Fond of the joy of receiving something for free? In a world where everything comes at a price tag, a free item here and there really goes far!
This is especially the case whenever babies are concerned. Babies can get expensive – and really fast. Saving in the run up to the birth is not always possible, either.
Luckily, there are alternatives to basic daily needs that come at a cheaper price. In the case of cloth diapers, you can even get some for free!
Many parents are moving back to using cloth diapers, seeing that they reduce the mountains of disposables that end up in waste collection sites, not to mention that they’re also a more cost friendly option in the long run.
So, cloth diapers are the way to go if you’re trying to limit spending.
That said, we understand that you’re in the now and ‘the long run’ is not always feasible. Building a stash of cloth diapers does require an upfront investment – unlike disposables which you can buy gradually and don’t necessarily need to stock up on right from the get-go.
Luckily, there are ways and initiatives out there to help you stock up on cloth diapers without having to sacrifice other basic items, so that you don’t find yourself in a tough spot, financially.
Why Should I Need to Get Free Cloth Diapers?
At one point or another, most of us experience periods of being strapped for cash. It’s not a fun feeling at all, especially when babies or kids are in the picture.
You shouldn’t feel bad or guilty because of that, though – having less or no income does not make you any less of a worthy parent.
Over a year, the cost of disposable diapers can amount to around $500. Calculated over a period of three years, until your little one is potty trained, this can easily spike up to a total of $1500!
Cloth diapers, on the other hand, cost around $300 for a one-time purchase, and you’re covered for all your baby’s diaper years, plus any siblings that might come in the future and use the same cloth diapers as well.
As we’ve said earlier, cloth diapering requires an upfront investment which you’ll probably need to save for. While the benefits are obvious, the upfront cost of $300 still puts many parents off.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as free cloth diapers will help you overcome this hurdle.
With that being said, financial issues might not be everyone’s reason to want to get free cloth diapers.
For example, many parents are not sure if they’d get the hang of cloth diapering, but would wish to try it out on a small scale first to decide.
In this case, you may wish to get hold of some free cloth diapers to try them out first, and help you decide if you should make the switch to cloth or not.
How Can I Get Free Cloth Diapers?
There are a number of ways you can use to get free cloth diapers. Let’s go through them one by one:
Ideally, you fill up the baby registry with things you’ll need and actually use.
The majority of family and friends will appreciate that you made the gifting decision easier for them. No one wants to gift something that goes unused or to waste!
Registering for cloth diapers for your baby shower is one way of getting them for free.
Most local and online baby boutiques offer a registry; Amazon also offers a one stop shop baby registry, allowing you to add items from any sites to one easy-to-use registry.
Drop hints – or make it outwardly clear – that your family would very much appreciate cloth diapers as gifts.
It’s wonderful receiving new cloth diapers for Christmas, birthdays or other milestones… it’s one item you’re sure to use over and over!
Hand Me Downs
Oh, the joy of hand me downs!
I love receiving bags of pre-loved clothing from family and friends. It feels like Christmas morning all over, excited at the thought of what lies inside.
Some of us are lucky enough to have family or friends who also used reusables for their little ones.
Cloth diaper hand me downs can do as much a fabulous job as new ones. You can use the cloth diaper stash for your own baby and then forward it to someone else who needs it once your little one’s potty trained.
Buy Nothing Project
The mission of the Buy Nothing Project is to offer people a way of giving, receiving, sharing, lending and expressing gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies.
Search for your local group on Facebook and see if anyone’s happy to part with used cloth diapers.
Be in Touch
Be in touch with cloth diaper brands, provide your feedback, give advice and share tips.
As noted by The Frugal Navy Wife, most would be more than willing to send you a freebie in exchange.
As she points out, make sure to be nice and honest, and the rest will follow.
Help brands perfect their product by testing cloth diapers.
Brands, retailers and WAHM shops often promote tester slots on their Facebook pages. Some will offer you their diapers completely free, while others request that you pay for shipping.
Either way, it’s a good option to consider.
Other brands such as Aviababy and Blueberry offer reviewer opportunities. You will basically be gifted a cloth diaper in return for a product review article or video. You can learn more about this via this link.
Events such as the Great Cloth Diaper Change or natural parenting seminars and expos often give away gift bags which happen to contain free cloth diaper samples!
If there’s such an event in your area, it’s worth checking out!
Keep your eyes peeled for giveaways – be a brand stalker if you must!
Participate in contests, share and like posts as if there’s no tomorrow… you get the gist! There’s always golden opportunities to be had in this area.
Brand Ambassadors / Affiliate programs
Is social media or blogging your thing? If you’re passionate about taking photos and recording and sharing snippets of your day-to-day routine, getting free cloth diapers through ambassadorship or affiliate programs can very much be a possibility.
The only downside to this is that you have to build a rapport with the brand and already be using their products.
This isn’t all that difficult to do, though, and once you’ve built this relationship, it can then move forward into a mutually beneficial one.
Cloth Diaper Banks
There are still no public assistance programs in the United States that help with providing cloth diapers for low income families.
With that being said, foundations have been set up to assist parents in sourcing free cloth diapers over the years.
Cloth diaper banks are one such highly commendable initiative. Let’s go into further detail about those in the following section.
What Are Cloth Diaper Banks?
These are local or national organizations which help provide cloth diapers to low income families for free. You can think of these as cloth diaper charities.
The banks lend or give cloth diapers to families who cannot afford the startup cost connected to making the switch from using disposables.
Diapers are integral to a baby’s first years, regardless of whether you’re using cloth or disposables. It’s sad to say that many parents cannot afford this basic necessity, but it’s the truth.
Without diapers, babies cannot attend daycare, and hence parents cannot work – the situation is a vicious cycle that’s often difficult to break.
There have been many cases where parents try to extend the life of a diaper by going longer between changes or scraping away the solid waste and reusing disposables. This is highly unsafe and can lead to infections as well as a myriad of other health conditions. When money is tight, illness is the last thing you need.
Cloth diaper banks work to prevent these scenarios. They assist parents to overcome their diaper financial burden, contributing to better child health and wellbeing.
Is It Safe to Get Used Cloth Diaper Banks?
Making use of preloved cloth diapers is perfectly safe. While some diaper banks do provide new cloth diapers, many rely on used and refurbished pieces, which is perfectly fine.
As long as they’ve been cleaned properly, secondhand cloth diapers are still sanitary and safe.
You will receive a cloth diaper bundle that’s ready to use; however, you can also give them a good clean by stripping them.
Here’s how to strip used cloth diapers:
- Ensure that diapers are clean. Diapers should always be clean before stripping.
- Fill a top-loader, bathtub, sink or other container halfway with hot water.
- Add 3 tablespoons of washing soda, Borax and Calgon and dissolve the concoction well.
- Soak the cloth diapers until the water cools (at least 2 hours, or overnight).
- Occasionally stir the items.
- Once the water is cool, drain and rinse the diapers.
- Complete the process with a water only wash cycle.
- Follow with a 30-minute cold bleach soak to remove any bacteria. Use disinfecting bleach with at least 5.25% sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient.
- Give the diapers a final wash using detergent and water softener (if necessary).
- Leave them to dry, and then they’re ready to use!
Where Can I Find a Cloth Diaper Bank?
Need help with the initial start-up cost? Here’s a list of diaper banks that can help you out on this journey:
Share the Love
Share the Love is a national cloth diaper bank founded by Cotton Babies CEO Jennifer Labit. It’s a non-profit program that distributes local resources to nearby families in need.
Active in more than 100 locations nationwide, Share the Love enables more parents to provide their babies with clean diapers, addressing what is known as the ‘diaper need’.
With diaper costs met, families can focus on better meals, paying bills and possibly saving for the future.
The organization relies on cloth diaper donations which it then loans to qualified families for an extended amount of time. Applications are carefully considered, and diapers are distributed on a case by case basis to eligible families.
You can learn more about Share The Love here: http://www.cottonbabieslove.com
GroVia Gives is a cloth diaper lending program with the aim of helping families experiencing temporary or long-term financial struggles lessen the diaper burden.
GroVia Gives does not accept diaper donations; the cloth diapers it lends are designed and manufactured by the company to ensure the highest quality and safety standards.
To participate, GroVia asks for a minimal lending fee of $40 which also covers shipping. The diaper set includes 16 GroVia Gives Bamboo/Cotton Trifolds and 4 GroVia Gives one size covers.
You can learn more about this program by clicking here: https://www.grovia.com/pages/grovia_gives_main
Cloth for a Cause
Cloth for a Cause provides quality, sustainable cloth diapers for those in need. The organization aims at aiding struggling families through reducing economic pressure.
Cloth for a Cause works with diapering companies and refurbishes used diapers which it then loans to families in need.
Canadian families can apply for packages via the website: https://www.clothforacause.org/apply.html
National Diaper Bank Network
The CNY Diaper Bank offers a package for free. They provide a full supply of cloth diapers, reusable wipes, and wet bags.
They will also help you out with information on using cloth diapers successfully.
Learn more here: http://www.cnydiaperbank.org/info-for-parents
How to Apply for Free Cloth Diapers
Each diaper bank has its own specific application process. That said, there are some general requirements that are common across all initiatives:
- Be a resident of the country/region where the diaper bank is active in.
- Present a valid photo ID.
- Obtain proof of enrollment in WIC, TANF or any other assistance program.
- Complete the application and agree to the Terms of Service.
Many of us go through a financial rough patch at some point or another, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, and all we can do is push through in the hopes of seeing better days.
Giving up is NOT an option!
When this coincides with a new baby, the effects are all the more augmented. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if this is your current reality! Please seek assistance, you won’t be the first person to do this and you most certainly won’t be the last.
Unfortunately, there is no state-funded initiative to address diaper need as of this writing, but there are still many measures you can take to source cloth diapers for free.
Cloth diaper banks are one such commendable initiative. After all, no one should have to choose between a clean diaper and dinner on the table!
Rest assured mama, you’re doing a great job, and it’ll all get better soon!
In the meantime, we also wrote another guide on how you can get cloth diapers for cheap – you might want to check that one out, too!