Diapering couldn't get any greener than using cloth diapers when you factor in that cloth can be bought and re-sold, gently used, further reducing the cost and often recouping most of your investment. However, there are some really important things to consider when you buy or sell used cloth diapers, specifically when you're on the receiving end of the deal.
I'm going to briefly highlight some things to consider.
Just as it's more desirable to buy a car from it's original owner, the same is true with cloth diapers. The original owner should know how they've been cared for and when they were purchased.
Overall, if you get the feeling that a seller isn't being upfront with you about one aspect of the sale, you should consider the possibility that they might be holding back information in other areas. If you can't be certain that you're buying from the original owner then you should know that there is risk involved and it might not be worth saving a couple bucks over.
- It's important to know that the diapers you're buying weren't originally sold as "seconds" and if so, why were they considered seconds.
- Has the diaper been discontinued? Determining the brand, style and possible version will help you date the diaper. Suppose the owner says she just bought them new, yet the label has a logo that you can tell dates the diaper to two years ago...
- What detergent was used on the diapers? If your child has sensitive skin then you'll definitely need to know. Plus you'll want to make sure they were washed in a cloth diaper safe detergent.
- Have the cloth diapers ever been stripped? Why and how were they stripped?
- Have they been repaired? What was repaired?
- How does the leg elastic look? Often looking at pictures of the same diaper new compared to the pictures you're being shown of the diapers for sale, will clue you in to whether the leg elastic is shot or still in good shape.
- What type of water does the owner have? It's always good to know if the diapers were owned by someone who had well water, hard, soft, etc.
- Why are they being sold? Sometimes it's just because of size, color, brand or just to thin out their current stash, but often you'll hear a seller say "it just won't work on my baby, it leaks every time" and that should probably make you go hmmm...
It's always safer to buy certified pre-owned diapers from Diaper Junction or other similar retailers where you know the diaper has been inspected by someone who knows how to tell if the diaper is actually in good shape or not.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever gotten burned by purchasing used cloth diapers?