New Nappies

I’ve bought new nappies now what do I do with them? Do I really have to wash them 6+ times before I can use them?

It’s so nice to get new cloth nappies. The first thing I do is have a play so I can see how any inserts/boosters attach.

After this you will need to wash them before use. Tip: Put your new nappies in a bucket of cold water overnight! Some cloth nappy manufacturers recommend you wash your nappies many times before using them to build up absorbency. Placing them in a bucket of water for a few hours does the same thing. If you do decide to only wash them once before use to get rid of any manufacturing residue that’s fine too, just be aware that your nappies won’t be as absorbent as they will be after a few uses and change your child more regularly in the meantime. 

Why all the pre-washing? washing prepares the nappy fibres and helps reach full absorbency. It “raises all the tiny threads on each fibre loop – kind of like pulling the branches out on a fake Christmas Tree … so that there are more ends for the moisture to catch onto. More washing = more fluffy ends = faster absorbency and less chance of leaking” (Tiffany Sirisisavath, Bumboo). If your nappies haven’t had enough pre washes you run the risk of your child’s urine being repelled and running straight off the fabric.

Once washed put your nappies together (if required) and they are ready for use.

Washing Your Modern Cloth Nappies

Washing your modern cloth nappies is not difficult, although the myriad washing instructions available can make it seem like a complex task. A washing routine will be different for each family depending on type of nappies, washing machine, water and detergent that you use.

Before washing remove any soiling by emptying as much of the solid waste as you can (a little squirt or flushable liner can help). Then put it into a dry nappy bucket. When I change my son I do this straight away so stains do not have time to set. If at home I also rinse any soiled nappies straight away before putting them in the bucket.

Wash every 2 days. Urine can be quite acidic and can eat through the fabric on your nappies . I like to unsnap the boosters if using all in two nappies as it makes it easier to hang them on the line but it isn’t necessary. If using pocket nappies you should take out the inserts. I find it easier to remove the inserts as I am taking the nappy off my son before I put it in the nappy bucket.

Wash in water that is less than 60C, (I use cold water) with the detergent that you would usually use or the full amount of a detergent developed specifically for cloth nappies (Rockin’ Green, Grovia’s Tiny Bubbles, Cushie Tushies detergent etc).  Detergent buildup can affect a nappy’s absorbency, so don’t use more than recommended of the detergent you choose.

Use the highest water level that your machine will allow. Not using enough water is the number one reason your nappies don’t seem clean or are smelly.  If you can’t adjust the water level you may need to do an extra rinse.

Do Not use bleach, napisan, vinegar or any detergents with enzymes, phosphates, perfumes, optical brighteners or fabric softeners. These can cause your nappies to degrade and the fabric and elastics to disintegrate. Some of these will void any warranty on your nappies while others can cause rashes on your baby’s delicate skin.

Do a rinse then a full wash.

The best place to dry your nappies is in the sun. The sun will bleach out any stains so a washing line or clothes airer is beneficial. Clothes dryers can harm the PUL and elastic in nappies and isn’t recommended for many brands. It is best to read the instructions for the brand of nappy you are purchasing and if using a drier don’t use a high heat.

Wash your nappies correctly and you should never need to do a strip wash.