Buying Preloved Cloth Diapers

One of the great perks of switching to reusable diapers is that as reusable items they can be bought preloved, resulting in a cost savings for the purchaser. When you find great deals it’s a huge benefit! There are lots of ways to buy preloved cloth diapers, including groups on Facebook (both local or national, even international!), Facebook marketplace, CraigsList, local swaps/events, or consignment stores. Like buying any preloved item, there are some risks as well.

How to price?

The market drives pricing, meaning that items will be posted for sale for what someone will buy them for. The best rule of thumb is that if you don’t like a price, don’t buy that item for that price! Sometimes sellers will drop their price if you ask, or if you offer to buy a whole lot. 50% of the item’s original retail price is a good guideline. Hard to find or collectible items may have a higher price. Make sure that you know what you’re buying or selling so that you don’t agree to a price that is too high.

Check condition

There are some common condition pitfalls that you may run into when buying preloved cloth diapers. Be sure to inspect all items carefully before paying, and ask for complete and detailed pictures if buying online. PayPal protection applies if items are not as described, but is void once you wash or sanitize an item. PayPal protection doesn’t cover buyer’s remorse.

Elastics: sometimes preloved diapers may have relaxed or crunchy elastics. You can ask for measurements of elastics or ask the seller to disclose any issues with the elastics before buying. Common elastic length for many brands of one size diapers is 4.5 inches. Because elastics are easy to repair, you can sometimes get a great deal on otherwise perfect diapers.

PUL/TPU: make sure that the waterproof layer is intact so that the diaper is functional. Once the PUL/TPU is no longer intact, it cannot be repaired. Check along the inner seams of pockets for hard to catch holes. PUL sometimes delaminates (separates from the polyester fabric); gets holes, tears, or cracks; or begins to wear off the outer fabric. Ask the seller to disclose any issues with the PUL before buying, and inspect PUL carefully.

Snaps/Hook & Loop closures: Snaps are easily replaced, but make sure that all snaps are intact and functional before buying. Hook & Loop (velcro) can become worn, pilled, or non-functional. Nonfunctional hook & loop can be replaced, either with new hook & loop or a snap conversion. Again, there are deals to be found for “fixer” diapers for the informed and crafty buyer!

Stains: stains are unsightly, but the good news is that they don’t usually impact function. If you’re dedicated and up for a challenge, you may be able to remove stains on otherwise functional diapers. Be wary of severe stains which might indicate a poor wash routine resulting in increased wear and tear on the diapers.

Don’t waive your PayPal protection! If buying online, always use “goods and services” so that you are protected if the sale goes south. PayPal protection allows you to be refunded when items aren’t shipped to you, or if items are not as described by the seller. Be sure to inspect all items carefully upon receipt, before washing, and raise any concerns with the seller.

Be sure to sanitize! All preloved cloth diapers and accompanying items (such as wipes and wetbags) need to be sanitized prior to use. If they weren’t washed well, you should consider stripping the absorbent items before sanitizing. Sanitizing ensures that the diapers are safe to use on your child. TCO sanitizes all preloved items distributed according to the guidelines on Fluff Love University.