Washing Cloth Nappies
Modern cloth nappies are very easy to care for!
- Before use
Before you first use any of your NEW nappies it is necessary to do a pre-wash. Covers and pockets only need one wash to remove any manufacturing residue, all inserts, boosters and all-in-ones need about 3 pre-washes. This is to increase initial absorbency. Most nappies won’t reach full absorbency till 8-9 washes. It is not necessary to dry nappies between each wash. You can also soak them overnight in cold water to increase absorbency before using them
*Cloth nappies from our nappy library do not need to be pre-washed as they have been used, washed and sanitised before they are sent to you.
- After use
When a nappy is soiled simply dispose of solids in the toilet (flushable liners or a ‘little squirt’ toilet attachment make this easier) and give a quick rinse if necessary. Some people like to rinse both wet and soiled nappies to dilute urine as this can lengthen the life of the nappy, however this is not vital. You then ‘dry pail’ your nappy which basically means popping it in a lidded bucket or large wet bag. I like to use a flip top kitchen bin next to the change table because they are easy to access and contain smells really well. It is not recommended that you soak your nappies at all.
Once you have a full load of nappies simply empty the bucket into the washing machine and wash! It is generally not recommended to leave nappies any longer than three days as urine can corrode fabric, especially potent teething wee. Some people like to do a cold rinse cycle or pre-wash first, but this is up to you. I generally do a ‘quick wash’ cycle which lasts about 25 minutes (In my front loader washing machine), and then use a normal ‘wash’ cycle to clean the nappies. The first wash gets rid of anything left behind on the nappy, and the second wash helps get them nice and clean.
A regular cold/warm wash is recommended, however if you prefer a hot wash it must be no hotter than 60 degrees. It is recommended to use the amount of detergent listed on the product you are using for the load size you have. This is because powder builds up and can eventually affect absorbency. If you do find this happens, you can do a strip wash (explained below). We recommend using eco-friendly powders however normal powders may also be used.
Fabric softeners, bleach, and vinegar are not necessary for your nappies as they can ruin them. You can use an antibacterial or antifungal rinse such as canesten or dettol laundry rinse (available in the laundry section at most supermarkets) if you wish, however this is also not vital. UV rays from the sun can help by killing germs as well as naturally bleaching any stains.
Naturally we recommend line drying your nappies as this is much cheaper, better for the environment, and the sunlight has its natural sterilising and bleaching affects. However if you find you need to use a dryer it MUST be on a low setting for any nappy that contains PUL or elastic. High temperatures are ok for inserts and boosters, or any nappy that does not contain PUL or elastic. If the temperature is too hot it will damage the waterproof layer of the nappy and can cause the bamboo to shrink. If you find your nappies a bit ‘crispy’ after being line dried, you can pop them on LOW in the dryer for about 10 minutes to soften them up.
When line drying nappies, try and ensure the inside of the nappy is facing out to get the best out of the UV rays. If the weather isn’t great, you can pop your nappies on a clothes horse in front of a window.
Ensure nappies are dry before use, if they are still cold or damp to touch they will not be as absorbent.
Each brand of nappy will come with their own set of wash and care instructions. It is important you read these as well.
- Strip wash
Sometimes washing powders can build up on nappies affecting their absorbency (you may have some sudden leaks), or you may find your nappies are starting to smell, particularly when your baby is teething, and this is when we recommend a strip wash. A strip wash is basically popping all your nappies in the wash with a few drops of cheap regular dishwashing detergent. You then do regular, repeated wash cycles (we recommend one of them being a warm/hot wash, no hotter than 60 degrees) until NO MORE suds can be seen.