Cloth diapers can save you lots of money versus disposables, and buying gently used cloth diapers can cut your costs even more. Buying used diapers, though, seems like an odd practice at first glance. However, among frugal parents, gently used cloth diapers are a hot commodity for trading and resale.
If you'd like to try several brands of cloth diapers with less investment, or you already have a preferred brand of cloth diapers in mind, look for online forums, cloth diapering websites and local Craigslist or Freecycle posts that mention used cloth diapers. I like searching for used cloth diapers on DiaperSwappers because there are some rules in place and there's less chance of being scammed by unscrupulous sellers when moderators and vigilant members are watching.
eBay can be hit or miss for buying used cloth diapers, as the site's rules on used personal items seems to change often. If you can find an auction for used cloth diapers, it's worth your time to bid and see what happens. Know your final price before bidding on cloth diapers, though. Some parents collect their favorite cloth diapers and covers and are willing to escalate a bidding war to get the diapers they want, whether the diapers are used or new.
Whether you buy used cloth diapers from an auction, a forum or a local ad, you'll want to be ready to act fast when you see the kind of diapers you want. Used cloth diapers are in high demand, and good quality, gently used diapers will sell quickly.
When buying used cloth diapers, you may want to find out how the original owner cared for the diapers. Sometimes this information will be present in the advertisement, or you may need to ask. Check with the diaper manufacturer if possible to find out how the diapers should be washed, and try to make sure that the diapers haven't been compromised by a non-recommended washing method. For example, some waterproof fabrics and the elastics at the diaper's legs can be worn to the point of being non-functional if they're washed repeatedly in water that is too hot.
If there is mention of diaper rash cream stains, you should know that you may have to do some extra work to clean the cream from the used diapers before using them on your baby. Diaper rash creams don't always work well with cloth diapers, and can cause the fabrics to repel moisture instead of absorbing it.
Ask for photos of the cloth diapers you'd like to buy, if they're not provided. It's best to see photos of the actual diapers you'll receive, rather than a manufacturer's photo of a new diaper. Any staining, pilling of fabric, or damage to the diaper should be made clear. This kind of wear and tear is perfectly normal for used cloth diapers. It's just good to know exactly what you're getting, and you may not want to pay close to the price of a new diaper if the used diaper is extremely worn.
If you're new to cloth diapering, you may wonder whether used cloth diapers are sanitary enough for your baby. With a little extra care, most used cloth diapers should be fine in terms of cleanliness. Many parents wash used cloth diapers on the hottest wash setting possible before using them for their baby. This is a good idea as long as the hot water will not damage the diaper material. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions so you know how to care for your cloth diapers.
When you win an auction or come to an agreement on another used cloth diaper site, respond quickly to the seller with your payment and shipping information. Since cloth diapers are so popular these days, the seller may have other offers they could take if you decide not to buy. You'll get your diapers faster, and everyone will be happier, if both buyer and seller respond quickly once you've agreed on a price.