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.

Why Use Cloth Nappies?

One of the most common questions I’m asked is why would I want to use cloth nappies? Most people have the vision of the olden days of flat nappies, of folding, being tied to the laundry and ewww, what about the poo???? But cloth nappies have changed over time. Modern cloth nappies now look like disposables and are as easy to use. Poo is relatively easy to discard especially if you use a flushable liner and have a nappy sprayer attached to your toilet.

Ease of Use- With modern cloth nappies there is no soaking and hours spent folding, although depending on the sort you use you might need to spend time putting them together. Many modern cloth nappies look just like disposables. WhenBaby Beehinds Magicall with Velcro you take them off your child simply empty any soiling into the toilet, put them into a dry bucket and then every couple of days, depending on how often you are washing, tip the bucket into the washing machine. Hang them on the line to dry and then put them together (if required) before reusing them.

Cost- Cloth nappies are cheaper over the long term compared with disposables, although they do have a larger up front cost. You can use cloth nappies reasonably cheaply by using terry squares or prefolds. Other middle cost options are buying OSFM (one size fits most) that should last until toilet training. Other people prefer to use sized nappies which have a larger up front cost as you need to buy larger sizes as your child grows. Cloth nappies can sometimes be reused with future children and can be sold second hand when you are finished with them if they are in good condition. 

Environment- Cloth nappies are better for the environment as it takes hundreds of years for disposable nappies to break down. Imagine all the disposables that are currently sitting in landfills around the world with their chemicals leaching into the soil. Every time a cloth nappy is used it helps lessen the amount of disposables going to landfill.

Your Babies Health. Disposable nappies do contain chemicals that contact the skin of your child. There has also been debate by medical professionals over the possibility that using disposable nappies leads to increased infertility in boys.  Grovia Plane All in One Nappy

They are cute! There are so many different types you can get and you can personalise them by getting embroidered nappies or fabric choices which match your childs interests.

Do you use cloth nappies? If you don’t is there a specific reason why? Let me know as i am always interested in other people’s opinions.