Tips and tricks from a fluff addict: Buying pre-owned cloth diapers
Interested in trying out cloth, but a little overwhelmed with the start up cost?
Want to expand your stash without breaking the bank?
Dying to try a particular cloth diaper now that you’ve heard so much about it?
Leveraging the world of pre-owned cloth diapers can be a huge money saver, whether you are just starting out or are an experienced fluff addict looking to add to your stash just for fun. Let’s face it, not all types of cloth diapers work well for all babies, and until you try them on your little one you won’t know what works for you… So don’t break the bank on trial and error by buying retail, instead shop resale. Likewise, other mamas have gone through the same process and are now selling off their gently used diapers that weren’t a good fit for them - and at a discounted price! See? In resale, everybody wins.
The following tips and tricks have worked well for me when shopping for pre-owned (pre-loved, used, or whatever you want to call them) diapers. Please share in the comments section anything that I may have missed or any questions you have. Let’s all learn from each other!
Ask questions. And, if need be, ask lots of them.
Due to the lack of a return policy, it’s better to ask than be sorry. So ask anything you want (or need) to and don’t ever worry that you’ll sound like a newbie or are bothering the seller. Most cloth diapering mamas are more than willing to talk cloth and would love to help a newbie out (I know I sure do!) and if your questions do seem bothersome to the seller, then maybe they aren’t somebody you want to give your hard-earned money to anyways.
Be sure to know what condition the diaper is in, especially the components that can break down with use such as elastics, snaps, Velcro (also known as hook and loop, H&L, or aplix), and PUL. You can ask these questions directly (“What’s the condition of the elastics, snaps, Velcro and PUL?”) or indirectly by inquiring how long the diaper was used for, on how many children, if they themselves purchased it new, etc, and make a judgment call from there.
Know the terms.
VGUC, H&L, PPD, PP, EMT… In the world of CDs and online selling there are a lot of abbreviations and jargon that can be a bit confusing to the newcomer. If there are any terms or abbreviations in an ad that you’re unfamiliar with be sure to ask the seller to clarify. Otherwise, you may be surprised to find out shipping is extra or be disappointed in the condition of the diaper when it arrives.
Do your homework.
Before you buy any cloth diaper, new or used, be sure to check out reviews. You can learn a lot from in-depth unbiased reviews. Pay attention to the baby’s build and what the mama’s preferences are and contrast those against your own.
Also, be sure to know how much the item retails for new and what the cost of shipping would be. This will give you a good indication as to what kind of bargain you’re getting.
Know the risks.
As with anything, buying pre-owned isn’t without its risks. Reputable cloth diaper selling sites (such as clothdiapertrader.com!) will have a feedback section for the seller, so be sure to check this before purchasing. For payment options, Paypal is by far the best option, it offers the buyer some protection in case something goes sour and is completely free for the buyer to use. Be sure it is a "goods" payment (not a personal payment) to the seller to ensure you are insured.
Keep it clean.
Upon receiving your previously owned cloth diapers be diligent in washing them well before strapping them to your baby. It can be tempting to just add it right into your stash (especially if it’s a long-awaited diaper!) but to avoid any unwanted extra surprises wash it in as hot of water as the manufacturer’s directions allow and disinfect the diaper. If you’re looking to try a few different ones you may want to wait and treat them all at once to save time and energy.
Whether you’re just starting out or an experienced fluff addict looking to add to your stash, resale is the way to go to minimize the financial investment of cloth. There are lots of great bargains to be had on pre-owned cloth diapers, but be sure to do your homework and be ready to make quick decisions – the resale market for good quality pre-owned cloth diaper is hot, so you’ll have to act fast!
Happy Diapering! (And bargain hunting!!!)
Candice has a BSc in Human Ecology and MSc in Human Nutrition. She’s traded in traveling to developing countries and writing scientific research articles for staying at home in Montreal with her son and writing cloth diaper reviews. Unfortunately for her son, the researcher in her isn’t gone, but instead has been limited to a sample size of one. From inputs (organic homemade baby food) to outputs (cloth diaper capabilities), he’s the willing test subject to many important questions of a stay at home mom.