Pre-Owned Diaper Buying Guide

One thing to know about deciding to cloth diaper your child is that you don’t need to shell out a ton of money to see if cloth diapering is right for you. You can score quite a bit of used cloth diapers for a decent bargain…if you know what you are doing. In this reference guide, you’ll find tips to use during your search for gathering a good stash without breaking the bank.

1. Do Your Research

Most of the best deals you will find are on eBay or Craigslist. For eBay-start your search for the brand you want to buy with a “Sold Items” search. This will show you all of the most recent items that meet your search criteria and have been sold over the previous two weeks. From these, you can get a pretty good idea of what your maximum bid should be and what to expect for shipping. On average you can expect to spend anywhere from $6 – $12 per diaper (not including shipping) for a diaper in excellent used condition (EUC). Unless you are buying a lot of diapers, don’t pay more than $5 for shipping per item.

A great stock up deal would be a good brand name (FuzziBunz, Charlie Banana, bumGenius 4.0, gDiapers, Flip, GroVia, Rump-A-Rooz, Blueberry EUC diaper deal at $8.00 or less per diaper with shipping. Always remember to look at the shipping cost and keep that in the back of your head for your maximum bid. I’ve personally had the most success with getting the lowest priced auctions on Sunday evening. That is when I get a few minutes to keep track of the last 10 minutes of an auction. I never bid on any items until the last few minutes. This eliminates an extra bid from increasing over time. I watch the items that I am interested in buying (as long as the price is right) and I have my phone alert me 10 minutes before the auction ends so I can see where the price stands. If the price is already over budget for what I want to pay, I unwatch the item and move on. This is the best advice I can give for your foundation to eBay(ing) your way to a good stash. If you have anything that has worked for you, please feel free to share!

2. Read The Description & Ask Questions

You will want to know if the PUL (the inner lining of the diaper that keeps it from leaking) has any damage. Damage can occur from frequent drying in the dryer. You can check this by turning the diaper inside-out and slightly stretching the outside of the diaper. The shiny side (PUL) should look smooth. If you see tiny cracks or rips when it is stretched, you can expect the diaper to leak if it’s not changed after a void. I purchased a few with this type of wear and as long as I stay on top of changing the diaper, I won’t have any leaks. If you can’t tell for the look, you will know if there is damage. Leave your little one in the diaper for 2-3 hours and if the back of the diaper or her clothing feels a little damp, then there is PUL damage to the diaper. If you want to see if you can handle the washing and changing of cloth diapers, buying a few of these with very minor PUL damage can save you some serious cash. I purchased a few bumGenius 3.0 diapers for $5/each in the very beginning to get a feel if cloths were for me.

Other things to look for are:

  • Staining (a little time in the sun can usually help this)
  • Pilling for diapers with hook and loop closure. This doesn’t really affect the functionality of the diaper but is less aesthetically appealing. Snap diapers and inserts may have some pilling if they were washed with hook and look diapers.
  • Absorbency and stink. If diapers haven’t been washed carefully, they may have build up and will not absorb or will smell horribly when wet. Stripping the diapers can usually fix this problem but make sure you negotiate for a lower price if you need to do work after buying the used diapers.
  • Rips and elastic. Certain brands allow easy access to changing the elastic. FuzziBunz come with an extra set of elastic so ask if the elastic has been changed recently or if the diapers come with an extra set if that manufacturer provides a set with new diapers.
  • Is the diaper fitted or one-size (OS)? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard grievances about not reading in depth about what appeared to be a great deal. Make sure that if you have a newborn, you are not bidding on a size large fitted diaper. You will be very disappointed when your diaper arrives and your little one cannot wear it.
  • How many inserts are included? A typical OS diaper will come with two, a newborn and standard insert.

3. After Getting Your Diapers

WASH THEM! Even if the listing says they have just been washed, stripped, sanitized and so on; wash your diapers! If there aren’t any visible stains on the diapers I do a very hot rinse to kill any germs or viruses that may be creeping around and then I do my typical wash cycle (Hot Wash with Rock In Green with an extra rinse). After washing, I hang everything out in the sun for a natural sanitation (yes even in the heart of winter). After an hour or two outside I put all the inserts in the dryer for about 60-70 minutes. Once the inserts are dry, I take them out and put the covers that have been hanging in the house in the dryer for 5-10 minutes. This helps especially with hook and loop diapers to get them “sticky” again.


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