The Cloth Diaper Service Purchasing Guide

Make smart decisions when purchasing equipment for your Cloth Diaper Service. Learn about the equipment you will need, typical costs, and where are the best places to buy it.

Required Equipment and Materials

Most cloth diaper service owners will need the following equipment and materials to get started:

  • Washing machine and dryer ($750 - $2,000)
  • Assorted cloth diapers ($1 - $10)
  • Diaper inserts/liners ($1 - $5 per hundred)
  • Diaper pails ($10 - $20)
  • Diaper pail liners ($1 - $5 per thousand)
  • Commercial van ($5,000 - $15,000)
  • Misc. bins/tubs ($15 - $60)

In addition to the supplies listed above, you’ll need an appropriate laundry detergent to use with the diapers. For budgeting purposes, be sure to estimate the costs of electricity and water used to clean diapers on a commercial scale. Also not mentioned above are the miscellaneous costs associated with running a vehicle, including licensing, fuel, maintenance, etc.

Sample List of Purchases

A typical person looking to purchase equipment for a cloth diaper service might make the following purchases:

  Grand Total: $8,265 

Key Decisions

Here are some of the most important buying decisions that your cloth diaper business will have to make. We outline the key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when making these purchases and provide some popular options.

Washing Machine

The washing machine you use to clean the cloth diapers will be one of the most important decisions you make when starting this business. Most people will need to purchase a washing machine specifically for cloth diapers, since most residential models are not well suited to the task. Everyone has a slightly different opinion on the best choices to make, however there are a few points that most people agree on:

Firstly, High Efficiency (HE) machines may be smarter choices for residential use, but cloth diapers will be the dirtiest laundry you’ll ever clean and will require a lot of water and energy to clean them – you’re better off using a non-HE, more powerful machine.

Secondly, you don’t exactly need an expensive, commercial-grade machine to clean cloth diapers, but you will need one that’s powerful enough to get the job done and has the capacity to handle your business’ volume. This isn’t the time to purchase an economy washing machine.

Some popular brands:

  • Whirlpool
  • GE
  • Speed Queen


When selecting a detergent to use while cleaning the diapers, select one that is free of scents, fabric softeners, and anti-static additives – babies have sensitive skin and could have a reaction to those ingredients. That being said, it still has to be strong enough to sanitize soiled diapers. Some people add bleach to the wash cycle every once in a while to aid sanitation.

Some popular detergent options for cleaning cloth diapers:

Transport Van

You can use any vehicle to transport the diapers, including a personal vehicle if you have enough space in the back. If space or smell become a problem, you may want to purchase a cheap, second-hand utility van to transport the diapers. The van can have decals on it as well, advertising your business as it drives. A used van can be purchased in good condition for under $15,000, and many for under $10,000.

Diaper Pail

Many cloth diaper businesses provide diaper pails for their customers to store soiled diapers in, and in which you can transport them to and from the cleaning location. These pails are air-tight to keep odors contained and many come with anti-bacterial liners that contain liquids and help mitigate smells. Select a container size appropriate for how often you plan on collecting soiled diapers from customers.

Best Places to Buy

There are many online retailers that sell diapers and diaper accessories, however most sell to individual consumers and thus do not have the ability to sell quantities needed to start a service of your own. If you’d like to purchase from these smaller retailers, contact them and inquire about wholesale prices/quantities. Another option is to purchase supplies from an online wholesaler like Alibaba.

Some popular online wholesalers: