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Easy Affordable Option For Those Who Can’t Afford Diapers


When You Can’t Afford Diapers

All over this country, there are people who can’t find or can’t afford diapers.

Some are forced to choose between buying food or buying diapers, but some don’t even have the “choice” between the two because the only food they buy is purchased with food stamps or WIC…and food stamps and WIC do not buy diapers.

Those who use wage earnings to purchase diapers are also hitting on hard times, as a huge portion of them have lost their jobs due to Covid-19.
Can't Afford Diapers
In the back of my mind, I always kind of “knew” this, but I was forced to really think about it after reading a recent article called “What if I run out?’ Cost of diapers and rush to potty train strain, low-income parents”. You can read it here. Besides leaving their babies in disposable diapers for WAY too long because they can’t afford diapers, they are also reusing disposable diapers! These babies are getting horrible rashes, infections, and even diseases from this.

Why Not Cloth?

Being a mother who cloth diapered her children and still cloth diapers her grandchildren, I immediately wondered why these people didn’t try cloth diapers. Yes, establishing a “good” cloth diaper stash is expensive upfront. Yes, you need a washing machine to wash the “good” diapers properly. And yes, cloth diapering can be “icky.”

However, there are ways to cloth diaper very inexpensively (under $15) as seen here on Amazon, and without a washing machine. Unfortunately, you just have to get over thinking about cloth diapering as icky. I think that would be easy if you are in a situation where you can’t afford diapers and are reuseing disposable diapers. Besides, I think reusing a paper diaper is definitely grosser than using a cloth diaper – you can get cloth clean, but you can’t get that disposable clean.

Stop Reusing Dispoable Diapers
reusing disposable diapers is not safe!


Flats Are A Great Option

Remember “way back when” before disposable diapers were invented? Okay, if you are currently trying to diaper a child, probably not. But, before disposables, people would use flats and profiles.

Flats are one layer, a cotton square diaper. It looks sort of like a receiving blanket, although it’s usually not flannel. To use it as a diaper, you need to fold it to fit your baby and secure it using pins or a Snappi. This sounds hard at first, but it’s actually really easy to do, and it takes less time than it takes me to stuff a pocket diaper. For more information on pocket diapers see our complete guide on pocket diapers.

Flats are great because they are VERY inexpensive – in fact, you can get 15 “flour sack flats” at Target or Amazon for under $20 (flour sack towels). They work awesomely as flats – even better than some of the “real” flats I’ve bought.

Make Your Own Flats

4 When You Cant Afford Diapers
You can also use receiving blankets as flat diapers or even a flannel sheet cut into smaller squares. Flat is very easy to wash and are the best choice for someone without a washing machine. Swirl them in the toilet to get any poop off them, and then just hand wash them in a sink or tub with a tiny bit of soap. Hang them up to dry – they will dry very quickly, especially if put into the sun.

Covers For Flats

As for covers, you can get nylon pull-on covers for very little also. Amazon has Dappi covers as low as $6 for 2 with free shipping, and you can probably also find Gerber pull-on covers in local stores.


I know the thought of using flat diapers with pull-on covers and handwashing them in a sink doesn’t sound fun, nor is it what most people are doing when they say they cloth diaper. However, if you are frantically trying to figure out how you are going to diaper a coming child, or you are currently struggling each week to buy diapers, this may be a real option for you to try.

Use What You Already Have

Also, if you really don’t have even an extra dime to your name, you can use anything made from natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo, etc) as a diaper. This includes t-shirts, towels, sheets, or even pillowcases. It might be rough, but there are many safer alternatives to reusing a disposable diaper.

See Also DIY Cloth Diapers