52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}

At the beginning of every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

We talked about eliminating disposable products earlier in this series, but I wanted talk more extensively about cloth diapering in a stand-alone post. Why? Because you can fairly easily save $100+ per year just by eliminating disposable diapers completely — or even just partially.

However, making the switch to cloth diapering is a big decision and not one to rush into without some thought and research. It’s a commitment of time and energy and it’s also usually a financial commitment. But it can pay off in fairly big dividends.

Our Cloth-Diapering Story

When Kathrynne was born, Jesse was in law school and our budget was extremely tight. I had wondered how we were going to afford diapers.

Well, we didn’t end up having to worry about it at all because shortly after Kathrynne was born, some good friends of ours called us up out of the blue and generously said they wanted to give us an entire set of Fuzzi Bunz diapers. We were overwhelmed at their kindness and enthusiastically accepted their offer.

We exclusively cloth-diapered Kathrynne and loved it… plus, we saved so much money. In fact, I don’t know how we would have ever afforded to buy disposable diapers since there were many weeks in those days when we struggled to just pay for our food and rent.

When Kaitlynn was born 2 and 1/2 years later, we planned to cloth diaper her as well. However, she was extremely allergic to every cloth diaper and diaper we tried. I was determined to make it work, but after a few months and many, many severe diaper rashes, I finally concluded that she could only use Pampers.

Gratefully, by this time, I had discovered the Drugstore Game and was able to work in Pampers purchases to my overage (that was back in the good old days when overage was a whole lot easier to come by at CVS!).

What Are the Cloth Diapering Options?

There are many, many different cloth diaper options out there. I recommend researching them all so you understand the lingo. For a basic primer, check out these two articles: Having a Baby Without Breaking the Bank: Cloth Diapering and Cloth Diapering 101.

There are many different ways to build your cloth diaper stash other than buying them brand-new yourself:

Ask for Cloth Diapers for Gifts — If you’re a first-time mom and you’re planning to cloth diaper, asking for cloth diapers as gifts for your baby showers might be an option for you.

Buy Used — Check Craigslist, garage sales, eBay, and online diaper forums for used cloth diapers. This might not be appealing to some people, but it is an option.

Make Your Own — If you’re handy with a sewing machine (unlike me!), I’ve heard it’s fairly simple to make your own cloth diapers.

Get Creative — Willing to think outside the box a little? Check out these two articles: How to Cloth Diaper for Practically Free and Start Cloth Diapering at Home for $20 (no sewing required).

How Much Can You Save?

How much you save by cloth-diapering will vary a great deal depending upon how many children you have, what kind of diapers you buy, how much you’d usually pay for disposable diapers (if you read this blog and print coupons, you likely pay a lot less per disposable diaper than many people do!), how much your water and electricity costs, whether you line-dry your diapers or not, and so forth.

However, regardless of your situation, I can fairly safely say that you will save at least $100 per year by using cloth diapers at least half the time. And there’s a good possibility that you’ll save significantly more than that if you cloth diaper exclusively, don’t have high electricity and water costs, and use your diapers for more than one child.

BabyWorks has some interesting statistics and stories on how much you can save by cloth diapering. You can also read some of my readers’ answers to this question. And here’s a breakdown of a number of different diaper costs from Diaper Decisions.

Save Even More By Making Your Own Cloth Wipes

If you’re already cloth-diapering, it’s really simple to use cloth wipes, too. With Kathrynne, I just used baby washcloths and water. However, if you want something a little more handy, you can Make Homemade Reusable Baby Wipes.

Related: My Journey to Cloth Diapers

Have you tried cloth-diapering? If so, what tips and suggestions do you have to add to my post?

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Other posts in the 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year series

  1. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Bake Your Own Bread (Week #1)
  2. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Make Your Own Coffee at Home (Week #2)
  3. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Cable Package {Week 3}
  4. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}
  5. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}
  6. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Mixes {Week 6}
  7. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}
  8. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Surround Yourself With Frugal Friends {Week 8}
  9. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Eliminate Disposable Products {Week 9}
  10. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Cut Your Own Hair {Week 10}
  11. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}
  12. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become Best Friends With Your Freezer {Week 12}
  13. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Rent Movies for FREE {Week 13}
  14. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Ask for a Discount {Week 14}
  15. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cancel Your Gym Membership {Week 15}
  16. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Get the Best Bang for Your Buck at Yard Sales {Week 16}
  17. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Grow Some Of Your Food {Week 17}
  18. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cut Back on the Soda Pop Habit {Week 18}
  19. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Buy in Bulk {Week 19}
  20. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Price-Match at Walmart {Week 20}
  21. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Landline {Week 21}
  22. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Refinance Your Mortgage {Week 22}
  23. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Follow a Local Deal Blogger {Week 23}
  24. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Coupon Database {Week 24}
  25. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Plan a Weekly Menu {Week 25}
  26. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Strategically Use Daily Deal Sites {Week 26}
  27. 52 Different Ways to Save At Least $100 Per Year: Shop at Aldi {Week 27}
  28. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Books {Week 28)
  29. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}
  30. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}
  31. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}
  32. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}
  33. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}
  34. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}
  35. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get Organized {Week 35}
  36. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Have an All-Cash Christmas {Week 36}
  37. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Sign Up for Swagbucks {Week 37}
  38. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Cut Your Fuel Costs {Week 38}
  39. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}
  40. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Simplify Birthday Parties {Week 40}
  41. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Brown Bag It {Week 41}
  42. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Snacks {Week 42}
  43. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Programmable Thermostat {Week 43}
  44. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Limit Eating Out {Week 44}
  45. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get a Bang for Your Buck on Travel Expenses {Week 45}
  46. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Don't Pay For Pre-Made Baby Food {Week 46}
  47. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat More Beans {Week 47}
  48. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Homemade Cards {Week 48}
  49. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop At More Than One Store {Week 49}
  50. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat From the Pantry {Week 50}
  51. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}
  52. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}

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Comments

  1. says

    We love cloth diapering, which is good since we’ve been at it for almost 6 years straight. Many of our current diapers were given to us or purchased when our second baby was born and they will still be going strong when baby #5 joins us this summer.

    I think it’s important to try out some different types and brands of diapers before going all out and purchasing a complete stash. What works for one baby may not work for another. Our family has settled into the groove of prefolds (with homemade fleece doublers) and Thirsties Duo Wraps while at home and an assortment of one size pocket diapers while out and about. I’d definitely recommend the one size diapers because they can grow with your baby from birth to potty training. My favorite one size pocket diaper is the Rumparooz. I just love the double gussets :)

      • says

        We love encouraging people to try cloth diapering and don’t want the (potential) upfront cost to be a hindrance. Thanks for sharing the link to our video. We hope it will be a blessing and allow someone to save money while cloth diapering their little one.

        Crystal, thanks for all the ways you help so many of us save money for our families!

  2. says

    We loved using cloth diapers! They are so soft and come out clean with every wash. It can have an expensive upfront costs, but it is so worth it. And later, when you no longer need them, you can resale them.

    Oh, and using cloth diapers helps in hastening potty training. Another plus!

  3. Kaitlin says

    I use cloth diapers almost exclusively. I figured we are saving about $600 per year! They are so much easier than I initially thought! Now I try and talk every new mom I know into using cloth!

    • Abbygail says

      They are easy aren’t they? Once you get the routine down (wash, dry, fold). It maybe adds 15-20 minutes a week to my laundry time (that includes hanging them outside to dry in the summer). We are on baby #2 with this stash (most of which I bought used or on daily deal sites for around $10/diaper), so we are saving at least $8/wk ($5 if I could always find deals on disposables). We did buy 10 size small diapers (used) this time for when baby was small for times when I didn’t want her to have a huge bottom!

  4. says

    We’ve been cloth-diapering since I gave birth to my oldest daughter 3 1/2 years ago! Now we have 3 children, and we’ve cloth-diapered all of them with Bum Genius. For our newborn, we decided to mail our velcro diapers to http://www.convertmydiapers.com, and had them all converted to snap diapers. For my initial research, I asked my friends on Facebook for feedback and that’s how we decided on Bum Genius. We’ve bought all of ours new on Ebay because the prices were lower there. I know we’ve saved a lot of money cloth-diapering, and we also save by hang-drying all of our laundry during the warmer months (which are most months here in California). Thanks for all the good suggestions for saving money!

  5. Marie says

    For me, I have a severe gag reflex and knew I could not clothe diaper because of the rinsing and washing. I’d have more of a mess to clean up.
    But my daughter who just turned 2 we haven’t bought diapers for her since I was pregnant. We got such a deal at Walgreens we stocked up on every size!!! Now we did not clear shelves. We went to several Walgreens over a course of time and many different days. We hit a sale on their brand, plus coupons and ending up paying $2 a package!!! We also hit Babies R Us on black Friday for their diapers for $10, normally $22.50. We did the same thing for wipes and haven’t bought those either.
    We had done the same thing with diapers when our twins were born, buying 30 cases on Black Friday.
    I knew clothe diapering wouldn’t work so I had to find a way to still save money with diapers. And we had so many diapers I was able to bless a friend who was going through rough times financially.

    • august says

      You might be interested to know that a lot of people think that cloth is far less gross than the other. For example, you can buy a sprayer and attach it to your toilet. Then you won’t have to do anything but toss it in the wash. If that doesn’t work, you could still use disposable inserts. They’re flushable and still cheaper than the regular dipaers.

      Also, I read somewhere that you’re supposed to dump out normal diapers too. “It says it right on the bag, but no one does it”. I haven’t checked to see if this is true, but I found it interesting.

      • Marie says

        Yeah, a friend of mine has the toilet sprayer thing but it still grossed me out. That’s ok we are almost done diapers now and saved so much that way it was worth it for me.

    • Danielle says

      Also you can buy diaper liners which are like little pieces of rice paper and put it between the baby and diaper. then when the baby poops, just invert the diaper over the toilet and all solids will fall right off. Rinsing/pre-washing not required. (works best for 6 month plus babies who have started solids)

    • Stephanie says

      I used cloth for 2 1/2 years on two kids until I couldn’t physically do the laundry anymore and my husband kept running out of time so they would sit too long. I miss cloth- disposables are expensive once you already have cloth and taking out the used diapers to the trash is gross. We ended up giving away our stash to friends with new babies so at least they are being used.
      If cloth doesn’t work for someone don’t afraid to check out every brand of diaper out there to find what works- the best disposable we have found is a local store brand. Do what works for you and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about the choices you have made for your family.

  6. Kim P says

    I have cloth diapered for well over a year now and love it, too. It’s so nice to not have that budget line for “diapers” anymore! Another advantage besides what you already pointed out: Cloth diapers that have been well cared for have a good resale value, so if you are even only going to cloth diaper one child, it is still worth it. Or, as someone did for you, you could always bless someone else with your diapers when you’re finished with them!

  7. says

    Our first little one (Josh) is due in July. Hubby and I are planning on cloth diapering. Problem is, we’re not sure which kind he’ll take to best, and I don’t have any other friends who cloth diaper. (Actually, most of my friends think I’m crazy for even considering it, but I’m determined to at least try!) It’s also a bit more difficult to register for them since places like Babies R Us and even Walmart don’t have much of a variety of cloth diapers. All I’ve found at Babies R Us is the gDiaper hybrid sets, and all I’ve found at Walmart is the flats.

    Ultimately, our plan will be to use disposables from the get-go, and then order the trial set from Jillian’s Drawers (http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers/tryclothfor10/tryclothfor10) to see which ones will work for him. We’ll keep a supply of disposables on hand for church and the like (most of our nursery workers are young like me, and I don’t want to throw them off with cloth) and use cloth exclusively around the house. Since we plan on having more kids eventually, it will be a good investment for us. Our apartment complex doesn’t charge us for water, so no worries there. I worry about line drying in humid South Florida air, though. Afraid they’ll mildew. Especially since Josh will be a July baby.

    Anyone else in the So. Flo. area line-dry their cloth? Do they get musty or mildewed?

    • says

      Jillian’s Drawers is a great choice! That’s how we got started with cloth diapers two years ago. (You can read my comments almost immediately below.)

      Jillian’s Drawers also has a great Facebook page where you can ask cloth-diapering questions!

    • Mandy M says

      Ashley_P – There are some great cloth diaper groups on Facebook. You should check to see if there is a local one in your area, it is a great place to get help and advice. There is also coops where you can order diapers at lower prices.

    • august says

      We were in a similar situation (I had no idea where to start) so I looked at Diaper Swappers and Pinterest. Pinterest has TONS of info for newbies, and diaper swappers has every kind of diaper you can imagine on the cheap! We bought some from the diapers we were positive we would use (hybrids and All in Ones), but only bought a few of each. We’re going to test them out on a friends baby before diving in.

      You could always ask friends if they’d be willing to do a play date and let the baby try one out. Who knows, you might convert someone to the cloth side!!!

    • says

      Thanks for the advice, guys. I’ll see if there are any groups in my area. We’re not a very “natural baby” area down here, despite being a major metropolitan area. There’s only one free-standing birth center in the entire county, and only one hospital allows water births. So I don’t know how easy it will be to find clothers in my area. But I’ll see what I can do. Something’s always better than nothing.

      The good thing about the Jillian’s Drawers trial is they send you several different types of cloth diapers to try for 3 weeks. At the end of that time, just send back the ones you don’t like for a refund. We think it’s a fairly risk-free way of figuring out what Josh will take to.

      I was considering testing them out on my niece, but hesitate for 2 reasons: 1) she’s a special needs baby, and I wouldn’t want to upset her routine. and 2) what works for one baby doesn’t always work for another. Josh may be allergic to cloth diapers. Or, he may be bigger than my niece was, more flexible (and based on the ultrasound, this kid’s already PLENTY flexible. Little bugger was inside me, bent completely in half, trying to shove his foot in his mouth at 5 months!) or whatever.

      Still, we’ll figure it out, I’m sure. :D

      • Danielle says

        I lived in N central FL and never had my diapers go moldy when line drying. Does take 12-24 hours (less humid places can dry in a few hours). two tricks are to just put them in the dryer if you have a couple rainy days in the row or to set them up in front of a box fan and blow them dry.

        Also drying time depends on what diaper you use. I prefold, AIO, or insert takes longer. If you fold your own from that basic cotton birdseye diaper that dries really fast.

        I use gerber prefolds (from target) inside of g-diapers which I bought off ebay for $6 each or less!

    • Candice says

      I don’t live in FL, but do deal with a fairly humid climate. We always “fluff” our diapers on low heat in the dryer for 20 minutes after line or rack drying. This removes any last bit of moisture and softens them. On days when the weather or humidity doesn’t cooperate, and during the colder winter months, we dry them on a collapsible drying rack inside. We typically wash the diapers in the evening and they hang dry overnight inside.

      Like Danielle said, when drying inside you can always point a fan on them or set them under a ceiling fan to speed up the process. You can also put them near a sunny window. Pocket diapers made with microfleece or suede lining will dry quite quickly as opposed to AIOs.

  8. Jessica says

    Perfect timing for this post! Our first baby is due in July!! My good friend gave me around 8 cloth diapers to start with, tons or inserts and special detergent. My husband and I are going to try to at least use cloth diaper part time and we will see how it goes! I have two brands in my stash so I hope at least one kind will work for our little girl. Thanks for the info!

  9. says

    Jillian’s Drawers, a mom-owned company, offers a great way to find out if cloth diapering is really for you: For only $10 you can try a variety of cloth diapers for 21 days!

    I figured I couldn’t lose, so I tried it — and was sold on ‘em! We’ve been cloth-diapering — and lovin’ it — for two years now. You can read my review:
    http://b1g1bargainsblessingsbananas.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-changing-diapers-changing-minds.html

    And read the current offer from Jillian’s Drawers. (The price to keep the diapers is lower than when I signed up two years ago!)
    http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers/tryclothfor10/tryclothfor10

  10. says

    My mom used cloth diapers for the last 6 of my little brothers and she loves them!! We have save at least $1000 in the last 8 years. In fact in 2008 she decide to start a cloth diaper store, sweetlittleblessing.com because she loves cloth diapers so much!! And a huge plus, there are a lot of really cute ones out there:). So if anyone is interested they can take a look there:)

  11. says

    I see all these cute diapers with cute covers, and even all that seems expensive to me. I didn’t know about all the ‘modern’ cloth diapers when our little girl was born. I did what anyone does – I asked mama. She told me about the things I’d seen as a kid – diapers, plastic pants, diaper pins. I ended up buying a bunch of flannel receiving blankets at Goodwill for 50-75 cents each, and I would just fold them whatever way fit her best as she grew. Those, two cards worth of diaper pins and a series of plastic pants in increasing sizes got us through nearly all our diapering. We did use some disposables for travel and doctor visits…so I watched for those on sale w/coupons, to help save money. We were blessed in that she never had any sort of rash or allergic reaction to any of it. :)

  12. Rachel K says

    Love cloth diapering! I was hoping this would be one of the 52 ways. We did this for both our children, my son even potty trained just before he turned two. The cloth must have helped. Currently we’re cloth diapering my daughter and my husband enjoys it too. It just seems so smart to cloth diaper. It’s cheaper, diapers are so cute, better for the environment, and usually better for their butt. Sometimes rashes with cloth diapering can be caused by a reaction to the detergent you use to wash them. We’ve haven’t had problems with rashes yet.

    Anyone considering cloth diapers don’t be afraid. It’s can seem overwhelming but I found it helpful to read what others did. We did it a little differently the second time as there are better diapers that weren’t around with my son. We still use those from my son too. Check out http://diaperpin.com for tips, reviews and a forum to see what “systems” other moms use.

  13. says

    We do both right now. Our youngest is in disposables because he has the same issues Kaitlynn did – he gets bad rashes from the cloth diapers. Our older two are potty-trained during the day, but still wet their beds during naps or overnight, so instead of Pull-ups, we use cloth diapers for them, and even if you got a great deal at 20 cents/pull-up or diaper (I don’t have time to play the coupon game anymore , that’s saving $24/month or almost $300/year.

    For the cloth diapers, we invested in the expensive Bum Geniuses when they went on sale and used baby gift money for #3 to pay for them (before we knew he had allergies!). They are still holding up well after almost two years of use and were definitely worth the investment.

    • Sandy says

      We used cloth diapers back in the 1960′s. (Disposables were just beginning to hit the market.) I purchased 4 dozen flat diapers which I folded to size. I read in a “Hints to Heloise” book to add a cup of vinegar to a second rinse when washing diapers. The vinegar nutralizes acids and eleminates soap residue. My son’s diapers were as white as the day they were purchased. The only time he had a rash was when my mother in-law washed them without adding a second rinse with vinegar and when he was ill. He was in diapers for 3 years. I couldn’t imagine buying disposables for that amount of time

  14. august says

    I have to add my side. So many people are against us CD because they think it hasn’t changed in 30 years. Let me tell you, they are wrong!!! CD is amazing now and I would incourage anyone (trying to save money or not) to look in to it.

    One diaper takes over 300 years to decompose. Think about the environment.

    If you’re interested but don’t know where to start, this site taught me everything!
    http://theecofriendlyfamily.com/cloth-diapers/

    And if you’re interested in good deals, http://www.diaperswappers.com is the place to start.

  15. says

    I cloth diaper my 16 month old full time along with my 3.5 year old at night and my 5.5 year old who wets the bed. I started doing cloth to save money but also love that I am reducing the amount of chemicals my children are in contact with.

    While I love that cloth saves me money, I also love how convenient it is! I always have diapers on hand and never have to worry about trying to find deals on disposables. I am trying to simplify my life so not having to buy diapers is one more thing I can cross off of my list of things to do.

    • Jessica says

      What do you use for the 5 yo? We were doing so well with bing dry at night, but we’ve hit a rough patch. I’d love this method instead of pull-ups!

      • says

        I use Tinkle Time Trainers overnight solutions from a store on Hyena Cart called Ladder Hill Designs. They are basically a pull up that has a pocket inside you can stuff with however much absorbency you need. They are a little pricey but are well worth it considering the big kid night time diapers are super expensive even with coupons.

        My son has not had one leak since we started using them which has saved me a lot of sheet washing and the rash he had when we were using disposables is gone.

  16. says

    Yes, this a great way to save money! If you’re thinking about cloth diapering but feel overwhelmed, just take the research a bit at a time. I first read about cloth diapers probably two years before my son was born. I read bits and pieces here and there until I was pregnant with him. When it came time to decide for sure whether we were going to try cloth or not, I already had a little background, and I still took a few weeks to wade through all the info and sort out what I was wanting.

    And yes, ask for them as gifts! We bought baby clothes at yardsales and then we told people we had plenty of clothes and would they please get diapers–it worked! :)

  17. Elisabeth says

    We have always used disposables. When my first was born, I had intended to use cloth, although they were cost prohibitive up front. But then my husband said he wanted the easy to figure out disposables he was used to so that he could help with the diaper changes. I was all for his help!! We were never given large sums of money when any of our children (we have 7 total), but we were always given large amounts of diapers. And I’ve always bought diapers with coupons, sales, and price comparisons. I believe it’s possible to “save” money using disposables in the manner that we have. If we’d had to buy the cloth diapers, we would never have been able to afford it. If someone had given them to us, or if we had extra money in the budget, then maybe we would have “saved” money through the years using cloth. But when the money’s not there for the upfront cost, then it’s possible to “save” using disposables, as well.

    • Lydia says

      I’m with you Elizabeth! Cloth diapers just gross me out plus with having to pay for water and not really having the line drying option (we live in the city and do have a small clothesline but I keep it occupied just with my regular laundry so I don’t know WHEN I’d ever have time to get cloth diapers dried on it too) I wasn’t convinced it would save us enough to warrant the headache. I’ve been able to get disposables for $5 or less using coupons and for us, even if we spend a bit more, it’s been worth it.

      I have no issues with cloth diapering but we just haven’t felt like it was for us. (Although I’m sure there will be lots of commenters who will want to try to change my mind!)

  18. Danielle says

    I cloth diapered my daughter for less than $100! I bought used g-diapers off ebay, baby center, and diaperswappers.com. My goal is to get them for $6 each or less. I had 2 smalls, 10 mediums, and 5 larges. I also spent $1.80 on 2 gallons of 7th generation laundry detergent (couponing/baby shower gift cards). I used gerber prefold cloth diapers as the inserts. (these other expenses were baby shower gifts)

    Most new moms will get gifts or have registries. Why not be more strategic and “invest” with your registry? A giver can buy you a $40 box of diapers that are going straight to the landfill in one month or 36 gerber prefolds for $36 which you will use again and again for years. Put cloth diaper -friendly detergent on your registry as well.

  19. Karen says

    Hi, great article. Just wanted to mention that for making your own wipes you may not want to use baby OILs of any kind, as they do not melt or dissolve in your water, and it will stay on your wipes. If you wash your diapers along with your wipes then eventually your dipers with staining or other things.

    Use essential oil, like tee tree, that is also natural antifungal.

    =o)

    K

  20. Pamela says

    Thanks for admitting you did not cloth diaper your second. We cloth diapered the first, and my second has rash problems just like yours did. I was thinking about trying again with him because I feel so guilty spending money on diapers.

    It makes me feel better (and not like I’m just lazy) to know that others out there have had the same problem.

    • says

      I’m glad that was an encouragement to you — and I’m positive you’re doing a great job as a mom. Give yourself grace, not guilt, okay? {Hugs!}

  21. Kristen says

    I’m planning on cloth diapering my son, who is due in 2 weeks. I’m sure there are ways to use disposables just as cheap, through coupons, clearance, etc. BUT if you are trying to avoid some of the nasty chemicals that most disposables are made with, it’s much harder to find deals! The more natural disposables are much more expensive than the usual brands. I understand toxins are everywhere and unavoidable, but I’d still like to do what I can, within reason, to avoid them.

  22. Aubrey says

    Before my daughter was born almost two years ago I honestly didn’t consider cloth diapers. I had used them when I used to babysit in high school and remember the diaper pins and rubber pants and rinsing the dirty ones out in the bathtub (yep, that’s what this family did!) and I just couldn’t stomach doing that all day every day for 2+ years. So, I took total advantage of the great deals you used to be able to get on Amazon with the 30% Amazon Mom/Subscribe and Save, plus two 20% off coupons to get boxes of 250+ diapers for around $12. I figure I diapered my daughter for the first year for less than $100. So when people said they spent $500 on their stash of cloth diapers and yet insisted they were saving money over disposables it just didn’t add up for me. Then Amazon stopped issuing those coupons, and reduced their Amazon Mom savings to 20%, and we got a new washing machine (didn’t really trust the old one to get cloth diapers clean since it didn’t do a good job just getting our clothes clean!) so I started to look into cloth. I started with one Flip cover and three inserts that I got off of Ebay. I found out that cloth diapering now is so much different than it used to be! I’ve now exapended my stash a bit, but still only have three covers and 12 inserts. Everything I’ve read says that you should wash cloth diapers every two days anyhow, so that gets me through two days and I wash at night after my daughter is in bed. I don’t exclusively use cloth – still use disposable at night, when we’re out-and-about, and when we travel – but that’s what works for our family. Now that I can’t get disposables for 5-8 cents each like I used to, I do believe that cloth saves us money.
    For someone who is looking into this and is overwhelmed, I’d suggest looking on Ebay to try out a couple different types. I found so many people selling new diapers/inserts because they’d tried them out and didn’t end up cloth diapering and were selling what they didn’t use and could get them for about 1/3 to 1/2 what they cost new. Also make sure to check out the Cottonbabies website. They will often have clearance sales and seconds sales. A friend of mine just got econobum covers for $5 each.

  23. Kerri says

    I completely agree with you! It’s a fabulous way to save money. I used cloth diapers and made baby wipes for both of my daughters. And I found it convenient too, as you never had to run out to the store to buy diapers or wipes, just do the laundry. I recognize it’s not for everyone, but it worked for us on many levels; I felt better about not putting all of those diapers in the landfill, it was easy, economical to use as I used the same diapers for both daughters and then sold the diapers when we outgrew them.

  24. says

    I regret almost nothing from my daughter’s first 2 years, but the one thing I would change is diapering! I wish I had done cloth diapers when we were at home, but c’est la vie. If we ever decided to do it again (which we don’t) I would go cloth.
    I also think those who plan on having multiple children def. get the best bang for their buck out of cloth. Being able to buy once with your first and reuse is amazing!

  25. Marsha says

    A request from someone who works in Children’s Ministry: if you are able, please consider using disposable diapers for when your child is in the church nursery. Or if you must use cloth diapers then, please include some ziploc baggies to hold the dirty diapers — and please do not expect that the nursery volunteers will rinse them out for you. :) Thanks!

    • Heather says

      I always stop in the nursery before the sermon and just change my baby’s diaper myself and then give him back :)

    • jess says

      My nursery is more than willing to learn because they want to be able to help as many parents as possible.

  26. Amanda K says

    when we found out we were pregnant with our third baby, we knew that there was no way we’d be able to afford disposables, so we started saving up and bought a couple of 10 packs of pocket diapers off ebay, got them for $6 a diaper new… almost a year later and they are going strong! we’ve used them since birth! we’ve only purchased one package of disposables since then, and that was a small pack only cause he was sick and was going through diapers like crazy! My grandparents were impressed with how modern diapers have become (Grandma loves the cute designs!)

  27. Amy says

    Cloth diapering is awesome! I can’t add much that hasn’t been addressed here, but using a mainstream commercial detergent and occassional bleach will keep those diapers pristine and perfect! Coconut oil is cloth diaper safe (Desitin is not). And if you are wishy, washy about investing in a diaper sprayer, DO IT! You can get by without one, but you will love your life more if you have one.

    Also, a typical stash size for full time diapering (washing every other day) is about 30 diapers. I have about 50 diapers for 2 in cloth. In terms of cost, you almost always get what you pay for….a really expensive diaper is usually a very good one. A cheap one from China (aside from a possible ethical dilemma) might hold up, it might not. Prefolds and covers are very popular, despite being “old school,” because they are very reliable.

    My only other advice….if you findn something you like and it’s working, stick with it. It is not necessary to try every diaper under the sun. I may or may not know this from experience……but a few brands I really like after a LOT of trial and error diapering 3 kids…..any Bum Genius or Flip product, Swaddlebees Simplex, any Motherease or Sandies products, and SIZED prefolds – there are many brands but Green Mountain Diapers (GMD), Imagine, and Diaper Rite are 3 that come to mind offhand.

    • Heather says

      “You can get by without one, but you will love your life more if you have one.” haha so true

  28. says

    Like you, we were blessed by friends pulling together to purchase cloth diapers for us. I was pretty intimidated by the idea of cloth diapering and played the drug store game the whole time I was pregnant tryi g to build a stash (I still have some of it!). Bu as it turns out, cloth diapering is easy! The Smarti Pants we were given are very similar to Fuzzibunz, but one size fits all, and you don’t have to shake the insert out. :) so easy!

  29. AmyH. says

    I’m interested in this, but we live in a city where we pay for our water, and wastewater. Also, no clotheslines allowed in view of the road. Has anyone analyzed how much running the washer and dryer costs, and compared this to buying disposables? Especially cheaper brands and/or using coupons?

    • says

      If you click on the links in the post under the How Much Can You Save section, there are analytics that include those costs.

  30. says

    I cloth diaper my 7 month old exclusively. I used disposables for the first 3 months, until I ran out of the free ones. CD can be more expensive, or much much cheaper than disposable, depending on what you buy. I have a few pocket diapers $3 each new on ebay, and some covers and inserts. The cheapest and easiest is the covers with either fitted diapers or an insert placed inside. You can very easily make your own inserts out of material at home, or fabric from the remnants bin at joanns. I am saving $40 per month on pull-ups alone, as I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old that I CD at night.

  31. Candice says

    Great post! My husband and I did the math and calculated that if we invested the money we save from cloth diapering, we will be able to pay for one to two semesters of college for each child. Woohoo! I have a few CD recommendations.

    I highly recommend making cloth liners to use with your cloth diapers. I made my own by cutting 6″ x 12″ rectangles of white microfleece (suede is another good option). It is MUCH easier to wash poop off of a cloth liner than the diaper itself. This really speeds up the cleanup process and reduces the ick factor. This is also substantially cheaper than disposable liners. I bought microfleece off of Joann.com which usually runs free shipping with minimum purchase deals on most holidays.

    A really great time to buy cloth diapers is black Friday/cyber Monday weekend.

    Target, Wal-Mart, and Babies’R’Us, all sell cloth diapers online. This is a great use of any gift cards you may have received from friends or family.

    If you have basic sewing skills, but aren’t confident enough to try making your own diapers, try making your own pail liners and wet bags. This will save you around $10+ per bag. Also, consider getting help from a more experienced seamstress (Mom, friend, etc.) if you think you’ll need assistance.

    Make your own cloth diaper safe detergent. Some people won’t do this because it can void the warranty on their diapers. After extensive research I felt confident enough to take this risk. My detergent is equal parts Borax, Washing Soda, and Sun Oxygen Cleaner (or any other brand oxygen cleaner). I use 1-2 Tablespoons per load. The cost works out to 3-5 cents per load.

    Strongly consider getting a variety of different types and brands. Each type of diaper has it’s advantages and different brands work better depending on baby’s shape.

    • Tiffany says

      I love the timing of this post! Hubby and I are in the process of “dumping diapers” for good. We are expecting baby #4 in June so I decided that perhaps I would give cloth diapers a try…we will have two little ones in diapers at the same time. I was really unsure at first but my research showed that most people who cloth diaper are raving fans. I don’t have a lot to contribute to upfront costs, so I used a Target giftcard to get a “trial diaper.” I loved it so every paycheck has a few dollars dedicated to buying another wrap with inserts. I also use my Swagbucks to get Amazon.com giftcards to buy the bamboo or rice liners. So far we have put very little of our actual cash into supplies. I do keep an eye out for used but here in AZ, they seem to go faster than I can find them. Some of our acquaintances are not thrilled that we “went cloth” because they thing it is “nasty,” so for babysitters, grandparents, or church nursery, we use disposables. Other than that, it’s cloth all the way, baby!

  32. Karen says

    When I found out I was expecting twins I mentioned I might use cloth diapers. Two of my aunts went out and bought me a ton of the Gerber ones. It was a blessing as my husband got laid off and there was no way we could have afforded disposable diapers. We were able to use them until they were about 7 months old and then they both got a terrible rash. We had not changed the type of diapers or detergent, but we did have to seek medical help for one of the rashes. Our doctor advised that we needed to use disposable for awhile so we did. Then we went back to the cloth and the rashes came back. Can’t explain it! But thankfully my husband was working by then and I had picked up a part time job so we were able to buy disposable. I sure did miss the less expense of the cloth though! They were our last and we are done with diapers, but I would recommend cloth for sure!

  33. says

    We spend $25-30 a month on disposable diapers and wipes. So, that is $300-360 a year total for diapers. In our house, where time is of the essence (I’m a doctoral student) and we are trying to keep our stress levels down, we don’t mind that expense. But, I could definitely see how cloth-diapering could be very helpful if we were on a tighter budget :).

  34. Stacey says

    I’m glad to see that this discussion had been positive! Far too many times I’ve seen mothers be judgemental to others who make different decisions. Especially in this area and with breastfeeding vs formula! It definitely helps that you, Crystal, can speak to us with your knowledge of both sides!!

    I fully admire moms who cloth diaper! If I had a third, I might try it because disposables are getting more expensive! I never spent more than $3 for a jumbo pack with my first. I also bought several at this price or less for my 2nd before she was born, in all sizes mostly through CVS clearance deals. It’s work though! I traveled to several different stores to find sizes I needed! I mostly stocked up the 2nd on bigger sizes though and she’s just now reached size 3 which she will be in the longest! Most of her size 2-3 diapers I’ve spent about $5 a pack on. Sadly, that’s become my new price point because we’ve needed them! I can’t recall ever spending that much on the first!

    I’ve also had a much harder time buying wipes for $1 per pack or less. Really I haven’t found any cheaper since my 8 mo old was born! I repeatedly found deals for free wipes with my first! I now have a good stockpile of both diapers and wipes due to amazon deals and publix pampers wipes sales, but all my wipes were about $1 per pack and diapers $4-$5 per jumbo. And those are good prices but not as good as it used to be!

    It does help that I only have one in diapers now since my 2 1/2 year old is finally potty trained! About 6 months of both in diapers was hard!! I was worried I was going to pay full price for my oldest since I hadn’t stocked up on size 6 hoping she’d be out! (She’s skinny but tall in the waist and needed 6!)

    If it gets any harder I might consider cloth for the baby, but right now it’s still working for us since I start stockpiling as soon as I’m pregnant! :) I do enjoy the thrill of finding a deal!

  35. says

    For our first baby, we had a CVS stash (way back when CVS didn’t have many limitations), but also got 4 cloth diapers during that time. For our second baby, we used some cloth and some disposable (Seventh Generation).

    But for our third, we’ve used only cloth since birth. He was born at home, and I found it was much easier to stick with cloth if we started out that way. Doing it this way, it didn’t really seem like much work to add. We use cloth wipes + water. He’ll be 10 months on Saturday, and is starting to eat some solids, so obviously his diaper consistency is changing a bit. ;) We’ve traveled with cloth diapers, as well, both on long road trips and even flying. Really, it’s not as overwhelming as it might sound! We are going overseas once he is one, so I may take along some disposable just in case.

    There are a lot of reasons to cloth diaper other than for frugality. To me, it’s simpler, better for the landfill accumulation, and a big one to me: do you really want all those chemicals (from diapers/wipes) on a very sensitive, important part of your child’s body? Cloth is not as complicated as it’s sounds, especially when you think of the multiple other reasons for going this route.

    From the perspective of frugality, it has definitely saved us hundreds of dollars (or more). Spreading some of these diapers over three kids has also absorbed the cost.

    We like the BumGenius All-in-One diapers, and if you watch the Cotton Babies website, you can usually buy either extras or through sales to get diapers for around $10 to $12 each. We are able to use those from infancy onward, but our babies have started out at 8 and 9 lbs., so if you have smaller babies you may need a different option. :)

    At the same time, I totally understand many people’s reasons for using disposable. :)

  36. Renee says

    I’ve been cloth diapering since 2007, through 3 babies. Forget about the money savings…someone who used disposables had to tell me what a poop-splosion was and why it involved the baby’s hair…after I had my second child! After 5 1/2 years of diapering, I’ve still never experieneced this personally. I love my cloth diapers!

  37. says

    I love how you are able to share both sides of the story. I had one child who did best in cloth diapers, one who was fine with whatever and two that did better in disposables. All were sensitive to wipes. There’s no one-size-fits all but cloth is definitely worth a try!

  38. Skmomof5 says

    Question: I started cloth diapers on my toddler recently. She only needs them at night. I use a thick, cotton, training under ware and then a vinyl cover. (So, if she does wake up in the night she can go to the bathroom by herself). Anyway, she has sensitive skin and has gotten a horrible rash on her bottom. It almost looks like her skin is burned from the urine. So, I have gone back to disposable and her skin is healing. Anyone out there with recommendations on cloth diapering to protect her skin?

    • Elizabeth says

      It could be that you have ammonia/detergent build up. This is common in hard water areas or if you’re using a detergent that isn’t good for cloth diapers. The first thing you should do is strip the diapers. Get good old-fashioned blue Dawn dishwashing detergent. No fancy formulas, just the original blue kind. Do a cold water rinse. Then, in a hot wash, put just a few drops of Dawn in. Rinse until all of the suds are gone. Sun dry if possible.
      Remember that you only need a little bit of detergent when washing diapers. I use homemade detergent and use less than half a teaspoon per diaper load. Honestly, most people could cut back the amount of detergent used when washing normal clothes too!

      Here is excellent information for what detergents are OK to use: http://pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd.htm

      You can use coconut oil to act as a diaper rash cream and it can also be used as a barrier.

      Hope that helps!

      • Skmomof5 says

        Thanks for helping. I have super soft water, and I use Seven Generation detergent or homemade…maybe I am just using too much detergent or not rinsing enough. I think I’lll have to try a barrier cream to protect here too. Thanks for the advice!

        • Elizabeth says

          Definitely do a stripping then. And if you have soft water, then yes. It’s highly likely you’re using to much soap and/or not rinsing enough.

    • says

      If you have ammonia build up then your diapers are just not getting clean enough. There are a bunch of different ways to get the diapers super clean- use more detergent, switch detergent (mainstream detergents are not bad for cloth diapers), use bleach…

      I would check out Diaperswappers.com- the mamas on the diaper forum are so helpful with any diapering questions you may have and can walk you through how to get your diapers clean.

  39. Pam says

    I cloth diapered 5 of my 6 children in the day of rubber pants. We got creative with extra linings and I loved it when they came out with the overnight inserts. We did it out of frugality. I couldn’t see spending all that money on disposable diapers. It was work outside the home and buy them or get the privilege of staying home and use cloth. What a choice! My daughter says I was the “crunchy mama” before they became popular. She now has left her out of home career and taken the plunge to stay at home with her son, her life long dream. She has an on-line cloth diapering business, FiggyFuzz Baby Boutique at http://www.figgyfuzz.com. I invite you to go and take a look.

  40. zoranian says

    I haven’t started cloth diapering yet with our second (3 weeks old). We did use cloth diapers with our first for about 6 months. Unfortunately, he also developed allergies to the cloth diapers. He was allergic to the elastic used around the legs and had really bad rashes every day – we tried multiple different brands and they all seemed to give him the rash. It was about 3 extra loads of laundry a week, but really didn’t seem to take that much extra time. I still feel like we saved some money even for the short time we used them.