Over the years, I’ve been asked this a lot: “I’d love to try cloth but can’t afford it. Is there any way to get free ones to try out?”
I know the upfront cost can seem daunting. When your choices are a cheap pack of disposables for $7 or a starter stash of cloth for $50 or $75, it’s easy to see why families keep opting for throw-aways week after week.
While I believe it’s not that hard to cloth diaper cheaply (you can get started with as little as twenty bucks), what about the question? Is it really possible to get free cloth diapers? The answer is YES. I’ve taken advantage of nearly all the methods below to score free diapers, so I know they work.
#1 JUST ASK. This is so easy, and it works so please don’t skip this tip and go to the others just yet. Hit up your friends, your relatives and even the ladies at church. Tell them you are cloth diapering. Ask if they have any old stuff that isn’t being used any more. Some specific ideas:
- Post “Want Ads” or am “ISO” (In Search Of) on Craigslist, Freecycle, Facebook, etc.
- Put up a flyer at your church, workplace or organization (with permission) that you are looking for old/unwanted cloth diapers.
- Mention it to your friends and family when relevant. For instance, if you’re chatting with someone about your pregnancy, say “By the way, we’re hoping to cloth diaper the baby, so if you know of anyone who has some they might want to get rid of, please let me know!”
#2 GIVEAWAYS & SWEEPSTAKES. At my blog, and many others, there are cloth diaper giveaways that you can enter. Use DAILY entries like shares, tweets, comments and votes. Daily entries work because you’re throwing your name in the hat intermittently, which gets your entries “mixed in” at regular intervals. Lots of cloth diaper giveaways happen on Facebook and not on blogs, so you’ll need to check in to your favorite brand and store pages regularly. Ones that quickly come to mind are Bambino Mio, Lil’ Helper, GroVia, Thirsties and Lighthouse Diapers. If you are expecting a baby and want to be eligible to win a free cloth diaper for your baby, add your name to my Bonjour, Baby! list.
#3 GET A TESTER. Keep your eyes peeled for tester opportunities from brands, retailers and WAHM shops (esp. Hyena Cart). They often post on Facebook that tester slots are open. GroVia did this a while back. Bambino Mio mailed free AIO diapers recently for the cost of shipping only. A while back, Gerber was giving away free prefolds. If you are a member of Diaper Swappers, there is a forum where WAHM’s offer diapers and accessories for testing. Each offer is unique so check the details. Diapers are often 100% free. Occasionally, they will ask you to pay a few bucks for shipping.
#4 STALK THE FORUMS. Both Diaper Pin and Diaper Swappers have a special section for totally free stuff. One of them is called Free for Shipping; you only pay for actual postage. You have to be faster than a speeding bullet, though, because the stuff goes very quickly.
#5 STORE PROMOS: In this case, you do have to make a purchase to get the freebie. But hey, you do get something free! To sweeten the bargain, be sure to get free shipping as well. Another way to use this method to score free cloth diapers is to buy something at an online cloth retailer that you HAD to buy anyway. Let’s say you need a nursing bra or a baby carrier or some organic skincare. Make your purchase at Nicki’s or Diaper Junction or Kelly’s Closet instead of Walmart or Target and you might get a free diaper if your order total is big enough.
#6 CHECK WITH CHARITIES. If you are truly going through a financial hardship that prevents the purchase of new or even used diapers, look up charities that provide free packages to deserving families. A few that come to mind off the top of my head are Jake’s Diapers, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and Cloth for Everybum. If you need prayers and encouragement, please post your need on my Bee a Friend apostolate page.
#7 SEW AWAY. Google free cloth diaper patterns and you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands, of results. You can use towels, t-shirts, receiving blankets, old fleece and any other suitable materials you already have on hand to create a decent stash for nothing (except the cost of velcro for your covers).
#8 BE A PROMOTER: Every single diaper in the photo posted at the top was earned for free by promoting my affiliate links at cloth diaper stores or Amazon. It pays to sign up for your favorite stores, because every time you share your unique link and someone clicks it and makes a purchase, you’ll earn 5 to 10 percent of the sale. If you don’t have a blog, some of the best places to share your links are online forums (if it’s allowed), online chats, Facebook threads with friends and family and email conversations.
#9 FACEBOOK CHAT: Every Monday night, Cotton Babies hosts a “cloth diaper chat” on Facebook and you might have a chance to win a free diaper or accessories. Other brands often hold Facebook chats or events like this as well, including GroVia. (Thanks to Alanna for this tip!)
#10 LOCAL EVENTS: If you attend local events like the Great Cloth Diaper Change or natural parenting seminars, expos, cloth diaper store openings or anniversaries, etc., there are often free diapers and samples given away. (Thanks to Whitney for this tip!)
#11 MAKE A TRADE: Facebook and online forums have swap groups you can join. Post what you have available for trade and say you’re ISO (in search of) diapers in exchange. You can offer almost anything for trade (shoes, books, CD’s and DVD’s, clothing, toys and even stuff like Mary Kay and coupons). If someone really wants what you have, they will be willing to send you free diapers in exchange. Another example of trading is using online cash rewards programs to buy diapers. More trading possibilities open up if you have an active blog, Instagram or YouTube channel. Ask a shop or brand to offer a free diaper in exchange for a review. You can also trade ad space on your blog for products.
#12 BE A FAN: Sites like Change Diapers have “top fan” promos that reward people who interact the most on their Facebook pages. This is different from a regular giveaway with an entry mechanism; you simply have to work hard at being active on their pages with likes, shares and comments. (thanks to Jill for this tip!)
#13 BABY OR GIFT REGISTRY: If you’re expecting or creating a gift wish list, add cloth diapers to it. Amazon has a lot of cloth diapers for sale and Prime members get free shipping. Wal-mart now has cloth diapers; you can register in-store or online, plus get free 2-day shipping on orders over $35. If someone asks what you’d like best for your birthday or Christmas or Mother’s Day, mention that you are trying to build a stash of diapers for your baby. (thanks to Tessa for this tip!)
#14 LEAVE REVIEWS: Many online cloth diaper retailers offer incentives to customers who take time to leave product reviews. The reward might be a product, gift card or store credit/rewards points. (Thanks to Melissa for this tip!)
#15 GIFT CARD SWAP: Next time someone gives you a gift card to Wal-Mart or Amazon, use it to buy cloth diapers. Same goes for Visa gift cards. Ask friends or post on Facebook if you have gift cards from Starbucks, restaurants or other retailers that you would be willing to trade for something that can be used at a cloth diaper shop. Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique has a gift card program; you can turn in cards that you don’t want for cloth diaper store credit!
WHAT ABOUT FREE SAMPLES? You might be wondering, “why doesn’t anyone offer free samples of cloth diapers?” There’s a good reason that companies don’t hand out free cloth samples all the time. It costs too much! A throw-away Huggies diaper is worth a few pennies, but one of the most popular pocket diapers in America (bumGenius 5.0) is $19.99. Besides, it’s not really practical to send just one diaper to try out because many potential customers aren’t even using cloth yet. Washing just 1 diaper, and trying to get a taste for cloth with just 1 diaper, don’t make much sense. Add to this the low mark-up for cloth and see why free samples would be a huge money drain for companies. This is why you instead have discounted sample packages or trial programs (aff link) being offered. This enables you to get a full set of diapers to try out.
GOT ANY MORE FREE DIAPER SOURCES? I’d love to hear them!
If your idea is published here, you get a FREE cloth diaper!
This information was originally published in 2013, but I update it regularly!