Recommending China Cheapies Makes Me Cringe

Without fail, I see people post frequently about wanting to start cloth diapers, but not being able to afford the “expensive brands” like bumGenius.  (Bonus points for seeing this come up on the Cotton Babies Flash Mob, where people are slightly rabid over their bumGenius diapers.)  Sometimes people will recommend ways to get cloth diapers without paying retail price.  Then there are the comments that make me cringe: I see people recommending China Cheapies.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not about snobbishness and elitism.  I do have some China Cheapies in my stash.  However, when I’m speaking with people who are new to cloth diapers, I don’t feel comfortable recommending China Cheapies at all.  There are a few simple reasons for this.

Recommending China Cheapies Makes Me Cringe - Cloth Diaper Addicts

Why I’m Not Recommending China Cheapies to New Cloth Diaperers

1.) China Cheapies can be variable

The quality control on some China Cheapies (yes, Alva, I’m talking to you) are spotty at best.  These seamstresses are working fast and furious to churn out as much product as possible.  Cuts can be sloppy.  Stitching can be weak.  Snaps can fall off.  And even the sizing of a diaper can vary from one to the next.  About a year ago, a friend bought some AlvaBaby diapers.  I think she bought 7 in a group buy.  I seem to recall that only three of them actually fit her daughter.

2.) China Cheapies can infringe on patents

Yes, I’m talking about AlvaBaby again.  Cotton Babies in particular has been ripped off by AlvaBaby with a knockoff version of the Genius Series diaper Lovelace.  There have been issues with patent violations, too.  AlvaBaby has also lifted prints from GroVia and FuzziBunz.

What’s made this even more obnoxious?  There are rebranded AlvaBaby diapers sold at a ridiculous markup so that the diaper costs nearly as much as a high quality, premium brand diaper costs in the first place.  Zulily group buy “deals” are particularly famous for this.

3.) The insert quality just isn’t there.

I haven’t given every single brand of China Cheapies out there an absorbency test… but I will tell you that I did a little kitchen science experiment on insert absorbency.  AlvaBaby’s best performing insert did as well as a three year old, heavily used and probably worn out FuzziBunz microfiber insert.  And that was with brand new AlvaBaby inserts, all properly prepped.

4.) Diaper failure leads to giving up.

I don’t want to set a mom who is new to cloth diapering up for failure.  With all of the potential performance issues and my own concern about ethical issues, I don’t feel comfortable recommending China Cheapies.  I want to help the mom who is new to cloth diapering succeed.  I want her to love cloth diapering as much as I do.

That Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Cute…

I have a few China Cheapies in my stash.  I always say that they are like my Payless Shoes: cute things to match an outfit that I don’t expect to last more than a season.  So, sure, I have no problems with recommending China Cheapies for a cuteness factor.  But that’s something that I’ll say to a seasoned cloth diapering mom, not to a mom who is brand new to cloth diapering and cannot afford to keep buying diapers to replace the ones that fail.

But What About a Budget?

I know that not everyone can afford to buy eleventy billion cloth diapers and order customs on a whim.  There are actually people out there who use cloth diapers because they can’t afford to spend the money on disposables.  And you know what?  That’s okay, too.  There are ways to save money through buying used cloth diapers.  You can try using flats, flour sack towels, or prefolds with covers.  And there are even organizations out there that can help you with a starter stash so that you can build your own.

There are so many alternatives out there that are consistent in their quality, which automatically makes them a better choice to me than recommending China Cheapies.  What do you suggest to those who are looking to start but cannot afford premium brands?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Rachel N says:

    I used flats and covers for a few months while I was dealing with rash issues on my daughter. I have a huge stash of quality diapers like applecheeks, bumgenius elementals, thirsties, ect and although I love those I found using flats and covers to be quite enjoyable. They were easy to use, easy to wash, and pretty trim. My favorite covers were flip covers.

  2. I recommend flats and covers. I recommend saving or using a credit card and paying over time. I recommend sales and seconds. I recommend using tshirts or flour sack towel.s
    Jill S recently posted…Fluffy Friday: Review of Little Bee Cloth DiapersMy Profile

  3. Jacque R. says:

    There are plenty of WAHM brands like Buttons and Rock a Bums that are cute, inexpensive and good quality. So you can still cloth diaper cheaply, easily and know that you are supporting hard working American small business owners. I don’t own any China cheapies so I can’t comment on using them. But I do know that as a FTM who CD’s on a budget it is very doable without them!

  4. Yes on all of this. I bought 8 Alvas when my son started outgrowing his FB smalls and I didn’t want to shell out for mediums…they are fine, but yes, the MF inserts are terrible. I’ve had them a year and they are as bad as the FB inserts I got with a batch of dipes that had been used on two boys already. I use those old stretched-out FB more than the Alvas.

    Honestly, I would probably recommend the Bummis organic cotton prefolds (6/$10!!!) and some quality one-size covers like Flips. And look for sales before baby arrives so you don’t have to pay full price. If I was starting from scratch, that’s what I would do! I’ve actually switched out my MF for Grovia and Bummis prefolds and they’re way better anyway.

  5. Since most mommas decide to go the cloth route when they are still expecting, I like to suggest buying a few at a time so that when baby arrives, you have a bit of a stash to get started without feeling like you just dropped a few hundred on diapers. If cost is really that much of an issue, prefolds/covers are a cheaper option for sure. And of course, local swap groups – you can find great quality diapers for a fraction of the cost 🙂

    If cloth is completely cost prohibitive, I tag my friend Suzi cause she is the president of our local CFAC and may well be able to help out 😉

  6. Forgot to add – I do own some China cheapies but they are NOT at all expected to be my workhorse diapers… they are great for extras to fill out a stash when laundry day gets away from you 🙂 Given the price point, I don’t expect them to move mountains!

  7. I have a few China cheapies that I like but are just that — cheap. My biggest beef with the industry is the rebranding and reselling at RIDICULOUS prices.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…‘My Twins’ First Halloween’ Book ReviewMy Profile

  8. If they can handle a snappi and covers (Bummis, Mother-ease), chinese prefolds. They wash up nicely even in hard, mineral-laden water, and last a long time. I got some dyed prefolds when my oldest was little. They were so used and abused, the top layer started shredding. So, my mom and I took them apart and used the other 6 layers of birdseye fabric for other stuff (napkins, tissues, cheesecloth-type things.
    Fuzzi Bunz were my workhorse diapers, although the quality went down 5-6 years ago. But the resale on those suckers was pretty good a while ago.

  9. Great information. I always recommend your site to other people when I come across newbies who are interested in learning about cloth diapers. I never used them so I don’t know where to begin. But anything made in China is at risk for the same reasons that the mentioned above.

  10. I have to admit I LOVE happy flutes.

  11. I started out with a very small stash of Flips covers. We diapered a long time for under $200. I ended up adding a few cheapies and I have to say they are no where near the quality and functionality of well made brand names. The 2 Alva’s I got had to be hung outside for 2 months to get out the chemical smell. I washed them literally about 20 times, including the steam setting. I have no idea what the chemical was but it certainly could not have been safe.
    If this had been a US diaper, like Bum Genius- they stand behind their work, and they would have replaced those diapers for me.. they have great customer service.
    If someone is looking to do diapering on the cheap- covers are SO much more economical and also more forgiving. You can stuff them with virtually anything and if they get stained and such, you don’t have to baby them as much as the pockets. You separate the covers from the inserts and do whatever you need to do.

    I don’t think there is any reason to use cheapies except a lack of knowledge!
    itzybellababy recently posted…Weekend Sales at One Kings LaneMy Profile

  12. Hi Christy,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the reason I have always avoided the China Cheapies is because they are made in China. There have been so many problems with their products for children being dangerous over the years that there is no way I would risk it. Additionally, my grandmother always told me to by American whenever possible – I used to think she was wrong but now that our economy is what it is, I understand what she was talking about.

    Thank you Suzi for a wonderful article,

    Blog & Social Media Manager

  13. Meh. Crucify me, but I don’t see a huge difference between china cheapies and some made in the USA versions. I just bought at US-made, albeit inexpensive, all-in-one where the snaps tore clear off the insert when I went to throw it in the pail. I even have used Sunbaby and Alva diapers that are of better quality than some brand new diapers in my stash. I recommend people but what they can afford if they are looking to save money with cloth diapers. If they are envirowntalists, I recommend bamboo or other more Eco-friendly materials. I don’t have anything against China cheapies.

    • Why would I crucify you for respectfully stating a different opinion? And how was the return support like on your brand new diaper that failed?

    • I would like to point out some real need that these diapers do fill for some people. I am an American who lives in India. We have a small diapering community and most have never heard of things like this and bgs are terribly expensive here, about 1 week of food. We like the pocket style diapers because we do laundry differently and our homes allow direct sun access most of the year. We dont have dryers and we must use inserts with pockets, covers and fold or fitted. China diapers have come a long way and now use TPU instead of PUL which is a much more environmentally friendly. We get Alvas but I think they suck, too. There are many other brands that are better and due to their popularity many ladies SAHMs are making their own due to costs in shipping. Shipping bgs from usa cost more than the diaper itself. It is not easy to find flats fitteds and prefolds here, some up and coming companies like Easy Feel Products that make Indian prefolds that make me fall in love with my wool soakers and prefolds! So, dont forget there is a big world out there we all have different situations , we are all cloth diapering for our children and at least we are not littering up the world with sposies!

  14. I personally have fuzzibunz and Sunbaby diapers. I love my Sunbaby china cheapies. I would NoT recommend having a newbie buy USED diapers. I haven’t seen a good deal on used nice brand quality diapers in over 6 months. They sell for almost what you can buy new, not to mention people sell them stained and that’s disgusting! I don’t use Alvas so you might be accurate on your statements, but you’re making it sound like all china cheapies are awful and my Sunbaby’s have been the BEST way to have enough in my stash to make cloth diapering possible. For less than $7 per diaper you can’t beat it!

    • I have Sunbaby, too. I do like them far better than AlvaBaby, but nowhere near as much as my premium diapers. In my region, a newbie buying used diapers is no problem. We’re too much of a close community to tolerate someone ripping someone else off.

  15. I’m on many b/s/to Cloth diaper groups and see it all the time. Maybe buying locally is different.

  16. Neena Hart says:

    I always recommend Bummis organic cotton prefolds. You can start slowly by buying 6 at a time if you don’t want to go the starter kit route, and they are durable. I started with a kit and have branched out to other types of diapers, including China Cheapies, but my Bummis still get the most love 🙂 Plus there are so many good brands that make ridiculously cute covers!

  17. I completely disagree with you on this. I have a stash the is mostly Alva baby and JC trade. I love them and will recommend them to any mommy on a budget. I have had no problem with stitching, fit or leaks with them. I will admit that I use CBI inserts with them instead of the MF that comes with them. But my BG MF inserts are worse than the Alva ones. Also I have had a lot more issues with BG than either if my ” China cheapies”. And the one time that one Alva baby diaper had a small flaw, even though it did not effect performance, they sent me a new one no cost no questions. BG wanted a load of answers on washing ect . I gave up on them. I use them on wash day.

  18. Our daughter has Alava, Chunk & BumGenius, we haven’t had any issues with our Alavas. I was concered when reading about the snaps online, so I emailed the company & asked. They had said I could send the diaper back & it would be replaced free of charge.

    As for the inserts go any microfiber we’ve used are okay, but Alavas is horrible. But their bamboo inserts are very absorbent & what we use at night because how absorbent they are. All of our microfiber inserts leak at night.

  19. Noradun says:

    I COMPLETELY disagree! I see women discouraged often because other women are so stuck on spending so much on name brand diapers. They tell women cheaper diapers aren’t as good, are a waste of time, etc etc etc. And then when women see the cost of the more expensive brands they get discouraged! MY ENTIRE stash are referred to as china cheapies because they are less expensive diaper that is made and purchased from a china company! I LOVE these diapers, I have never had an issue, never had one delaminate, never had a snap issue, or a elastic issue. They fit beautifully, and best of all they are in budget! Because of women AND reviews like this I didn’t CD my 3rd child. When I realized with baby #4 I could not only make my own fitteds inexpensively (because Lord knows I could never have afforded to purchase a fitted due to cost) that I could purchase these “China cheapies” My very first was from ebay…and it was a CHEAPIE! The ONLY thing I didn’t like about it was lack of hip snaps. But they worked beautifully until I was able to afford more diapers. I now work with a diaper bank, and I repair diapers. I still hear women deter people from china cheapies. I however do not, and because of that I have gotten MANY of my friends cloth diapering successfully. And they admit that had it not been for “china cheapies” they never would of CDed. Because who in their right mine would pay $15-$30 for just one diaper…..well never was an issue here I just simply couldn’t afford it! And just to add a little more of my opinion, I have used the “GOOD” brand diapers(BG, Fuzzibunz, etc), the ones that were higher priced (sent to me to try by a friend) and I HATED Them. The fit wasn’t good, they were just not good diapers for us, plus they were BORING prints. And ironically enough working with the diaper bank the only donated diapers I have needed to repair have been the more expensive diapers. Which generally have elastic issues along with occasional PUL issues. All of the “china cheapies” we have gotten in thus far have been in great condition. THAT being said, if a china cheapie that I spent $5 on delaminates I will live. If one of the diapers I spent $30 delaminated I would CRY! LITERALLY! Not sure why women give a darn what someone else puts on their childs bum to be honest!! But all in all I have Cded for HUNDREDS less then many women I know, with a larger stash, adorable diapers, AND NO issues! If you dont want to use cheapies so be it 🙂 More or me!

    • I’m very glad that they worked for you. I want to see as many babies as possible in cloth. Don’t mistake advocacy for elitism. It’s those that start with them, fail, and think that all CDing sucks are the ones that I’m concerned about, and it’s why I don’t recommend them to people new to cloth diapering. With your name brand diapers that weren’t working, you probably would have been able to get product support from either the manufacturer or a store who sold them. China Cheapies do not come with that same product support.

  20. Jamison says:

    I usually recommend Thirsties Duos and Kushies AIO if someone has a certain price range in mind. Where they speak like they have very little money to put into it I send them to a hybrid fitted pdf pattern. Making them are super easy, by hand or on a machine and can be made by recycling fleece, cotton and elastic around the house. When a Mama is determined she can make anything work. 😉

  21. I started my stash with china cheapies and the issues I had with them inspired me to look into the different options available to me. Had I started with 10 bg 4.0s I’d feel much more guilty about deciding I hated stuffing pockets… Though to be fair I also could’ve resold them for near-retail. I guess it could be discouraging for someone not 100% dedicated to cloth diapering… But are some people REALLY that easily stumped? It’s not hard to figure out fit issues, etc… Idk. Maybe I’m an atypical consumer.

    • Some people really are. If you’re on any of the cloth diapering boards, you’ll see that the most common questions are 1.) why do my diapers leak and 2.) why do my diapers smell?

  22. How about we talk about about the ethics of the factory conditions in China, and the complete lack of any environmental standards? They are not paid a fair wage, and the work conditions are terrible. Don’t forget about child labour! Good times, right? And please spare me the ‘such and such a company goes to the factory twice a year and makes sure their diapers are made ethically’ – its a load of crap, unless they are making 11/hour plus benefits and holiday pay. Although this is NOT news to anyone, people politely avoid it when we talk about China cheapies. We also know that China does not have any enforceable environmental standards. But its cool right? As long as you get your cheap diapers it OK for you to benefit from human exploitation and environmental nightmares. Now with the typical ‘well everything is made in China, that’s just how it is’ comments. Wrong. There are perfectly affordable local alternatives, you just have to have your priorities in order.

    • Great point Rachel! Not wanting to fund slavery is my main reason to avoid those noname China cloth products. And it’s NOT the same as buying a reputable name brand with production in China. When they move their production there they make sure the factory conditions are up to their standards. When you buy a China noname they can’t even tell you the factory it was made in! They will not allow you to visit the factories they use and will not give you any documentation.

  23. My experience with Alvas has been nothing short of wonderful. I started out with pricey prefolds and name brand covers and absolutely hated them. I would have given up cloth diapering all together if friends had not suggested alvababy. I was able to afford a good sized stash that arrived at my door less than a week from the day I placed my order. Yes, the inserts are not great… But the MF inserts are free and, should you choose to buy alva inserts, their charcoal and bamboo inserts work well. Sure, the stitching may vary a tad between the 35 Alvas that I have, but this does not effect their functionality, I just might have to change a snap setting here or there. For $5 a diaper, they are a very worthy investment. They are easy to use and easy to clean. Also, their customer service is wonderful. You can email them at any time with questions and they will respond. I had one diaper delaminate and they sent me a replacement right away, no questions asked. I believe that the cost of name brand diapers is much more like to discourage a parent from choosing cloth than “China cheapies” will.

    • I’m glad that you’ve had a positive experience. Please note that I am not saying that they never work for anybody. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m saying that they don’t have the same level of support or quality control, and that can cause discouragement and failure among newbies.

  24. Amber P says:

    I have only just started cloth diapering my newborn but have been building a stash for a while. I admit at the beginning the cost and cute prints got me and I bought a bunch of china cheapies but then when I thought about the factory workers, health and environmental concerns, saw the quality of the product after it arrived, I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to go. I watched the B/S/T groups (mostly my local group) to see what was what, and over the months I built my stash I have bought almost everything used for amazing prices. I bought a lot of WAHM fitteds and BGs (NB) for $5 each. I’ve bought diapers that were prepped and never used for a fraction of retail, and I’ve bought all different kinds of diapers I can try everything and see what I like so far I love fitteds with wool, and those if I calculate cost me about what china cheapies would but seem much more comfy. 🙂

  25. Viv Sluys says:

    Ok, since I see that you actually reply to these comments, here goes. How does one know what the China cheapies are? Are Kawaii? (I’ve had different sources give varying answers on that one). How do you know/tell if it’s a rebranded diaper? Normally a pretty informed shopper but I haven’t had as successful a time figuring out the cloth diaper market. (That being said, I have a full stash of diapers. I have a mix of brands that I have bought, won, and been given)

    • Hi Viv,

      These are some great questions. Kawaii is in an in between category. Some call them China Cheapies because of their price point, but they are clearly licensed for proper resale and are CPSIA compliant… otherwise Kelly’s Closet wouldn’t carry them. As for rebranded diapers, Heather of the Parenting Patch wrote a great article that I’d linked to up in the post, but here it is again. There’s another great one on Maman Loup’s Den that I’d also linked to that talks about the fact that many Zulily diapers are actually rebrands. Here’s that link again, too. 🙂 The cloth diaper market can be tricky since there are so many different types of diapers with different features. When you start putting WAHM diapers in the mix, it gets even more confusing. I hope this helps!

  26. I couldn’t agree more – thank you for writing this! If money is really the issue, why not diaper with flats/prefolds/used diapers? We were on an extremely tight budget, so I began building our cloth diaper stash with prefolds and used diapers. I had one experience with “China Cheapies” and I would never use them again (you get what you pay for). But, if CCs work for some, let them have them (and yes, they do have some cute prints, but having a properly functioning diaper overrides all of that in my book). Buy used!
    Lauren Stevens recently posted…How Does Your Garden Grow?My Profile

  27. I would like to know the return on the diaper that failed also. Especially when they’re brand new, companies are usually falling over themselves to return a new diaper to you at zero cost. One thing I heard about china cheapies is that people would never hear stuff about warranty and they’d be out the money. Makes me sad because of course it makes people feel like they were cheated.
    Jill S recently posted…Fluffy Friday: Review of Little Bee Cloth DiapersMy Profile

  28. My sentiments exactly.
    Melanie S recently posted…Remembering – 18 Years LaterMy Profile

  29. Angelique Foust says:

    I have a particularly large stash, and approx half or more are “Chinese Cheapies.”
    I started off purchasing fuzzibunz and GroVia online on Black Friday when I was newly pregnant. I pick up one bum genius free time every other month or so with a $5 off coupon at buybuybaby, and I have a collection of Bummi’s, Thirsties, G’s, Flips, Charlie Bananas, Best Bottom, GMD workhorse fitteds, AC, WAHM, etc…
    I started with Alva (I’ll admit the NB ones had a strange fit and leaked pretty awful, but we’re still better than the NB Grovia I tried), but then discovered sun babies after swapping a new girly print Alva for a boyish print Sunbaby with a mama on a swap. And I fell in LOVE. I love everything about Sunbaby diapers. The price, fit, materials, durability, PRINTS, etc
    I have a skinny guy so the fit is important to me.
    Recently I ordered JC trade (for the superhero prints for my nerd husband) and some AIO DG-CB Happy Flutes. I also have a few Baby Wizard, Baby Land and Diaper Safari.
    The reason why I do not feel guilty about buying – or recommending – any of these (especially sun babies) is that almost none of the “good” brands are made in the US. Do you know where they are made?
    I’ll wait. You can go check labels.
    And as far as customer service, Alva has a particularly good one. If a snap breaks/is defective, it delaminated, you snap a pic, send, new diaper shows up a week later (and now your stash has a swim diaper). I can’t say the same about sun babies because I have not had one single problem…
    I hear about people having complaints about bum genius (fit, leaks), fuzzibunz (fit, leaks, hard to stuff, stick PUL, PITA elastic adjustments), G’s (fit, leaks, leaving crazy marks), CB (fit, sticky PUL, PITA elastic adjustments), etc.
    I am currently putting together a kit to send to an AR woman who currently owns just a couple pre folds but is using T shirts as flats and rubber pants and washing a few times a day. I have far too much and can spare a few so are sending her at least 3 pockets and probably a cover and some inserts. They will probably be Alvas, a diaper safari cover, and BG inserts. I love that I have plenty to spare to do so, which I couldn’t afford to do with the “good” brands.

  30. Heather says:

    I have a whack of china cheapies (Kawaii mostly). They’re actually decent quality. My daughter has very few leaks using them, but they’re bulky as all get out and harder to snap. The material isn’t as soft around the legs as our bumgenius freetimes or flips.
    If I had to recommend the cheapest way to do higher quality diapers, I’d say get one of a few different types. Don’t invest in a stash before you know what works for your baby.
    And get a pack of prefolds that can be used for anything (once you use a clean prefold for spit up, you’ll never use another receiving blanket). Prefolds can be used in pocket diapers or covers as inserts. And while I love our flip inserts in covers, applecheeks inserts can be found more cheaply and work just fine.
    You really only need a few covers and a bunch of inserts or prefolds to make diapering work.

  31. Not true. I get better response from Alva baby than BG. And I have talked to many moms that almost gave up either from issues or from the so called name brand diapers. Then they started using what you call China cheapies and have loved cding. And like mentioned before a lot of the name brand come from….wait for it….China. Why not do a little research before posting. Have you checked into the certification of the companies you talk about?

    • Actually, yes, I have. That’s why there are links throughout, and those links go back to the posts with research.

  32. Most of the time it is because they are still listening to the big companies about special detergents and wash routines.

  33. Then you would know that Alva does have CPSIA certificates and will provide them if asked. They are not required to have them on website but can provide. Rumparooz are manifactored in Europe and China. Grovia has many products made in China. Same with many other name brands. Kawaii are based in Canada but made in China. As far as copying styles…..if the others would produce more of the style and not have them selling for 70 to 100 dollars maybe there would not be a market for like prints.

  34. Planet wise also have facilities in China.

    • And those facilities are used to produce Imagine and Nicki’s Diapers, which they do not state are American made. Planet Wise, Nicki’s Diapers, Best Bottom, and Imagine are all owned by the same group.

  35. I recommend Nicki’s diapers or Imagine for people who can’t afford expensive diapers. Yes, they are made in China, but the owner has visited the shop where they are made. They are good quality and affordable.

  36. Their employees get more holidays off than I do. As for performance of their inserts, have you used them? Their bamboo hold more on my heavy wetter than BG brand.

    • Uh, did you see the link about their performance? That I’ve left for you twice? That was where the testing procedure and results were reported.

  37. Kawaii isn’t a china cheapie- it meets all usa standards

  38. Crystal says:

    I like my Chinese diapers! I hate the inserts, but they’re great for dusting, etc. I use flats or flannel inserts that I made from old receiving blankets. I started making my own diapers, but have discovered that the material itself is made in China.


    • Crystal says:

      LOL! Had to plug the computer in & hit some extra buttons! 🙂

      I have friends who live & work in China. They have a totally different opinion on ordering things from China, based on knowing the people and the economy for so many years. I know our economy is terrible, but there is so little that you can buy that’s totally made in the USA. If I buy WAHM-made diapers, the material was more than likely made in China.

      At this point, I’m making do with 7 Chinese diapers and 2 of my own. I wash diapers every day. I don’t think I would spend $15 or more on a diaper even if I had the money to do it! I’ll stick to my small stash, add to it as I’m able, even if they’re from China.


  39. How about letting each mom weigh the options for themselves and do what works best for them. I see nothing wrong with recommending what you call China cheapies. They work for a lot of families. Just like using regular detergents and wash routines. This is not a contest to see who can spend the most on diapers and have the best brands. This is about moms doing the best they can for their children. Even if that includes things you don’t agree with. Just because you don’t agree does not mean it is wrong.

    • Uh, wow. Did I say anything about spending a fortune, etc? I didn’t. Perhaps you should click through some of the links that are throughout the post for the cost effective alternatives? After all, this is about helping moms do the best that they can for their children. When you know better, you do better.

  40. courtney says:

    Don’t forget the poor laborers who are abused so you can get such a cheap price…

  41. Laurie P says:

    I can totally understand why you’d cringe, but I also know what they are like to use. I’ve tried some cheapies in the beginning, also some brand names. There is definitely a noticable difference in quality. I will admit, we still use 3 of our cheapies, just because they don’t fail on me too often, and they are good enough to use when the rest are in the wash. That’s my take on them.

  42. You know I actually see more post about problems with the name brand diapers, confusing washing routines and “cloth safe” detergents that don’t work and are too expensive. More than I see with complaints about so called China cheapies.

  43. Jessica Funderburk says:

    As a family, we work very hard to try and keep China products out of our home. With that being said, I do own two Imagine AIOs and two Nicki’s Diapers bamboo AIOs. While they do work fairly well, the sizes are small and I made the decision to not purchase more. Our reasoning for not purchasing Chinese is purely political. I buy mostly US and Canada. I have found that Thirsties is not too expensive but I use a lot of prefolds and covers and wahm brands.
    I was blessed with a family member who makes for me as well for about $5 a diaper, her cost. I put back $500 while pregnant to use towards cloth and now I try to buy at least one diaper per month (we get paid bi-monthly), and it has created quite the nice stash and I’ve never felt that we “suffered” using this route.
    I have been known to use the occasional t-shirt from time to time also 🙂

  44. I always recommend prefolds and covers for those on a tight budget. You get more bang for your buck, can still get cute prints, and they are super efficient at what they do. My daughter is 2 and I STILL use prefolds and covers. Because they are time tested and work. I’ve tried cheapies and I just didnt care for the quality. The snaps didn’t always line up and they leaked around the stitching. id rather have not the hottest prints and have a functional diaper.

  45. Shelia, Alva Baby are not certified by any North American company. The only certifications listed are in Chinese: Based on recent problems with Chinese products (lead, cadmium, other toxic metals and chemicals), I would not trust the Chinese certifications alone.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…The Rights of Pregnant Women and Forced Cesarean SectionsMy Profile

  46. Hey, Sheila, maybe instead of trying to tell Suzi what she can write on her blog, you should go get your own? I don’t see how she isn’t letting other moms make up their own minds. It’s not like she’s holding a club and beating people over the head for disagreeing.

    Or, you know, “Just because you don’t agree does not mean it is wrong.”

    I’m not sure if you’re insecure and butthurt or if you’re just a pathetic troll. Or maybe you’re a hypocrite. It’s awfully hypocritical of you to come on her blog, throw tantrums because she’s not saying what YOU want her to say… and then tell her to let other people have their own opinions. Can’t she have hers?

  47. Shelia, you clearly did not read the entire post. Furthermore, Suzi can voice her opinion — which is not in favor of recommending China cheapies — on her blog. Have a different opinion? Fine. State so civilly. Heck, go write your own blog post. Additionally, she listed a number of alternatives for inexpensively cloth diapering without using China cheapies.

    I personally started with a stash of under $200, none of which were China cheapies. So cloth diapering on a budget without buying directly from China is entirely possible.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…The Rights of Pregnant Women and Forced Cesarean SectionsMy Profile

  48. Waaah! Waah! A blogger doesn’t agree with me! I’m going to throw a tantrum on her blog!

    Go get your own blog since you’re the expert. Or, you know, start paying for her hosting if you want to dictate what she writes.

  49. Nowhere in Suzi’s article did she say that buying China Cheapies is wrong. She simply gave her opinion on why SHE doesn’t recommend them.
    Lindsay recently posted…Allons Danser! CD Review: Practice French with Your Kiddies, oui oui!My Profile

  50. Noradun- love love love your comment.
    Suzi-great blog post …definitely….But I’m going to have to go with Noradun on this one!
    I love my china cheapies over brands like {bum genius & charlie banana}.

  51. For price conscious cloth diaperers: I’ve found great deals on Thirstie’s diapers at their outlet:

  52. Mary Cobb says:

    Can I get the link to that pattern?

  53. You clearly did not read my post. I stated that they are not required to put the certification on their website but will provide if requested.

    • Actually, Sheila, I’m holding a AlvaBaby diaper in my hand right now. One of the things that are required for a product to be CPSIA compliant is “Have permanent tracking information affixed to the product and its packaging where practicable.”

      The packaging that it comes in (which is just a plain plastic baggy) is not CPSIA compliant. Therefore, AlvaBaby is not CPSIA compliant. End of story.

      AlvaBaby does not. There are absolutely zero pieces of information about the product beyond the rebranded label and washing instructions. H

  54. To change directions here….those that recommend prefolds have them check out diaper services in the area. Some either give away or sell really cheap the diapers that they are going to retire. Not a lot of people are aware of this.

  55. The patent infringement bothers me…it costs a lot to perfect something in a product, and more to go through the patent application process.

  56. Rebecca T says:

    I think there are pluses and minuses to all kinds of diapers. I nearly gave up on cloth after trying prefolds and having trouble getting comfortable with them, and dealing with lots of rash issues from wetness. I also have bought used diapers that have elastic that’s not in the best shape (which can be hard to tell by looking), and that’s led to some leaks which may frustrate a newbie. So I think many of the cheaper diapering options have some drawbacks that can make or break the whole experience for some families.

  57. Thank you for the awesome info! All of my kids wore disposables so this is all new to me, but I am always willing to learn!
    Miranda Sherman recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #WW – Model Train EditionMy Profile

  58. Tara Coy says:

    My friend just ordered a butt load of alva’s on ebay and I cringed when she told me. But she wanted to but cheap as possible

  59. I know when our kids were in diapers, quality was always at the forfront.. if we purchased cheap or expensive diapers they better work and not leak.. that is all that mattered!

  60. I will be honest and say I have never used cloth diapers so I really can’t speak on the subject. I won’t even pretend to know what I am talking about. I do understand paying a little more for quality vs quantity on certain things though.
    Grace recently posted…Bloggers Wanted ~ FREE Blog Giveaway Event OpportunityMy Profile

  61. I have never used cloth diapers but I have a number of friends that swear by them. I think for me it just needed something quick and simple and I also needed something quick and simple for those that watched my son during the week while I was at work. I am so happy to be past the diaper phase.
    Danielle recently posted…How can this be? Now I am a single mom?My Profile

  62. I completely agree! If you’re going to recommend a cloth diaper to a newbie, recommend something they will love! And used ones are always an option.
    Danialle recently posted…Sweet Nectar of Summer GiveawayMy Profile

  63. Jennifer says:

    Have you shared your thoughts on Diaper Safari covers? I’d do a search, but for the life of me I can’t find a search bar anywhere on this website!

  64. Jessica McD says:

    I’m also glad they work for you. I agree with Suzi’s opinion because I have seen way too many people discouraged by cloth diapering because of the cheap brands and want to quit. They get it in their mind that they can’t afford the quality brands because they cant buy a full stash in one shot. I couldn’t afford a full stash of quality brands to start… I bought 1-3 at a time. Now I have a stash of ~40 (2 in diapers, one on the way.) that took me a while to build but that works great and probably about $300 was totally free from coupons, rewards points and a couple giveaways. Yes my stash cost quite a lot but they will resell for much higher when I’m done not to mention all the diapers I didn’t spend a penny on that I will get to sell too. It is worth it to shop at a store with coupons and rewards points and build a quality stash slowly if needed.
    There are many people who are in sound mind who would choose quality diapers over $2-$5 diapers.
    But again I’m all for what works for you that’s just my 2 cents

  65. Melissa says:

    As a new cloth diapering mom, I have wondered about these brands. People speak so highly of them but they seem too good to be true! You bring up some great points!

  66. Jen Whetstone says:

    I have a friend who cloth diapers and she loves Alva’s but she said that I should try multiple brands and not stick to one since that baby isn’t here yet and I don’t know what I’ll like. However- diapers are so expensive since all the money is up front- I just don’t have enough so I’ve been trying to make my own. Diaper making supplies are expensive too though.

  67. Leela R. says:

    I generally agree with what you are saying. I would add that I would also caution against any “cheap” no-name diaper. I have a couple of Alvas that I’ve actually had no trouble with, but I also have had a couple of other brands that have delaminated instantly. My Diaper Safari pocket didn’t even last the prep wash! I complained and got it replaced, only to have the same thing happen with the replacement. I don’t do anything crazy with my wash routine either. Even my Smart Snugs diapers, which seemed to be of nicer quality, barely lasted 6 months. These are the only diapers I’ve had trouble with. After 15 months of diapering my bumGenius, Fuzzibunz, TotsBots, and many other brands (including Kawaii) are still going strong. It’s worth it to invest a little more up front for diapers that will last the long haul.

  68. Cassandra Rae says:

    When ever people ask me about these, I tell them you get what you pay for. They are cheap in cost, but also in quality!

  69. Kelly Anne says:

    I know nothing about cloth diapers, but this was a very informative article! Thank you for sharing! I will think twice about buying “China Cheapies”.

  70. Jennifer Owens says:

    I do the same thing. When showing off my little fluff butt, I always use my more expensive diapers like Charlie Banana even though half my stash are China cheapies.

  71. kai baldock says:

    Arh I hate china cheapies. the inlaws were shocked I spent about $30 each on my bambooty (my favourite cloth nappies, yes to me their nappies as im an aussie but they still are amazing and I highly recommend people trying them) so bought 2 for $15 china cheapies. lets just say I hate them! first they look ugly, second they leak, absorbency is would crappy even on a newborn, pain in the arse to snap together….. I HATE CHINA CHEAPIES!!!

  72. My stash or nappies (another Aussie here) is mostly premium brands, my favs being bg elementals, grovia aios, peachy green, softbums, itty bitty bums, bambooty, bottombumpers. I love trim nappies that are also absorbent. However, with 2 in nappies and winter here, I didn’t want to be using the drier from them not drying in time. I did buy some bg freetimes, softbums quick dry inserts, pikapu inserts, fuzzibunz minky to use in my shells, but I also got some sunbaby’s (a dozen) to pad out my stash. I have found them to be great for that purpose, they are absorbent enough for us (not heavy wetters), dry quickly, stay stain free etc. I did have 1 nappy that the stitching popped undone slightly. I emailed them a photo, as the nappy was basically new (been used only 3-4 times), she sent me a 6 pack of them back (as that was what I’d originally ordered). I thought that was good service. I haven’t had any problem with any of the others I got.

    So, I would recommend that particular brand if that was all they could afford. But I always recommend a nappy library, and/or layby, sales, second hand first. Most people that I recommend flats/prefolds to look at me like I have 2 heads. A large amount of my stash I got second hand but like new, barely used, also stocktake or closing down sales etc. I don’t think I’ve paid full price for any of my premium brands (which I do have more love for – I love trim nappies!!)

    Unfortunately, I have heard of 2 mums at my church that said they hated modern cloth nappies because they leaked and were always bulky (they couldn’t believe my bubs were both wearing cloth (I love trim nappies)), I found out they had both bought them off ebay – and there was no brand on them. They were interested in the nappies we had, but asked how much I paid for them, and could believe I would pay $15+ for nappies. Another friend also had ebay nappies and loved them, until after 6 month the elastics were all stretched out, and doubling up the inserts was no longer working. She asked me if that was normal – I said NO, none of mine have done that. So, it’s not always a positive experience with cheapies unfortunately, but as a stash extender, they can get you through the winter. Plus I don’t like pocket nappies – too much stuffing for me (probably couldn’t handle anymore that a dozen).

  73. Melissa E says:

    Cloth diapers are money saving as is, no need to risk wasting money on poor quality knock offs! There are better ways to cloth diaper cheaply. I agree with you 100%!

  74. Lizl Smith says:

    My whole stash is made up of alva diapers… microfibre inserts and bamboo.. i have been using then with my 2yr old son and now soon my lg in jan.. not once have i had any problems. 40 diapers and all work like a charm. Day and night use.

  75. I found it interesting that you mentioned the Alva inserts not performing well…I could have sworn that I’d heard positive reviews on Alva bamboo inserts! I haven’t used them myself, though, so I really have no idea 🙂

  76. came here just to rant. what amazes me is people buy these usually horrible nappies for like dollar off eBay and then make the price up. went to some markets this morning and one lady had a stall and had so many ccs selling for $12 each and I’ve seen them on ebay for $1. she was telling everyone about how great the quality was too. haha sorry love I know those ones are shitty mcshit shit. she wasn’t happy that I declined heroffer of taking one of her business cards by saying I don’t support her over pricing, poor quality mcns made in Chinese factors by underpaid workers.

  77. Please tell me, and I really mean this in a non sarcastic way, what can one do if they can’t afford cloth or disposables, and there is no cloth diaper bank operating in their area? I’m not saying cheap diapers are the answer, I’m seriously asking for myself and a friend who is expecting.

    • The good news is that if you’re in the States, The Rebecca Foundation ships. If you’re in Canada, so will Cloth for a Cause. 🙂

  78. I personally feel like we should be supporting companies who treat workers well and they get paid well. I personally prefer to buy in the US or Canada

  79. I just recently started cloth diapering and I have read most of these comments. I have also read the tag on the aio bg diaper that has been lent to me…..and I quote the label….”assembled in USA of imported and domestic materials with inner soaker made in China.”
    cc recently posted…Win an Ella Bella Bum from Cozy Bums!My Profile

    • Made in China is not automatically bad. There are many products and brands (even in cloth diapering) that are ethically made in China. What’s bad is the lack of ethics/consumer safety standards.

  80. This makes me sad. I finally decided to switch to cloth after calculating how much money we’ve wasted in 4 short months on our newest baby. I searched and searched the internet to decide which type was best for us.
    What I found in my searches, was a whole new mom shaming/war topic. Even the label Chinese cheapies is insulting. Seriously who cares what brand of diaper they have? It collects urine and poop, nothing to brag on, and 90% or more of the time your diaper is covered with clothes anyhow.
    I bought 24 osocozy fitted diapers on sale $4 a piece from cloth diapers and I bought 8 Alva covers from the US section (yep, still from China, but ships out of California and arrived in less than a week…free shipping). My ‘diaper pail’ and laundry bag came from Walmart, and my ‘wetbags’ are plastic grocery bags. Detergent: ALL powdered, ‘butt paste’ is organic coconut oil $6.99 (my most expensive item). My ‘liners’ are strips of fleece from a fleece blanket. And, guess what? No leaks, they work great, and I’m enjoying cloth diapering. I spent less than $150 for my entire ‘stash.’ We can afford disposables, but I don’t like wasting money, and certainly not on something my child will poop/pee in.
    Lastly, using poor factory conditions, taking local jobs away excuses are pretty hypocritical. Where are all of your phones, electronics, video games, cars, clothes, toys made? Every single person owns some brand of Chinese Cheapies.

    • Re: China Cheapies. You’re right. And since writing this post, two bloggers that I greatly respect shared that this phrase bothers them because of their Chinese heritage. Because of that, I no longer use that phrase. I just stick with “knock off diapers.”

      As for the hypocrisy, I buy American/Canadian when I can. If my iPhone were made in North America, then I’d opt for that model instead. But I don’t *have* a choice with all of the things. The things that I can choose, I do.

  81. I have to agree. While I can understand the wish to afford most everything we buy, I’m more than reluctant to buy anything that’s made in China. It’s bad enough to rely on anyone to produce anything sold in the USA, but China? Seriously? If we have to rely on anyone to produce our products, here are the countries I’d willingly buy my products from: Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and Germany. At least they know how to build good quality products for a reasonable price. Anything from clothes to computers, to automobiles, etc. Since clothing is among the things on my list, I don’t particularly appreciate the fact that there are cloth diapers that are made in China for use here in North America. Again, I’m not against paying less for a good quality product, I am against relying on China to produce cloth diapers.


  1. […] decide if “Blogleague” will catch on or not) Suzi at Cloth Diaper Addicts posted about why she doesn’t recommend so-called “China Cheapies” to cloth diaper […]

  2. […] explained last week why I don’t recommend China Cheapies to newbies.  Some of the China Cheapie cloth diapers on eBay are the worst offenders for just […]

  3. […] image.  68% off sounds like a SMOKING hot deal that you should jump on.  But… as much as I don’t recommend China Cheapies in general and have no love for AlvaBaby in particular, I hate people being ripped off even more.  […]

  4. […] are some links to articles on “China cheapies” and their dangers. Recommending China Cheapies Makes Me Cringe The Ugly Truth About Cheap Cloth Diapers Cloth Diaper Knock-Offs and How They […]

  5. […] thanks to well-known brands like FuzziBunz and bumGenius. In addition, the majority of the China cheapie sweatshop diapers on the market tend to be […]

  6. […] You could purchase cheap non-compliant cloth diapers and cloth diaper your toddler that way for $100, but sometimes cheap isn’t better. I can’t and won’t support non-compliant cloth diaper manufacturers. For more information, check out this blog post from Diaper Shops, and/or this commentary from Cloth Diaper Addicts.  […]

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