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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Buying Flats

[This is a part of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge Series. To read more of my posts on this, see a list here. To see the Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats and Handwashing Challenge series, go here.]

When  first considered cloth I did a little search to see that I was saving money, but I didn’t really take a moment to breakdown my costs. I thought it would help to do a little breakdown of the things I think you will need. I have put in estimate costs here, but from my experience of trying to break down costs…there is always someone  out there with more genius than I on this topic. Some people think there are other things to consider, some will think I am estimating too high. I get that and I am just estimating a little bit. I am DEFINITELY open to suggestions. If you can think of something I left out OR if you have an idea for how to get even cheaper, leave a comment below. I bet the readers here would LOVE to see what others have to say.

So, here are the things you would need to diaper your baby.

Flats (duh!).

To determine how many you would need, use this helpful guide from Sew Crafty Baby:

Newborns to around 3 months old : 24-36 changes
3 months to approx. 12 months: 20-24 changes
12 months to potty training 16-20 changes

There are a number of discounts associated with this challenge right now:

My sponsor, Swaddlebees, is offering a coupon:

Go to the link http://www.swaddlebees.com/Products/Fitted-Diapers/flats and use coupon code FLATS2211. Good through 5/31/11


You can also cash in some Swagbucks to do this and buy some flats on Amazon. Let’s say you are expecting a baby, that means you have time to collect some Swag. I get a $5 gift card about every other week. At that rate, you could have a full supply in 6 months.

You can use old receiving blankets and even floursack tea towels (available at Target)

Bottom dollar cost: FREE (using old shirts and old receiving blankets)

Approximate cost: $13/6 flats, so roughly $52 


You may want to look into one-size covers for this. I buy my covers used on DiaperSwappers.com and generally pay somewhere between $5 and $9. I recommend about 5 covers per baby.

Again, you can use Swagbucks (I am cashing some in today to buy covers for myself for FREE).

Bottom Dollar Cost: FREE (you should have enough after about 5 months of Swagbucks – so start when preggers!)

Approximate Cost: $5/cover, so roughly $25


You will want to use a cloth diaper safe detergent. There is a great list here

Don’t be overwhelmed by the detergent. Fortunately for you, flats are the most low-maintenance diaper as far as washing is concerned.

If you wash every 3 days, and your baby is in diapers for 2.5 years, that means you will wash approximately 304 times (oh my gosh, maybe I shouldn’t have added that up!).

Here’s a tip, use coupons and buy off of Amazon and use Subscribe and Save to get a nice discount. I bought the cloth-diaper safe Country Save detergent for a very low cost on Amazon.

Approximate Cost for detergent for cloth diapering a baby for two years: $35

Country Save HE Laundry Detergent, Powder, 160-Load, 10-lb Boxes (Pack of 4)

Bucket Washer

You could EASILY use your bathtub, so that would be bottom dollar FREE


You could make your own bucket washer using this great tutorial at Dirty Diaper Laundry.

Bottom Dollar Cost: FREE

Approximate Cost to make bucket washer: $15

Storage Container

Many people just use a $5 trash can with a lid for this. Piece of cake! Other options could include a wet bag or a diaper pail.


Lots of people just cut up some fleece to get some nice wipes. I have seen fleece for about $4 per yard. So just buy one yard and cut it up!


All right, that’s it: confession time. I am so darn HUNG UP (no pun intended!) on buying clothespins to line dry my diapers. I have NO idea why, but I am determined not to buy these or a fancy drying rack. So instead I am brainstorming things to use around the house. Stay tuned for this!

Approximate Cost: Free

Fastening Diapers

Although I will be using a Snappi I have on hand, you could use some pins. You can get a pack of pins almost anywhere (like Target) for $1.99.

Approximate Cost: $1.99


Now let’s tally it up. If you do all of my bottom dollar options, the cost to diaper your baby would be:


That is the same as about TWO boxes of disposables!

If you purchase your flats and do all of the Approximate costs I estimate here, you would pay


That is pretty sweet given that Americans pay an average of over $1,000 on disposables for their babies.

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