Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Used Cloth Diapers: Protecting Your Investment

Eeew, gross, you might say, when thinking of buying used cloth diapers, and I can honestly say that I've seen some really disgusting used diapers for sale. HOWEVER, when each brand new diaper sells for up to $45 each and you have no idea which brand of cloth diaper will fit your baby and cover your needs, you may have to try a few out to find the right ones. Used cloth diapers come in very handy when you need to try out new brands and styles. You can save yourself up to 60% of the cost if you're willing to slap a used diaper on your baby's bum. I would, however, recommend disinfecting any used diaper you buy BEFORE using it. A little bleach in the wash, a bit of extra hot water in the wash, a spin in the drier on high, or a few hours in the sun will all do the trick.

The flip side to buying used diapers is that you can SELL your diapers after you're done with them. No one buys cloth diapers with the intent to make money on them when you're done using them, but let's face it, cloth diapers are a commodity and you can often recoup 40-75% of their initial cost when you sell them to the right buyer.

However, in order to be successful in your reselling of your diapers, there are a few things to keep in mind. Buyers want an item that looks like it has been used as little as possible and NO ONE wants to buy a diaper that looks like you baked brownies in it and then forgot to wash it. Keep them clean and keep them looking fresh and you'll have a lot more success in recouping your costs. With that in mind, I offer you the following 10 tips:

1. Have enough diapers to go for about twice as many days as your wash cycle. This allows you to both have some flexibility in your washing routine and also allows your diapers to see less wear-time. The key is to keep them from looking careworn.

2. Deal with poop as soon as possible. If you can't deal with it as soon as you take it off your baby's bottom, then set it somewhere that it will remain unsquished and somewhat moist. Dealing wit poop is much easier when it's moist than when it's dried and hard.

3. Deal with poop properly. If you don't have a mind to dunk and swish, then use either liners or a diaper sprayer or both. Don't expect your washing machine to act like a septic tank. The less poop you put into your washer the less poop remains in your diapers after the cycle is through.

4 Don't hold onto anything other than prefolds and flats for more than 18 months. There are two reasons for this. First, elastic and stretchy materials deteriorate over time. Second, styles and brands change over time and diapers are nothing if not fad-ish. Your pocket diapers might be as good as the day you bought them 4 years ago but if the big fad is for some other brand, you won't be able to sell.

5. Close ALL velcro tabs as securely as you can before washing. Better yet, don't buy velcro diapers or bibs. Velcro may be faster and allow for more size possibilities, but it eats up EVERYTHING it comes into contact with in your washer and drier. It's better to minimize that sort of damage if possible.

6. Line dry your covers. The high heat from the drier may not immediately damage your PUL, but over time, the polyurethane lining will separate from the polyester knit. The more you dry it, the sooner this happens.

7. Hand wash poo out of covers, treat leg binding with stain stuff as needed, machine wash with regular laundry on COLD. Prevent stains before they start.

8. Use appropriate diaper rash creams. Some diaper creams may be great for the skin but leave permanent stains on your diapers. Even worse, some may cause the fabric of your diapers to no longer be absorbent.

9. Wash on a regular schedule (2-3 days MAX) even if you don't have a full load. The longer you postpone washing, the more likely you are to have stink issues. No one buys stinky diapers. Do yourself and your buyer a favor and don't let stinkies even start.

10. Don't let your baby hang out in just a diaper if they 're mobile or eating solids. Cover that diaper to prevent food and dirt stains.

Good luck!