Many people balk at the upfront cost of cloth diapers. Even if you go for inexpensive brands of diapers like Alvas or Mama Koalas, you’re looking at spending between $100 and $200 upfront for a modest stash of diapers. If you go for mid-range diapers like bumGenius, or higher end brands like Smart Bottoms, you’re looking at spending at least a few hundred up to several hundred up front. But the good news is that there are other uses for cloth diapers that can help you get your money’s worth into potty training and beyond!
If you think you will have more kids in the future and just need to pack them away or a period of time, check out this post on how to store diapers between babies. But if you are completely done with your diapers, here are some of my favorite uses for cloth diapers other than being, well…diapers.
Cleaning is my number one use for cloth diapers I am no longer using. What you can do to clean with cloth diapers depends on the type of diaper you have. All-in-one diapers are not the most practical for cleaning, but any other diaper that comes with separate pieces can definitely be a handy cleaning tool.
Common diaper materials like prefolds, cotton inserts, or even flour sack towels make awesome cleaning rags. They are absorbent and can hold a lot, making them ideal for cleaning up spills. They can also withstand a lot of wear and tear making them great for scrubbing and other tough jobs.
Microfiber inserts are also awesome for cleaning! I use old microfiber for dusting. It grabs on to the dust and hangs onto it much better than other towels.
Microfiber also does great wiping fingerprints off of windows, stainless steel, TVs, and mirrors.
If you have a mop like a Swiffer or E-Cloth Mopping System, you can use the microfiber as reusable mop heads! With the E-Cloth mop, it has strips of velcro, making it even more convenient.
Overall, I find a ton of use for my diaper materials around the house.
Along the same lines of cleaning is the “unpaper towels” if you have heard of those. If your family is looking to cut back on the number of disposable products you use, such as paper towels, then cloth diaper inserts are a gold mine for you!
I keep mine in a little drawer in my kitchen so I can put them out to use for whatever I would use a paper towel for.
Hot Pads and Pot Holders
Many cloth diaper insert materials, like microfiber or prefolds, are thick enough to use as a hot pad or pot holder in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly helpful to have a few extras of those around the house!
Old newborn diapers or one-size diapers sized on the smallest setting can make great diapers for baby dolls or teddy bears. Kids can play with them for years to come!
Stuffing For A Pet Bed
You can pretty much take any old diaper material, put it inside a pillowcase, and sew the end shut to make into a pet bed for your dog or cat. If you have a bean bag chair shell but no beads, you could try putting them all in there, too!
Wetbags make a great accessory to bring with you when you take the family swimming. They are great places to keep wet suits so they don’t soak your bag and they help reduce unnecessary plastic bag use!
If you’re still not 100% potty trained or just dealing with a bit of regression, shells or covers are a great thing to wear under a swimsuit.
Training Pants for Potty Training
Pocket shells can be used as training pants for kids who are potty training. You may want to put a very thin insert inside just to buy you a little time before they flood their pants, but you don’t want it fully stuffed like a diaper. It’s helpful for kids to be able to feel the wetness when potty training.
If you snap the shell loosely enough, they may be able to pull it up and down on their own just like underwear.
Pass On To Another Family
If you’re completely done with your diapers and don’t have any interest in keeping them around, pass them on to someone else! Maybe you know someone who has some interest in cloth but is worried to fully commit due to cost and fear of not following through. Some free diapers would be an awesome gift for them to try them out!
If you don’t know anyone personally, you can always post them on cloth diaper B/S/T groups. You could also list them locally on Facebook Marketplace for a small fee, or even free!
There are also organizations that collect cloth diapers to give to low-income families, such as the Cloth Option. They would be well-loved and appreciated going to an organization like that!
Compost & Recycle
If none of these options seem like they will work for you, you can always compost or recycle old diapers.
For composting, you can take 100% natural materials like cotton, bamboo, or hemp, shred it, and compost it, or even just bury it in your garden to break down. TPU (a common waterproof diaper layer) is also said to be compostable, but you will probably need to send that to a facility.
You can find a clothing recycling place to donate the rest. H&M recycles clothing and even gives you a 15% off coupon when you bring in clothes for recycling! Goodwill also recycles clothing it is unable to sell.
Old Diapers Can Be Practical!
Old diapers can definitely be practical, and you can get lots of use out of them even when you aren’t changing diapers anymore. I hope some of these ideas help you out.
What’s your favorite non-diaper use for diapers? Let me know in the comments!