Having me share our stories about using reusable nappies and other products seems to be something people are definitely interested in. I recently wrote a post answering the question What are Cloth Nappies? where I shared different types of cloth nappy that are available. Here I’ll share some top tips for caring for your new cloth nappy stash.
Caring for your first cloth nappies
When you get cloth nappies for the first time, you will need to get them ready for your baby to wear. Just as a new towel, a cloth nappy is not very absorbent when you buy them brand new. The best way to get them ready for use is to add them to the washing machine and run them through two full cycles. You don’t need to dry them in between each cycle, simply turn the machine on for a second time.
Where to store your cloth nappies
There are two times you will need to store you cloth nappies. Here is my advice:
When they’re clean. Literally keep them wherever you like, within reason! If you have pets it is a good idea to keep them out of the way so you don’t end up with fur or irritants in the nappy. I keep some in the changing unit cupboard in the girls’ room and the rest in a changing bag downstairs, which means they are always ready to go if we head out.
When they’re dirty. I have a standard small bin from Wilkos which I pop a Little Lamb mesh wash bag into, and every time I change Pickle the cloth nappy gets put into the bin. When we’re out I have special wet bags which I can pop dirty cloth nappies into before moving them to the bin once we’re home.
For more details on how we use cloth nappies at home, out and about and even on holiday ready my post, Using Cloth Nappies for Kids.
How to wash cloth nappies
Washing cloth nappies was the thing I was most worried about when we made the cloth nappy swap. However there are some simple steps to follow to wash your cloth nappy stash ready for reuse.
Check the label first. Most cloth nappies will come with a label and or instructions on how to care for them when you purchase them from a supplier. Check what they recommend, but most will be the same as my tips.
Tip solid poo into the toilet. This is super important because you do not want to have a washing machine full of poop. Trust me.
Separate your cloth nappies before washing. If you ready my first post about cloth nappies (here if you haven’t!) you will know there are different types of cloth nappy available. Before putting cloth nappies into the washing machine, just make sure each part is individually separated so it all can be washed thoroughly.
Use a non-bio washing liquid. We use Persil (baby safe and the packaging can be recycled once it’s used up!) This is all you will need in the wash to get the cloth nappies clean.
Do not use stain removers or fabric conditioner. These types of products will damage the waterproof lining and structure of your cloth nappies, and are unnecessary anyway!
Wash your cloth nappies at at least 60°. Depending on how soiled our cloth nappies are, I wash at either 60° or 90°. To ensure that any bacteria are killed off during the wash, you must stick to this hot wash.
Don’t overload the machine. I wash Pickle’s cloth nappies every other day to ensure there are not too many going in at once. The two reasons for this are:
Friction between the cloth nappies, inserts and booster can cause the material to bobble. This could be uncomfortable for your baby and affect the performance of the nappy.
Having too many nappies in the wash at the same time could result in them not being cleaned properly.
How to dry cloth nappies
Depending on which cloth nappy type you are using, they will dry at different speeds. The quickest to dry are flat pad and square cloth nappies, pocket, BTP, AIO and AIT are in the middle whilst shaped sized cloth nappies will take the longest. Here are my top tips for how to dry cloth nappies:
Put them outside. The best way to get a cloth nappy dry is to pop it out in the sun and fresh air. UV rays are a great natural stain remover so will help to remove any left over marks on the material of your cloth nappies.
If it’s not dry enough outside, use an a-frame indoors. The best way to dry your cloth nappies is naturally, so an a-frame is the best option.
Use the airing cupboard or your radiators. Although this option will allow you to get the cloth nappies dry quicker, it can leave them quite stiff. Do not dry bamboo nappies or boosters this way, however as it will damage the fibres and shorten the life of the material (defeating the point of having them!)
Use a tumble dryer. Personally I don’t have one, and rarely use them when I have access to them. However if you’re in a rush or you just want extra soft cloth nappies, pop them on a gentle, low heat cycle to dry them.
Now that you have some top tips for washing and drying your cloth nappies, you can be sure to take the best care of them and use them for years to come. Children always come with a whole host of messy moments so once you've made your decision on cloth nappies and other essentials be sure to check out Homelization for all those essential cleaning tips from how to get blood out of clothes to how to remove allergens from your home.
For posts about cloth nappies and other reusable products we use in our home, check out the Cloth Alternatives category. If you have any questions about using cloth nappies feel free to ask in the comments section below.