How to Cloth Diaper Your Baby for only $50

How to cloth diaper your baby for only $50 from birth to potty training.

Can you really diaper a baby for only $50?  YES!  It may not be the most convenient method or the most hip and modern way to cloth diaper but if you are limited on funds you can cloth diaper your baby from birth to potty training for only $50-70 (depending on how many accessories you buy).  Not only will this tutorial give you a list of diapering supplies it will also include supplies needed to hand wash your diapers.


  • 12-24 flat diapers (average price $1 each for flour sack towels available at your local WalMart and other retail stores)
  • 5 diaper covers (average price $5-9 each – Bummis Whisper Pant sells for $5; Econobum diaper covers sell for $8.95)
  • 5-10 reusable wipes or wash clothes (average price $3-10 pack)
  • Laundry detergent ($5 for a 32 load bottle of Arm & Hammer Essentials)
  • Plunger ($1-5 depending on how fancy you get)
  • Snappi diaper fastener or old fashioned diaper pins (optional – $3.95 each)

Definitions and Explanations of the Supplies:

Flat diapers – flats are large square or rectangular pieces of fabric (about 24″X24″ or larger) that when folded make an absorbent insert for a diaper cover.  Flats are typically made of cotton (such as a birdseye cotton) but the material can vary.  You can buy flour sack towels in the kitchen section of your local WalMart and Target stores or you can use fabric you may already have.  Other household items that can be used as flats include t-shirts, receiving blankets, and sweatshirts.  If you have no money to spend on flour sack towels you could probably find blankets or shirts at a thrift store, Goodwill, or possibly even at a local homeless food/clothing bank.

Diaper covers – covers are available in both sized (small, medium, and large) or one-sized (about 8-40lbs).  Prices vary depending on which type of cover you choose.  At (affiliate) you can find low priced Gerber Waterproof pants for as little as $4/2 pack (sized).  You can probably find diaper covers like this at your local thrift store or Wal-Mart as well.  If you have access to shopping online you can find better quality (yet still very affordable) one-sized diaper covers; like Econobum; for as little as $8.95 each (available at  You can also craft your own diaper covers using fleece (fleece pants work great and don’t require any sewing) or wool sweaters (which can be knit into covers).  Both fleece and wool are naturally waterproof.

Reusable wipes – wipes can be baby wash clothes, cut up pieces of scrap fabric (t-shirts, sweatshirts, blankets, etc), or may be store bought like the itti bitti brand of wipes (available at  Simply wet with water and they can be used just like disposable baby wipes.  Mix water with a few drops of baby soap for cleansing or a few drops of olive oil for soothing.

Laundry detergent – when hand washing flats and covers you don’t have to worry too much about the detergent you use.  For babies in general you should avoid detergents with enzymes, bleaches, and other additives.  A good low cost liquid detergent available many local stores would be Arm & Hammer Essentials which runs about $5 for a 32 load bottle.  Other detergents like Planet (about $7-8/20 load powder) work well in areas with hard water and if you’re looking for a cloth diaper specific detergent you could always use my favorite Rockin’ Green (about $17 for a 45 load bag).

Plunger – if you have to hand wash your flats and covers a plunger will help you agitate the load.  Drill or cut holes in the plunger to make it easier to agitate.

Fasteners – diaper fasteners like pins and Snappis are optional but will come in handy if you are using fleece pants as covers.  They will also come in handy if you want to fold your flats into the origami or kite folds.  You could also tie the diaper if you didn’t have any other fasteners available.

Estimated costs:

Option A: Free or recycled materials = $0 total.

Option B: Extreme budget – $15 for diapers + $25 for covers + $10 for wipes, detergent and plunger = $50 total.

Option C: Moderate budget wise – $15 for diapers + $45 for covers + $10 wipes, detergent and plunger = $70 total.



For the next 7 days I’ll be using only 5 one-sized diaper covers and 17 flat diapers on my daughter as part of the Flats & Handwashing Challenge.  To learn more about why I’m participating you can read:  I will be adding directions for hand washing in an upcoming post or you can visit Dirty Diaper Laundry for directions on how to create and use a Camp Style Washer.

This week only (May 23-30, 2011) when shopping at Kelly’s Closet ( use coupon code FLATSCHALLENGE and receive a free one-sized diaper cover with any $49 or more order.  All orders over $49 receive free shipping within the US.

I’ve submitted this post to be part of the Green Resources with Sorta Crunchy.  To read more about that visit them online.

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  1. SteviFerg says

    I love this! I use Flips one-size covers and flats. I don’t even pin or snappi, I just fold the flats into a rectangle and lay them in the covers like an insert. I got my flats (Osocozy brand) on Amazon for $1.50 each. I cut up old flannel receiving blankets for wipes, and they also make pretty decent diaper inserts in a pinch. And once my baby is out of diapers, all those flats & wipes will be reincarnated as cleaning cloths. My mom still uses my old diapers (flats & prefolds) to dust and clean glass.


  1. […] Note:  We do recognize that some families may not be able to afford diapers to begin with and purchasing these “cheap” diapers are their only option.  For families on extreme budgets we’d like to share a post from our friends at Cotton Babies with tips on how to diaper your baby when you can’t afford the initial investment.  You may also find this post by The Eco Chic helpful as she shares tips on how to cloth diaper for $50. […]

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