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5 ways to build up a cloth nappy stash on a low budget

As a big cloth nappy advocate, I frequently get asked questions by people considering using cloth on their babies. One big FAQ I get asked about cloth nappies is about getting around the cost.

Off the rack, modern cloth nappies cost around $20-$40 a piece. For a full time user, a dozen pieces to start with can cost around $300-$400.

This is a fairly large start-up cost for most people – although the initial investment will definitely pay-off in the long-term.

Fluffy new MCNs are beautiful but can add up to quite a bit at $30 a pop (images from Bean Sprout Bubba)Fluffy new MCNs are beautiful but can add up to quite a bit at $30 a pop (images from Bean Sprout Bubba)

If you are a bargain hunter or simply need to find something to fit a tight budget, here are some tips and resources on how/where to get cheap cloth nappies:

Buy pre-loved nappies– buying second-hand is a no-brainer to saving costs. However many people are put-off the idea of buying something that’s been used by someone else before. But really, with modern conveniences like washing machines, easy access to hot water, and a wide range of detergent options, using pre-loved clothes shouldn’t be an issue. Here are some great places to find second-hand nappies:

Search for online deals and bargains
– with the right search keywords and a few mouse clicks, you can score heaps of great bargains from various sellers and retailers. Why pay full price when you can find an item on sale or in the clearance bin? Here are some ways to uncover these sort of deals:

  • Google Shopping – use keywords like “cloth nappies” or “cloth diapers” and filter the price range according to your budget.
  • Nappycino WAHM promos and sales – a forum where WAHM selling cloth nappies post announcements on sales and promos they are currently having. You can score beautiful one-of-a-kind handmade MCNs this way.

To save costs of shipping, you can get together with friends or other parents in your area to bundle your purchases and share the shipping costs or even get free shipping if your purchases exceed a certain amount.

Go traditional – consider including prefolds or flats in your stash. It’s not that hard to learn how to use them, and they are much easier to clean and care for compared to MCNs. Many online cloth nappy retailers sell prefolds or you can pick up a pack of generic terry flats from Target or Big Wfor around $20. Don’t forget to get a few nappy covers or just re-use your MCN/pocket nappy shells as covers.

Go DIY– if you know how to sew and are itching for a project, you could try your hand at making your own cloth nappies. Here are some useful resources to get you started:

If all else fails –
just hunt-up some old T-shirts and turn them into instant no-sew cloth nappies like this and this.

To read more on my cloth nappy journey, you can also check out my posts on cloth diapers at

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