Do you want to get started using cloth diapers but can’t dig up the funds to buy them? No worries! Use what you already have! Up-cycling items you own into cloth diapers is THE most economical way to diaper a child. It’s also great for the environment! Remember, the only requirement for a cloth diaper is an absorbent layer, covered with a water resistant layer! It really is THAT simple.

Items that work well as diapers:

-Sheets and pillow cases (to use as a flat diaper cut/sew to approximately 29×29 in.)

-Flour sack towels or single layer dish towels (used as a flat diaper)

-Cotton or Jersey knit t-shirts for a T-shirt diaper

-Cotton or flannel receiving blankets (used as a flat diaper)

-Washcloths or fingertip towels (for extra absorbency or to act as a “doubler”)

*Search flat diaper folds to learn how to fold the above materials into a diaper OR check out this video on folding a t-shirt into a diaper!*

Items that you can turn into covers:

-Micro fleece jackets or blankets

-Wool sweaters (You will also need lanolin and a wool wash to make a wool cover water resistant)

*Search “The Katrina soaker pattern” or check out the “no sew fleece diaper cover” video below by Kim from Dirty Diaper Laundry for diaper covers you can make at home.*


-Store dirty diapers in a clean bucket or your washing machine until washing

-A wetbag (or water resistant bag to hold soiled diapers on the go) can be a large zip closure plastic bag or plastic grocery bags.

-You will need a safe closure device for your up-cycled diapers. Diaper pins, Snappis and Boingos are safe to use as diaper closures and cost between $2-5. (Pins may be easier to use on some tightly woven fabrics.)

In conclusion, whether you sew or not, you probably have everything you need at home to get started with cloth diapering!

This post was written by Janice Roodsari. Janice is a stay at home mom to twins, an RN, an environment and cloth diaper advocate, and a blogger. She also leads the Real Diaper Circle of Ventura County. You can find more posts written by Janice at



4 Responses to “Cloth diaper for under $5 using items in your home!”

  1. School of Cloth: Diapering in Special Circumstances | Mabe, With Love Says:

    [...] is no money for another bag or box of diapers.  You can make cloth diapering work with just a few common items found in every household.  Check out the link above for more resources on cloth diapering with [...]

  2. Cloth Diapering in Special Circumstances #schoolofcloth Says:

    [...] Cloth diaper for $5 or less using items around your home. [...]

  3. Debi Says:

    I did several, well most, when I was diapering my daughter. I used the tshirt trick when I would want to get all of the diapers cleaned at once, when our washer and dryer were broken.

  4. Cloth Diapering on a Budget? This is a Must Read! Top Posts from Your Favorite Blogs | All About Cloth Diapers Says:

    [...] Cloth Diaper for under $5 using Items in your home! [...]

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