers.