Nappy guide: washing cloth nappies

washing cloth nappies

Forget the days of nappies soaking in a bucket, followed by fearfully boiling them. Thanks to modern detergents and efficient washing machines, washing cloth nappies these days is wonderfully straightforward: cold rinse, hot wash, line dry, done!

One rule to remember is: no fabric softener! This reduces the absorbency of the nappies, not so good for something used for a absorbing wee and poo. (if this ever happens thanks to a well-intentioned helper, just rinse, rinse, rinse!!!!)

Washing cloth nappies – starter guide

The most effective routine for washing cloth nappies is a cold rinse, with no detergent, followed by a long, 40-60 degree wash with a good dose of detergent. The cold rinse will lightly wash off wee and poo from the nappies, ready to let the hot wash do its work. Most washing machines come with an allergy or baby setting – a cycle of 2 hours is about right: perfect for putting a wash on before doing the school run, over lunch or the kids’ bathtime, or overnight if your machine has a timer.

A scoop of Violets mineral bleach will add some pizzazz to help remove stains (this hero of the laundry world can also rescue school uniform, CSP, towels – anything that needs a stain sorting.) Or, you can try some magic in your wash, with Tots Bots Potion: a chemical-free and enzyme-free detergent that is anti-bacterial, allowing you to wash cloth nappies as low as 30 degrees! They also come in a yummy choice of bubblegum or mint humbug, or you can stick to unscented if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

Tots Bot Potion Powder

Magical potion for your nappies: Tots Bots Potion

Once the wash has finished, it’s time to enjoy the wonderful sight of freshly washed nappies on your washing line. Fresh air and sunshine are best to keep stains at bay, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space or weather, air drying on a clothes horse is grand, too. A multi-peg sock hanger is fab for your wipes, liners and boosters.

Washed nappies drying on a sunny day

A perfect nappy washing day!

Drying cloth nappies

Generally, it’s best to steer clear of the tumble drier (think of the electricity you’ll save!), but in a time-saving emergency, anything without PUL can be tumbled on a low/cool heat (boosters, prefolds, fitted nappies, wipes).

Drying times differ according to each nappy: bamboo and hemp take the longest, microfibre and milovia inserts are super quick, and terry towelling and prefolds are somewhere in the middle. In the winter, nappies shouldn’t be placed directly onto a radiator, as this will affect the PUL and parch your nappies. We find putting your clothes airer right next to a radiator can make a huge difference in speeding up the drying time.

Before you know it, you’ll have the timing of washing cloth nappies sorted, and believe us when we say the delight in seeing those wee nappies drying on the line is so compelling, you’ll soon be sharing  photos on our Facebook hangout page. There is also something highly satisfying and therapeutic in folding them, too…!

Nappies washed and dried, ready to sort

A satisfying nappy sorting session

Cloth nappies – where to start?!

starting cloth nappies

Photo credit: Heather Calver @areusablelife

You’ve decided to try cloth nappies, that’s brilliant! Now what?!

Whether it’s because you want to reduce your waste, your disposable options have let you down too many times, or you simply can’t resist a big, fluffy baby bum, it can feel a little daunting getting started, but don’t worry! Here’s our starter cloth nappy guide to get you up to speed.

Firstly, we recommend trying a few different cloth nappies, as each have their own benefits which suit your little one as well as your own laundry routine.

For a full day in cloth, you will need:

  • Approx 6-10 nappies (6 for a toddler, 10 for a newborn)
  • a wet bag or nappy bucket for wet and dirty nappies
  • liners are optional but they’re handy for catching poo
  • a cute baby (supplied by you)

To switch to cloth full time you will need 15-24 nappies (24 allows you to wash 2 days’ worth of nappies, and still have 2 days’ worth clean and dry), although this depends on how often your baby likes to wee and poo!

We recommend giving all nappies a prewash. Nappies with bamboo or hemp, such as the Tots Bots bamboozle, will need up to 5 washes to reach their maximum absorbency. You can wash and immediately rewash, or simply choose to change your baby more frequently while the nappy gets to maximum absorbency.

Simply place your chosen liner inside the cloth nappy, making sure all the liner is tucked in, then fasten the nappy onto your baby. Cloth nappies fit slightly differently to disposables: you need to start with the nappy much lower down at the back, just covering their wee bottoms, and higher up at the front.

How often do I change a cloth bum baby?

Cloth nappies generally need changing every 3 hours or so during the day.  This varies depending on your child’s wee capacity and the nappy you are using.  There are super absorbent nappies that will last all through the night.

What about poo?!

Oh yes, babies love to poo! Both breastfed and formula fed babies will still have very soft poo, which you can rinse off in the toilet, though usually it’s fine to go straight in the washing machine. Once babies start doing ‘proper’ poos, you can flick the poo off the paper or fleece liner into a toilet. Nappy buckets can be handy for a quick swill of those delightful teething nappies.

Where do the nappies go?

There is no need to soak your nappies, once you have removed any excess poo, simply put them in your wet bag or nappy bucket – just make sure you remove any paper liners and fold back any aplix laundry tabs. It’s best not to leave used nappies any longer than 3 days. Then you can wash them: rinse, hot wash, line or tumble dry, fold/stuff, and start again! Wet bags can be washed with the nappies, too.

Wet bags full of cloth nappies, ready to wash

Cloth nappies on the go

Using cloth nappies when you’re out and about is just as easy. All you need extra is a small/medium wet bag for the used nappies, and a cloth wipe bag if you’ve decided to use cloth wipes, too. Just make sure you have enough cloth nappies to last during the time you are out, then, when baby needs changing, just put the used nappies in the wet bag (minus poo if you can find a toilet), and add to your changing bag. So much easier than trying to find a bin for the used nappy! You can literally change baby anywhere (car boots, the beach, at the office when you’ve brought baby into work and, yup, they’ve filled their nappy!)

The important thing is just to give it a go, you’ll be surprised how quickly you fall into a routine. Even doing cloth part time, perhaps just at home while you get used to them, would save over 2700 nappies going to landfill (based on using 3 cloth nappies a day for 2.5 years). The cloth nappy community is ready and eager to help you find the right type and right routine, and we’re happy to have any excuse to chat about cloth nappies with you, so just ask us via our usual customer service contact options, or there are plenty of fellow cloth nappy fans on our wonderful Facebook hangout page.

Starting cloth nappies at birth to potty time

You can start at any time from birth… to potty!

Cloth Nappy Jargon and Abbreviations Explained

nappy_v2_herman-monster

 

So you’ve decided to start using cloth nappies and you have a look on the internet to see what’s available.  But there are just so many to choose from and what is this new language of nappy that you have to learn, what is an AIO nappy? and what is a nappy booster? Why isn’t it just simple?

Well it is simple really and to help you out we’ve put together a list of various cloth nappy jargon  and abbreviations commonly used to describe different types and bits of washable nappies.  All in plain and simple English so that any cloth novice can get the hand of it.  If you think we’ve missed any out please add them to the comments at the bottom and we’ll edit the post to include them. Don’t forget we’re always at the other end of the phone if you need any extra help and advice.

Cloth nappy, Real nappy, Washable nappy, Cloth: 

A nappy made of fabric that you wash and then re-use instead of throwing in the bin

AIO, All-in-one nappy: 

A nappy that is all in one piece, both the waterproof outer and absorbent inner are stuck together as one unit.  Examples of the all-in-one would be the new  TotsBots Easyfit Star, GroVia All-in-one, GroVia ONE, Tickle Tots and Real Easy

Pocket nappy: 

A pocket nappy consists of a waterproof shell with a fleece layer attached to the inside and in between the two layers is a pocket into which you stuff an absorbent insert. An example of this would be a  Milovia Pocket Nappy, Fuzzibunz, Charlie Banana and Wonderoos

AI2, All-in-two nappy, Hybrid Nappy: 

All in two nappies are made of two parts, absorbent inner and waterproof outer, that can be fastened together usually with poppers.  Once these two parts are stuck together the nappy then resembles and all-in-one but the ability to pull the two pieces apart can speed up drying times.  An example of a all-in-two nappy would be Totsbots Peenut,  Pop-in nappy by Close and GroVia Hybid Nappy

Two part nappy: 

Simply a nappy made of 2 parts, absorbent nappy and waterproof cover.  The two parts don’t fix together like an all-in-two.  Examples are Tots Bots Peenut,  Tots Bots Bamboozles and Milovia cover & inserts

Pre-fold nappies: 

These are a rectangular piece of toweling fabric which is folded into the shape of a pad or nappy and then needs a waterproof cover on top. These are the kind of nappies that have been around for a long time and you would picture a baby wearing with a safety pin, although we don’t use pins anymore.  Sometimes referred to as Flat Nappies

Fitted Nappy: 

An absorbent cloth nappy that “fits” around your baby with a fastening at the front and will then need a waterproof cover on top. Tots Bots Bamboozle is a perfect example

Insert or Soaker

This is usually the absorbent fabric you place inside a nappy to absorb the wee.  Depending on the brand these vary in size and shape.

Wrap, Cover: 

A nappy absorbs wee and you don’t want this wee to escape and soak into your baby’s clothes so you use a waterproof “cover” or “wrap”.  This covers the absorbent part of the nappy and contains the poop and wee. Examples of these are the Totsbots Peenut, Blueberry Coveralls and Milovia Covers.

Booster: 

As babies get bigger and do bigger wee then you might need to “boost” your nappies.  A booster is an extra layer or absorbent fabric you put in the nappy to absorb extra liquid. Some babies needs boosting early on and some only need a booster at night time.  Example, Close Parent boosters

Liner: 

A nappy liner is a thin piece of paper that you place on top of the nappy before you put it on your baby.  This then catches the baby poo and are designed to they can simply throw it down the toilet (drains dependent) or in the bin.  Here at Babi Pur, we would strongly discourage anyone from flushing liners down the toilet as recent experiments have shown that they take longer than expected to biodegrade.    Paper liners can make life a bit easier and are usually made of  natural materials.  Examples Close nappy liners, ImseVimse nappy liners and Totsbots nappy liners.

Fleece liners:

Made from microfleece material fleece liners are placed on the nappy before you place it on your baby.  This material wicks moisture from baby’s skin keeping them feeling dry.  Fleece liners are re-usable and will need to be rinsed and washed after each use. Example Tots Bots fleece liners

Aplix, Velcro, Hook & Loop: 

Commonly known as Velcro but as Velcro is a branded version it’s not always the term used.  This is the fastening used to close the front of the nappy.

Snaps, Poppers: 

Snaps are like little plastic buttons which are used to close the nappy, adjust the size of a nappy and sometimes stick different parts together

B2P, Birth to Potty:

Nappies that adjust in size from birth to potty. Examples are Totsbots Easyfit Star, bamboozle, Pop-in Nappy,  Milovia

Newborn Nappies: 

Some people say that they’re going to use disposables for the first few weeks and then switch to resuables, but we say “cloth from day 1″! Where as one size nappies are great for use from birth to potty, they can sometimes be a little big for newborn babies. Newborn Cloth nappies are great size for babies from 5lb to 12lbs.

Exaples of these nappies are Pop-in newborn, Real Easy XS, GroVia Newborn, Totsbots Teenyfit and Milovia covers & inserts

 

TotsBots Peenut Nappy Closer Look

TotsBots PeeNut Nappy Review, In Depth Look & Video

The TotsBots PeeNut nappy (Peeeee nut, get it?) is really simple to get your head around. You have an absorbent pad to hold wee and a waterproof cover to keep everything contained. We like things that are simple, life’s complicated enough as it is.

The PeeNut nappy is a really economical and clever nappy system consisting of a waterproof nappy wrap and a 3 in 1 day to night pad made from bamboo and microfibre. The PeeNut wrap and pad set has all the parts you need in one package so you can give it a go.

TotsBots Peenut Babipur

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