How to Cloth Diaper on the CHEAP!

One of the biggest reasons parents choose to cloth diaper their baby is because of how much money they can save. Cloth diapering can save you $1,000+ over a two-year period of diapering.

Just think of all of the money you are throwing away with disposables. Instead, you could be putting that money towards other needs or wants.

So you want to cloth diaper? GREAT!

Now since you have made the decision to cloth diaper you have probably seen how expensive they can be.


There are cloth diapers that range anywhere from $15-$35 or more. That’s a lot of cash out of your wallet after you add up all of the diapers you will need.

But don’t worry. You don’t have to buy the most expensive diaper on the market. There are plenty of other cloth diapering options you have probably never heard about.

First of all, you have to ask yourself a few questions to figure out which diapers will be the best fit for you and your budget.

  • What TYPE of cloth diapers should we get?
  • How many cloth diapers will we need?
  • What brand of cloth diapers will work best?
  • What accessories will we need?

Okay, I know that seems like a lot to think about but I am here to walk you through it.


There are many many many different types of cloth diapers on the market today. Cloth diapering has evolved in so many ways and has become so versatile for parents.

The cheapest options for cloth diapering are Prefolds, Flats, and Pockets.

Related: My Top 5 Reasons for Cloth Diapering


A Prefold is exactly as it sounds. It is a chunk of fabric that comes in the shape of a rectangle with more absorbent layers folded and sewn into the middle. Prefolds come in many different sizes from newborn up to toddler. They also come in different thicknesses and fabrics. The most commonly used materials are cotton, bamboo, and hemp.

Prefolds can cost anywhere from about $5 and up depending on the brand and size you need.

However, while prefolds are very absorbent they are not waterproof. So if you choose to use them as your main type of cloth diapers, you will need to buy cloth diaper covers as well.

Cloth diaper covers are used over prefolds, Flats, fitted, and contoured diapers. They also come in different materials such as PUL, Fleece, and Wool. Covers come in different closures to secure to your babies such as snaps or hook & look.

I have seen ONE-SIZE diaper covers selling for as low as $6 each.


If you are not familiar with Flat cloth diapers, these are the ones your grandma probably used. A flat diaper is just what it sounds like. It’s one big piece of absorbent fabric that you fold down to fit your baby. There are several different ways to fold flats. Just like the prefolds, they come in a few sizes.

However, many flats are one-size-fits-all because you can fold them and customize them to fit your baby’s needs. They also come in fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, and hemp. Flats can also be used from birth up to toddlerhood.

Just like with the prefold, flats are not waterproof so you will need a cloth diaper cover.

On average Flats cost around $11+ each.

One money-saving hack I have found for using Flats is to purchase Flour Sack Towels from Walmart or Target. They come in packets of 4 or 10 and usually cost $1 a piece. Talk about saving some money. I used Flour Sack Towels on my son from the time he was a few months old.

But to tell you the truth, you could even use items you already have around your home to cloth diaper your baby. I am willing to bet you have a few receiving blankets lying around that you are not using. Yes! you heard me right. Receiving Blankets are just like flats. Just make sure they are 100% cotton and you can fold it like a flat, secure it onto your baby, and put a cover over it. Receiving Blankets around home – FREE


Pocket Diapers are probably the MOST popular type of cloth diapers out there. Many parents love how convenient and easy they are to use. A Pocket Diaper once again is as it sounds. It is basically like a cloth diaper cover with some type of lining sewn on the inside of the diaper cover.

This causes it to have a pocket either on the front, back, or middle of the diaper where you would “stuff” your absorbent layer inside.

Most Pocket Diapers come with a microfiber insert included(which is your absorbent layer).

Depending on the brand, Pocket Diapers can cost from $2 and up(especially if you buy what they call China Cheapies found on Amazon and eBay. These are very well-made diapers from China).


The next question to ask is how many cloth diapers do I need?

Well, that depends on which type of cloth diapers you choose.

You’ll need to have enough diapers to make it through 1-3 days, depending on how often you want to wash your cloth diapers and how many diapers your baby goes through each day. Typically a newborn can soil 12 or more diapers per day, while a toddler may only need 5 or so diaper changes per day.

I would highly recommend having around 24+ cloth diapers in your stash. This way you should only need to wash them every other day.


The last items you will have to calculate into your cloth diaper budget is some accessories.

You don’t necessarily NEED all of these items but in the long run for our family, it was worth the investment.

  • Baby Wipes

    You gotta have wipes to clean up messes. If you decide that you want to use cloth wipes, you can purchase specific cloth wipes that were made for that purpose or you can go to Walmart and buy baby Washcloths. That’s right! Baby washcloths work just as well as any cloth wipes. You might pay $1.50 or more each for cloth wipes. Or you can buy a 24-pack of Baby Washcloths for only $12. That’s just .50 cents per wipe.

  • Cloth Diaper Safe Ointment

    Please DO NOT use regular diaper ointment on your cloth diapers. These ointments can cause build-up on cloth diapers which later causes them not to absorb properly. There are numerous cloth diaper-safe ointments on the market, but we are talking about going CHEAP so get Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is so amazing and can be used daily for lots of different things. Coconut oil is also cloth diaper-safe and easy to buy at any grocery store.

  • Diaper Pail/Wet Bag

    You are gonna have to have somewhere to put the cloth diapers once they have been wet or soiled. The most popular choice is to buy a trash can and a Pail liner. The Pail Liner is a reusable liner almost like a trash bag. But instead of throwing it away when it’s full you just throw it in the washer with your cloth diapers. Another option is to get a hanging wet bag. Wet bags are a waterproof bag that most of the time has a zipper or some other type of closure. They hang anywhere you like and don’t take up as much space as the Diaper Pail does.

  • Diaper Sprayer

    While this is probably the most expensive accessory, it is also a lifesaver. The diaper sprayer is like a mini handheld shower head that attaches to your toilet. Whenever your child starts eating solid foods their poop tends to be more solid and that is something you don’t want to put in your washer. The diaper sprayer makes it easier. All you do is take the soiled diaper and spray it off into the toilet. That’s it. Here is the Cloth Diaper Sprayer that I have.

  • Pins or Snappi

    When you think of how your grandma cloth diapered you think of Pins. They are simple safety pins that you would use to pin the diaper shut. However, many parents(including myself) are afraid of using pins because they fear they may stick their baby.
    This is one reason that the Snappi is so popular among cloth diapering parents. It is a stretchy Y-shaped fastener that works by gripping the fabric of diapers with little teeth. I would recommend if you plan to use prefolds or flats to buy Snappis. They keep the diaper secure and in place on your baby.

Related: How to Wash Cloth Diapers

To sum everything up you could get away with only buying:

  • 24 Flour Sack Towels – $24
  • 4 Cloth Diaper Covers -$25
  • 24-pack Baby Washcloths – $12
  • Hanging Wet Bag – $15
  • 5 pack of Snappis – $14

This brings you to a total of $90

That is not bad for getting started with cloth diapering. And you can always add more to your stash as you go along. I hope this post was able to help some parents who want to cloth diaper but are worried about the expenses. If you go back to the basics you can make it work with any budget.

Do you cloth diaper your baby? If so how do you cloth diaper without breaking the bank? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS. I ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR FROM MY READERS!

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