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Sunday, February 23, 2014

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Tips on Buying Used Cloth Diapers

As a Fluff Moderator on the Cloth Diaper Support Group on Facebook, I find myself troubleshooting and answering some of the same questions over and over again. These foundational questions are very important, ranging from “help, my diapers stink!” to “is this amount of money a good price for this used diaper?”

Although I love to support Kelly’s Closet, I’ve also purchased diapers used locally. Buying used does have many benefits. If you are new to cloth diapers, buying used helps you to try out several different brands without having to pay for a new diaper. It is also a good way to grow your stash if you are just starting out. But watch out, sometimes buying used diapers is more trouble than it is worth. Make sure you’ve done your homework before looking at used diapers so you don’t buy on a whim and regret it later.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking at used cloth diapers.

  1. Do your research!  What brand is the diaper?  How does that brand rate in the cloth diaper world? What are its ratings online?  What is their retail value?  Do as much research as possible and ask the seller as many questions as you can.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a mom say that she purchased “china cheapies” from craigslist thinking it was a good deal, only to find out that she purchased them for more than they were bought brand new.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  2. Ask and consider how many babies the cloth has diapered.  This can often, but certainly not always, be a good indicator as to what shape the diaper will be in.  Ask if the seller has ever had the elastic replaced or repaired.
  3. Know, in detail, the condition the diaper is in and decide ahead of time how much time and/or money you are willing to put into the diaper.  Don’t buy a nonfunctioning diaper (stretched elastic, worn aplix, etc) because you love the print unless you know for a fact you are willing to repair it.  I purchased 10 used bumGenius diapers from a friend and they sat for almost a year in a drawer in my basement because they needed new aplix and I didn’t have the time to fix them.  Big mistake!!
  4. If the diaper is aplix or hook and loop, you may need to replace it or hire someone else to do so.  Know the cost of both options. 
  5. Know what detergent the cloth diapers were washed in if possible.  Those same bumGenius diapers I bought smelled so strongly of Tide that I almost got sick when I pulled them out of the bag for the first time.  Not a problem but I wish I had known first!
  6. Also ask if the diapers are leaking or if the seller is having stink issues.  If the answer is yes, do your research and decide if remediation is something you are willing to do.  You may need to strip your diapers.  Know your options.  A good place to start is Funk Rock for stinky diapers and RLR for leaking diapers.
Happy, safe and SMART bargain hunting!

Mindy is mom to 3 little people. She spends her days being a fluff mod on the Cloth Diaper Support Group facebook page, building blocks, breaking up fights and reading the same books a zillion times. Oh, and changing lots and lots of cloth diapers…seriously…all day long.

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