Cloth Diapering Greener Living

12 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Cloth Diapers

There are lots of great reasons for choosing cloth diapers, but the most popular reason is to save money. While cloth diapers definitely save money over the long-term, a major obstacle for many families is the perceived high startup cost. I’m happy to say that’s definitely not always the case though. There are many ways to cloth diaper on a budget! In fact, here’s a comprehensive list of 12 ways to get cheap or even free diapers.

Often people only see the big name diapers that cost $20-$30 apiece (or more). But like any consumer product, cloth diapers come in a wide range of features and prices. Many diaper systems are more economical than you might think. They may not be as fancy as that limited edition, custom embroidered, all-in-one, organic unicorn hair diaper, but they’ll do the job you need for a fraction of the cost.

Whichever cloth diapering option you choose, commit to saving a small amount every pay cheque to slowly build up your stash. Even if you’re only using cloth part-time, every diaper you don’t throw away saves you money.

1. Flat Diapers

Flats are the original cloth diaper. When you think of old school diapers and rubber pants, these are them! Flats are large squares of fabric that you origami fold into a pad, kite, or other diaper shape. Add a Snappi to hold the diaper together, a waterproof cover, and your’re done!

2. Prefold Diapers

Prefold diapers are another economical option. They cost slightly more than flats, but they’re still very budget-friendly, come prefolded to save you time, and will last you through multiple children. My prefolds outlasted two babies and over 600 washes, and there’s still plenty of use left in them! Like flat diapers, just add a Snappi fastener and waterproof cover.

3. Flour Sack Towels

Some moms use flour sack towels. These are highly absorbent cotton kitchen towels that can be repurposed for cloth diapering. Flour sack towels can be purchased at many big box stores (Walmart, Target, Real Canadian Superstore) or you can pick up flour sack towels online at Amazon.

4. Cheap Pocket Diapers

If you’re looking for something more “modern,” you can look into a class of very economical pocket diapers manufactured in China and sold online. Major brands include Sunbaby, Alva, Kawaii, and Happy Flute. Out of all of them, I recommend Sunbaby diapers because the quality tends to be more consistent, they last a long time, and the owner follows fair labour laws.

If you prefer the convenience of buying these foreign-made diapers from someone local to you and not having to wait weeks for shipping, a moderate surcharge is fair. However, beware of resellers importing various diaper brands, rebranding them with their own label, and marking up the price two, three, or even four times the factory direct price. (Note that Sunbaby doesn’t resell or rebrand their diapers.)

5. Register for Diapers

If you’re an expecting mama, register for cloth diapers for your baby shower! Many local and online baby boutiques offer a registry, and Amazon has a Baby Registry as well. Amazon allows you to add items from any site for one easy-to-manage registry.

Amazon Baby Registry

6. Cloth Diapers as Gifts

Let friends or family know that cloth diapers are a welcome gift. I loved finding cloth diapers wrapped up in a reusable wet bag under the Christmas tree!

7. DIY Diapers

If you’re crafty, why not try sewing your own? Here’s a huge list of free or almost free cloth diaper patterns. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, you can also add snaps to prefolds to turn them into budget-friendly fitted diapers.

Did you know you can even make an upcycled diaper from an old t-shirt? What a neat way to breathe new life into old clothes! (Video courtesy of The Real Diaper Association.)

And here’s how to make your own economical no-sew fleece covers! (Video courtesy of Dirty Diaper Laundry.)

8. Hand-Me-Down Diapers

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member already using cloth diapers, not only can you pick their brain for cloth diapering tips and tricks, but you might also receive some hand-me-down diapers. I got most of my overnight diaper stash of Mother-ease diapers from my sister-in-law, and I sent some back to her when she had her second baby. I’ve also passed on diapers to other friends. Sharing is caring!

9. Buy Used

Many mamas save money with used diapers. In fact that’s one of the unexpected cost-saving benefits of cloth diapers. You can often sell your diapers when you’re done to recoup part of your initial costs.

There are lots of places you can find deals on used diapers. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Your local kids swap or flea market
  • Local baby/children’s consignment stores
  • Your local buy/sell/trade (BST) Facebook group
  • Cloth diaper brand-specific BST Facebook groups, particularly if you’re looking for something specific
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Diaper Swappers
  • Craigslist
  • Kijiji
  • eBay

10. Diaper Co-ops

Another money-saving strategy is to team up with other mamas to go in on a co-op. That’s where a group of people agree to pitch in together to buy diapers in bulk to take advantage of wholesale or volume pricing.

If you’re considering going in on a co-op, I urge you to be careful and do your research. While some co-ops are run legally and ethically, many are not. Most name brands don’t allow co-ops, and if the organizer doesn’t follow through, you may be out money with no way to get it back. You may also not be covered under warranty. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Co-ops: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth.

11. Cloth Diaper Banks

Low income families can apply for assistance through a cloth diaper bank. Search for a local cloth diaper bank or apply to a national organization. In the US, check out The Cloth Option and Share the Love. In Canada, visit Cloth for a Cause, Babies in Cloth (Alberta), or One Diaper Canada (Ottawa and environs).

12. Enter to Win Cloth Diapers

You can also win cloth diapers! Check back here or sign up for my emails to be first to hear about cloth diaper giveaways. Visit Change-Diapers’ Friday giveaway linky or Cloth Diaper and Babywearing Giveaways on Facebook to browse cloth diaper and baby carrier giveaways from all around the web.

Have you found any other ways to save on cloth diapers? Let me know in the comments!

More cloth diapering resources!

6 Ways to Fold a Prefold Diaper | This West Coast Mommy - In this #clothdiaper #tutorial, I show you 6 different ways to fold a prefold diaper, with pictures.

9 Common Cloth Diapering Mistakes and What to Do Instead

All About Using Cloth Baby Wipes


Which Cloth Diaper Inserts, Doublers, or Liners Should I Choose?

9 Common Myths About Cloth Diapers

6 Cloth Diaper Safe Alternatives to Dryer Sheets


Which Cloth Diaper Accessories Will You Still Use After Potty Training?

4 Tips for Dealing with Cloth Diaper Burnout

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Leave a Comment


  • I especially love your DIY ideas, like adding snaps to prefolds to turn them into fitteds, and using old fleece blankets and t-shirts to make diapers!

  • My MIL went to a massive three day children’s consignment event and bought 12-16 BumGenius diapers for about $10; since my SIL and I both cloth diaper, she grabbed them up.

  • Yes! Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be expensive! I won the majority of our cloth diapers stash when we first started and I really appreciate contests. They were hard to afford at the time and I was grateful for giveaways and diapers we won. Thanks for a great post!

  • I wish I had purchased more used diapers starting out. I guess since I’m on my first baby, I thought I would get good use of new diapers, which is true, but used diapers are great for figuring out what you want and being able to resell them at close to what you bought them for.

    I am still trying to win some diapers!!

  • We used at least 7 of your hints to build my dear grandson’s stash. As long as you don’t get sucked down the latest greatest print rabbit hole you don’t have to spend a fortune to cloth diaper.

  • Good information! We purchased most of ours used. They were in great condition though. We ended up paying less than $2 per diaper. Can’t beat that!

  • Another great thing about prefolds (and I’m guessing flats too) is they are multi-functional. I really liked using prefolds when my kids were infants. In addition to using them as diapers they made great burp cloths too. And as they got older I started using them as boosters in night time fitted diapers (like Mother Ease). And post potty-training, they can be used as dust cloths, heavy duty cloths, or whatever!

  • Thank you so very much for this information!! It’s coming in very handy since I’m due to have my 1st lil one this May, and am definitely interested in the cloth diapering community!

  • Flat diapers were the ones, in fact the only ones, that were available when I was diapering my kids. There are so many better options these days and I love the marvellous designs and colours used for them. 🙂

  • I’ve done #2 (prefolds), 3 (fst), 4 (cheapies), 9 (used), and 12 (giveaways). I only bought 4 cheap pockets (size newborn) and found they didn’t work for us at all, so gave them away.

    I’ve also used newborn prefolds as doublers and a receiving blanket as a flat.

  • Thanks for the info. I have never used a cloth diaper. I am on my 4th child and most likely this is my last. I would like to try it out. I definitely prefer for the diaper to be easy since I am new to it and have other kids. Thanks for the tips and links

  • ENtering to win is my favourite! I’ve been lucky enough to win several diapers and other Baby items over the years.

  • We loved cloth diapers! We bought a few every paycheck till we had a nice stash. Helped break up the start up cost. Bought from a local store, and used. Also found amazing deals. My sister is now using my more gender neutral diapers for her baby.

  • My family thinks I am crazy because I want to cloth diaper! My son was too son for OS so I just ordered some newborn AIOs! I am excited to start this journey but also scared. This post has some great ideas for what to use!

  • Great ways to get cloth diapers for free and cheap. My local breastfeeding group pass down baby clothes and cloth diapers.

    • I sure wish I had this in my area. I’m due in July, and am stumped. No help from the dad and not working right now. I wish I could find giveaways where I could actually win on resources that will ship to me. I need the help!

  • I remember making the choice to use cloth with my first. I had a retailer just a few blocks away and bought $600 worth in 2 weeks! Off we went! I had a few small changes to our stash in the 2 yrs but they did the job. That was in 2010.

    When my twins were born in 2014, I was totally comfortable with using cloth diapers and happily used FSTs, prefolds, assorted covers! One of my absolute favorite combos was a Flip cover with a FST. Who knew it could be so cost effective?!

  • Great article. I now know that my diapers were flats, I learn something new everyday. Love the fact that you can now find cheap diapers or even get some for free.

  • Check out Cloth for Every Bum!! They are a great non-profit that will loan you a 6-month starter kit and assign you a mentor to help you learn the ropes. They’re a great group!

  • Back in the day when my kids were little I was very lucky that a factory for making toweling diapers was in my home town where they also had a shop. That alone saved me a small fortune, not to mention how much I saved in total with 7 kids!

  • Our local baby/child store has preloved cloth diaper sales. I’ve gotten some great deals this way!!

  • I love all your ideas. With our first child we purchased Kawaii (48, and 96 inserts to be exact) and well they did not workout so well. I gave up. Baby#3 is due next month, and I have decided that the motto” you get what you pay for ” is very true to cloth diapering. I have invested savings into AC. I have fallen in-love after just prepping them .

    A lot of your blog posts jive with me.❤

  • Going to tell my daughter to read this article. She is going through IVF and when she becomes pregnant she wants to use cloth diapers on the baby once it arrives. Thank you for the great tips

  • I’m expecting twins & thanks to another mom in my area I was able to stock up on used cloth diapers from a few Facebook groups of Canadian moms. They’re in great condition & I paid just $9 per diaper! Learning which inserts are best is the next step. Thanks for your blog, I look forward to reading more!

  • I have done several of those methods to obtain free/cheap cloth diapers. The biggest haul was just from meeting a friend of a friend by chance and she gave me a whole rubbermade tote full! Also, at a JBF sale, I found a wool cover that nobody had touched because I’m assuming no one new how to use it lol! I find the best way to find free things is just to ask people because most of them time, somebody is looking to give some of their things away!

  • Thank you for the tips, diapers have changes so much since my son was in diapers, back then I used gauzed cloth diapers with the rubber pants. Now he expecting and I’m doing a lot researching.

  • Cloth diapers sure have changed since I used on my son. Back then it was cotton flannel or gauge diapers.
    So many item to choice from.

  • Just picked some up the other day, love them! Walmart in scarborough just got more in stock after being sold out forever Do you prefer flour sack towels over prefolds? I am expecting and have never cloth diapered before. I am trying to figure out which to go with. Thanks!