Cloth Diapers Made in China: What Every Consumer Needs to Know

Cloth Diapers Made in China: What Every Consumer Needs to Know


Cloth Diapering is gaining in popularity and a lot of people want to get involved.  Any time there is money to be made the people will come in droves to stake their claim.  The Cloth Diaper Wild West has seen a lot of prospectors come and go.  Some of them are bringing innovative and worthwhile products to the marketplace; others just want to make money the fast way.

You’ve seen the same diaper with a dozens of different labels.  They all have the same snaps, the same look, the same prints, the same everything.  The only difference is that they go by different names and they might come with a different insert.  They are sold on Ebay, on dinky e-shops with a hurried look, web 1.0 graphics, and sometimes have hard to understand wording that sounds more like a Google Translation than real spoken English.  The price looks too good to be true!


As a cloth diaper advocate I find it hard to ignore these diapers.  They are becoming increasingly easy to find and are well known amongst cloth diaper and parenting message boards.  It’s easy to see why!  At .99 each with $4.00 shipping (a $5.00 cloth diaper!) a family could build their stash for $120.00 with 24 of these One Size diapers.  That sounds amazing right?

Yes.  It’s a modern miracle that there are products that cost as little as $5.00 each when their brand name counterparts are upwards of $20.00 each.  When you consider that the most popular brand of cloth diapers will run you $17.95 each and you would spend $430.80 on 24 diapers this is a considerable savings.  Some of you reading this might even be thinking “Why didn’t I buy these $5.00 diapers?!  I could have saved hundreds!”

The price savings come at a cost.  Period.  I’ll lay out the many ways I find that these re-labeled cloth diapers made in China are not the best thing for you.  Then I’ll say why they might be.  Just stay with me on this…

Workmanship- The diapers being sold at .99 each cannot possibly be made as well as name brand diapers.  There are often times discrepancies in the diapers when they are being manufactured that lead to snaps coming off, the leg elastic being sewn in different tightness’s making for an “interesting” fit, and so on.  You might get lucky and buy the one that was made well, or you might not and end up with a useless diaper that no longer works after a few weeks or months.  It’s like a cloth diaper game of Russian Roulette.  Another valid point to make is that if your diapers fail you will be faced with the decision to buy more diapers (the same brand, disposables, or more expensive brands) then you will not be saving the amount you assumed you would up-front.  Will these diapers last you the entire lifespan of your child’s diapering days and beyond (for future children?)  There are brands that will and THIS is when the higher price tag pays off in the long run.  I have diapers still in rotation from my first son (purchased 4 years ago) that are still working on my second son.

Quality and Quality Control- Having handled several of these brands I can tell you that the materials used to make them are not on par with the materials used to make the brand name diapers.  The PUL has a different feeling to it (slicker and cheaper) and the fleece or suedecloth is thinner and often pills faster.   I’m also going out on an (unverified) limb and assuming that there is little to no quality control happening at some of the factories.  While name brands protect their reputation by not selling second quality “seconds” diapers unless otherwise marked (and discounted) these re-labeled brands are less likely to do so.  I’ve witnessed many buyers receive second quality diapers without expecting them.

Customer Service- Dealing with overseas Ebay and Re-labeled Brand sellers when/if your diaper does fall apart isn’t going to be pleasant.  After reviewing several of these prolific Ebay cloth diaper sellers and their feedback it seems that they are not in the “cloth diaper biz” like a reputable online or brick and mortar store.  They sell anything and everything that will bring in a dollar such as “electronic cigarettes, spy pens, laptop trays, and flame-less tea lights.”  These sellers are not in the business of taking care of your needs!  If your diaper falls apart- tough luck.  You would be lucky to receive a refund or even a response to your query.  Have a question about how to care for your cloth diapers?  I would guess that many of these sellers have never even used the product.  I find it disheartening when I see parents purchase these re-labeled diapers and then ask hardworking WAHM’s who don’t even sell those brands about problems with said diapers.  Often times these WAHM’s will still answer because they want these families to succeed with cloth diapering.

Warranty- In line with the customer service issue, buying diapers that were shipped from China poses serious issues when a defect arises.  Many of these brands do have warranties but if you read the fine print they will make you ship the diaper back (overseas) and you will then have to wait for a replacement.  The cost to ship your diaper will be more than the cost of the diaper itself in many cases!

Ethical Quandry- Listen to your gut- what does it say about a diaper that is made in another country, exported to the US, and sold for 5 dollars.  Do you think those who made the diapers were paid a fair wage?  What were the working conditions like?  Even though many of the name brand diapers sold for higher prices are made overseas in various countries I feel better about purchasing them because they have men on the ground monitoring the manufacturing facilities for safe working conditions.  If you want to go one better and purchase only American or Canadian made cloth diapers I have two resources you will want to bookmark: the Cloth Diaper Finder lets you check a box that will show diapers only made in the country you select.  I also have a page listing cloth diapers made in the US and Canada.  You can also learn the top five reasons to buy American Made Products from Made in America Challenge. To live in a world and not buy products with questionable ethical origins is hard in today’s global economy but I know that we can use our good sense and buying power to support the brands who are trying to not only bring quality reusable diapers to the marketplace but who also care about their employees’ quality of life.

I receive emails on a weekly basis from manufacturers in China pitching their wares.  Here is an example:

cloth diapers china pitch letter

Lovely email, yes? ANYONE can begin importing Chinese made diapers, re-label them, and sell them. Some people will see this as a good thing because it has enabled plenty of families to start bringing in money by taking advantage of the high demand of these inexpensive diapers. There is little to no transparency about the fact that the diapers are not, in fact, their design and are just a “generic” that has a new label on it. If this were made more apparent I would have less of an issue. When you see one of these re-labeled diapers being sold by one person for $20.00 and another for $8.00 you want to shoot your computer monitor in a fit of rage at the ballsy move the $20.00 seller has.  Below is an image of some of the diapers they want to sell me and anyone else with a pulse and an image of two identical diapers being sold as different brands for different prices.


Brand Name Knock-Offs

Just like there are knock-offs of popular designer wares, there are even knock-off cloth diapers.  For the most part these are blocked from being sold here in the US thanks to the patents held by the brands.  That doesn’t mean they don’t make it up on Ebay.  As with the “too good to be true” price of these relabeled diapers, think long and hard before buying what looks like a Thirsties when things are fishy.

thirsties cloth diaper knock-off


A new trend has been rising in order to get these cheap diapers even cheaper- Co-ops.  A Co-op involves a group of people who get together to place a large order of items in order to qualify for a bulk discount/wholesale price.  Because these diapers can be purchased at wholesale for as low as $1.00 a piece in some cases the idea of a co-op is very enticing to save even more money.  Co-ops for popular brands of these Made in China re-labeled brand diapers are increasing.  Not only does this pose ethical issues (when there are rules against this per the brand) but it can also result in fraud for people in the groups.  Buying reputable brands of diapers from resellers with great reputations protects your investment!  Again, you may end up buying diapers twice- once from a co-op but your diapers are never shipped (worst case scenario) and again from a trusted store to replace those missing diapers.  Why take the risk? If you decide to try a co-op please due your due diligence when researching the host.

The Grey Area

How can the regular shopper know that a diaper with a price “too good to be true” is a relabeled Made in China cloth diaper or just a great deal?  As I said earlier, many of these diapers will look identical in almost every way- snaps, prints, sizing, and so on.  The label will be different but it always looks the same.

I don’t expect everyone to know these things.  Truly, I don’t.  I do expect that today’s shopper is informed and knowledgeable.  If you knowingly buy a diaper after understanding the above facts then that is your perogative.  If you simply didn’t realize that these diapers are often copy-cats of name brands that have been slightly modified and sewn in a factory with deplorable working conditions then you are one of thousands.  After reading this article maybe you will rethink your cheap cloth diaper purchases just because a brand has released a new print and instead buy an adorable WAHM diaper from an Etsy store.

The Silver Lining

If you are struggling between buying food to eat or diapers for your baby then these bargain priced diapers are tempting.  With such a minuscule start-up cost a family could begin using cloth diapers for around $120.00 in the most modern of ways- pocket diapers or all-in-ones.  Say what you will about prefolds and flats being as cheap or cheaper- they are.  Is that an option some families will entertain?  No.  As a cloth diaper advocate and a human being who wishes all children have access to clean diapers I say “buy some cheap Chinese diapers and take care of the most important thing in your life.”  To anyone who is in this situation I will also link Giving Diapers, Giving Hope which is a national cloth diaper lending foundation.  You can also look to see if there is a cloth diaper lending organization in your local area in this post:  Cloth Diaper Organizations Helping Families in Need. When you factor in how long it takes to ship diapers you are buying from China and how long it will take to apply for and potentially be approved for a stash of diapers the waits will probably be about the same.  You can also look into buying used cloth diapers through forums and shops like,, and  Look into Craigslist or Freecycle.  There are also brand name diapers that start at low prices in existence.  Check Cloth Diaper Finder and select your price range to see diapers that fit your budget and also match your preference of country of origin, style, closure, and more.  More budget cloth diaper ideas on my article: Cloth Diaper Solutions for the Budget Minded Family.  


I am not a perfect person and I’m not pretending to be one.  I’ve knowingly (and more often, unknowingly) purchased diapers and other items that originated from China without researching how and where they were made.  The problem of rebranding and counterfeits is also extending into the baby carrier industry: opportunism knows no bounds, even when a child’s safety is at stake.  With this article I’m  hoping to expose the truth behind a lot of the cheap cloth diapers that are cropping up by the day.  The consumer has the right to know that these designs are not proprietary nor were they sewn with love by a WAHM.  I’ve seen plenty of websites make this false claim and it makes me sick.  The varying prices from brand to brand, the fascade of it being their design when it is not, the downright deceit is deplorable.  I used to see the cloth diaper industry as a cottage industry run by mostly female business women.  Those women still exist!  Let’s support them and not the people who have chosen to make a fast buck by slapping a label on a diaper and calling it “Cutesy Tootsy Bum Bum Rainbow Poop Catcher V.2.”  The more we support the generic diapers the faster we put the real innovators out of business.  Would you rather have the selection of hundreds or hundreds of remakes of the same design?  


  • Not all cloth diapers made in China are bad but many are re-labeled generic patterns sold to resellers who then set a price and sell them as their own.
  • Some diapers are blatant copies of a pattern used in a manufacturing facility in China for a name brand that has been altered and is sewn with cheaper materials and given a new brand name.
  • Buying re-labeled diapers is a crap shoot- sometimes you win and something you lose.
  • Be an educated consumer!  Read reviews of a potential diaper.  Find reviews that show the diaper has been used longer than 6 months to a year.  How did it hold up?  Know that the diaper you are buying is potentially being manufactured by employees un unsafe, unsanitary, unfit conditions.  Consdier there could even be child labor involved.  Reputable brand names who manufacture in China GroVia is one) often write publicly about their facilities, their employees, and show photos from tours to prove their diapers are made with a conscience.
  • Find less expensive, ethically made diapers.  Buy used.  Use prefolds or flats and quality covers (Thirsties make great covers that last a long time!) or even DIY your own diapers.
  • If you insist on buying one of the re-labeled brands consider buying from a reputable store that sells them here domestically to still get their guarantee and customer service.  Some of the better known MIC diapers are sold at online stores for slightly more than you would find on Ebay or on a sub-par webstore.

More on this subject:

All About Cloth Diapers: Are Cloth Diapers From China Bad?
According to Jenny: Chinese Diaper Manufacturing and Rebranding

Cloth Diaper Geek: Co-Op’s The GOOD, The BAD, and THE UGLY Truth

*Update- Even though this post was published first almost a year ago this problem still exists and more brands come knocking on my door almost every single week.  I will also agree that not every well known brand has the best track record for making a quality product although your chances are better buying from an established brand that buying a black market diaper.  To rule out quality concerns it is always a good idea to view reviews of a diaper before purchasing.  I’m only one person so my reviews are harder to rely on when it comes to long lasting quality however crowd sourced reviews on sites like Diaper-Pin are a great way to see how long a diaper lasts.
Written By
More from Kim Rosas

Win it! A O.N.E. by GroVia in Dandelion!

So you regret not backing the O.N.E. when you had the chance,...
Read More
  • Irina

    The author didn’t explain herself properly. The point is beware of pirate diapers being sold expensively when they are cheap chinese ones that can get bought for $5 or less a piece. That being said, I do object to buying chinese diapers on ebay. There’s something called fair trade, and chinese manufactorers are charging way less money than the US markets and not paying any taxes. If they were selling directly in the US and paying importing taxes and sales taxes, they wouldn’t have such an advantage over US companies. Under those conditions, there’s no way to compete. If quality is as good as they claim, fine, do it the right way, establish a retailing company in the US (they can be WHAMS as well), and pay taxes. It is my understanding that Charlie Banana diapers are also manufactured in China, but they go for $20 a diaper (aprox) because they are an international company that pays taxes and uses rightful retailers.

  • Kirstin ‘Honsey’ McLendon

    I have a few Chinese cheapies, and most of them suck. One of my favorite brands, however, is from Canada though I know their diapers are of chinese-make. I have never come across such high quality diapers yet, and they look brand new a year after I bought them. They are also the only ones in my stash that literally never, ever leak, and I do have a few fancy name brand diapers that can’t come close to performing. They were cheap only if I bought more than 10 at once, so they were a gamble, but worth it. However, my husband decided to try one of these (I think it was called Shinies) and it was flimsy and awful. I do think that if people are willing to try cloth for cheap (and it doesn’t fail) that it’s certainly better than all of those disposables in a landfill.

  • Mary M.

    Fallacy… that the name-brand diapers actually are manufactured at a higher price point. Who knows how much is added on by the name brand? Some Chinese manufactured cloth diapers are obviously made to be as cheap as possible, others (e.g. Alva) are very comparable in quality to their cousins also made in China but under the auspices of a well-known brand. You can make a case of Chinese versus American/Canadian made, but trying to make a case of chinese generic versus chinese branded is going to be hard.

  • Jessica Bouchard

    I found this article, after being super disappointed in the Sun Babies diapers that I ordered. (broken snaps, elastic breaking, stitching being off, strings dangeling, non-symmetrical diapers, looks like a 5yr old sewed them. ALL like that the minute I opened them and within a month falling apart) I emailed about them and got NO respectnse. From now on any diaper I buy will be from the usa.

  • Brandi Royal

    Some prefolds, plastic white old school covers in 2 sizes, and 3 snappis 75-100 dollars (depending on if you get used) WAYYYY cheaper then these stupid chinese diapers

  • Katie P

    I agree with your point however… between my BumGenius and Sunbaby/Alvas– My China cheapies win hands down on almost every argument you made. Both do their job as expected when on a bum, however some of my original BumGenius diapers I started with elastic is completely useless and the velcro…ugh, I won’t go there. Btwn my stash of Sunbabys/Alvas, all are in working order, minus a few missing snaps. Also, Sun Pei, owner of Sunbaby is a delight to work with. Who cares if english is there second language, how many of us can say we speak 2 languages?

    • Katie P

      Sorry, I agree with the point behind the ethics.

  • Rose

    Thanks so much! I wish I found this sooner. I bought 10 cloth diapers off of eBay a couple months ago for my twin girls that were born in Nov. 2013. I did not realize till today that they were even made in China. I though since i bought them through someone in the U.S. I was getting my monies worth and that they were made in the U.S.. But I was wrong. These diapers have had the snaps coming out of them. I will defiantly check into the diapers suggested on this page. Since from personal experience and what I have read hear i know this is true.Thanks again! 😉

  • I’ve been cloth diapering since 2002 and have used it all – from super high end and expensive hand made diapers to the China cheapies. Honestly, some of the China diapers are better quality than the USA brands. The biggest issue is an ethical one, IMO, not quality. But even then, there are ethical China brand diapers that are MUCH cheaper than, and equal quality to, mass produced USA diapers.

    I’ve actually had Alvas outlast many of my BumGenius. I’m pregnant with my 4th and will use GMD prefolds with assunta (China) covers for the newborn stage and then I will use Sunbaby pockets. After trying everything for 12 years, this is my preference.

  • Laura

    This article kind of reminds me of Portlandia. My cheap Chinese diapers are doing the trick just fine. I don’t own a single expensive diapers cause we can’t (and won’t!) afford them. Before I had my baby I was working 12-13 hour day so there was no time to “look for used ones an go to diaper swaps.” And my decision in doing so kept thousands of diapers out of the trash and thousands of dollars in our pockets.

    Off the soap box now, you can have it back.

  • Sheenagh

    Are there any brands not made in China?

  • Krystal Bell

    What a good article! Being new to cloth diapers can be overwhelming. I feel a bit better about learning what’s available and making an educated decision as to what I’d like to buy/support. Thanks Kim!!! 😉

  • Panda Baby Cloth Diaper Mom

    Panda Baby Diapers are made by a Mom who takes pride is making the best diapers for families with Stainproof five layer inserts and no PUL against babies bottom. The snaps are so strong they lasted my 3 years already. The PUL is so,good I have never had a slip of pee go through. No blow outs. All my customers are always sooo happy with my product and customer service because I am a mom too.

  • Carmelita Fenton

    I don’t want to see anymore of my favorite cloth diaper moms go out if business! Thank you I sent my friend some diapers to get started, her favorite was one of my favorite wahm brands from my home town. Then I see someone post in my local cloth group about co-ops her and a few others were all wanting to join till I told them i needed to remove the post. =/ I try to get everything local as possible even buying my lo clothes I shop binky d, moma’s sprouts, dirty little hippie. Might cost more but rather keep my money helping the economy and other families. If I could find things like that for adult clothes I’d do that too lol

  • Jessica Theriaque

    My problem is I’m a welfare mom about to have much 2nd baby and a human being of earth trying to do right by our planet. I am asking other mom’s for their USED USA cloth diapers, and they ate asking for near new prices. I mean your child peed, and pooped in fabric for months even years and I still want to give you money for it, the least they can do is give me a deal, right!
    I really needed to get that out, so thank you.