Buying diapers used is a great way to pad your stash without breaking the bank. There have been lots of articles written with tips on buying and selling used, and here is another resource to help people wanting to sell diapers. It seems that buyers all expect pretty much the same things, but they continue to see diapers described as “EUC” or “GUC” that don’t meet those expectations.
In both my research, and your survey responses, most people have the same general idea of what they expect for each condition “rating.” A diaper’s “rating” is based on the condition of the PUL, elastic, inners, closures and soakers. If your diaper has most or all of the possible flaws for a category, it should probably be bumped down. When you are thinking that a diaper is borderline & hard to categorize (is it VGUC or GUC?) it’s probably an indication that you should “rate” it in the lower category. Snap diapers generally fare better than Velcro/Aplix closures when being “rated.”
When you’re rating your diaper, I also recommend taking a peek at a new diaper in comparison, since sometimes you don’t realize how dingy a diaper is looking until you see a spanking new one! Same goes for elastic. Seems nice and springy until you tug on a brand new one and realize how relaxed yours is!
So here is a description of each used cloth diaper rating category, based on the consensus of the cloth diapering community! I’ve included photos of my own diapers, and I used mostly the same brand to make comparing easier.
Like New (LN)
A “Like New” (LN) diaper should be virtually indistinguishable from a new diaper, aside from not having packaging. It will have bright white, fluffy inserts, zero pilling or fading, bright white inners and all inserts that came with the diaper will be included.
Excellent Used Condition (EUC)
An “Excellent Used Condition” (EUC) Diaper is nearly new, and may have been washed or tried on a few times. It will be hard to tell it apart from a new diaper without comparing them side by side. There will be little to no pilling, no fuzz in velcro, white, fluffy inserts, and white inners.
Very Good Used Condition (VGUC)
A “Very Good Used Condition” (VGUC) diaper has been used only a short while and has very minor flaws. It will have little to no pilling, possibly some lint in the velcro, and occasional very light staining. If it has several minor flaws (snags, pilling, light staining, velcro lint etc.) it is most likely “Good Used Condition” rather than “Very Good.”
Good Used Condition (GUC)
A “Good Used Condition” (GUC) diaper is fully functional, but shows signs of wear such as minor staining, slight pilling or snags and inserts that show some staining and/or flattening. Aplix closures may have some lint or fuzz, and might not be quite as sticky as when the diaper was new. Elastic is still in good shape. It may not look brand new, but a “Good Used Condition” diaper has lots of life left.
A “Used Condition” (UC) diaper has obviously been used, though it is still fully functional and has some life left. It will probably have a stained and/or dingy and pilling inner, as well as dingy, stained or flattened inserts. The velcro & laundry tabs will show definite signs of wear. Closure tabs may be curling & be not quite as sticky as when new, but they are still expected to work. The elastic may be relaxed, and while it still works, may need to be replaced in the near future. Nothing on the diaper should actually be falling apart or need repair immediately.
“Needs repair” sounds pretty self explanatory, but there’s a little bit of gray area as well. Something with totally shot elastic, a missing snap, or Velcro that won’t stick is not functional as is, therefore it needs repair. However, if the laundry tabs are shot, or there is very little use left before the diaper does need repairs, combined with a very well used appearance, you may sometimes see them called used condition or “play condition.” Make sure you ask questions about any flaws mentioned in elastic, laundry tabs, Velcro etc. if you’re not up for diaper surgery!
The above diaper’s laundry tabs have shrunken and are no longer functional at all. The diaper is also the previous “model,” being a 3.0 vs 4.0, the diaper’s PUL is snagged and the Velcro strip is pilly. It also has dingy, flattened inserts, a dingy, slightly stained inner and relaxed elastic, so with all those things combined, it’s definitely a “needs repair” diaper. Sure, you can put it on your baby & it will work, but you will have to make repairs to continue to use it for a length of time.
There is such a fine line between categories, that it is always a good idea to have your diapers in tip top shape before selling them. Make sure they are clean, stink free, and don’t have any animal or human hair on them. If there are stains, try to sun them first (in fact, sun the diapers & inserts anyway if you can!) and use a snappi (or this thingamabob) to clean any gunk out of the aplix before taking photos.
Always be honest with your buyers! If the diaper is stained and it’s been raining where you are, that’s OK to tell the buyer that you don’t know if they will sun out. However, if you’ve already sunned the diaper and the stains did not fade, please don’t tell the buyer that the stains may sun out, tell them the truth.
My pricing guide is still in progress. When I’m finished, I hope to have a reasonable price range expectation (% of retail) for each condition! If you want to help, please answer a few questions about used diapers you have bought or sold.