You want to use cloth diapers - awesome!
We love cloth diapers and are excited to learn that you want to use them as well. But wait, you have found some cloth diapers online for an excellent deal. The price is really hard to pass up.
Here are a few considerations before buckling down and saying yes.
1) What condition are the diapers in?
Second hand diapers are typically up for sale for one of two reason. One - the diapers didn't do their job well (whether it be the fit or the absorbency). Two - they did their job well and now the person is ready to part with them.
Why would a diaper not do it's job well? The materials could be poor quality and break down more quickly. Diapers that cost little to nothing new are not made with high materials. The waterproof material is not as strong and can break down more quickly and the absorbent material is not as absorbent as higher quality brands. Both of these situations can lead to increased leaks and messes!
What about a diaper that did it's job well and is ready to move onto the next maybe? Well, consider that the diaper did it's job well for a really long time. While cloth diapers are designed to be reused many times, often after 1 child most diapers have lost several key factors - absorbency and fit (the elastics can break down over time and regular washing).
Do the diapers have "bald" spots on them? Spots that look like they are bare and have been washed too many times?
Do the elastics still stretch really well? Or at they looking loose?
Does the waterproof material (PUL - polyurethane laminate) look wrinkly or like it is pulling apart. You will have to look inside pocket diapers to find this detail.
2) How many children used the diapers?
How many children were diapered with these diapers? If they have been used for more than 1 child they will lack major absorbency and may be lacking in elasticity and waterproofness. Materials are only designed to be used and washed so many times. Unless you can ensure that the person that was using them took excellent care in them, you may find the diaper fail you much sooner than anticipated. Even if the diapers have been used for only child, I would not rely on the diapers to be fully functional for your child.
3) What brand is the diaper?
Just like many products on the market, there are good quality and poor quality products. Know your diaper brands so that when you purchase online you know a excellent diaper from a not so great diaper. Hint: All the brands we carry are excellent quality. We have researched and tested brands for 8 years now. We know what holds up over time and what falls short.
4) How were the diapers taken care of and laundered?
What type of detergent was used on the diapers? Some detergents are much stronger and can break down diapers more quickly than other more natural detergents (such as Allen's & Rockin Green). Were the diaper hang dried? Or were they thrown in the dryer? Diapers that were regularly thrown in the drier are again more likely to break down. The heat from the dryer will break the elastic and PUL. The PUL is best lined dried.
Does this apply to all diapers? Of course not, sometimes diaper do last several children and sometimes buying diapers second hand can be hugely beneficial! Before you make a commitment to those diapers from kijiji or the local buy and sell group, know what questions to ask and know what to look for! It can save you a good amount of money, time and hassle (we have seen first hand the disappointment of buying low quality second hand diapers!).